Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Giving and Receiving

by Jeff Burns in Ethiopia

This last week the team from the University of Kentucky went out to the town of Debre Zeit where they partnered with Samy and the YWAM ministry there.
Part of the funds that the team contributed went to feeding the poorest of the community, and to putting a fresh mud and straw finish to the see-through walls of some homes.
We saw much rejoicing as the homes were mudded and food was delivered.
After that it was off to a lunch provided for a number of shoe-shine boys who Samy is building relationships with. Today there was a meal provided along with some new shoe polish, shoelaces and other tools of their trade. Samy had built them new shoe-shine boxes before this trip.
Next stop was lunch and then to the local stadium that had been rented to play 'football' with some of the locals.
The winning team received new t-shirts, pizza and two new soccer balls. It was great to see the competition, the camaraderie and the pride of the winning team (which was a local groups of guys).
There have been many different ways to reach out, share and to bless so many amazing and grateful people. This was an awesome day of giving and receiving!

Friday, July 24, 2015

Eyes and Hearts Opened

by Jeff Burns in Addis Ababa


The University of Kentucky team arrived late last night into Addis Ababa. After checking in we gathered for a bite to eat before crashing for the night.

Friday morning brought some refreshed bodies ready to see the city, to serve the needy and to have our eyes opened wide to how so much of the rest of the world exists daily.
We went to a local church (Meserete Kristos Nifas Silk) and heard a number of woman share the hope that they have because a family in the United States has sponsored them and with those funds they no longer wonder where their next meal will come from and if it will be today or not until tomorrow. 
The team made bags of essential foods for a number of families and also some new mattresses, sheets, blankets, and pillows and for a couple of families, and bed frame with head board as well.
These are items that this team has paid for and that Mark, along with the local case manager, buys based on what will best meet each family’s needs.  It was amazing to see them walking out with their gifts and to see this awesome team of young people carry bedding, food and other necessities for these widows. There was some amazement at how small the room was that some of the families called their home.
It has been a great start and tomorrow will bring new opportunities to have our eyes and our hearts opened even more!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Kid to Kid ~ Friend to Friend

by Angie Allen

Prayer is the center of an ongoing relationship that is being cultivated between the kids and youth at Everett First Covenant Church and the kids and youth at Yakibru Megelet Betekristyan Church in Kore, Ethiopia. This is how it happened:
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Four years ago, when I passed out laminated photos of the kids in our Everett, Washington church to the kids at the church in Kore, I didn't know what God had in store. I told the Ethiopian kids who took the photos eagerly in hand, “This child from my church in America is going to pray for you”. What I didn't expect was the response from many, “I will pray for them too!” It is this response which has spurred on a friendship between our two faith communities.

Each year we have traveled back to Ethiopia to give updated photos and handmade gifts and letters to the kids we now call our “Prayer Friends”.

When we are there, we spend time getting to know our Prayer Friends; attending their church, visiting their homes and playing in their soccer fields. When we visit Kore, as much as we can, we do life together.

Each summer, in preparation for our time in Ethiopia, we gather our kids and youth for a special day at the park for making our homemade gifts, writing our letters, making our cards and praying for our Ethiopian Prayer Friends. But we are not the only givers in this relationship. When in Ethiopia, we create the same special day with our Prayer Friends so that they can make their gifts, write their letters, and pray for their American Prayer Friend.

The first year, the kids in the U.S. created tie-dye t-shirts for their Ethiopian Prayer Friend. When the team delivered them, the kids in Ethiopia also made tie-dye t-shirts for their U.S. Prayer Friend.


The next year the Prayer Friends decorated notebooks for each other and the year after that, which is this year, we made friendship bracelets. We always keep the gifts simple and homemade so that the focus is on friendship with each other and prayer to Jesus.

This reciprocal relationship speaks value to each child, charging them with the important task of praying and caring for a friend from another culture. We have noticed that children on both sides of the world are lifted and encouraged through this mutual sharing.
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Four years ago, we exchanged photos and a promise to pray for one another. Today we have evidence of friendship and love through letters, handmade gifts and a stack of yearly photos. We believe that as we share the love and hope of Jesus through this relationship, we are answering God's call to love our neighbor as ourselves.

“I love the Lord because he hears my voice. He hears my cry for help.”
Psalm 116:1

Chris and Angie’s team will be in Ethiopia July 28 – August 10… we can’t wait to hear how God uses these amazing relationships to impact children on both sides of the world!  Join us in praying for these prayer warriors!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Full Steam Ahead for Sports Camps!

On the heels of a successful camp in the capital of Addis Ababa, the sports evangelism team from Oregon drove south to a town called Wonji to partner with a Meseret Kristos Church to put on a soccer camp as a way of reaching children with the Gospel message. The local stadium was rented and the first day 100 younger children came to camp in the morning and the afternoon hosted 100 older children. By the last day, the number had grown and over 300 kids a day learned soccer skills and were introduced to Bible truth. The pastor is so excited about the results of this camp he began immediately to plan for next year!
Mark Wolbert, our Mission Director, is so proud of this team of young athletes. Each one of them went the extra mile to give of themselves in every way. The team remained strong through daily time in the Word and prayer and successfully thwarted any discouragement and frustration the enemy threw their way, exhibiting godly character in every situation.
The next several days the group partnered with another local church in a bigger town called Adama (sometimes referred to as Nazaret). For pastors and leaders, friendship evangelism through sports is a brand new concept, but they are seeing the value of using sports as a vehicle to reach children and youth with the Gospel. When camp is done, the partnering church follows-up with the children and deepens their understanding of the CHAMPION the coaches talk about following!

Mark reports that each day he and the team woke up eager to see the impact God would have on young people. They were light bearers and acknowledge how privileged they were to spread the fragrance of Christ! We are reminded that sharing the light and fragrance of Jesus is not an opportunity just given to those who have sacrificed to go to Africa, but we are ALL missionaries right where we live. We are all called to carry His light.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Please Help Us Send Kids to School

School is not a guarantee in Ethiopia.

Children are often responsible for fetching water, caring for livestock or watching younger siblings while parents attempt to earn enough to feed their families. 

But every parent who wants the very best for their child knows that an education is one of the only ways out of the cycle of poverty so many in Ethiopia find themselves in. 

Although public schools don’t charge tuition, there are registration fees to pay and uniforms and supplies to purchase that simply make going to school for many families out of reach.

We have a goal that every school-aged child whose family is in our Adoption Ministry 1:27 program will be able to attend school.  We care for approximately 1600 children through our sponsored families and about 200 of them cannot attend school due to finances.


The monthly support these families receive is often only enough to pay for food and a few extras - like part of their rent.  But if there are a lot of children in the family or their poverty is deep, they need extra help to pay the costs associated with school. We have put together a ‘Back-To-School Package’ which will include:
  • backpack
  • school books
  • supplies
  • uniform
  • lunch box
  • registration fee
school pkg 4Here’s how you can help!  Visit our Adoption Ministry 1:27 ‘Send Help’ page here, find the Back-To-School Package and for your donation of $55 you will be providing a child with everything they need to go to school.  Your gift of any amount to help with these costs will be welcomed and greatly appreciated!

Thanks so much for helping us reach the goal of an education for every child in each of our AM 1:27 project areas!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Stopping to Really See

My name is Alena; I am the daughter of Adoption Ministry’s missions director Mark Wolbert. Just as my father loves Ethiopia, it is a country that is also dear to my own heart. This summer I am blessed to be leading teams alongside my dad.
We (my dad and I) arrived in Addis on the 4th of July and have been spending the past few days preparing for our first team to arrive. Though we have only been here a few days, the Lord has already began to do so much in my heart.

I tend to be a person who values promptness and efficiency. Not a bad trait in nature, but I find that many times I get stuck on auto pilot and rarely take a moment to stop and appreciate small blessings. I’d admit that my “busy schedule” distances me from the Lord because I tend to get wrapped up in important projects rather than seeking Him first. He has been prompting me to slow down this past week.

There is a big contrast in the value of efficiency and time well spent in Ethiopia. It is a culture that values relationship over all and will forsake the clock to invest into the things held dear. Here, without the distraction of the constant “ping” of my iphone and the craziness of my daily routine I find myself free. Life slows down and I am free to take a moment (or three) to give thanks, to enjoy a conversation, to pay attention to seemingly insignificant details. 
Over seven years and four trips to Ethiopia I have had the pleasure of becoming close with a woman that I refer to as “Mama Konjo” meaning “beautiful mama” in Amharic. I wasn’t introduced to this amazing woman through a ministry project or sponsorship program. Mama Konjo is a housekeeper at our guest house. Through countless conversations in fragmented sentences of an English/Amharic mix she has captured my heart.
Everyday she comes to my room to clean and talk about the goodness of God. We discuss things as important as our passions in life and as insignificant as the weather. She is love personified. I appreciate her and love her so much. She even jokingly tells me that when I finally get married, she will come to America for the occasion. 
Sometimes it’s the under appreciated things that we normally wouldn’t pay much attention to that become the most precious to us. It only takes a moment to stop and ask the Lord to see the way that He does. He holds the whole world in His hand yet he takes the time to appreciate even the smallest of things. 
I am thankful. I am thankful for the church bells that clang at six o’clock each morning to wake me to a new day. I am thankful to learn how to wash clothing by hand. I am thankful for my little cup of strong Ethiopian jibbina made coffee. 
My cup truly overflows.
Thank you Jesus for this nation. Thank you for this summer. Thank you for this adventure
Alena and her dad Mark are leading three mission teams over the next several weeks in Ethiopia.  Stay tuned for more updates on their adventures!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

It's What Love DOES

"God told us what love is and showed us what love does... so we seek to do likewise."
Christian Alliance for Orphans

He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow.
Deut. 10:18

We'd love to help you engage your local church in this ministry to widows and orphans, much like Brooklake Church has done.  We are seeking a church to partner with us in the exciting work that has begun in a village in Ethiopia where:

  • evangelists are sharing the gospel with the unreached
  • at-risk families will be stabilized through sponsorship 
  • the poorest single mothers will be empowered through small-business loans so they can support
              their families
  • 40 children will attend free kindergarten and will get an excellent start to their educations. 

  • Would your church like to invest in this village to establish long-term relationships resulting in a transformed community?  Call and talk to our ministry director, Joy Casey, for more detailed information.  253-770-2283

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