Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Ordained Praise

by Joy Casey
Read more about the bicycles given to these evangelists here and here.

The bicycles given to the evangelists working in a remote village in central Africa recently got facelifts!  A church team from the Anthem Church in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho has a particular heart for the work in this village.   When they were there in October, they brought all kinds of things to repair the bicycles. 
The bikes take a beating on the hard terrain and it would be interesting to clock their mileage, but they are in constant use as the only means of transportation for these men. Most of the tires were shot, so those were replaced with an upgrade so they can more easily withstand the sharp rocks and thorns that are everywhere. Many needed new pedals, and so those were replaced as well as some of the seats.
Now they are good as new, and the evangelists are pleased as punch and so grateful.  A new evangelist added to the team has been walking 6.2 miles (one way!) from another area to help disciple the new believers in this village, so one of the Anthem team members bought him a new bicycle.  THANK YOU ANTHEM CHURCH!
A few members of the Anthem team visited the families of some of the children enrolled in the kindergarten we have started.  It was such a treat to be invited into their homes to meet their family and to understand a little better the living conditions of these children.  The children were so proud to “show off” their friends from America.  It is a delight to see the development of these little ones.  The school has been in operation for only one year, but the children have come a long, long way.  When we started last year, the children were listless with dull hair and eyes.  They rarely smiled and exhibited fear around adults.  After receiving milk twice a day along with their breakfast and lunch, with tutelage from a gentle teacher, they have blossomed into happy, rambunctious children who love to play on the play equipment.  They have come to know that the “ferengi” who visit enjoy playing with them and they are eager to receive big hugs.  We hope to have an update to our sponsors very soon!
In the future, we would like to have a team of teachers come and instruct children and women converts in some of the fundamentals of Christianity. The village is a patriarchal society and many times the women and children are not considered important enough to be taught. Until just recently, evangelism was the thrust in this village, but now we need to also focus on discipleship.

They have seen the Jesus film in their own language and correlate the Americans with Jesus. Through the many mission teams that came to their village this year they are beginning to internalize the love that Jesus has for them. Most of the children come from backgrounds that are not Christian, and Christ is going to ordain praise in that village from the voices of their children.

From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise because of your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger.   Psalm 8:2


Monday, November 28, 2011

Preventing a child from becoming an orphan – Part 4

by Jeff Butler
Adoption Ministry 1:27 Program Director

Jeff recently returned from Ethiopia where he visited many of the families in our Adoption Ministry 1:27 sponsor program, both in Korah and in Dembidollo. In part 4 of this series, Jeff tells about a joyful meeting with a widow whose life has been saved and whose child has a mother because of a family in the U.S. who have chosen to sponsor her. 

DSC_8031Photo taken in earlier this year

This dear woman is a widow named Waganesh.  She is crippled and has tuberculosis, to name a few of her challenges.  She also has the task of raising her little 4 year old boy, Shambelu.  She has no way to earn a living at this time except for begging.  They live in a dirt floor hovel along with many others along a dark back alley next to the City Dump.

When we visited this woman back in March of this year, she was near death.  Tuberculosis was taking her life.  Another widow in the area took care of her son because she was unable to.  The caseworker told me that although the government was providing the needed medicine, it was too strong and she couldn’t keep it down.  She couldn’t keep it down because she had no food!

A few months ago, an American family began providing monthly support through YWAM’s Adoption Ministry 1:27 “Adopt a Family” Program.  The case manager told me that the generosity of the American family giving through this program has literally saved this woman’s life!  Because of the support, our case manager was able to purchase food for both Waganesh and her son, taking her food morning and night and giving her the medicine.  She was finally able to keep down the medicine and is now getting much better and stronger!  She’s also now able to be with her son which makes her very happy.


I asked our case manager if this was like Lazarus, one who comes back from the dead!  He smiled and emphatically agreed!  I saw the transformation of this woman as a result of good food, medicine, personal care and the kindness of a family on the other side of the planet!


Can we really make a difference in this world?  I think we can see the answer on this dear woman’s face!
If you would like to sponsor a family or get more information about Adoption Ministry 1:27, please go to our website here or contact us at:

If you would like Jeff Butler to come to your church and share about ways your church can become involved in widow and orphan care, please let us know!  He travels to many churches with a passionate message of how to answer God's command to care for orphans and widows in their distress. 

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Preventing a child from becoming an orphan – Part 3

by Jeff Butler
Adoption Ministry 1:27 Program Director

Jeff recently returned from Ethiopia where he visited many of the families in our Adoption Ministry 1:27 sponsor program, both in Korah and in Dembidollo. In part three of this series, Jeff introduces us to a woman in Ethiopia who is preparing to lose her husband to HIV and faces the prospect of raising her children alone.

I was deeply impacted as a result of spending time with the Basada family.  I was saddened to learn that the entire family is HIV positive.  This family is so grateful to God for the help they have received through the Adoption Ministry 1:27 “Adopt a Family” Program.  They are doing better as a result of the food and needed supplies they are now receiving.
Sadly, the father of the family is just days away from dying. He has full blown AIDS.  After we spent time with the wife and children, the other Ethiopian pastors and I walked into the little hut to go see the father.  There he lay, back in the dark corner of the room, motionless and lifeless.  The family followed in close behind us.

The room fell silent.  What do you say to a man who speaks a different language, has a different culture and is within days of death?  What a journey it had been for me to leave comfortable American suburbia, travel half way around the world to one of the poorest places on the planet, and then enter the room of a man who is about to leave this world.

More silence….. I ask the other pastors, “Does this man know Jesus?”  They affirmed that he did.  I asked God to give me the words to say and the strength to hold back the tears for a few minutes longer…  With a lump in my throat I said, ”Dear brother, I believe you will be leaving this world soon.  I don’t want you to worry at all about your family any more.  The church is here and we are committed to caring for them when you leave.  I will see you again in heaven one day.”  I barely made it through with those words.

The next thing pushed me over the edge, as the dying man began to slowly, ever so slowly, raise his hand, higher and higher.  With all the strength he could muster, he raised his hand in praise to Jesus and held it there!  It was one of the most powerful expressions of worship I have ever witnessed!  I will never be the same.

The reason I and the other pastors could assure this man that his family would be taken care of is because they had been adopted by a family in America through the Adoption Ministry 1:27 “Adopt a Family” Program.  An American family provides monthly support to this poor Ethiopian family, so they can survive and stay together.  We can’t save this man’s life, but we can save the family, by keeping them together and providing them the essentials they need to live.

You can read the previous posts in this series here.

For $40 per month, you can help change the quality of life of a very poor family and also prevent a child from becoming orphaned. We match families in the United States with a family in Ethiopia who has been identified by church leaders there as ‘at-risk’ of collapse or those willing to take in an orphaned child. For more information, visit our website here or contact us at:


Thursday, November 24, 2011

Preventing a child from becoming an orphan – Part 2

by Jeff Butler
Adoption Ministry 1:27 Program Director

Jeff recently returned from Ethiopia where he visited many of the families in our Adoption Ministry 1:27 sponsor program, both in Korah and in Dembidollo.  In part two of this series, Jeff shares about the hope brought to a single mother through sponsorship.


This young mother is named Shibre Setarge.  She is pictured with her little baby girl, Hymanot.  Shibre struggles to survive by begging in Korah, the community at the garbage dump in Addis Ababa. .

When I last saw her in April 2011, she was in intense pain as a result of an abscessed tooth.  She was in so much pain she wasn’t able to effectively nurse her baby.  Some from our YWAM Team took her to a local dentist to be treated.  They also provided a bed for her and her baby to sleep on.  When I saw her again recently, she looked like a different woman!


 This was the first time I had ever seen her smile!  Both Shibre and her little girl seemed much happier and healthy!  One of the members of our Missions Team who took her to the dentist also stepped up and “adopted” this little family through our Adoption Ministry 1:27 Program.  Shibre has been receiving food and necessary supplies to live.  Not only are Shibre and her baby getting good food and support, but she has been able to start a small charcoal selling business!

One of the long range goals of Adoption Ministry 1:27 is to provide the families within the program with income-generating activities so they can get on their feet and sustain themselves!  Shibre is a great example of how lives can be helped and changed by families in America, partnering with the local Ethiopian church, to care for the poor.  Caring for Shibre and her baby keeps this little family together.  Keeping this family together helps to prevent one more child from becoming an orphan.  This is what Jesus has called us to do!
Be sure to read Part 1 in this series here.

Would you like to sponsor an at-risk or guardian family in Ethiopia? For $40 per month, you can help change the quality of life of a very poor family and also prevent a child from becoming orphaned. We match families in the United States with a family in Ethiopia who has been identified by church leaders there as ‘at-risk’ of collapse or those willing to take in an orphaned child.  You can read more about our program hereContact us at:


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Preventing a child from becoming an orphan – Part 1

by Jeff Butler
Adoption Ministry 1:27 Program Director

Jeff recently returned from Ethiopia where he visited many of the families in our Adoption Ministry 1:27 sponsor program, both in Korah and in Dembidollo. This is the first in a series of posts where Jeff shares how much of a difference your monthly financial support makes in the lives of the very poor in Ethiopia. Jeff and his wife Chris are adopting their third child from Ethiopia.

This dear woman is the widow Tedesu. Here she is pictured with her two of her three children. Her husband died in a car accident some time ago. Since then she has struggled to feed her three children. She works as a common laborer in Dembidollo whenever she can find work.


This family literally has nothing except the clothes on their backs. When we arrived to visit her, she welled up with tears and began to share how she and her children have been strengthened by the food and support they have received. She cried as she thanked God for His care for her.

It was such a blessing to see the pastors from her church ministering to her and praying with her. It was amazing to me to see the connection of care that started with a family in America adopting this family through our Adoption Ministry 1:27 “Adopt a Family” Program. Then how that monthly support was given to the local church, who in turn purchased the food and supplies and gave them to this family.


How amazing that God can support this little family by calling another family on the other side of the planet to care and to give! They are going to have what they need to survive and be sustained in the midst of difficult circumstances. God has shown Himself strong through His personal attention and care for this family! He cares for each family though His Body on earth, His church.

At this time, we have 140 families in Ethiopia in our program and 60 families still need to be 'adopted.' Would you like to sponsor an at-risk or guardian family in Ethiopia? For $40 per month, you can help change the quality of life of a very poor family and also prevent a child from becoming orphaned. We match families in the United States with a family in Ethiopia who has been identified by church leaders there as ‘at-risk’ of collapse or those willing to take in an orphaned child. Read more about our program here or contact us at:

Be sure to read Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4 of this series!


Monday, November 21, 2011


One of our adopting families, Moody and Emily Alexander, take dental teams to Ethiopia to serve widows and orphans and families in desperate need of dental care.  On this latest trip in October 2011, most of their dental supplies and donations were confiscated at the airport.  But God provided in miraculous ways so that they could still serve the poor in Addis at Koreh (the community at the city garbage dump) and in Adama.

The work they do is born out of hearts of compassion and obedience.  It's sacrificial and, as you will see in these videos, extremely rewarding.  Thanks to all of the team members with this ministry for sharing your stories with us!


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Must Reads

Have I already told you how amazing our YWAM families are?  Well, I’m here to tell you again – we couldn’t be more impressed with their maturity, wisdom and honesty.  These folks ‘get it’ when it comes to all the issues surrounding adoption.  That’s not to say they aren’t learning as they go – just like we all do. 

I have appreciated that many are able to share some of these lessons in parenting adopted children on their blogs.  Just recently I’ve read two posts in particular that I don’t want you to miss. 

kristen   _DSC0719 

Kristen Halvorson and her husband Glen have adopted four children, three of those from Ethiopia through YWAM.  They are in the process of adopting another son from Ethiopia.  Kristen writes very candidly and there is a tremendous amount of grace and wisdom to be gleaned from her experience.  In a recent post titled “Paper Pregnant at 48” she writes about expectations, being in control and how pain can be an effective teacher.  Don’t let the title throw you off – this article is for YOU!

haley   zeke

Haley Ballast and her husband Jon brought their son Zeke home in 2010.  I often refer families to Haley’s blog because she is a gifted writer who has taken the time to share so many of the things she is learning – in a way that is both relatable and helpful.  Her post “Feelings and Grace” is about many of the emotions common to adoptive parents after coming home.  This is something we don’t often talk about but it must be said – these feelings are common, normal and very real.  You’re not a bad parent for feeling them.  Sometimes you can deal with them on your own, with your spouse, with other adoptive parents.  Sometimes you’ll need professional help.  And that is okay.

Please grab a cup of coffee and spend some time reading these two posts and then read all of Kristen and Haley’s posts.  You will be helped and encouraged, I promise!  Many thanks to these two moms and to all of our families who share real life and God’s amazing grace in adoption.

Kristen's blog:  The Halvorson Family
Haley's blog:  We're All Yours


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

What a great weekend!

We just returned from our fourth International Adoption Training weekend in Puyallup, Washington.  Five couples - from Arizona, California, Oregon and Washington – joined us for a day and a half of intense teaching and discussion.  At the conclusion of our training, we had a panel of YWAM adoptive families and their children who shared some of their experience and perspective.  We ended in a time of prayer – families who have brought their children home prayed for those who are at the beginning of the process. 


Time for fellowship was squeezed in between a very full schedule of input.  We did enjoy dinner out together on Friday evening at a local Mexican restaurant.


Anne Kalkbrenner presented the medical portion of our training and she brought her sweet daughter with her to ‘help’ (and to keep us thoroughly entertained).  Blin asked each person if they were going to “Opiopia” and handed out tiny bottles of hand sanitizer saying “You need this!”

tr 1

A highlight for everyone was seeing five children from Ethiopia happily planted into their forever families.


Our prayer is that God will equip these families with all they need for doing His will in raising their families, through the power of Jesus Christ.  Heb 13:21


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

This weekend - International Adoption Training

Liane Wolbert, Joy Casey and I are looking forward to being with five couples this weekend in Puyallup, WA. to learn about...

Identifying and setting expectations in adoption

Parenting children of a different race and ethnic background

Establishing a network of help and support

Developmental issues

Dealing with grief and loss in adopted children

Making decisions about education and addressing language acquisition

Strategies to enhance attachment and the behaviors related to trauma

Family dynamics and how family frameworks change in adoption

Abuse and sexual issues

Parenting strategies targeting specific behaviors with the goal
of healing and attachment

Medical issues common to many children adopted from Ethiopia

Preparing to come home and cocooning

The (long) adoption process

Travel to Ethiopia

We'll be joined by
  • Sally Carmen, OTR/L who is an adoptive mom and the director of The Center for Therapeutic Intervention where she works with adoptive families and children with sensory issues. 
  • Anne Kalkbrenner, RN/MN, YWAM adoptive mom and pediatric nurse at the University of Washington.   
These training weekends are scheduled approximately three times a year, depending on the number of families in Washington, Oregon and Idaho who are ready to participate. We also have families joining us from across the country.

Be sure to let us know if you'd like to be contacted about our next training: support(at)ywamethiopia(dot)com

Monday, November 7, 2011

Part of His Masterpiece!

We’ve been so blessed by the great folks who travel to Ethiopia on our many mission teams.  They give.  They serve.  They work.  They pray.  Stephanie Dulin is one of these dear servants who recently returned from a trip with Anthem Church.  She painted several murals on the walls of our Widows & Orphans Home in Adama.  You’ll see how cheery and colorful they are, while also writing God’s word “on the doorposts!”   Stephanie shares a little about her experience here.  Thank you Stephanie and Chase!

I went to Ethiopia in October 2011 with Mark Wolbert and a team of 12 other people. My main 'mission' on the trip was to paint a mural at the Widows and Orphans Home in Adama, however, when I met the team and started working with them, I realized that God had a lot more in mind.


Originally I was set to paint for 8 days, but another artist on the team helped me and we finished in just 2 days. Because we got done so fast I was able to spend the rest of the time with the team and experience things that I had not planned.



It was definitely a 'happy snap' for me to be used by God to paint the mural and to be a part of His masterpiece. I painted Noah's Ark and a poem on the walls to share the Bible story with the children. It was so much fun to be able to bless the children with something bright and happy for them to see everyday.




It was also an incredible experience to pray over frail babies, provide shoes to shoeless children, and to show love to people with leprosy. I will carry these memories with me for the rest of my life.
Stephanie Dulin
I hope to get more photos from the Anthem team to share on the blog! (hint hint)


Saturday, November 5, 2011

Seeing the way God sees

We'll be praying for all those of you who are involved in Orphan Sunday at your churches. 

Every time you offer the opportunity for others to be involved in caring for widows and orphans in their distress, you too are bringing hope in Jesus' name. 

Be sure to ask us about Adoption Ministry 1:27 - our outreach to prevent children from becoming orphans and to meet the needs of those who are orphaned.  There are opportunities to sponsor families who are taking in orphaned and abandoned children.  There are ways you can give toward the growing monthly budget for our four orphanages in Ethiopia so that children and widowed women have HOPE.

We can all help one.


Thursday, November 3, 2011


John and Kelly Rosati have a wonderful story to share – a story of hope and conviction about children who are without parents.  It’s called “Wait No More – One Family’s Amazing Adoption Journey.”  You’ll be inspired by the story of how God brought their family together and challenged by their honest look at the desperate need of children still waiting for families. Here is an interview with the Rosatis…

In recognition of National Adoption Awareness Month, we’re sharing a recent broadcast on Focus on the Family where John and Kelly Rosati share their passion for helping orphans and describe how they adopted their four children from the foster care system.  The two broadcasts are linked below. 

Bringing New Hope to Kids  Part 1

Bringing New Hope to Kids  Part 2


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

November - National Adoption Awareness Month

Did you know this is National Adoption Awareness month?  Here's a little history...

The first major effort to promote awareness of the need for adoptive families for children in the foster care system occurred in Massachusetts. In 1976, then-Governor Mike Dukakis proclaimed Adoption Week and the idea grew in popularity and spread throughout the nation. President Gerald Ford made the first National Adoption Week proclamation, and in 1990, the week was expanded to a month due to the number of states participating and the number of events.

During the month, states, communities, public and private organizations, businesses, families, and individuals celebrate adoption as a positive way to build families. Across the nation, activities and observances such as recognition dinners, public awareness and recruitment campaigns, and special events spotlight the needs of children who need permanent families. It also includes National Adoption Day, traditionally a Saturday, which is observed in courthouses across the nation as thousands of adoptions are finalized simultaneously.

Here is a link to a calendar with lots of activities for families and individuals interested in celebrating adoption:  Adoption Awareness Calendar 2011

National Adoption Day will be celebrated this year on November 19.  Be sure to check to see about local events in your area. 

National Adoption Awareness Month can be made meaningful and effective in promoting adoption in many ways, including
  • support for adoption ministries and foundations
  • contributing financially to help families who are adopting
  • letters to the editor of your local newspaper about a positive adoption issue
  • blog and Facebook posts that highlight the blessing of adoption
  • honor your child's birthparent in a meaningful way
  • encourage your library to do an adoption display and share adoption-related materials
  • more ideas found here
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