Monday, April 30, 2012

The reality of abortion in Ethiopia

We are sharing an update from Living Hope Maternity Home in Adama, Ethiopia.  Enjoy!

by Dinah Monahan
We are aborting Ethiopia’s children!  I say “we” because it is U.S. money that is training, equipping and paying for the operating costs of clinics – both in the cities and in the outlying villages.  There is NO regard for the women.  In the clinics they are giving the pregnant women RU486 without accurately establishing to how far along they are.  The women are NOT told anything of the health risks, which include many complications, possible death or sterilization.  If the baby is obviously too large, the girls are receiving surgical abortions in clinics and government hospitals. The abortions are done through the third trimester.
While there are many healthcare professionals who oppose abortion, there is no organized opposition….until now!  Living Hope received a shared grant from the Storms Family Foundation and another family trust to start a Crisis Pregnancy Center in Adama.  It is the first and only CPC in Ethiopia!  Our CPC will be staffed by our Maternity Home nurse, Mulu and our purchaser, Abu.  We will be returning in November and hope to carry in a portable ultrasound machine with us. 
Meseret is not only running the maternity home, she is laying the foundation for organized opposition to abortion in Ethiopia.  People there are being lied to and abortion is being pushed on this culture with a passion.  Not only do babies die, but the fabric of this child-loving culture will be torn irreparably .  In this country, women are victims to many terrible circumstances.  Yet abortion is particularly cruel because it is being offered as a simple, painless solution to their problems.  No assistance or real help is offered.  No genuine caring for the woman as a person.  The women are herded in and given the abortion pill, or given a surgical abortion with no information or understanding of what is being done.  
The church is silent because there is so little accurate knowledge of abortion.  God has opened doors for Meseret to speak to pastors, health professionals, and women’s groups.  There are now groups of people meeting regularly with the purpose of educating others about abortion.  This is how it starts.  What a privilege to be at the very beginning of the Pro-Life movement in a country!
Meseret was recently asked to speak to a group of pastors and women’s groups where she shared about the sanctity of human life.  She explained the stages of development of a baby in its mother’s womb because most people in Ethiopia believe that before 3 months gestation “the baby is just blood.”  She told how the heart begins beating after the 21st day and the facts about abortion.  Two pastors invited Meseret to speak at a training center for pastors and leaders in that community.

Two of the newest residents at Living Hope…
Fanose is a grade 5 student and is 17 years old.  She was a house maid when she became pregnant.  She was told about Living Hope by the wife of the guard.

Zelalem is also 17 years old.  Her parents died of HIV and she was living with her aunt along with her two younger sisters.  She left her home to work at a hotel in the northern part of Ethiopia.  The hotel owner was using the girls who worked there as prostitutes and collecting the money for himself.  When Zelalem became pregnant, she asked the owner’s permission to get an abortion but he didn’t want to be held responsible if anything happened.   She returned to Adama where she heard about Living Hope.

Be sure to visit Living Hope’s website to read more about the important work they are doing in Ethiopia:


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Truth That Troubles Me

by Jeff Butler
Program Director, Adoption Ministry 1:27

The Truth:
We as Christians believe in and worship an all-powerful, perfect, loving and gracious God.
We as Christians today are part of the richest church in the history of Christianity.
We Christians live in a world that is experiencing the greatest global human suffering.
How can these truths co-exist? How can there be an all-powerful loving God, limitless in strength, knowledge, resources and compassion, yet 1,000 children die every hour from starvation and preventable diseases? 
There’s no lack of power or compassion within God’s heart!  The truth that troubles me is what I discovered within my own heart - this is where I found the biggest problem!  You, I, and the rest of the church are Christ’s hands, feet, arms, eyes and ears on planet earth. We have been given His Holy Spirit therefore we have everything we need to make a global impact.
I was serving as a pastor of a community church a few years ago. I was invited to go to Ethiopia along with a YWAM missions team to visit and serve at their Widows and Orphans Homes.  I had no idea why I was going, but I really believed God wanted me to go. The suffering and loss of the poor - people just like me - shattered my heart. Global poverty and suffering became more real and personal. I came back burdened but unclear about what I was to do about it.
Since then I have been back to Ethiopia five times. My wife and I have adopted three children from YWAM’s orphanages. I helped lead a church mission team to serve with churches in Ethiopia.  I was reading books such as The Hole in Our Gospel by Richard Stearns, and Radical by David Platt. God was schooling me. Each trip I took to Ethiopia, I would see more of the bigger picture - what causes poverty, widows and orphans.  
Orphan Care: I saw the work being done to care for widows and orphans. Most of us realize this is our biblical mandate found in James 1:27:  “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this:  to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”  YWAM has four Widows and Orphans Homes in Ethiopia where widows and children are lovingly cared for, both in the homes and in the surrounding communities.
Nystrand fam
Orphan Reduction: Next I saw the need to reduce the number of orphans in the world through the God-originated idea of adoption. My wife and I had already adopted four children domestically before my trip to Ethiopia so I totally got this one! Orphan reduction though adoption. The minute an orphan is adopted, they become a son or a daughter!
I felt there was something more that needed to be done. I believe God gave me a picture of the crisis to help me understand at a deeper level. I pictured a poor struggling family, like many single-parent families I had encountered in Ethiopia, standing on the bank of a raging river when a crisis occurs. The mother, trying to hold the family together, loses her grip and the children slide off into the raging river. The mother desperately tries to save them but can’t. Downstream, on the bank, are some people that reach out and try to grab hold of some of these children before they go over the impending waterfall and are lost.

This is a true story that is occurring everyday in our world!  When these families, mostly held together by a single parent, fall apart though death, disease or starvation, the children fall into the most perilous of circumstances. They live on the streets where they fend for themselves without protection from abuse and exploitation. Many simply don’t make it.

Some are rescued by those downstream. They may end up being cared for in orphanages and a few are adopted. Should we simply wait and if it’s not too risky, or too costly, or too uncomfortable, to maybe reach out to a few to try and pull them out?  But what about those who don’t get a family? What about those who don’t get a meal or a shelter?
God was already moving to answer the question that lay heavy upon my heart and it seemed that He had laid this burden on a few others of the YWAM Leadership Team. God was also moving to connect the YWAM team with local Ethiopian churches to birth a new work… 
Orphan Prevention: We as the Body of Christ need to come alongside vulnerable families and help to sustain them so that their children don’t become orphans. This can’t be a government solution, or a parachurch solution; it needs to be a local church solution: Orphan Prevention through the local church!
In September of 2011 Adoption Ministry of YWAM Ethiopia launched a new work known as Adoption Ministry 1:27 to partner with the Ethiopian Church to care for widows and orphans. We have developed partnerships with several indigenous Ethiopian churches to care for vulnerable families in some of the poorest regions of Ethiopia where we launched the “Adopt a Family” Program.  Local church pastors identify the poorest, most vulnerable families in their communities – either single-parent families on the verge of collapse or guardian families who are willing to take in orphaned children but need financial help to do so.  We seek those who will “adopt” one of these families for $40 per month. 100% of the money goes in-country to Ethiopia to run the program and care for each family with food, medical care and help with income-generating activities. 
I have visited many of these families who have been adopted through Adoption Ministry 1:27 and have seen radical transformation, revitalized health and renewed hope. 
Waganesh prog
The truth that troubled me is being used to transform me.  You and I, the Church, are God’s answer!  Let’s start being the Church.  We need to get off our comfortable spot on the bank of the river, swim upstream and wrap our arms around a vulnerable family to sustain and support them. 

Jeff Butler serves as Program Director for Adoption Ministry 1:27 and is also on the board of Adoption Ministry.  He and his wife, Chris, have adopted three children from Ethiopia.

If you would like to ‘Adopt a Family’ or just want more information about Adoption Ministry 1:27, please contact us at:

Also, please check out our latest AM 1:27 newsletters:

The Christian Alliance for Orphans Summit is coming up on May 3-4 at Saddleback Church in southern California.  There you can hear Dennis Rainey, Francis Chan, Rick and Kay Warren and many other great speakers address orphan care and God’s heart for the orphan.  Click on the photo below for more information!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Who Me?

by Becky Burns
Administrator, Adoption Ministry of YWAM Ethiopia


The one reason I didn't ever want to consider missions or even teaching abroad was because I was afraid God would ask me to go to Africa. I don't like things outside of my comfort zone.

Africa - specifically Ethiopia - was waaaaaaay outside the zone. I have a problem with claustrophobia and I'm a terrible eater when it comes to strange foods.  I admit it - I have issues.  I immediately wondered if this could possibly have anything to do with God answering my prayers that I would really know His love for me.

Oh yes it did.

It was Spring of 2008 and I was already working for Adoption Ministry of Youth With A Mission Ethiopia but I had agreed to work on the website, create a blog, do paper work, talk with families on the phone... not to do anything crazy like actually go to Ethiopia.  But Joy (our ministry director) wanted me to go, the board paid for my ticket and my dear friend Liane was going too. It was clearly what God had in mind for me.

So my husband dropped me at LAX where I was going to fly to Washington DC and meet up with Joy and Liane and we'd continue on to Ethiopia. Then I got a call from Liane saying they had missed their flight and that I should just go ahead and go and that they'd meet me in Ethiopia - 2 days later. (There are only a few flights per week to Addis Ababa on this airline.)

Meet me in Ethiopia? Are you kidding me? Did they know this is a third world country?  Did they forget who they were dealing with here? 

Yes Becky, Abebe will meet you at the airport and everything will be fine.  So I spent the five hours from L.A. to D.C. in unceasing prayer.  I was very spiritual.  (That's what happens to you when you face an impossible thing.) 

I'm sure I looked like someone with a serious mental health issue - no color in my skin, hands covering my face, rocking back and forth. I could not believe this was happening. But as we descended into Dulles, after wrestling with God the whole way, I finally told Him "Okay, I'll do it. You are in charge, not me. But You have to be my Traveling Companion, Travel Agent, Concierge, Interpreter and in-country Host. And please help me not throw up."

As it turned out, our flight was late and I missed the connection to Ethiopia so Joy and Liane met me there and we had two days in Washington D.C. during the peak of cherry blossom time, courtesy of United Airlines.

blossoms & capitol

dc hotel
Our luggage went on to Ethiopia so we ate, toured and slept in our clothes!

It was a gift. And so obviously God saying, "I love you Becky!" He would have given me whatever I needed if I'd gone on to Africa that day. But whether I went or not, He did want me to know whether or not I would trust Him.

Do you ever tell God, "Please don't ever ask me to _______"? 

I'm finding that if you're praying (or even thinking) one of those prayers, while at the same time asking Him to help you know Him more, He just might use what you thought you could never do to get the other prayer answered.  That's not how I would do it but then, what do I know?

street girl

Ethiopia is a very hard place.  Millions of people are homeless, living on the streets and sleeping on a scrap of tarp or under a piece of corrugated tin.  There is no way to prepare for what you see there.  For how it smells.  For all the children wandering in the city. 

6 blog header

I know I was not prepared.  But the other thing I found and didn't expect was the strong faith of so many of the people I met.  They are full of joy, trusting every day that God will provide for them and serving Him in some extremely difficult circumstances. 


Abebe is our representative in Ethiopia.  He is one of the most gracious, hard-working and kind men I've ever met.  This man loves Christ with all his heart.  He also loves children and I've seen him cry more than once over a child who has no family.  He strokes their face, hugs them and treats them as I've seen him treat his own children.  He has also helped bring the Gospel to a remote village where persecution of Christians is very real.  Hundreds of families have come to Christ, partly because this man has committed himself to live out what the bible says.

Tezera is our orphanage director.  (Someone gave her an ipod and now she can listen to Amharic worship music whenever she wants!)  This is one strong woman of God and, let me tell you, she can preach!  She began taking in and caring for widows and children before God brought YWAM with the funding and the help she would need.  She just does what the bible says to do - care for the fatherless and those in need.
Africa 328
The love and hospitality of Ethiopia's people was very humbling to me.  Homes in Addis Ababa are not too cozy or full of pumpkin bread smells...


We went to the homes of many women who were struggling to feed their children.  Yet they insisted on serving us.
widow's home where we ate lunch


coffee ceremony
electrical system
I have never felt so unworthy of someone's giving.  Never.
There are so many times when I really can’t believe that I get to do this work. Me? It is God alone who prepares, arranges, equips and confirms what He calls us to do.  I could never in a million years have imagined it or planned for it.  It’s all Him.
I wanted to share this because I want to encourage you not to wait as long as I did to say 'yes' to God.  It probably will look very different than my experience.  Maybe He’s calling your family to get more involved in widow and orphan care.  Maybe you need to go on a mission trip.  Maybe it’s volunteering somewhere that would stretch you or giving in ways that cost a lot.  Maybe it’s adoption.  
I can tell you that there is nothing in the world like cooperating with God and taking a step of faith.  He makes it WORTH IT. 


Sunday, April 15, 2012


by Joy Casey

Spring has sprung in the Pacific Northwest where our office is located, and with the daffodils and tulips and warmer breezes comes a burst of fresh energy! Our Missions Director, Mark Wolbert, and I have been planning for six teams’ travel this summer. Mark will be in Ethiopia from May through August… that is a long time to be away from home!

A day in the life of a mission team …
Picnik collage1
We are hosting two teams from the University of Kentucky. They will be putting on several sports camps. In the remote village where we are building the first-ever worship center, they are going to have a soccer and volleyball camp for the fifth grade children from the government school. The YMCA donated jerseys and the university group is going to bring water bottles and shoes for the children. The kids, athletes and coaches are going to have a blast!

Picnik collage2
Streams of Mercy is bringing a team of pastors and some businessmen to Africa to see what YWAM is doing. Joy Casey, Adoption Ministry’s director, will be going with this team to Uganda to see YWAM’s work with women and children there and then host them in Ethiopia for 5 days. One of the days will be spent at a small village called T’ede where we have a widows’ feeding program and sponsor some children. From our gift catalog we are going to give the widows goats as well as flour and lentils. From past experience, that will be a fun, rewarding day.

Picnik collage3
A large team from Life Church in Kansas will be doing work with two high-needs people groups. They will be spending several days at the Widows and Orphans Home in Adama doing work projects there as well as helping the elderly widows we support in the community. Roofs need repair, walls could use a coat of paint, latrines dug, and basic food items will be stockpiled. Of course, the real ministry comes through the hugs, prayers and attention given to this mostly forgotten segment of society. They will also be working at a church where Adoption Ministry 1:27 has just started a program. The poor families in this church community who have not yet been adopted through AM 1:27 will receive attention from this group of Kansans through practical helps and provision of basic food supplies. Many of these people live in houses covered with tarps or houses that have been condemned, so we know there is much to do to show these people - that God has not forgotten them and that other brothers and sisters in Christ care. There will also be organized prayer-walks to constantly connect with the Holy Spirit and to turn away the plans of the Enemy.

Picnik collage4
A group of teens and leaders from a church in Oregon will bring the enthusiasm of puppets and skits to many venues where they will provide VBS for young children through elementary age. In another church where Adoption Ministry 1:27 has recently begun helping struggling families, they will go to homes and do service projects. A youth rally will be held in this church as well. How fun it will be for these Oregon kids to connect to a vibrant youth group in Africa! They will learn to worship Amharic-style, have the experience of sharing their faith through an interpreter, and perform skits that surpass all language and cultural barriers. Our prayer is that these teens will go home on fire and a seed will be planted to spend their lives in the service of the only One who can make a lasting difference.
MarkIf you are interested in joining a team, there are openings in a group traveling to Ethiopia in August. Visit our Missions webpage and download a mission team application or give Mark a call at (253) 770-2283. You are welcome to join the adventure of a lifetime!



Tuesday, April 10, 2012



Jesus Doesn’t Call Us To Be Radical
@We Have Room
As a side effect of this whole movement toward being radical, I'm afraid we have a tendency to put our spiritual carts before our horses. To seek the end instead of the means. And, in doing so, we miss the point entirely...that radical living is not about what we are doing, but instead about whom we are following.

Caring For Orphans… We can do something
@Babe of My Heart
It’s so easy to get disheartened as we see the sin of our world. To feel like when we see horrid things occur that making a difference seems hopeless. But as believers we MUST instead stay ever close to Jesus LISTENING TO AND SEEKING HIS WAY FOR OUR LIVES and not go with the flow of the world. To be complacent and do nothing…to turn our eyes away and focus on WHERE WE ARE GOING OR WOULD LIKE TO GO INSTEAD…is to potentially miss out on not only changing the world of another–but also potentially miss out on His best for our lives.

No More 20 Questions
@One Thankful Mom
Dimples asks questions – lots and lots of questions… “Neglect tells a child, ‘You don’t exist.’”  The constant questions help Dimples feel as if she exists.

Being on the Same Page
@Empowered to Connect
It is critically important for moms and dads to get on the same page and stay on the same page when it comes to handling the challenges and issues that come up in the parenting journey. This is especially true for adoptive and foster parents as they begin to parent in a way that is focused on healing and connection.

So How Are The Girls?
@Life According to the Christians
Parenting broken children is painful in a way that very few comprehend and it is such a comfort to know people care.  It’s also an answer I feel like I let people down when I give an honest reply. 


Friday, April 6, 2012

Getting God’s Truth in Their Hearts

You know how God sometimes orchestrates a meeting with someone that turns out to be something you weren’t expecting? 

In the last few months, I’ve been blessed to get to know Dana Dirksen, the sister of a friend of ours.  At a recent get-together Dana and I had the chance to chat and she told me about her ministry Songs for Saplings.  

dd sfs-5

Dana wanted a way to help her own kids memorize God’s Word.  She used the wonderful gift of music that God gave her to set some scripture verses to music and released a CD of those songs – Songs for Saplings: ABC – to her friends and family. 


A friend at her church heard her music and suggested that Dana should record a set of CDs putting good theology to music for kids. Based on scripture and the Westminster Catechism,  Dana wrote songs to teach answers to big questions we all ask at some point: What is God like? Why did God make me? How did sin start? How is a sinful heart changed? Who will be saved?  The “Questions with Answers” series was born!


There is so much good content in these songs but the music is written and performed in a very accessible way – it’s fun for kids and adults.  Before you know it, your whole family will have a whole bunch of God’s Word hidden in your hearts and being sung with your mouths!   (Read about how one pastor’s family has been using these CDs:  Cheerios With a Side of Catechism)  Volume 4: The Word of God is now out and there will be two more CDs in this series.

Dana says, “We believe that it is vitally important for kids to memorize God’s Word and to hear deep truths communicated in a way that they can understand.  Music is a powerful way to help parents and teachers communicate what they believe to children.  Each of our songs contains a Biblical truth, a scripture that supports it, and the reference for the verse.  We want to help you train up your children in the way they should go with truths they will always remember.”

Since starting Songs for Saplings, God has taken the Dirksens across the globe to translate and record these songs in other languages.  Dana and her husband James have ministered in Zambia and Malawi (pictured below) and recorded an album in the Chichewa language for a people in Malawi who don’t read but instead learn through poetry, story and song.  They’ve finished translation work in Polish, are currently working on their first album in Russian and are heading to France in May to record a French album!  When Dana and I first talked, we were dreaming about how awesome it would be if they were able to come to Ethiopia and record in Amharic or Oromifa so that the children in our orphanages would learn the Word through song.  God knows!


Be sure to listen to samples of the songs here and you can download a CD for free by going to: Free Songs for SaMplings   Chords and lyrics are available free on their website here.

Dana is also offering a 25% discount for ‘That We Might Be Adopted’ blog readers who order CD’s from their website  Songs For Saplings.  Just enter the coupon code YWAM-0403 when you place your order.  Churches, schools or mission works receive a 60% discount if you contact this ministry.

Thank you, Dana, for sharing your heart for training up a child and for sharing your gift with us!


Monday, April 2, 2012

Need a Mother's Day gift idea?

Here’s a shout out to all of you husbands, sons and daughters, sons and daughters-in-law who haven’t started thinking about what the Mom in your life would like for Mother’s Day. It’s not too early to do your shopping – especially if you’re going to order something that will melt her heart!

Many families offer things for sale to help pay their adoption expenses and we are happy to support their efforts. Other people make some pretty neat stuff and donate all or part of the proceeds to orphan ministries and adoption scholarships. Check out these links to read about how your purchase will be used. Happy shopping!!

To support their adoptions, here are a few beautiful items made by YWAM families...

"Our oldest daughter is handcrafting these beautiful necklaces. They have various colored magazine beads and an authentic Ethiopian cross hanging from the center."  Also available are t-shirts, bracelets and personalized journals!

your preference 
The Shadrick's Love
"Car decals, necklaces, photos and t-shirts - every dollar will help bring M home. Purchase any three items and get the fourth item of equal or lesser value FREE."


Some other great sites to check out...  

"Purchasing these hand-crafted necklaces will directly provide for the women who made them. Created by the young women staying in the Living Hope Ethiopia Maternity Home, these amazing necklaces build savings for when they leave, food for while they stay, and training for the rest of their life." 

Personalized Necklace from
"There are few joys in this life greater than giving.  He gave me these hands and as long as He will allow me to use them, I will continue to give.  Although our primary support goes to the Hope in Ethiopia partnership, some of the other ministries we love to support are Project Hopeful & Because Every Mother Matters."  

Africa necklace-Heart for AFRICA -necklace
"My designs are my Passion with a Purpose & when you purchase items from Junk Posse you help to support several non-profit groups and Adoption in several ways."  

"Mission Ethiopia has started this program that pulls women out of the trash dump and off the streets and allows them to make these beautiful necklaces for income. Each necklace has one red bead beside the clasp - their signature bead of what Christ has done in their lives." 

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...