Thursday, October 31, 2013

A Joyful Place

by Joy Casey in Ethiopia
written on Oct 26

Two groups of people from the United States accompanied me on the drive to Shashemene to officially dedicate Mana Gammachuu to the Lord. Mana Gammachuu means “Joyful Place” or “House of Joy” and we were warmly greeted by the wonderful staff as we emerged from the van. Ephriam, the orphanage manager, gave us an overview of the history and introduced us to the “stars” - five adorable little babies. There were six, but one little miss was adopted and is home with her new family in Addis Ababa.

After getting a tour of the immaculate facility, all the babies and guests gathered on the porch to enjoy each other and drink delicious Ethiopian coffee served with popcorn. It wasn’t hard to pass the time playing with Mr. T, a big 7-month-old boy who crawls everywhere and has to be watched every second, to our first baby, Miss S who loves to mimic you and is a real ham. Then there is a 5-month-old chubby little guy who has a face like Charlie Brown and easily smiles a toothless smile, and little Mr. C who, even though he had a cold, smiled. All of the babies have prayer partners in America, but Mr. C was new and so one of the women with us immediately wanted to pray regularly for him. I think if she could have tucked him away in her suitcase, she would have! Then there is Baby Boy “D” who had me wrapped around his little finger in no time flat. He is darling and loves to be cuddled. Something unexpected happened while we were there, too. A friend of the orphanage manager came to meet the children because he and his wife want to adopt. And guess what? Baby Boy “D” was the one who captured his heart! I was not surprised, although any one of these precious stars could do the same.
Before leaving, our group went to the four corners of the compound and prayed a blessing. We also prayed for the administration team in the office and then went into the nursery and prayed protection, anointing and blessing on the babies and all the nannies.
God’s Provision …
In March of this year, a 13-year-old boy traveled with his mother and grandfather (who happens to be Wick Nease from Streams of Mercy) and visited Mana Gammachuu just days before we got our first child. When he heard his grandpa was coming back to Mana Gammachuu, he wanted to raise money for formula and gather other necessary supplies for the orphanage. And he sure did! He raised $700 for formula and formula and baby cereal was purchased and unloaded when we got to the orphanage. And guess what? There was only one can of formula sitting on the shelf when we arrived! I am sure Will will be ecstatic to hear that the things he provided were so timely. THANK YOU, WILL!


Monday, October 28, 2013


by Joy Casey in Ethiopia
written on Oct 25th

I have had a wonderful time today with the two groups of people I’m with here in Ethiopia... a group of 3 men and 2 women from Anthem Church in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho and Wick Nease with Streams of Mercy brought two brothers from Life Church in Kansas.  They accompanied Jeff and I to visit an orphanage and a maternity home.
We spent a very fun and satisfying afternoon at the Orphans and Widows Home in Adama, Ethiopia. The babies and toddlers, of course, drew us like bees to honey and we kissed soft little cheeks and held the little ones. It took awhile for the four toddler boys to warm up to strangers, but they eventually would play ball and interact as long as nobody tried to pick them up.  Jeff and I will be returning here later this coming week to get photos and updates on the children who are being adopted.

The widows were just as precious, their weathered faces showing the years of life, and it was just as sweet kissing their soft cheeks, holding their hands, and giving them attention and love.

They were dressed in their coffee dresses and enjoyed the fellowship of one another as well as their visitors from America.
Prior to sharing lunch together, Pastor Bob from Life Church had the honor of cutting the large round loaf of bread that is the center of any Ethiopian celebration. Piles of injera were produced and delicious shiro wat was spooned onto the injera. YUM! And in true Ethiopian style, delicious coffee was served at the conclusion of the meal. It was a lovely afternoon.

The next stop was at Living Hope Maternity Home. The work in pioneering the Life message in Ethiopia is close to my heart and I always love going and seeing my good friend Meseret. Nine women live at the home … five have delivered and four are in various stages of pregnancy. Almost all of these women were abortion-minded when they learned about the alternative of Living Hope. The young women learn life skills (cooking, cleaning, money management, parenting), learn to make paper bead jewelry from which they earn money, and learn about the saving grace and freedom from a relationship with Jesus Christ. The beautiful home is a refuge of peace and encouragement and we all felt the genuine love of the staff for the women and their babies. On November 1st and 2nd the first-ever pro-life conference is being hosted by Living Hope in Adama, and I am excited to participate and encourage!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Women Serving Women in Ethiopia

Next weekend a wonderful group of eight women will be arriving in Addis Ababa with one goal:  to bring the tangible love of Christ to many women in Ethiopia.  These lovely ladies, who come from all different parts of the U.S., have met each other via Skype and have been praying toward this time for many months.

From November 2-14 they will be serving the wives of pastors and evangelists, nannies and nurses at our YWAM orphanages, widows sponsored through our Adoption Ministry 1:27 program, patients at the fistula hospital and women in a variety of churches.   They want to SERVE, AFFIRM, PRAY FOR and ENCOURAGE as many women as God gives them opportunity to be with.

Meet this team of women with big hearts and a big God!

Liane Wolbert is a wife, mom and grandmother who is married to our missions director, Mark.  She is the Domestic Adoption Director for Adoption Ministry and also does home studies for our local Ethiopia and domestic adoptive families.  She has a special love for outcast and marginalized people and also loves to laugh!

Stacy Dehnert works for World Vision and recently moved to Arizona from the Seattle area.  She is married with one son and one granddaughter.  Stacy has really looked forward to going to Ethiopia after a friend shared her experiences there. 

Zetta Stam lives in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.  She and her husband have four children, one adopted from Ethiopia through YWAM.  When her husband asked her how she’d like to celebrate her 40th birthday, the easy answer was “Ethiopia!”  She is excited to share Jesus’ unconditional love with the women and children this team will serve.

Shelly Luthi does flowers and photography for weddings as well as being a personal chef for several families.  She helps with many YWAM events, including our banquets and picnics.  Shelly lives in Bonney Lake, WA and is married with two boys.  This will be her second trip to Ethiopia serving with a women’s team. 

Jennifer Kujawski is a college student from Wisconsin who loves to travel.  She is taking a year off from Liberty University and is living at home while taking some of her basic courses online.  She has a big heart for Africa’s orphans and is looking forward to finding her place in God’s calling for missions.

Keriana Forrester is a busy wife and mother to three girls.  She lives in Coeur d’Alene and owns a small government contracting business.  She is involved at her church with leading worship and children’s ministry.  She is eager to see what God has in store on this trip!

Sarah Siler is originally from England and has lived with her family in the Tacoma, WA area for over 20 years.  Her husband Tom is a doctor and they have three sons, a daughter and one grandson.  Tom and Sarah have both been to Ethiopia with YWAM mission teams and Sarah is anticipating ‘a lot of joy and several tears too’. 

Shannon Cline is a massage therapist from Tacoma, WA with a husband and three great kids.  She says she has had a passion for Ethiopia long before she knew Jesus and always believed that one day she would find a way to go. 

Join us in praying for:
  • protection and safe travels
  • team unity
  • life impact on the team and on those they serve
  • Holy Spirit power
  • wisdom and steps ordered by the Lord
  • fun!
I hope to get some updates from the team to share here on the blog... stay tuned!

Friday, October 25, 2013

"You Need Not Remain in Poverty"

by Joy Casey in Ethiopia
written on Oct. 24th, 2013

We Americans generally root for the underdog and I am no different. I tend to think the best of people and have a can-do attitude. But sometimes I don’t give people enough credit, or I tend to find excuses for faults or failures.
Today, however, as I sat in a shabby, semi-dark room on a wobbly plastic chair I heard a pep talk like no other. Elainie, our business trainer, spoke to eight women identified for our budding micro-loan project through Adoption Ministry 1:27. She encouraged and implanted vision in these women currently living in deep poverty.
She said there is honor in work, there is always something to put your hand to do and you need not remain in poverty (no excuses)!
I then asked the women to share with me and our AM 1:27 team their dreams for the future. What would they like to do? What would they like their tomorrow to be? I was amazed by their thoughtful answers and heartened by their earnest demeanor. Listen to a sampling of what I had the honor to hear today:
Fatiya – “I came from a M*slim background married to a man who drank and beat me. Our home was in chaos and we were quarreling all the time. I was a beggar on the streets. Then I received Jesus Christ into my life and He completely changed me! My husband left me when I converted to Christianity, but after receiving help from Adoption Ministry 1:27 he returned to our home and found a very different wife! We reconciled our marriage and just recently my husband committed his life to Christ. I am so happy! Now I am ready to work, and would like to open a shop in the market selling fruit and vegetables. I know I can be successful!”
Engidageti – “I am so glad to have this chance to discuss future plans and to listen. I am very poor and my husband does not help our family at all. Adoption Ministry 1:27 is covering my child’s school fee and buying us food to eat and I am so grateful for this help! Right now, I mow grass and sell it. What I would like very much to do is to have a small tea/coffee shop and sell home baked cookies. In conjunction with this, I will bake injera (Ethiopia’s cultural bread) and distribute it to other shops to sell.”

Alamaz – “I became a Christian 8 years ago. My husband died and I am raising our two daughters. My oldest daughter recently received Jesus Christ and my littlest girl is learning all about Him. God has changed my life completely --- there are no words to explain it! I don’t like begging and asking others for help. I am a hard worker and would love the opportunity to work and earn a living for me and my girls. I also want to show my daughters how to work and earn a living. I would like to make injera and wat (Ethiopian stew) and bake bread and bring these lunch items, along with tea, to construction workers for their breakfast and lunch. Right now, I chop meat for a butcher and make 600 birr a month (about $32 USD). I am in a savings group* and give 200 birr ($10.70) a month to that and then I put the rest in a savings account. I am very careful and make ends meet with the support I get from Adoption Ministry 1:27 and from what I get from the savings group. One day, I will be successful and support myself, with God’s help.”

*A savings group is 10-12 women who each contribute an amount of money every month. On a rotating basis, one woman gets the entire amount given for that month.

Adoption Ministry 1:27 staff are working hard to help many more women like these get started in a small business that meets a need in their community.  Raising money to fund business opportunities for women whose families have been stabilized through AM 1:27 is our top priority.  Funds raised will be used to hire business managers to oversee the program in Ethiopia, to set up business training centers to equip and support these new business owners, and to create micro-loans.  Please contact us if you’d like more information about how you can be involved!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Sharing Food With The Poor

by Joy Casey
written in Ethiopia on Tuesday Oct 22

“A generous man will himself be blessed 
for he shares his food with the poor.” 
Proverbs 22:9

Today I met friends from a church in Idaho and together we visited families with Adoption Ministry 1:27. Jason Shadrick and others from his church are here in Ethiopia for two reasons: to strengthen their church’s ties to their sister church in Kore* and to be part of the dedication of the worship center this coming Sunday in the village of Gutumuma. I am also laying the groundwork for Income Generating Activities (IGA) for a number of families in the Kore and Nefas Silk** projects. Tomorrow I will do the same in another area of Addis Ababa called Bole Bulbula.

One of our visits …

Let me introduce you to a warm, kind-hearted lady with a deep faith in Jesus Christ. Her name is Negest.  She has three delightful children and has also brought a young relative in to live with her.

She was alerted we were coming, so she had popped popcorn and made rich Ethiopian coffee for her guests. Selam, her darling 10-year-old was home sick from school, Tsaga, who is 14 and goes to school in the evening was there, as was little 3-year-old Bereket. Her oldest daughter, Meret, was studying in school.

Prior to being “adopted” by Scott and Dawn, Negest led a very hard life, laboring without education or opportunity while trying to earn enough to keep her family somewhat fed and together. She said the hardest thing for her and her children was they had very little to take for lunch at school and what she could put in their lunches the other kids made fun of. Now, since Scott and Dawn support her monthly through Adoption Ministry 1:27, her family has plenty to eat every day and she can proudly send her children to school with proper lunches and she has teff (Ethiopian wheat) to bake injera (Ethiopia’s cultural bread). Before being adopted, she could never afford teff. Her biggest problem now is that the rent on her one room house keeps going up and she is expected to pay the equivalent of almost $27.00 a month! This may seem low to you, but it is generally more than she can earn in a month’s time.

Negest is a good candidate for our micro loan IGA program. She told me, “I want to work hard to rehabilitate myself.” She has shown she is not afraid of work, and she is bright and articulate. She indicated she would like to become a barber and open up her own shop one day.

We gathered and prayed together before leaving, and my own private prayer was based on Proverb 22:9 which I read just this morning, “God, bless Scott and Dawn who are giving so generously to Negest and her children. Thank you so much for faithful families like theirs.”


Next, we went to Nefas Silk Meseret Kristos Church where Asegid, the Adoption Ministry 1:27 case manager, had food delivered for the 32 families supported through our program there. It was great to see all the dear familiar faces! After a time of prayer and worship, each one signed for their food and then Jeff Burns took their picture. Most of them were without children as they were in school, but I will send a fresh picture along with an update on each family when I can get it all typed out.
It was fun to greet them, and my interpreter said that the women were frustrated because they want to tell me how thankful they are for this food and the other things Asegid does for them. They want to be able to say thank you to each of their sponsors, but they know that is impossible. So, on behalf of each family represented in Meseret Kristos Church located in Nefas Silk … THANK YOU!! to each person, couple or family who “adopted” these families.

*Kore is a section of Addis Ababa that is home to lepers, the disabled, and the very poor. It is a community of 125,000 people tightly packed together in an urban ghetto.

**Nefas Silk is an industrial area of Addis Ababa where AM 1:27 partners with a wonderful Meseret Kristos Church


Perhaps you would like to help a family like Negest's to become self-sustaining? Only $400 provides a small business start for a woman who is prescreened and qualifies for this help.  Please contact us for more information:  

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Dembidollo Day 2-More Adventure!

by Joy Casey
written Saturday Oct 19th

I woke up at 5:30 when a loud speaker blasted what sounded like preaching or government propaganda (I later learned it was preaching!) followed by incredibly loud music. The only consolation is the preaching and music drowned out the call to prayer that happens about the same time. There’s no sleeping in in Dembidollo! But being awake so early, I got to witness a beautiful day dawning. Here, close to the equator, the sun seems to come up quickly and the night dissipates into glorious morning in the blink of an eye. I peered out my window to the street below and already many people were out walking going about their business.

Dembidollo is remote, and I think I can safely say that 99% of the population do not have motorized transportation and simply walk everywhere. The streets are not designed for vehicle traffic at all and only a 4WD can go anywhere. The Dembidolloians are not used to cars and the streets are used primarily for pedestrian, donkey, goat and cattle traffic.

At breakfast Wakjira, one of AM 1:27’s case managers, met us and while we waited for our eggs started going over changes in families’ status and filling in data for the 80 families supported through Adoption Ministry 1:27 in this area. Our goal is to start IGAs (Income Generating Activities) for at least 6 families, so we analyzed the potential of some of the families and which ones should be identified for this next step of empowerment.

After eggs and incredibly good coffee, I wanted to see the two families whose sponsors purchased oxen for them so they could farm the land they own. We drove as far as the car could go, then piled out and walked several kilometers to Mikias’ house. There were the two oxen next to what I thought might be the barn but was informed that no, that was their house.

I have been in a lot of poor homes in Ethiopia, but this one took the prize for being the poorest excuse of a house I have ever seen. The house had a tin roof, but the walls were just sticks with no mud, so their “walls” were see-through offering zero protection from the rain and wind.
But the people in the house were precious. Mikias and his older brother take care of their two sisters, one of whom is physically and mentally disabled, and their niece and nephew. I saw one very dilapidated twin bed and an old tarp piled on the floor and learned that the two sisters and 5-year-old Ibsa sleep together in the bed. The two men and 13-year-old Yabetz sleep on the dirt floor under the well-worn plastic tarp. No pillows, no mattresses, no blankets, and no sheets in sight. Their sister Birhane cooks in a shed adjacent to the house.


Outside, we watched Mikias yoke the oxen together and lead them to the field to plough. Mikias ploughed and Yabetz kept the oxen going in somewhat of a straight line, which didn’t look as easy as it might seem. They are ploughing up the land to prepare for planting in November, so I got to witness the old-fashioned way to rototill! They will plant maize, barley, cabbage, onion and tomato to sell in the market. They also want to get a couple of avocado trees to plant.
Thank you to Nathan and Melissa for the oxen! With that ‘cowpower’, this family has the potential to become self-sufficient. We encouraged Mikias and his brother to think big and expand the horizons of their future.
The second family who was blessed with a set of oxen from their sponsor lived a distance away, and after driving only so far, we hiked up hill and down dale until we came to Sanaye and Galalcha’s house.
Their oxen looked strong and healthy as did their strapping 22-year-old son, Fedesa, who is delighted to have the oxen and will be the primary farmer in the family.


Galacha has leprosy and cannot do much physical work, but he certainly is a delightful man, bright and articulate in English. Fedesa was eager to show us how the oxen worked, so he yoked them up and gave us a grand demonstration. I only wish Gary and Nancy could have been with me to see the encouragement their gift of oxen is for this family - thank you so much! Fedesa will plant maize, beans, and peppers (berbere) to sell after this next growing season with an eye to hire out their oxen to their neighbors to share in that harvest 50/50. I have great expectations for the future of this family!

The scenery was beautiful and pastoral and looking over the lush, green hills I could have been in Montana or Wisconsin. The birds were singing and the air was pure… it was simply delightful to be out in the countryside! I enjoyed the hike, but was ready for some shade and a drink of water by the time I saw our car.


It was a working lunch with Wakjira as we continued with updates on the families. We identified a family with an ideal setting to raise sheep, so decided to go a visit them. It was quite a trek to get to their house and the surrounding green fields and hills reminded me of Ireland; this family was located in an ideal place to raise sheep. Their house bordered a vast green “lawn” owned by the government where they could easily raise healthy sheep; a river runs nearby for water. Several years ago, Tamru fell off the roof of a house and broke his back, laying him up for quite awhile. He is better now and works as a daily laborer putting mud on houses (he stays off the roof!).

Tamru and Altaye (Al-tie-yea) have 5 children as well as Altaye’s mother living with them, and they are eager to earn money so they can fix up their house and ensure a better life for themselves and their children. Adoption Ministry can provide them with 10 sheep (5 ewes and 5 rams) from our gift catalog. The only money that needs to be raised is for a secure shed for the animals at night to protect them from the hyenas. Tamru’s earning ability is frightfully low and you can only imagine his excitement with the proposed opportunity presented to him and Altaye. This is a precious family who love the Lord with all their hearts and are actively involved in their church.

I told myself that the hike back to the car was good for me, and the beautiful scenery was certainly worth the effort … but I was breathing hard at the crest of the long, steep hill and glad to spot our trusty 4WD! We headed to the church office where we stored some clothing donations, and Wakjira and I finished up going over the families. Tomorrow morning before leaving we will narrow down the IGA candidates and I will wrap up our work with the Full Gospel Church and Adoption Ministry 1:27 here in Dembidollo. I have enjoyed these last two days to the fullest! Dembidollo has stolen my heart… the scenery and the people.

If you would like more information about adopting a family like the ones Joy mentioned in this post, please visit our Adoption Ministry 1:27 website here to read about how we are partnering with the Ethiopian church to preserve families and prevent orphans!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Dembidollo Day 1–An Adventure!

by Joy Casey in Ethiopia
written Friday Oct 18th

I love being in Dembidollo doing what I enjoy the most… meeting the people we serve, strategizing the future, and problem solving the present.

We arrived in Dembidollo around 11:30 a.m. and by 1:30 I was being hugged and kissed umpteen times by so many people I finally had to take my glasses off because they were so smudged. I can’t express how happy I was to see the dear, familiar faces of some of the first people helped through Adoption Ministry 1:27.

It was food distribution day and 80 families came to the church to collect their monthly supplies. Prior to getting their goods, one of the budding evangelists (who is also part of our program) led the predominately female group in a time of prayer and worship. I was outside helping with the food and it blessed my heart to hear the “Ah-mens” and the unique sounds of worship.

Jeff Burns worked up a sweat (no kidding!) taking updated pictures of all the 80 families as well as trying to get video of the food distribution. The setting wasn’t ideal and it was a tad crowded, but he was a trooper and tried to do it all.

Close to 6 o’clock we finished up and headed to Main Street Dembidollo for some tibs and nashif (which is spicy and really, really good!) washed down with Coke or Sprite. We had a great time of fellowship with Pastor Geramew… I love that guy… and back to our hotel to fall into bed. Did I mention the trip from Gimbie started this morning at 6:30 and was five hours of bone-jarring bad road? Needless to say, we are all tired and ready for a good night’s sleep!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

First days in Ethiopia

by Joy Casey in Ethiopia
written on Thursday, Oct 17

Jeff Burns and I arrived in Addis at 6 a.m. yesterday. The whole trip was smooth and uneventful. Jeff and I shared three seats from D.C. to Addis and it was quite comfortable. I had a good itinerary set for the day of arrival so I am glad I got some good naps on the airplane as I needed to be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. I jest, of course. Even with naps, the change in time zones and sitting for umpteen hours leaves one feeling rumpled and tired, not to mention swollen feet.
I am relaxing in a new hotel in Gimbie before meeting “the guys” for dinner at 6 o’clock. I am amazed that we left Addis this morning and drove all the way to Gimbie in less time than it used to take us to drive just to Nekemte! For those of you reading this who are unfamiliar with the area of Ethiopia called the Wollega, the roads going to the towns we work in have been notoriously awful. When we first opened orphanages in Gimbie and Nekemte, the twisty roads were just bad (very bad). The last 2-3 years they were worse due to construction. But today we zipped here in fairly smooth style!
Jeff and I also reminisced at the upgrade in accommodations when compared to years past when we were subjected to some pretty rustic and sometimes nasty stays. Ahhhh, even in Gimbie the modern world is catching up. Well, kinda. Still no internet. Our white faces still attract wide-eyed stares and shouts from youngsters, “Selam, ferengi!”
And the pleasant evenings on the streets are still thronged with people visiting, shopping, or sharing a cup of buna or chai with friends. This is a warm climate culture, and relationships are of primary importance. The people here in Gimbie and other towns in Ethiopia are not glued to their TV or working on their computer. After a day’s work, it is time to socialize. I like that! Tomorrow we leave early for Dembidollo and that stretch of road will bring back not so fond memories of how the rest of the road used to be.

One of the main reasons for this trip is to launch our IGA (Income Generating Activities) program connected with Adoption Ministry 1:27. I had a lunch meeting with a woman I had received glowing reports about and it was a delight to meet Elainie. 
Elainie, Abonesh and Abebe

Elainie recently conducted business training for some families in the Kore project area and it was readily apparent she had a heart for these women and their problems. Her degree is in social work and business, and she has lived and worked in the social work field in America for years. Two years ago, the Lord prompted her to quit her job in Los Angeles and move back to Ethiopia to work with at-risk women and children. For the past two years, she has been in high demand as a teacher and preacher and basically has traveled all over Ethiopia encouraging women, helping them start businesses and always coupling everything with the sweet words of Jesus. The more I listened to her heart, the more I felt she might be just the one to give business training and oversee the fledgling entrepreneurs. I believe it was a fortuitous meeting and I am eager to see what the future holds! Later in the afternoon I had several hours with Abebe, our country representative, and Abonesh, our accountant, putting nuts and bolts to our IGA program. It was a productive day!


Stay tuned for more posts from Joy!  They are now back to a place where they can find a wireless internet connection, which means I will be getting more photos and blog posts.  I know in 'the old days' before there was any such thing as the world wide web, you simply waited until your loved ones returned from overseas (often on a ship - can you imagine??) to hear about their adventures.  I'm sure thankful for the miracle of the internet!   

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

And they’re off!


Joy Casey, our Ministry Director, is in Ethiopia for three weeks, accompanied by her trusty photographer/travel companion/prayer supporter Jeff Burns.  They’ll be making the 2-day car trip to Dembidollo to visit our Adoption Ministry 1:27 church partners, visiting the Mana Gammachuu orphanage in Shashemene, taking part in the dedication of the new worship center in Gutumuma, spending time at the Widows & Orphans Home in Adama and much more.

Please join us in praying for their safety, for God to make His way clear, for very important relational connections to be made and for spiritual eyes to see what God has put before them.

Stay tuned to the blog as I hope to get lots of updates (internet connections permitting)!

Monday, October 7, 2013

She Inspired Me

by Angie Allen
Written in August 2013 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

God gave me a gift today and it’s the gift of life. The woman we are going to visit is certainly near the end of her life but I am praising the Lord that she is not gone today. It’s rainy season here in Kore, Ethiopia and the familiar path to her house is wet from the rain.. The rain falls heavy each day, sometimes all day but most of the time only in the afternoon - accompanied by thunder. It wasn’t wet here last time I visited.

Asalafech is a leper who has lost both her legs and her fingers to leprosy. The reason we are visiting Asalafech is that on my previous two visits to Kore she inspired me.

When I visited her for the first time in 2011, she lived in a completely dark mud and stick structure with many other bedridden and sick people. I was told that Asalafech hadn’t been out of her bed in several years. She had a chicken in her bed with her, keeping her company. I left that home thinking: How can I say some prayers here and then walk out of this home without somehow leaving the hope of Jesus with them? It’s too dark in here to read a Bible; plus many are illiterate. That started the idea of a Bible that can be heard - an Audio Bible - in Amharic, of course!
The second time I visited Asalafech was one year ago. She had a platter by her bed piled high with moldy food found in the dump by whoever went to scavenge for her. Moldy food served to this beautiful widow. Our team provided her with fresh food but as I left her home I felt the same feeling as I did last time. How could I provide a meal and then fly home across the ocean without leaving her a lasting hope - the hope of Jesus?
There is a visible difference in Asalafech this year.  Last year when we visited her, she sat up in bed and spoke with us animatedly. This year, I am amazed that someone can be so skeletal and still be breathing - but here she is. Her soft, ancient skin is the only thing hiding the whiteness of her bones. Never before have I been so acutely aware of a skeletal structure. But today that is all I see. 

I know when I see her that she is almost gone. I even say it out loud. I ask to sit by her on her bed. She graciously agrees but today she doesn’t sit up. She can’t. I hold her hands gently. Her eyes are barely open as she tells me how sick she feels. She tells me that her stomach hurts and she can’t relieve herself. I think her system is shutting down.

“I visited you last year.”  She nods her thanks.

“I’ve brought a gift for you.”

“Enay?” (me?) she says in surprise. She thanks. She blesses.
As I place the Audio Bible into her fingerless hands, her whole body relaxes. She eases back against her pillow and rests her head. Before I kiss her head and leave, I set her new Audio Bible to the Story of Jesus. The music that introduces the segment reaches her ears, the story begins and something new comes across her countenance.  I think it’s peace.

I’m stunned when I get back into the van with the rest of my team members. She was there – alive!  I am so blessed by this exchange because Asalafech is the beautiful widow that inspired the idea of bringing the Audio Bible to Kore. On this day two years later I was able, with my team, to place an Audio Bible into her hands. Our team gave Audio Bibles to 37 grateful recipients on this trip.  There are many stories to tell about each one but for me, Asalafech’s was my favorite.

**Asalafech has been 'adopted' for a year now through our Adoption Ministry 1:27 program and has plenty of good, nutritious food as a result.  She loves the Lord with all her heart and now gets to hear His Word daily.  Be sure to go here to watch a wonderful documentary about AM 1:27 that features Asalafech.
Aug Everett Team
Angie and her husband Chris led a team of five people from Everett, WA to Ethiopia this summer.  They spent two weeks serving families and widows in Kore.

The personal audio Bibles are available to order for $50 each through the YWAM Ethiopia Gift Catalog.  Our latest Gift Catalog will be coming soon, just in time for giving a Christmas gift in someone’s name!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Our first 'Ethiopian' adoption!

In April of this year, a woman walking beside a river in Shashemene, Ethiopia was shocked to see a tiny baby girl lying abandoned on the riverbank.  She appeared to be only about one month old.  Wrapped in a cloth with a bottle beside her, it was clear she wasn’t malnourished so someone must have cared for her in her first days but no one knew who had left her there.  A search was conducted but when no one was found who knew anything about her, the baby was placed in the Mana Gammachuu orphanage by the Ministry of Women’s Affairs.

Dureti (1)

At the orphanage, little Miss Dureti received lots of good formula and the loving care of her wonderful nannies. 

Dureti (6)

Dureti (11)
But even good care by dedicated staff cannot replace what Dureti needs most...   a family.

Hailu and Semegn are a Christian couple who made the decision - a rather uncommon one in Ethiopia - to adopt a child into their family.  They first met their baby in June and have worked hard to complete all of the necessary paperwork, adoption training and legal steps in order to adopt. 

At court

at orphanage

On Tuesday, October 1st at 9:00 am, this baby girl once labeled ‘abandoned’ legally became the daughter of Hailu and Semegn!  They are thrilled that she will now be a part of their family.

Goodbye ceremony

A good-bye party was put on by the orphanage staff who were sad to see this little princess leave.  The nurse and the nannies grow very attached to the children in their care.  But knowing her future is now bright gives them great peace and is an answer to their prayers. 

Little Dureti is now named Rediet (there was already a Dureti in this family!) and will be assured of loving parents, food to eat, school one day and a good home where Christ is honored as Lord.

Rediet (Dureti)1

God provides homes for those
who are deserted.
Psalm 68:6 HCSB

Dureti's story is one of hope!  We pray that many more children who are found abandoned will be placed in Ethiopian families through our Mana Gammachuu orphanage.  Please join us in thanking God for His goodness and in praying for strong Christian families in Ethiopia who will step forward to adopt.

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