Thursday, March 31, 2011

All Together Now

The entire YWAM mission team from the Northwest (many from Bonney Lake Community Church) has arrived in Addis Ababa and is now "complete and ready to rock!"  It can be tough arriving in Addis in the morning after the very long flights necessary to get there - you feel like it must be time for bed but you've got a whole day stretching before you! 

After some power napping and a quick clean-up, they will visit the Fistula Hospital and return to the church at Korah where they'll share in a coffee ceremony with the church leadership.  Then they'll get to work prepping for the projects they'll be working on through Sunday at the dump and leper colony. 

Thank you for holding each of them up in prayer!  I know they are relying on God's strength and your prayers are critical. 

What an awesome team of people God has assembled!  Stay tuned for more updates!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Mission Team Update - Part 2 Korah

by Oriah Longanecker

You might be asking why we would come and spend time in such a place as this... the simple answer: Jesus did and commands us to do so. The Gospels are full of examples ranging from Christ touching/healing lepers (EXTREMELY unacceptable in those times and still considered by most highly undesirable today) to healing the sick/blind/lame/etc..

Our first trip through was to minister and assess needs and gather a first-hand perspective of how we and others can be Christ's hands and feet to these most needy of His children. Today we gathered thousands of kilos/pounds of supplies ranging from grains and oils to health/sanitation supplies to fuel and coffee (the national drink and a basic staple - essential to masking the stench from the unsanitary water supplies). These will be divided up and passed out by the Korah church leadership and our team to 40+ of the most needy families this weekend after the rest of our mission team arrives. During that time, we will also be helping members of the church and community dig and build a new latrine that will serve the church and gym areas as well as personally ministering to many through house visits, VBS, etc..

Though there has already been much more to relate, I will share just one more experience today. During that first visit to the community of Korah, we met a very young mother and her 3-day-old baby. They both lay feebly on a pile of filthy rags on the dirt floor of a hut smaller than my bathroom - at least one other mother and 3 children also called this hut home.

We were told that neither the mother nor the baby were eating - the mother because of a severely infected tooth and gums, as well as what we suspected was some post-childbirth internal infections, and the baby because the mother was producing no milk due to her own dehydration/starvation. To say that this scene, among countless others, broke my/our hearts is a gross understatement. Graciously, God provided the means for us to assist the mother to town to address her health issues and provide additional items, including infant formula, for the baby. More importantly, Cheri was able to share Christ's love and the message of salvation with her was we took her home today. I would ask for special and specific prayer for this mother and baby as neither of them are safe yet and that the spiritual seeds planted would be nurtured and grow.

I end on a positive and uplifting note: the people that we have met here (both those in situations like Korah as well as those who are living their faith in Christ out and allowing Him to live through them) as well as the things we have experienced have yet again challenged my framework of thought; encouraged my faith in new and powerful ways; helped me see God's grace in the smile and kind words of a hungry dirty child where the world would expect to find misery and despair; shown me hope and life where the world says there is none or at least it is undeserving; and have brought glory to our King! I leave you with Is 58:10 ~ "And if you give yourself to the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then your light will rise in darkness and your gloom will become like midday."

Amidst the pain, poverty and suffering I still feel God shining brightly on these communities, individuals and teams who are living for Him!
Serving the King by loving His people!


My mind became a movie screen after reading Oriah's article above about the leper colony at the dump in Addis Ababa.  I recalled all the scenes related to the children God assigned to YWAM's care over these past 2 1/2 years.  The babies that are in our Widows and Orphans Homes who are smiling, clean and well fed came out of just such abject poverty as is described in this post.  

Our Widows & Orphans Homes are the net that catches some of the children whose mothers die because they can't get medical care or a child who is found, underweight and almost dehydrated, laying on a pile of rags.  Or a child left for the hyenas to kill because there isn't anything to feed the baby.  Or little Shukare who was wrapped in a rag and fed sugar water for the first week of her life and was on the brink of death until she was rescued. 

These children come into our care by God's grace and are fed that 'powdered gold' formula you've heard us talk about here on the blog.  They begin a rapid transformation and almost before our eyes, their arms and legs fill out, their cheeks plump and they become the happy, healthy babies they were created to be!  Then, they are chosen to be adopted by families here in the U.S. in one of the most miraculous turn-arounds you'll ever witness. 

The mission team, led by Mark Wolbert, will be visiting our Widows & Orphans Home in Adama very soon and we hope to have more stories to share here.  Won't you consider supporting our orphanage program with a monthly commitment of any amount?  There is a tremendous need for supporters like you who will join us in being part of the answer to the great need in Ethiopia.  To give, please go to our website here and click on the 'Donate' button on the left.  Thank you!

Joy Casey

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

First Mission Team Update - Part 1 Korah

from Oriah Longanecker, mission team member

I have a few moments (and a working internet connection) so I wanted to update you on some of our activities from here in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Right now I am with the advon team (military speak for advance echelon/guard), consisting of Mark (the YWAM Missions Director), Cheri and I and we're doing some scouting, buying gear, meeting people and prep work for the main group, due to arrive on Thursday. I will warn you up front that I am not going to sugar-coat these updates and will discuss in candid terms the things we see and experience. Some things will be joyous and wonderful while others may make you want to throw-up or sob.

First, praise God for a smooth trip delays, no lost luggage, nothing broken, no import tax assessed against us on all the items we brought in for the widows and orphans, etc! We are staying at St. Matthews church and guest house right now. It's is simple by American standards but quite nice by Ethiopian - we are fortunate to have this as our lodging while we are here in Addis. Our hosts are wonderful as well.

Our first day was spent meeting with some key in-country team members and local saints/warriors for Jesus who are doing great things for those in need here in Addis. Most noteworthy on this day, we met up with a dear friend of Mark's by the name of Tesfaye. Tesfaye (pronounced - Tess Fye) is a young man who grew up in an area on the SW side of Addis called Korah. For a brief overview of Korah please see this video :

Video courtesy of

Tesfaye is both a shining example of God's love in action and a testament of hope for those still living within Korah. Through God's grace, Tesfaye's life was changed by a Christian friend named Bisrat (with his own amazing story) and by a American Christian family who sponsored him and his family. His friend, Bisrat, led Tesfaye to Jesus while his sponsor family has made it possible for Tesfaye to not only finish elementary school but he graduates from college here in Addis this summer! He is a math and physics major (he most enjoys fluid dynamics and integrating IT solutions and applications to this field) who currently and for the foreseeable future plans to teach and tutor in those subjects to other children. He spends most of his free time in Korah giving unselfishly of himself in a variety of ways, most recently: heading up a church building project that we partnered with Tesfaye and other members of the community on, building a weightlifting gym to attract young men to the area around the church and then share Jesus with them; forming an officially licensed charitable organization which reaches out to the area of Korah around the church and where his mother still lives - currently to over 300 widows, orphans, and those in desperate need. This is truly a young man living in faith, trusting God to provide where he could never dream of doing so on his own power and might but through God, he is sharing in some truly amazing moments.

Weight room

Tesfaye took us around the area of Korah where he grew up, and where his mother still lives, and introduced us to the wonderfully gracious people who live there. We met scores upon hundreds of those living and dying from leprosy, HIV/AIDS, TB, various parasitic infections, etc as well as those simply so poor and desperate that they must live as outcasts from society as they try to survive and provide for their family by scavenging food and necessities from the adjoining city dump. Many live IN the dump... that is, inside piles of toxic, often burning, putrid garbage.

The rest live in crowded mud/dung huts built with material from the dump. These huts are so crowded that you can not walk through them without stepping on people and possessions. We talked with one group who currently had 18 adults and 12 children living inside of a room that might have been 12' X 20'...perhaps the size of many American living rooms...yes, they were literally stacked on top of one another! There was one elderly invalid woman in that hut who had not gotten up out of bed for more than 10 years.

You can not imagine the sights and smells of these places unless you have experienced them first hand. Those that are able seek jobs as laborers, usually making less than $1/day for 10 hours of back-breaking labor, perhaps breaking cement roads or huge rocks by hand with a sledge hammer or carrying construction material on their head or back, often loads weighing as much as they do. Those that cannot work due to blindness, illness, etc. either beg, scavenge through the dump, hope that someone has mercy on them or they die a lonely, miserable, excruciating death.

Part 2 of Oriah's update tomorrow

Photos taken at Korah in November 2010 by Jeff Burns
Our blog header is also a photo Jeff took at Korah

Friday, March 25, 2011


As this week draws to an end, I'll share a few links you might like...

@We Are THAT Family
about feeling overwhelmed over how to make a difference

@A Bushel and A Peck
about helping kids make progress toward attachment & healing

about a terrible reality in Ethiopia - but God is calling us to do battle!

And just in case you've haven't yet seen it, be sure to watch this interview that Jenna Bush Hager does with the Twietmeyer family, about adoption from Ethiopia of HIV+ kids...

Friday, March 18, 2011

Home Improvements

God has led us to get to know some wonderful people living in a dusty village on a savannah in southern Ethiopia. The villagers are extremely poor and, if they are lucky, live off of what they grow. Families are large.  They are crowded into small, round stick-and-mud huts with grass roofs, many without doors. These houses have dirt floors, poor ventilation, no windows and a life span of about ten years before the family will need to move and build a new hut.

Up until a year ago, the villagers had to walk a long distance to fill their jugs with water and trudge back home lugging the precious commodity to use for drinking and cooking. With water so difficult to get, you can bet bathing was rare! When the hardship was explained, wonderful and generous people gave money so YWAM could bring water from an existing clean water source into the village. This was a blessing of enormous proportions, and opened many doors for ministry among the villagers.

With the availability of water, it is now possible to make cement and we are raising money to build more durable and clean housing in this village. For $400 Adoption Ministry’s Ethiopian representative buys the materials necessary to build a house with a cement floor, stick-and-mud framing, a window, a door and a tin roof.

We have asked the village chief to choose those he knows who are in the most desperate situations to receive the gift of a house. So far, 15 houses have been constructed.

Once all the materials are gathered and hauled to the village, a house can be built rather quickly. The materials are provided and the recipients, with the help of their friends and family, erect the new and improved version of a mud hut. If an elderly woman is awarded a house, usually her son and neighbors do the manual labor required for her. Some get creative and paint them fancy and some are just whitewashed white. All are an improvement!

It is impossible for me to communicate how thrilled and grateful these people are to have one of the “nicest houses in town!” To an American, the inside of these homes are stark and gloomy (there is no electricity in this village) and they usually have bags of corn or other dried food stored in a corner and a bed on the floor in another corner; some have a simple bed frame. The children sleep with a simple blanket on the floor. But these houses are so much roomier and cleaner than the mud hut, and snakes and other creepy crawlers are more easily kept at bay. During the rainy season, there is no comparison. The family is dry and has a place to get out of the mud. A luxury!

Would you like to purchase a house for a desperately poor family in Africa? Perhaps you could buy a house in honor of a birthday girl or your parents’ anniversary or for an Easter present? Adoption Ministry sends a nice card to the honoree telling your loved one what you have done in their name. To make a donation, please go to our website HERE.  For more information, contact us at:

“For when you have done this to the least of these,
you have done it to Me.”

Monday, March 7, 2011

Also introducing...

The Ierley Family

The Sanchez Family

The Streitmatter Family

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Several to welcome home...

The Ballast Family

The Johns Family

The Porter Family

The Sprague Family
Justus and Mercy

More families to come as I get more family pics!  (Keep sending them to me!)

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