Thursday, April 30, 2015

Visiting Sponsored Families

A very small percentage of our AM 1:27 sponsors have the opportunity to meet their adopted families in person… but when they do, it is an unforgettable experience that only deepens their understanding of and love for the widows and at-risk families they support.

There is a wonderful body of believers at Brooklake Church in Federal Way, Washington who have ‘adopted’ one of our project areas – Shashemene – and they now support 53 families there on a monthly basis.   Earlier this month, a mission team from Brooklake traveled to Ethiopia and several team members got to meet ‘their’ families for the first time or be reunited a second time.  Here are two of their stories…

by Wolf Samuelson
My family has been sending monthly support & praying for a single young mother of twins in Ethiopia for over a year and now it was time to see her face to face. Wagayehu (Wa-guy-yo) greeted us outside her house holding her adorable girls, Yebser & Feven. She is a petite, beautiful woman with a big, yet shy smile. We immediately hugged then she invited us into her small, one room home with a thin twin mattress on a rough concrete floor, a small table, a storage tub and two chairs against the wall - all in a space no bigger than my walk-in closet back home. That alone brought tears to my eyes.

We crammed into her home and sat down to talk. I began by giving Wagayehu a picture of my family, just like we have a picture of her back home. She said she loved it so that she can see our faces as she prays for us. Then I started to deliver the gifts that Launi had put together for Wagayehu and her girls. We got to share some laughs as I modeled a scarf for her. As we continued to share with each other she began to say how thankful she was for my family. I told her that our family needs no thank you. The reason we support her is not for recognition or thank you’s; it is simply our way to express the love Jesus has first shown us. 

We wrapped up our time by hearing the dreams she has for herself. She said she loves to cook and would love to start a restaurant. I told her how I love to cook and eat! She said that when she opens her own restaurant, that my family was invited to come and eat. We prayed and said our good byes with tears and hugs. It was a powerful moment that will forever change me. All I can say now comes from a widow we visited later. “God is a history maker!”

by Anna Jones
This year all I thought about and looked forward to was seeing Firehiwot again. So much had changed in a year. An entirely new home was built, she now has a job cleaning the city offices, and her family is more healthy than ever. She’s even getting educated so she can start a small income-generating business. For me, much of the original anxiety caused by me wondering what she’d be like and how she’d act towards us was now gone. Last year we had such an amazing experience meeting her that I knew this year would be a “homecoming” of sorts.

We pulled up to the house and were barely out of the van when Firehiwot came running through the gate to greet us. The same as last year, she immediately leapt into my arms and started kissing my cheeks and saying “I love you, I love you!”. It was a long lost family reunion. We were filled with joy to see each other again…  Firehiwot had baked a huge circular loaf of wheat bread (typically reserved for major holidays).  We all sat around enjoying popcorn, coffee and special bread.

God has truly given us a miraculous gift in allowing us to sponsor Firehiwot and her family. My life is forever changed through this experience of sponsorship. My wise Kenyan son once told me that “the hand that gives is the hand that receives”. Never before has a saying been more true. The more we give to Firehiwot, the more we receive in God’s grace and love and the more our faith grows. I am so grateful for Firehiwot and her family. They are our family now, too!

Friday, April 24, 2015

Adoption Speaks of God

Today we have a beautiful video to share... the story of one couple.  One birthmother.  One adoption.   But it reminds us of many of your stories.  Maybe you can relate?

"I was adamantly against adoption.  I wanted to have the kid we were supposed to have."
"God kept compelling us to love this idea of being parents... so we just kept praying."
"My perspective was so skewed in my own pain.  What I saw as Him not loving me was, in fact, Him being the most loving He could have been."
"It's a constant struggle to sit in His sovereignty
when everything is falling apart in your mind." 
"He doesn't leave anything to chance. 
It's amazing.  It's a miracle.  It only speaks of God."

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The Intangibles

by Jeff Butler
Adoption Ministry 1:27 Program Director

Ethiopia is a place of many contrasts. I’ve seen the ugliness of what diseases such as leprosy or tuberculosis do to destroy bodies, and I’ve seen the beauty of what healing hands and effective medicine can do. I’ve seen the pain of hunger brought on by extreme poverty and yet the joy that comes from a little food and a warm embrace.
I’ve seen the despair of hopelessness when there is no work to do and no way to provide, and I have seen the vigor that comes from beginning an income-generating activity leading to a life of self-sustainability! Poverty and richness, sorrow and joy, death and life, despair and hope, suffering and comfort. These contrasts are everywhere you look in Ethiopia.
It’s always challenging not to see people and their circumstances through my American eyes. Their lives and culture are so vastly different from ours, and yet - just like you and me - they are people with wants, needs, hurts, and hopes. Our work in Ethiopia is to move the most vulnerable families from the verge of collapse to stability, and then help as many as possible move to self-sustainability through economic empowerment. Helping people out of hopelessness is both hard work and great joy! Nothing is more gratifying than seeing people’s lives transformed and the contagious enthusiasm that spills from their lives as they are able to provide for themselves.
Most encouraging are the tangible changes I am able to see in the lives our AM 1:27 families each time I go to Ethiopia. I see tangible change in the health of the children and parents, in the work they can do, in the ways they can now provide and in their ability to help others within their communities.
But on my last trip one of our case managers helped me to see some dramatic “intangibles” in the lives of the families we serve. Ephrem serves as our AM 1:27 Case Manager at our Meseret Kristos project area in Addis Ababa. After we visited families in the MKC area, Ephrem shared with me how the lives of many of the families are being transformed from the inside out! He shared with me how the AM 1:27 Program is having a holistic impact on the total health and well-being of these families. When people suffer from extreme poverty, they typically have no self-worth, no self-esteem. As a result, it’s difficult for them to have healthy and productive relationships with other people and isolation results, profoundly affecting everything in their lives. I began to realize that extreme poverty does not just have a physical or material impact, but an emotional and psychological one as well.

Ephrem continued to share with me how when a family is stabilized and sustained, they begin to become healthy, not just physically, but mentally, emotionally, and spiritually! The support they receive begins to heal and strengthen the whole person. Ephrem says our AM 1:27 families begin to look for ways to engage with others and to help others within their communities. Many begin growing in a Christ-centered faith and become more involved within their churches. Their renewed lives lead them to dream and hope for a better life for their children. Often they express a desire to learn a new income-generating skill so they can become self-sustaining and no longer need support!
MK0032 2
Ephrem helped me to see more clearly that the tangible help that all of our AM 1:27 Sponsors are providing is having an incredible impact on the “intangible” transformation occurring in these families. Thank you AM 1:27 Sponsors for your partnership with us to help people experience the tangibles and the intangibles of life transformation!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Brooklake Mission Team Update

by Wolf Samuelson in Ethiopia

Today was only meant to be a travel day, but God had way more in store. Once you leave the expansive, densely populated city of Addis-Ababa, the country side is so vast and beautiful. It felt like stepping back in time, horse drawn carts, grass and mud huts, and livestock roaming free. We stopped for lunch and got to hear Pastor Sammy & his wife Ruth pour out their hearts for the people of Ethiopia, particularly for the children and youth. Their journey has not been without struggle, but it has produced amazing results. Their dream is to plant churches here and continue reaching the next generation.

Today our team finished up painting a mural at the Mana Gammachuu orphanage and it looks so great. We had all the babies put their hand prints on the walls as well. We also played a lot outside the gates with the kids in the neighborhood. Such a fun day, but it wasn’t over yet.

We left the orphanage and headed to a street market to buy four sheep & four gallons of cooking oil. Ephraim, the director of Adoption Ministry 1:27 here in Shashemene had picked four families that were in desperate need to receive these gifts. Just in time to celebrate Easter with their families. It was quite an adventure buying the sheep as well as transporting them in our vans. One van had 3 sheep inside, while the other we tried tying it to the roof rack. That sheep had no desire to stay there, so eventually we cut him down to join us inside. Then we traveled all over the city delivering the sheep and oil to the families in need. It was a joyful & tearful moment for all of us. To hear their stories and to have them give us a blessing was very humbling. No one goes unnoticed by the Lord.


It’s Easter morning here in Ethiopia! The local Protestant churches gathered at a sports stadium this morning for an amazing Easter Service.   We figured there were around 800 people there. The energy was electric - everyone was worshiping God & praising Jesus with such apparent passion. It was hard not to want to jump and dance with them!  Next the Pastor was on fire! I had no idea what he was saying, I only knew what Bible passages he was using.

All I can say is that the God that speaks to us back home, is the same God that speaks to His people here in Ethiopia. There are times in America we feel we have some exclusive market on Christianity. That couldn’t be further from the truth. We may be blessed with wealth in comparison to Ethiopia, but we sure are poor in spirit in comparison as well. We can learn so much from their depth of faith in the midst of true disparity and persecution.

Well after such a powerful morning, we took some time to travel and take is some wildlife. We were off to see some HIPPOS! We took two very small boats out on a near by lake. We didn’t travel far along the shore before we came across a family of 6 hippos, two of which were babies. Since it was in the heat of day the hippos only remained in the water, so we only saw their heads when they can up to breathe. Still, they were hippos, and can you say you saw hippos in a lake, on an Easter Sunday lately?

To top the day off we had a wicked rain storm with amazing thunder and lightning. Tomorrow the team members will begin to visit their sponsored widows and their families. I can’t wait to meet the young mother & her twin girls my family sponsors.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

New Life

by Joy Casey

Easter. A time of great celebration, yes… but also a time to meditate on why Jesus came to earth and what his death accomplished. The central purpose of Christ’s life and death was to reconcile people to God, and the last instruction from Jesus to His followers was to make sharing the Gospel our central purpose.
motherandchild am127
Adoption Ministry 1:27 brings humanitarian aid to some of the poorest people in Ethiopia. Many attend the churches that we partner with, but more and more we are reaching out to those who have never heard the Good News of Jesus Christ. In fact, two of our project areas primarily serve a major unreached people group!
The case manager of each project area visits each “adopted” family once a month and he (or she) assesses needs and helps problem-solve. Many times, the pastor or an elder from our partner church goes visiting with the case manager. Every visit culminates in prayer. Over time, the widow being cared for starts asking questions about Jesus, and over and over our case managers hear variations of, “Never in my life have I been made to feel important to anyone. You are different. You show me kindness and respect that I have never experienced before .”
The other day news came that an entire family was baptized along with four other single moms we serve. The case manager was ecstatic reporting the amazing transformation of one of the families.
When we took “A” into our program, her husband had recently abandoned his family and she and her three children were devastated and without hope. “A” eventually became a Christ-follower and her two teenage daughters shortly followed with a decision of their own.

About nine months ago, her husband returned to his family and the exemplary change he saw in his wife and daughters challenged him to seek Jesus and he, too, became a believer.
Every story of conversion and baptism is unique and we are joining the angels in heaven rejoicing! These stories, culminating in baptism and ongoing discipleship under the auspices of the local church, are the central purpose of our ministry in Ethiopia and how we are fulfilliing Christ’s command to GO INTO ALL THE WORLD… meeting needs, teaching, and baptizing.


Would you too like to be part of bringing new life to someone in Ethiopia?  Visit our website to find out how your $50/month will change someone's future!

Friday, April 3, 2015



We pray you celebrate your adoption into God's forever family this Good Friday.

Glorious Day!!

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