Sunday, July 31, 2011

A Woman's Touch - Day 2 in Ethiopia

Adoption Ministry of YWAM Ethiopia has a women's mission team in Ethiopia right now, serving in many places Adoption Ministry does humanitarian work in Ethiopia.  The team is sending blog posts as often as they're able.  We haven't received any photos yet so these pictures were taken earlier this year at Kore (Kor'-ay).  This post was written on Saturday July 30th.

My name is Jillian and I am a team member from Knoxville, Tennessee. We are taking turns each day updating the blog to share part of this incredible journey with you. First of all, please let me say from the deepest part of my heart and the other team members THANK YOU FOR ALL YOUR PRAYERS… THEY ARE WORKING!!! We are all here - happy, healthy and having a great time serving our Lord. God is introducing us to His Ethiopian children… our brothers and sisters. We are just wrapping up our second full day in Ethiopia. I am not certain how to adequate describe all that we are doing or seeing as I am not sure I yet can fully understand and comprehend how God is working but I assure you that He is. He is here with us, protecting us, providing for us, guiding us, uniting our team, strengthening our bodies, minds and souls as we go through each day.

By the world’s perspective and understanding, we would have every right to be full of fear. The fear of disease, the fear of the unknown and unfamiliar and even the fear of inadequacy of being able to do enough to love and serve these people well. Yet I look around and I see no fear; I see faith. I see excitement to go and do whatever God places before us in His strength. We all realize this is way beyond ourselves and our own abilities; this has to be God’s show and we are His vessels living in His strength and doing only His will. This morning after breakfast we met for our devotional time (which was an incredible time lead by Elise who is 15 years old and amazing) and during this time we put on the armor of God. We literally stood up and as one read the scripture, we put on the belt of truth, etc. It is beautiful.

After breakfast at the Guest House, our devotional and preparation time, and a wonderful lunch at The Cottege (Ethiopian spelling), we went to Kore. For those who are unfamiliar, Kore is a village built at a landfill by lepers who had been cast out of society.

The village now consists of 120,000 people who live in poverty that is beyond our comprehension. We went there because there is a local church lead by Pastor Noonish that Adoption Ministry has been very involved with and supportive of. It is the kind of church you see on documentaries with one room, minimal walls and shelter and people excited for Christ.

We had told them we would come to minister to the women and it is my understanding the women waited hours for us to arrive. They are so humble, welcoming, appreciative and loving. They are beautiful inside and out.

We washed the feet of the women who were shocked that we would come there to love and serve them. We gave communion and gift bags of shirts, skirts, undergarments, socks and hair bands. You would have thought we had just given them a million dollars. We even had people refuse to accept our love and gifts due to feeling unworthy until we assured them it was our blessing and honor to be there with them. There was not an ounce of feeling that the women in the church were there for the items we could bring, though they were the most appreciative; they were simply honored that we would come share our time with them and travel so far to see them. Liane did a wonderful job speaking to the ladies, making them laugh and creating the common bonds of every woman.

After Kore, we went to another nice dinner with couples from the U.S. who are here visiting their soon-to-be adoptive children. We are now back at the Catholic Guest House visiting with each other, getting much-enjoyed and needed showers, relaxing and heading to sleep soon.  We are heading back to Kore tomorrow to lead a vacation bible school for the children who are beautiful, smart, adorable and fun.

I want to take this moment to say a special thank you to the most loving and wonderful friends and family in my own life who continuously pray for me and that have so generously gone above and beyond helping me in my preparations to be here.  I love you so, so much.


Monday, July 25, 2011

A Woman's Touch Mission Team

UP, UP AND AWAY! An excited group of women will be meeting in Washington D.C. on Wednesday, July 27th to fly together to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. They have been planning and packing for this trip for months and finally they are off on an adventure of a lifetime. Four of the women are from the Northwest, four of them are from Tennessee and one lives in Florida. Liane Wolbert, our Missions Director’s wife, will be their fearless leader.

Adoption Ministry’s mission in Ethiopia is ministry to very poor children and women, and this Woman’s Touch team will be augmenting that purpose by bringing fun and laughter to many venues. Puppets, songs, crafts and VBS-type evangelism will delight the elderly widows in our care as well as the children. Many times the pastors' and evangelists’ wives are in the background, silently caring for the children and running the home and there is no recognition of their hard work and sacrifice. In one remote village where we are just starting to build a worship center, the wives of the evangelists and their children (no men allowed!) are invited to share a meal with the women’s team. God’s words of encouragement will be shared and each will be the recipient of the team’s "Skirts ‘n Shirts" project. The gals have been saving up hundreds of skirts and shirts to give away.

At the Widows and Orphans Home in Adama, A Woman’s Touch has a grand party planned for all the nannies, cleaners, cooks and washers. These women work tirelessly day after day. The women on this team want to celebrate them and let them know through word and deed how meaningful their service is to the orphans and widows and that they are appreciated. Liane and her crew will make sure there is plenty of food and festivities mixed together with lots of love, laughter and hugs and will bless each worker with a skirt and shirt, also.

People are the focus of this team. Women who serve in the background with little to no recognition will be brought forward and honored and appreciated. Children and widows need to know that they are valued and that God loves them to pieces. Life is hard in Ethiopia, and the enthusiasm and fun these women will bring will lift spirits and rejuvenate hearts. As they pass out food or do a craft, as they hug and pray for a woman, as they laugh with the staff and hold and kiss babies... through their actions, the women and children associated with our ministry in Ethiopia will feel blessed by God Himself.

Please join us in lifting this team up in prayer as they travel and minister to women and children in Jesus' name!

Use your hands for good hard work, and then give generously to others in need. 
Ephesians 4:28 NLT

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Street Kids of Addis Ababa

by Joy Casey
The YWAM base in Addis Ababa cares for children who, through the vagaries of life, have found themselves parentless trying to survive on the streets of the teeming capital city of Ethiopia. Over the past seven years, many children have been rescued from dangerous and abusive situations and given a place where they receive unconditional love and are introduced to the Savior who heals all wounds. The boys live in Joshua’s House and the girls live in Ruth’s House.

Jerusalem has been living at Ruth’s House in Addis Ababa since she was fourteen. She is now a lovely young woman, twenty years old, who has graduated from school and is in training for hotel management. The mom and dad of Ruth’s House will care for her until she finishes school and can find a good job, and then they will help her get settled in a safe place to begin her career.

Raised in a M*sl*m home in the Harar area of Ethiopia, Jerusalem miraculously came to know Jesus as her Savior when she was 11-years-old. When her relatives and village heard of this blasphemy, she withstood several years of intense pressure to deny Jesus and turn back to her old faith. Upon becoming a woman at thirteen, she was given an ultimatum: turn back or leave. She could not deny Jesus, so she had no choice but to leave her family and village.

It was months of walking, begging for food and surviving the threat of snakes and hyenas before this young teen found herself, frightened and alone, among the 3.5 million people in Addis Ababa. Every day she prayed, “Please, Lord, cover me with your wings! Be at my side and protect me!” It wasn’t long before the YWAM street ministry team found her and took her in to live at Ruth’s House.

Small Acts of Kindness

Jerusalem is very involved in her church, leading the youth and worshiping with the choir. She radiates her love of Jesus and old and young are attracted to her.  Ruth’s House is in a very impoverished part of Addis Ababa and Jerusalem began to notice a very poor, blind, lady living close by who obviously needed help. Jerusalem started going to her house, washing her dishes, making her tea and cleaning her tiny, dirt-floor room. If she had extra money, she would buy her coffee or vegetables and took it upon herself to check on her daily. The two have become very close with Jerusalem referring to her as “my mother”.

Jerusalem with her pastor

About a month ago, her pastor asked her to share during church about her service to this poor woman and she was amazed when her story ignited many of her peers and other people in her church to want to reach out to the less fortunate. Other young people are now wanting “their own widow” to take care of and Jerusalem is more than happy to introduce them to the many needy people she knows. She has had church people press a few birr into her palm “for your widow,” and Jerusalem faithfully uses every penny to pick up a little something for her. If she has nothing, she will pick a flower beside the road and place it in her hand for her to smell and in this small way express her love. Her “mama” does not rebuke Jerusalem when she shares about Jesus, but simply states that she knows she was sent to her by God.

This gentle, beautiful Ethiopian woman is an example to me and many others. She reminds me that I don’t have to do big things, only small things with great love. Every act of kindness is seen by our Heavenly Father and brings unbelievable joy to His heart.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Consider This

@We Are THAT Family
Be sure to read all of Kristen's posts about her family's
trip to Kenya where they started a maternity home.
(Kristen's sister Kara is our ministry partner at

@US State Dept

"Summer means that my kids and I are together much more, and this serves to remind me that I simply cannot do this on my own. I need help; some days I need a lot of it. So what to do?"
A good pre-adoption check on goals and motivation for adopting.
Also a good mid-stream check as well!

Addressing 'neediness' in adopted children

@World Magazine
July 30 cover story on Ethiopian adoption
(CHI and several other agencies just aren't seeing the slow-downs mentioned in this article.)

Monday, July 11, 2011

Family Picnic

What a wonderful day we had yesterday at Bradley Lake Park in Puyallup!  Great food, fun games, awesome families - all who have or are adopting through Adoption Ministry either domestically or from Ethiopia. 

Many thanks to Shelly Luthi for organizing the picnic and rounding up so many great volunteers!

All afternoon, I looked at the evidence of God's wonderful miracle of adoption and said to Him many times... "You are amazing!" 

Yes, the Lord has done amazing things for us!  What joy!
Psalm 126:3

And our commission?

  Publish His glorious deeds among the nations. 
Tell everyone about the amazing things He does.
Psalm 96:3

I Love My Hair

I had to add this...

Thursday, July 7, 2011


by Becky Burns
My husband takes pictures. He doesn't get paid to take pictures but somehow God is using his photography and videography skills in a whole bunch of different and awesome ways.

The first time I met Jeff, his face was behind a camera. He had just turned 17, he had long hair, converse high-tops, thrift store pants and a fedora (think Indiana Jones before he existed). Back then, he developed his photos at home in his mom's guest bathroom (imagine what it looked like in there) - black and white only. When I went away to college, he would send me 'postcards' which were letters written on the back of one of his black and whites with a stamp up in the corner.

Fast forward 38 years. (What? Wait a minute. We're not even that old!)

The other day he had the opportunity to sit behind a video camera and help to film the founder of a really big and successful sporting goods company tell about how that company got started. This man has it made in the world's eyes. Jeff said it felt pretty amazing to even be in the same room listening to him talk about the beginnings of an empire.

Now go back about four weeks. Jeff was behind the camera again - this time in a little town in Ethiopia just east of the Sudanese border - Dembidollo.

This time he was taking pictures of destitute families for our newest ministry called Adoption Ministry 1:27 (James 1:27 Care for orphans and widows in their distress.).  Not one of these families included both a mom and a dad. All had children on the verge of being orphaned or who were at risk.

Their faces spoke volumes.

We hope to match each of these 60 families with a family here in the United States who will sponsor them.

And the great contrast hit me. In the world's economy pyramid, Jeff has photographed those at the very top and those at the absolute bottom. A bazillionaire and those with n-o-t-h-i-n-g.

In God's eyes, they are exactly the same. But He does give us pretty specific instructions on how we're to treat and prioritize people.

Whoever is the least among you is the greatest. Luke 9:48

I tell you the truth - when you did it to one of the least of these you did it to Me. Matt. 25:40

The 'least' are those who have nothing to offer me; nothing to make me feel important or honored. Jesus prioritizes these as the greatest.

And the real proof of my faith in Christ? Serving them. Meeting their needs.

So although it was a thrill to be a part of filming a very wealthy businessman telling how he'd risen to the top (Jeff said he seemed like a nice guy too), the real honor is to try to help the blind mother who is somehow raising her child. Or the desitute widow with four hungry children.

If you would like more information on how you can become an Adoption Ministry 1:27 partner, please go to our website here:  Adoption Ministry 1:27

Perhaps you or your small group could provide monthly support for a family in Ethiopia who is willing to become a foster family for orphaned children - it's only $40 per month to help the church in Ethiopia recruit, train and sustain parents within the local church to do this important job.

Or maybe you could commit to $40 per month to help meet the monthly budget to operate one of our four orphanges in Ethiopia.  A contribution of any amount would be so gratefully received!

Please email   j_wollen(at)hotmail(dot)com  for more information or to sponsor a family.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

What Are You Reading?

Summer is such a great time to steal a few minutes (hours?) with a good book.  We're in wedding mode around my house so it is busy!  Whether it's staying up later at night to read in bed or sitting outside in the shade, a book is a very favorite way for me to spend my 'free' time.  

When you're the parent of little ones especially, time to read is precious and rare, it seems. But the library is such a good place for kids and parents in the summer.  I have great memories of taking my girls to the library every week in the summer to be a part of their summer reading program - with the accompanying high-quality and valuable prizes!

I love a good book recommendation, don't you?  So let's help each other out by leaving a comment and sharing something you've read that's either impacted your faith, inspired you, instructed your parenting or opened your eyes to adoption issues. 

I'll start...

A really honest, transparent and full-of-hope autobiography that
upholds adoption, honors Christ and exhibits a family
living out their faith through pain and loss. 

How God shook up one couple's faith and changed the direction
of their ministry - to serve "the lost, the least and the last."

Matthew learns that his parents will always love him
very much - even though he's getting a new adopted sister.
And he also learns that a child need not look like
her family to be a part of the family.

Now it's your turn!  Leave a comment telling about a good book you can recommend - but please limit these to the four categories mentioned above:  faith-building, inspiring, parenting or adoption.  I can't wait to see what you're reading.  And I wish I could give you a glow-in-the-dark bracelet for your efforts!


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