Sunday, August 28, 2011

Bringing Good News

There have been five Adoption Ministry of YWAM mission trips to Ethiopia so far this year.  Mark Wolbert, our Missions Director, along with his wife Liane, have served as leaders, preparing and organizing teams to serve in many different cities, villages and outreaches.  They have shepherd's hearts and have worked really hard to provide these teams with opportunities to minister and to catch God's heart for the poor, the widowed and the orphan.

We tease Mark about having dual citizenship, as he's been in Ethiopia in April, May, June, July and August of this year, with two more trips ahead!  Liane also gets an award for letting him go!  

The team from Puyallup's Lighthouse Church is on their way home now and Mark is heading home in a few days .  I wanted to share part of an email Mark sent me today because it describes the caliber of people who go on these mission trips...

This was such a great group of people. They had a lot of hardships but never expressed a word of discontent or tried to shirk their duties. Some hotels had no water or sheets, some had cockroaches 2-3 inches long. Never a complaint. They took every difficulty in stride. They had happy hearts and were willing to dive into any and every task they were asked to do. Simply good, hard-working soldiers doing great work for the Lord. I am deeply impressed. I sure hope they return again. They were loved by everyone who met them!

Your prayers for these teams are so important and greatly appreciated.  These team members are just like you and I - regular folks with the same fears and insecurities about living and working in a third world culture that you might have.  But they are so blessed to discover first-hand how faithful God is.  There is nothing like taking that step of faith and going where He leads - He opens your eyes to His heart for the poor and needy and you are never the same again.

Consider going. 
Consider supporting our missions program and our director. 
Consider being the hands and feet that bring Good News!

For more information about Missions, please contact us at:

*We hope to share some photos from these latest trips here very soon!

Friday, August 26, 2011

From Abortion to Adoption

by Joy Casey

A missions team from Virginia Beach planned on doing a lot of repair work in the Widows and Orphans Home in Gimbie located about twelve hours west of Addis Ababa.  There was much to do there and the team was ready with hammer, drill and paint to bring the facility up to snuff.  Real estate in Gimbie is at a premium.  Most places don’t have good running water and if you are lucky enough to have electricity to your building, it is one small line, enough to light one light bulb in the ceiling.  In this orphanage, the electrical system would not support a refrigerator or water cooler and we learned the hard way not to plug in a computer.
Unexpectedly, a compound more centrally located in the town and closer to the doctor’s office and hospital became available for rent.  It was spacious and had better electricity and the plumbing worked!  Halleluiah!  Plans for the old facility were put on hold and the team turned their attention to this new place. 

When they walked in, they gasped with shock.  This recently vacated clinic was gruesome.  There was blood spattered on the walls and pooled on the floor.  Buckets were left standing with tissue and blood still in them and death permeated the atmosphere.  As the team wandered in shock from room to room, they knew that something terrible had been going on in these rooms.  Their worst fears were confirmed.  This space recently had been an abortion clinic where hundreds of lives were forcefully taken and carelessly discarded. 

Several of the women started weeping as the reality of the violent deaths settled like a heavy weight on their spirits.  They could no longer remain within those walls and regrouped outside to pray and discuss what they should do.  With the large quantities of blood, no gloves and needles lying around, it was dangerous for them to attempt clean-up.  They left shaking their heads and wondering if renting this facility was a good decision or not.

A month later, after hours of back-breaking cleaning and painting and a new floor installed, the rooms were spic and span and ready for occupancy.  It would be so nice to have plumbing that worked and reliable electricity!  But before we would allow one baby or nanny to step foot in this former clinic, three pastors came and prayed over every inch of this new space and dedicated the former tomb to be a beacon of hope and life for children. 

The next day, twelve little people, many of them saved from abortion themselves, moved into their new home.  Every morning and every evening at shift change, the nannies gather and sing praises to their Lord and pray for the children in their care. 

Our hearts break for the young women who face an unplanned pregnancy in Ethiopia.  The social pressure is immense and comes with severe consequences in most cases.  Their options are limited.  If a single gal has a child and is not married, she most likely will never marry because a man will not consider her or her child worthy.  If a woman should find someone to marry, most times her new husband will not accept her child and she has to make other arrangements for her offspring.  It is no surprise that abortion seems like the only way out to many women.

Living Hope Maternity Home and pregnancy counseling center was opened last year in Adama, Ethiopia.  It is the only one of its kind in Ethiopia and offers security and shelter to pregnant unmarried women.  Here the women are loved and discipled, given healthy food and a safe delivery.  They can come back with their babies and live until they have earned enough to live on their own and support their little one.  Jewelry-making and sewing are taught and the items are sold here in America.  60% of the proceeds go into a savings account for the women and 40% goes toward the support of Living Hope – Ethiopia.  Hats off to the visionaries who have pioneered this good work in Ethiopia!  We cannot just say abortion is wrong; we must provide alternatives for these desperate women and give them and their babies a hope and a future.
The Widows and Orphans Home in Gimbie is a visual of how God can take death and turn it into life.  Living Hope is another example of turning a despairing circumstance for a young woman into a life full of His love, forgiveness and courage to face the future.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

More Great Links

@In These Shoes
We prayed for referral dates, court dates and travel dates, praying against the schemes of the enemy and for God’s will to be done. I was energized. The opposition was obvious...
However, the other side of adoption, the “forever family” side, seems suspiciously akin to post pregnancy– so much focus on planning, preparing and dreaming of the moment; so little understanding of reality.

If you grew up in this culture, it is very hard to get a biblical perspective on motherhood, to think like a free Christian woman about your life, your children. How much have we listened to partial truths and half lies?

The situation was becoming increasingly problematic and was causing a great deal of frustration. It involved outright defiance, but it started with a simple pair of socks...

@Created For Care
The 2012 retreat is scheduled for January 27-29th at the Lake Lanier Legacy Lodge and Conference Center in Georgia. Registration will begin September 1, 2011. Our first retreat filled up in 48 hours so please stay tuned and consider signing up for the newsletter to get registered for 2012!

Be sure to check out the Created for Care Blog too!

Friday, August 19, 2011


1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 …. yep, they are all there.  The Schmiesing kids get a small allowance for doing chores and from an early age have learned to tithe on money they get.  Last year the older children got ahold of an Adoption Ministry gift catalog and decided to pool their tithe money to buy something for the people in Ethiopia. 
Periodically they would take the saved money out of the oatmeal box bank, count it and look over the gift catalog only to decide they needed more savings.  Finally, after more than a year of saving, the day came when they had $100 and knew it was time to make a selection.  Should it be balls?  Kids need to play, for heavens sakes.  But wait... they need shoes, too.  Clare thought that maybe goats would be nice, but the older boys overrode her in favor of the balls. 
One night at dinner they were again discussing what they should buy with their hard-earned money and Abe, the Schmiesing’s 7-year-old son adopted from Ethiopia who up to now had not expressed an opinion, said emphatically, “Water!  They don’t need balls, shoes, clothes or goats; the people in Ethiopia need water!” 
For the first time in the 17 months Abe has been home, he started recalling events from his life in Ethiopia and sharing with his new family the hardships endured and the bleak survival mode of his Ethiopian family.  Everyone stopped eating and allowed Abe to spill out memories of his young years - sleeping on a dirt floor with no pillow, not having plentiful water or enough to eat.  He recalled some fun times, too, with an older brother or uncle whose name he could not remember.  When he finished, he simply said, “They need water.”
The next day, the oldest child, Jacob, called Adoption Ministry’s office and proudly and confidently said he would like to order a bio sand filter from our gift catalog, please. 

Thank you
Jacob, Clare, Max,
Jude, Abe, Maggie and Tim!

Our new 2012 Gift Catalog is coming out very soon!  It's a great way for you to give a gift that keeps on giving!!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Hope for Orphans Institute

Introducing the Hope For Orphans Institute
A crisis is brewing in the adoption movement. As more and more families adopt, the number of adoptive families struggling with a special needs, older child or at risk adoption continues to rise. In fact, at Hope for Orphans, we have been seeing the impact of these struggles – maxed out stress levels, families, marriages, & kids in crisis and adoption disruptions increasing at concerning levels.

In light of this, on September 16 & 17 at the Hope Center in Plano, Texas we will be hosting the first HFO Institute. This two- day conference will tackle these issues head on with eight of the leading experts in the US.
Orphan Ministry leaders will learn about tools, resources, and skills that will help them implement a plan for their church. Professionals will learn skill sets they can use, but more importantly how they can partner with the local church. Licensed Social Workers, Marriage & Family Therapists and Professional Counselors can earn credit for Continuing Education Units (CEU).
Now is the time for the Church to have a vision for serving the families of special needs and at-risk children and addressing the issue of adoption disruptions. We hope this event will be a catalyst for mobilizing the church to respond.  For more information, go to

Monday, August 8, 2011


Thursday... It was a long day. It was a good day, it was an incredible day!

The Woman’s Touch mission team deposited much more than new clothes and food to twelve women in a remote village in Ethiopia. They gathered the wives and children of the twelve evangelists in this village who have dedicated their lives for the past eight years to bring the Good News of Jesus Christ through friendship evangelism and practical helps. Their wives work tirelessly gathering water and wood, tending a small garden, raising children and making sure there is something in the pot for their families to eat. They live as their neighbors do... in mud and straw houses, cook outdoors, their children have few clothes and fewer shoes and food is scarce. The wives were amazed that ladies from America would want to meet them and wondered what they could possibly want with them.

This team of ten women wanted nothing more than to share Jesus’ love with these hard working, seldom recognized women and unfolded several ways in which to show Christ’s love to the women and children gathered. When bowls of water, soap and towels were produced and the American women knelt down and picked up hardened, dust caked feet and began to wash them, the Ethiopian women pulled away saying, “No, no! You must not do that. We are not worthy. We must wash your feet!”

Gently but persistently, the American women indicated that they were following Jesus’ example and it was their privilege to kneel before these courageous women and wash their feet. As they washed, another team member prayed for them with the interpreter telling each woman the blessing being bestowed. Tears erupted from each woman and, many times bent over double sobbing, the women heard and felt God’s love for them and began to understand that God held them in the highest esteem.

It was almost overwhelming for them to take in... but as the sweet aroma of lotion was massaged into the cracked, rough feet and the Holy Spirit began comforting their parched spirits, each woman looked up with renewed hope and beautiful smiles glimmered through the tears and the American women were rewarded with grateful hugs and kisses.

Liane Wolbert, the team leader, arranged for a full meal to be cooked so the American and Ethiopia women and children could share food together. What a feast! Injera, wat, vegetables and fruit were in abundance and all had their fill.

In normal times it would be an incredible experience for these women to have someone serve them food they did not prepare and to have delicacies so plentiful, but two weeks ago their village was hit by a terrible storm and most of the crops were damaged and houses were destroyed. They are facing the potential of famine not only this year but in the future if crops cannot rejuvenate from the torrential rains and tornado velocity winds. So understand their wonder at sitting on the grass for the first time with white people, sharing delicious food, and laughing in the afterglow of an intensely spiritual time. This day filled with blessing and love was something that not one of the women would have ever dreamed possible.

In preparation for their time in Ethiopia, the Women’s Touch team gathered skirts and shirts to give to the ladies they would have the privilege of meeting and touching with Christ’s love. After tummies were full, the team joyfully gave each wife a new skirt and shirt …. a luxury unimaginable to these humble village women.

For months the Women’s Touch team saved money, had fundraisers, gathered skirts, shirts and VBS supplies and planned how to bring hope and laughter into the lives of women and children in Ethiopia. They had little inkling how powerfully the Holy Spirit would use their willing hands and hearts to impact lives.

Are these women super Christians? Are they more spiritual than most? No, the difference between them and those reading this is simply that they said, “Yes, I will go.” God only asks for us to respond to His call. He will do the rest.

Under the 'worship tree'

The Woman's Touch team leaves Ethiopia today with wonderful memories of the many places they got to serve together and with many Ethiopian women in an unforgettable place in their hearts.

Post Script …..

Nine of the twelve evangelists are sponsored by families here in the U.S. This is the only source of income they have, and their lives and the lives of their families are examples of extreme dedication to furthering the Lord’s work in this village. We need three more sponsors at $50 a month so all twelve can have income. 100% of the money goes to the evangelist. Will you say, “Yes, I will do it,” and allow your finances to supply basic necessities for these steadfast disciples?

Friday, August 5, 2011

Linking You Up

@Show Hope
I think James 1:27 scares people... Through this verse, God directs us as believers to care for widows and orphans. I have commented many times that this verse is wonderfully vague as it doesn’t tell us
as Christians exactly what to do.

Our case worker prepared us well for international adoption. The classes we were required to take have been incredibly helpful, reassuring – we’re not the only ones who’ve ever parented a puzzle. He is a puzzle. Emotion, cognition, body, attachment – every piece of this child is at a different stage of development.

@Empowered to Connect
I don’t know about you, but I’m not fond of those moments when my child stomps away in a huff, or crosses her arms as she looks at me. She is mad, and my initial response is to be irritated. As she settles deeper into “mad,” I can feel myself pull away from her.  I get short
with her and find I don’t want to look in her eyes.

Practice Practice Practice
@Empowered to Connect
Watch this video clip as Amy Monroe explains the importance of
practice for both parents and children.
Practice is an essential part of life — that is, if improving competence and confidence is our goal. This is no less true for adoptive and foster parents as they begin (and continue) down the path of parenting in a manner consistent with the principles and strategies of The Connected Child.

Cheap Mission Trips
This travel agency offers Missionary and Humanitarian fares if you are traveling for adoption or working with a non-profit or church organization. Check them out!

Monday, August 1, 2011

A Woman's Touch - Days 3 and 4

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 pictures were taken earlier this year.

written by Shelly, Elise, Mallory and Jillian

Saturday (day 3) began with hosting Vacation Bible School at the church in Kore for approximately 350 children. We taught a lesson on the fishes and the loaves in John chapter 6, made bracelets with the children, sang songs, played with bubbles and had snacks.

 Afterwards we gathered with the pastor who was beyond grateful for our help and learned more about the church’s organization, ministry, needs and direction. The church leaders joined us for lunch which was a great time of fellowship and a whole lot of fun!!! They loved to share their own life stories and testimonies, were inquisitive about America’s history, culture and religions. They were genuine, attentive, thoughtful, kind and humble. God used the last two days in Kore to forever touch and change our hearts through this community.

Kore church leaders

The rest of the evening consisted of some local shopping, a hilarious episode at a local bakery, dinner at the Catholic Guest House and a team gathering. The best part of the night was Shelly rehearsing the Noah’s Ark puppet show for Sunday morning. We are not sure if it was really that funny or if we were delirious but it was half an hour of laughing until tears. We only wish we had it on video to share with you.

Sunday (Day 4) was another wonderful time in Ethiopia. We drove to a local village where we were blessed with a traditional Ethiopian church service.  By traditional we mean… 5 hours and still going when we had to leave for our next stop. Can you imagine???  It was amazing to witness these people walking from afar to worship God together all day long with joyous hearts.  They were excited to have us worship with them. They had bottled water, seats next to the preacher near the podium and allowed us to share the puppet show with the congregation (which was a big hit).  We had lunch and coffee with the pastor and his wife before we left.  The people of Ethiopia have shown us such incredible hospitality and kindness.

After church we returned for one stop in Addis and traveled to the village of T’ede on our way to Adama where we will be serving for the next five days.  Our time in T’ede was to give a baby shower for the wife of Pastor Zarahun to celebrate the birth of their daughter.  Pastor Zarahun met us on the main road to lead us into his village.  We walked through the village to the gate of his home and church.  Compared to the previous days of being in the busy city, T’ede was serene, the air was clean and the land was beautiful.  Pastor Zarahun is a man of great joy… joy for God, joy for his family, joy for his village and joy for our visit.

Pastor Zerahun
His wife had prepared injera with wat (vegetable stew), a cabbage dish, popcorn, toasted barley, coffee and homemade bread that required a days cooking and had to be at least three feet in diameter.  We came to honor and serve and instead we were the ones who were honored and served.  Pastor Zarahun and his family generously gave us so much when we they have so little.  What a true testament to God’s spirit in His people.

The baby shower was fun.  We played a silly game that the ladies really enjoyed.  Laughter is universal.  We brought gifts for the family and had a wonderful time. We look forward to returning to their church at the end of the week to serve the widows and children of the village.

Pastor Zerahun's wife and children
(she is Tezera and Abonesh's sister!)

From T’ede it was on to Adama where we are excited about the new hotel.  We feel spoiled with now having shower doors, toilet seats and a few more feet to roam around in!

Our team has really come together during this journey.  We came as nine individual women and we are now sisters.  God has shown His love, mercy, protection and provision time and time again throughout this trip.  We experience Him personally, as a team and through the people we are meeting every day. We are so excited to continue to share this journey and God’s work with you in the coming days.

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