Wednesday, February 27, 2013

An Open Door That No One Can Shut!


Our dear YWAM missionary friends, Samy and Ruth, have a growing ministry in Debre Zeit, Ethiopia (also called Bishoftu) where they live with their two daughters Becky (5) and Abi (1½). These two gifted servants, originally from India, absolutely radiate the love of Christ!

In 2012, God began to reveal His plan for their ministry in this rapidly growing area about 1½ hours south of Addis Ababa. The first few months of the year were spent in prayer as they sought God’s direction for this new ministry.  Prayer walks were marked out and cell groups have been created to pray that many would be saved.  God showed them several promises in the Word that they were to claim, and He has been fulfilling them right before their eyes, including many coming to know Him, miraculous healings and deliverance from witchcraft.

Samy and Ruth have hearts for evangelism - their greatest desire is to reach others with the good news of Christ's love through building relationships, meeting needs and teaching God's word.  They have linked arms with other pastors and evangelists working in this same area with the goal of a united effort to build God's kingdom.  That work includes training Sunday School teachers and vacation Bible school workers to effectively minister to children in their own churches and villages.  There is a vibrant outreach in the local prisons, where food and bibles are shared, and they have found favor with the Police Commissioner who has invited them come to the various prisons whenever they like.  At Christmas, 200 children received gift boxes in four villages where YWAM is reaching out to share God's love.  Many in the body of Christ have joined Samy and Ruth in sharing the gospel, even those who have very little themselves.  Shopkeepers, drivers, small merchants and friends have given sacrificially to be a part of this work.  

I have set before thee an open door and no man can shut it!   Revelation 3:8

God has given Samy and Ruth lots of big dreams to reach the unsaved in Ethiopia and to disciple them after salvation! 
  • They want to rent a house for YWAM Bishoftu and staff it with YWAM missionaries, eventually hosting a YWAM Discipleship Training School here. 
  • They would like to host missionaries and pastors for fellowship and conferences to encourage and teach ministers for God's kingdom work. 
  • There are plans to start a preschool, a church and Sunday schools. 
What an amazing example these two servants of God are to all of us!  Several of Adoption Ministry’s mission teams will be linking arms with Ruth and Samy this summer to bring the Good News to Debre Zeit/Bishoftu through children and women ministries.  Some of the smaller teams will also be cooking for prisoners and giving them the gift of a bible.   Thanks to all of you who purchased bibles from our Gift Catalog that will make this possible!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Orphan Summit

May 2-3, 2013 in Nashville, TN is the Christian Alliance for Orphans Summit 9 – an annual conference for those with God’s heart for the millions of orphaned children in our world today through adoption, foster care and global initiatives for orphan care.

Speakers include:
Randy Alcorn
Eternal Perspective Ministries
David Platt
Pastor and author of 'Radical'
Michele Bachmann
Minnesota congresswomen, foster parent and orphan advocate
Dennis Rainey
President of FamilyLife
Stephen Ucembe
Orphan, social worker/counselor with HIAS  Refuge Trust of Kenya

You can read more about Summit at the CAFO website here and you can also register online!


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Stories I'll Never Be Able To Fathom

by Joy Casey
Adoption Ministry Director in Ethiopia

One of the reasons I traveled to Ethiopia this time was to meet with TV host Brad Mattes who is the Executive Director of Life Issues Institute out of Cincinnati, Ohio.

Brad Mattes with Case Manager Tesfaye
Brad Mattes with Tesfaye - AM 1:27 Case Manager in Korah
He came with his film crew to do a documentary on end of life issues and I had the great privilege of introducing him to some of my favorite elderly widows. We spent one day interviewing the women and the case manager for Adoption Ministry 1:27 and the next day we walked to their houses and filmed where they lived. I can’t wait to see the 22 minute documentary when it comes out… we’ll let you know when and where you can see it when it airs. Stay tuned!

I have also met some new people that we are going to serve through Adoption Ministry 1:27. Let me introduce you to a couple of them.
I was quite taken with soft spoken Alamaz Assefa who came with her two adorable daughters.
Her husband died five years ago and she works hard to keep body and soul together. Have you ever lugged sand for cement up wooden ladders or hauled cement blocks on your back up ladders for a mason to construct a building? Because it is such hard work and very hard on her body, Alamaz can only do this 2 days a week and she knows her body cannot tolerate this abuse long-term. Want to know how much she makes a day for this work? About $1.60.
Alamaz daughter Sintayehu    Alamaz daughter Yergalem
Alamaz was so gentle and loving with her two daughters, and they were bright and playful and thoroughly delightful. We hope to find an American family to “adopt” this family in Ethiopia and by so doing reach around the world to this God-fearing woman and alleviate some of the worry and burden she carries by providing daily food for her family.

For some reason, my heart just melts when I greet an elderly Ethiopian woman… their wrinkled faces tell stories that I will never be able to fathom. Those that know Christ radiate love and gratitude that puts me to shame.
Alemitu Zeru
Meet my new friend, Alemetu Zeru, who says she is 68, but of course she nor anybody else really knows for sure. Alemetu birthed five children - four died as children and one died as an adult. Her husband also died, so she has no one. As a young woman she wove baskets and cotton, but now she is weak and tired and can only beg or walk to the garbage dump and scavenge for things to sell.

She lives all alone in a small room. Leprosy affects the nerves in her arms and legs, but luckily medication arrested the deforming affects of the disease. She is blind in her left eye. She also can be “adopted” and whoever sponsors her will have the satisfaction of making the waning years of her life much more comfortable. Food is her biggest need.

Rosa 1
On the opposite end of the life spectrum is a young orphan girl. Rosa is a sweet 17-year-old who is a devoted Christ-follower. At a young age, both of her parents died and she went to live with some relatives. They sent her to school through the seventh grade and recently they asked her to leave because she was old enough to make it on her own. She ended up living with another girl who got Rosa a job as a cashier in a bar where her friend worked as a prostitute.
Right away pressure was put on Rosa to sell her body for money and she was terrified. As fate would have it (I would call it divine intervention), the brothel/bar is right next to the church Adoption Ministry 1:27 works with!  The case manager there got her out of that bad situation and Rosa went to live with another girl and her father. This is a kind family who shares with her what they have, but they are beggars and have very little. After she gets a sponsor, she would like to enroll in hairdressing school.

If you are interested in helping any of these people, you can contact Jamie at and request them by name or go to our web site to adopt-a-family: 

Friday, February 15, 2013

Help Promote ‘Stuck’

Both Ends Burning (BEB) is a mission born out of the desire to facilitate changes in the current system of international adoption.  Children spend too long in orphanage care.  The average international adoption takes 3-5 years to complete and children are spending their formative years in institutional settings – many in deplorable conditions.

BEB serves as an umbrella organization to promote adoption and implement policy change.  Their focus is on protecting and advocating for the rights of orphaned children.  They seek to protect birth parents and ensure that proper safeguards are in place for children.

BEB has produced a feature length documentary called ‘Stuck’ which effectively educates the world about the importance of international adoption and the current crisis that exists.  The goal?  To help the average person understand the issues and put pressure on those in a position to make changes.

Here is a trailer for this incredible film…

So many of us are aware of the crisis in international adoption and many have asked us “What can I DO?”   Here’s something you can do to help spread the word!

“Stuck’ will be coming to a theater near you this spring!  You can
  • offer to coordinate or help at events in your area
  • be an audience recruiter to fill your theater’s seats
  • be a driver to transport the BEB reps around town
  • book speaking engagements for the BEB staff at churches
  • assist with local sales of merchandise to support the cause
Sign up to volunteer here!
Link to this post on your Facebook page or blog.
'Like' the BEB campaign Facebook page.

On the BEB website here you can view the itinerary for the Stuck Tour and order tickets.  You don’t want to miss this opportunity.  Let's DO something to educate others and bring change!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Foster Care At Its Best

Jeff Butler (Adoption Ministry 1:27 Director) and his wife Chris sponsor several families through AM 1:27.  Jeff recently returned from Ethiopia where he met with our in-country staff and got to visit some of the families who are sponsored.  Here is the amazing story of one family who the Butlers sponsor…

DD0052 2
(l to r) Wakjira, Pastor Samuel, Jeff Butler, sponsored mother, Pastor Garamu, Abinesh

Adoption Ministry 1:27 is an outreach to the poor in Ethiopia.  Our main goal is to preserve families on the brink of dissolution and by so doing, prevent orphans. The local church partner identifies the most needy families in their communities, most of whom are single moms. We also encourage stable families within the churches to adopt children with no parents or to become a foster family for a child.

Samuel, pastor of one of the Full Gospel churches we partner with in Dembidollo, took in a 6-year-old girl named Sena.  Sena has living parents and four siblings, but six years ago Sena’s father became very ill and could not work.  The family was struggling to survive. Out of sheer desperation, Sena’s mother asked Pastor Samuel if he and his wife would take little Sena and raise her; they simply could not feed all their children. Pastor Samuel said yes, and for the past six years has loved and cared for Sena like she was his own daughter.

Pastors are a dedicated group in Ethiopia. They answer the call to serve as shepherds knowing full well that finances will be a struggle. When Adoption Ministry 1:27 began in Dembidollo 1½ years ago, Pastor Samuel’s family was accepted into our program as a foster family that we wanted to support.  At that time we were not aware of Sena’s whole story and did not know she had a living biological family.
DD0052 1
Anyone who has been a foster parent knows that after six years, your heart is entwined with the child you have been given to raise, and Pastor Samuel and his wife were no different… they loved Sena and delighted in watching her grow from a little girl to a pre-adolescent. But Samuel knew that the highest good for Sena would be reunification with her mother, father, brothers and sisters, so he declined the monthly support and instead asked that Sena’s parents receive the support so Sena could once again live with her original family.

Jeff Butler, the AM 1:27 Director, recently was in Dembidollo and was touched by the selfless actions of both Sena’s biological parents and her foster parents. Jeff met Sena’s birth parents and asked her mother how difficult it was to choose one of her children to give away. She stated she simply had no options and had to do it for survival, but the decision filled her with deep sorrow. She was under no illusions that their situation would ever improve and sadly accepted the reality of their situation. But now she is filled to overflowing with joy because her daughter is home and, with monthly support, all members of their family can eat every day. Both parents are full of gratitude for Pastor Samuel and his wife and for their willingness to step in and provide a loving family to Sena for six years of her life.
Sena, too, is glad to see her family doing better, and gladly accompanies her mother on the 1½ mile walk into town each month to receive the food provided to the family by the AM 1:27 support. Together, they carry the almost 100 pounds of staples back to their home and do so with gladness of heart. They will have food to eat for a month!

Her mother has also joined a community credit union where each of the 100 members contributes 10 birr a week (about 53 cents), and then one member is chosen every week to receive the 1,000 birr collected. Each member receives 1,000 birr one time, and then the cycle begins again. This simple program helps alleviate some of the pain of deep poverty.

These two families, Sena’s birth family and foster family, capture the vision and heart of Adoption Ministry 1:27, which is to preserve families and prevent orphans.  The reunification and sustenance of one family with the help of AM 1:27 and the local church embodied by Pastor Samuel, is a wonderful picture of Christ's love and care expressed to this family!

If you would like to sponsor a family in Ethiopia, please visit our Adoption Ministry 1:27 website where you can select a family to support.  Your partnership with this ministry will directly meet the needs identified by our church partners.  You’ll receive a prayer card and updates about your family as we receive reports from the case managers.  Thank you!

Monday, February 4, 2013

An Incredible Transformation!

by Joy Casey
A year-and-a-half ago I found myself in the far western part of Ethiopia in a town of about 50,000 people called Dembidollo. Arriving in Ethiopia from America is like walking into a time warp; less so in Addis, but the further away from the capitol you get, the scenes reflect a time that has long since vanished in the Western world. Dembidollo is about as far west as you can get without stepping into Sudan, and the rocky, red dirt paths we walked along with the African sun beating down reminded me just how “out there” I was. The Full Gospel churches in the area identified 40 families that were desperately poor, and I was trekking to one of the churches to meet these folk for our Adoption Ministry 1:27 program.
1 demb
I met a lot of people that day, but there was one family that especially broke my heart. A beautiful but very thin woman came forward with four listless children. She was married, but her husband was not with her as he was very sick. I was told they had another child, but someone in the church had taken her to raise. They were in a desperate place with little to no food, and it showed. Tefere, the father, was very ill and did not have the strength to work.  From what I could see, the mother barely had the strength to carry her little one and the hollow eyes of the children told a story of going hungry most of the time.

Tom and Jenn Cleary from Maryland stepped forward and “adopted” this family through Adoption Ministry 1:27.  Monthly support was spent on nutritious food for the family, but it almost seemed like too little too late. I got word that their 14-year-old son was dying of typhoid fever. His blood count was so low that if he did not get a full blood transfusion he would die. Wakjira, the Case Manager, found a blood donor and got a transfusion for this boy and he recovered. It was about a month after this incident and about 2-3 months after they were adopted, when I visited them in their house.
2 demb
Tefere was there and so were most of the children. The boy who had been so sick was present as well, but he was very, very weak. When I asked where the mother was, Tefere took me into their hut and I found her lying on her bed, moaning.
3 demb
She was in quite a lot of distress and was so weak she had to hold onto the wall for support when she attempted to sit up. The pastor and I prayed for her and then took her to the hospital where she was diagnosed with typhus and severe Girardia. I went away shaking my head thinking it would take a miracle for this family to survive, let alone flourish.
DD0030 Jan 2013 cleary
Just this past week, Jeff Butler, our Adoption Ministry 1:27 Director, returned from visiting Dembidollo and he described to me one of the AM 1:27 families and how significantly the program has helped them.  When I saw the picture he took, I gasped! My goodness! I recognized them immediately, but they looked so much healthier! Jeff said Tefere, the father, was working carrying heavy loads of firewood from place to place and they had found better housing that was much more sanitary than where they had been living.

Jeff reported the mother was continually praising God for the help He brought to her family.  She believes that God saw her family in need and came to their rescue in the form of Adoption Ministry 1:27 through her church, and she cannot stop praising Him. Because of the nutritious, consistent food her family has received, their lives have been radically changed for the better, and we join her heavenly praise for this amazing transformation! Thank you, Tom and Jenn, for giving this family a hand-up.

This story is just one of many where monthly support is providing help and hope.  If you would like to be a part of changing the life of an at-risk family in Ethiopia by a monthly sponsorship, be sure to go to our website to select a family to help.  You too can provide life-changing basics for a family in great need…

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