Thursday, October 29, 2015

Hawii Has A Mommy

Hawii was one of the abandoned children placed in our Mana Gammachuu orphanage when she was very little.
Abozenech is a divorced mother of one son who lives in another country.  She had lots of room in her heart for a sweet little girl.
She adopted Hawii and is overjoyed to be parenting her.
Abozenech owns a cow and sells milk for her livelihood. The cow stays in the compound where she and Hawii live. Both mother and daughter are happily enjoying family life together.
Thank you Lord!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

God’s Wonderful Plan of Adoption

Sena was born in the hospital in Shashemene but his mother abandoned him right after giving birth.  The police searched for the mother but could not find her. 
Sena came to our Mana Gammachuu orphanage and lived up to his name – Blessing! 
Tekelu and Senyit had two daughters but have always wanted a son... so little Sena is truly a gift from God for this family who adopted him. Grandma lives with them and cares for Sena while his mom and dad are at work. Tekelu is the finance manager at the medical college and Senyit is a secretary.
What a wonderful plan God had for this boy who was abandoned... a family who loves him greatly!

Monday, October 26, 2015

"If we don't have food, we just sleep..."

by Joy Casey in Ethiopia
1-IMG_0171 Worke
Meet Worke (Work-aye). She is 34-years-old and came to the church with her two little boys. Their smiles and obvious tenderness toward their mama immediately won my heart. Birhanu is 8-years-old and in the second grade and Maru is 4-years-old. The boys have a 10-year-old sister, Birtukan, who couldn’t be with us because she was still in school (fourth grade).
Worke had to flee the Amhara region in northern Ethiopia to escape an abusive husband. She is safe from him but is in a terrible position making choices between a roof over their head or food in their stomachs. The one thing she won’t compromise on is schooling for the children.
Worke is employed as a low-paying daily laborer in construction or goes house to house seeking a job as a servant. Her rent is $20/month and her typical monthly income is $15.50. There are many evenings when all they have to eat is boiled maize (corn) or, in her words, “If we don’t have food, we just sleep.” Her lack of nutrition and the toll construction takes on her body has caused her to have health issues.
She tearfully shared her fear that she will die before she can get her children raised. I think a solution for her fears is to get this family food, don’t you? Would you consider “adopting” Worke and her three children for $50 a month to ensure they have plenty to eat every day?
1-IMG_0206 Tigist Gibe
Today I listened to a story told to me by a mother of three children who herself was an orphan and never had a chance to go to school. She is determined her children will go to school!
Tigist Gibe is 30-years-old and is HIV+. She has sores and rashes all over her legs secondary to HIV and brings home around $1.25 a day from begging. She needs money for nutritious food to prevent her from dying like her husband from AIDS. The antiretroviral medication only works with consistent, nutritious food. She, Addis, her 7-year-old girl who is in kindergarten, and 2-year-old Hawii (girl) live under a plastic tarp lean-to on the compound of a friend. Tigist is a wisp of a woman and her children are very small for their age … possibly due to poor nutrition combined with their genetic make-up.
Would you "adopt" this family for just $50 a month? They need a safe place to live and FOOD will make all the difference in the world to their health. It is also our goal to break the cycle of begging and eventually empower Tigist through employment. She can live an active, healthy life and be a wonderful role model for her girls. Let’s lend a hand and make it happen!

You can adopt Worke or Tigist or another at-risk family at:

Friday, October 23, 2015

When in Ethiopia…

by Joy Casey in Ethiopia
Food is not only a necessity of life but our social lives are centered around food.  It is no different in Ethiopia.  Hospitality and honor are shown through the coffee ceremony and I love that beautiful tradition. 
Today Jeff Burns and I are in Gimbie.  Gimbie is “out there” and is not cosmopolitan and the restaurants are certainly not accustomed to catering to “ferengi” (foreigners).  So, when in the countryside of Ethiopia, eat as the locals eat. 
For breakfast, we were served dabo (bread) with our eggs.  Along with dabo came honey. 

Along with the honey came bees! 


For lunch, we walked to a little place that has the reputation of having good meat.  It is all they serve.  And it is fresh!  

It is cut up before our very eyes, spices are added and then it is taken out back and cooked. 

It is VERY tasty. 

Since all they serve is meat, this restaurant would be good for those on the Atkins diet plan. 

As we sat on our benches chewing hunks of meat and laughing with our friends as well as the new acquaintances sitting next to us, our view was of the police station across the street.   

At dinnertime, we had many more choices.  

Life is good!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Families on the Brink of Collapse

by Joy Casey in Ethiopia
written on 10-20-15
Mes Kristos sign
Partnering with churches for orphan prevention is the succinct tag line of our ministry. I had the incredible privilege of spending a little bit of time with some of the leaders of one of our strongest church partners in Ethiopia, Nefas Silk Meseret Kristos Church.
This local church has a leadership team of men and women that do the work of the ministry to families, marriages, children, youth, evangelism and discipleship. They have a dedicated group of women who gather together to pray every week, and Adoption Ministry 1:27 is an integral part of their ministry package. One of the pastors read Acts 6:1-4:

But as the believers rapidly multiplied, there were rumblings of discontent. The Greek-speaking believers complained about the Hebrew-speaking believers, saying that their widows were being discriminated against in the daily distribution of food.  So the Twelve called a meeting of all the believers. They said, “We apostles should spend our time teaching the word of God, not running a food program.  And so, brothers, select seven men who are well respected and are full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will give them this responsibility.  Then we apostles can spend our time in prayer and teaching the word.”

Evangelist Tamarit said that since Adoption Ministry 1:27 linked arms with their fellowship, the burden of caring for the poor was taken from their shoulders, freeing them up to teach, evangelize and disciple new converts. He thanked me and was so appreciative of the good work AM 1:27 has done among their widows. He went on to say they used to be inundated with complaints and needs and serious problems, but now the widows’ needs are being met through food distribution, our case manager prays with them and problem-solves, and mission teams serve them with practical helps. AM 1:27 helped 16 of their poorest children cover all their school needs this fall. He could not stop thanking me and Adoption Ministry 1:27 for lifting the burden of the poor and expressed immense gratitude for our partnership.
The practical work of helping the poor… is something you can do!
The next several hours were spent adding twelve families to our program. Three of the situations I classified as high priority and one was critical. She had no food. None. She had become so desperate she considered putting her baby in an orphanage so he could eat and maybe be adopted by a mother who could give him what she couldn’t. I assured her that would not be necessary and that we would get her food and gradually help her find her way to stability. Our case manager was given 700 birr ($35) to buy her food for a month and she replied with the words, “Beweta Yteka!” or, “Thank you! Let God replace what you spent on me.” I hope I can find someone to “adopt” her and by doing so reinforce the truth that God sees and uses His people to be His hands and feet.
Another situation is a 14-year-old boy who lost both his parents, recently his grandfather died, and is now living in the abusive home of his uncle. He needs to get out of that situation immediately. We will find a good home for him within his church family, but most are poor and we need a sponsor for him.

There is a single lady who is paralyzed on her right side. She was living with an elderly lady but the old lady moved to the Orthodox Church to die and this 23-year-old has nowhere to live, no way to earn money, no family support, and is scared to death of her future.

How about a mother of three who was forced to marry her husband when she was 13. He recently deserted her and the children and they are on the brink of collapse.
I am calling out to my circle of friends to help me find sponsors for these families! $50 a month will alleviate hunger for one family… imagine that! If you have already adopted a family, please advocate for these desperate people and galvanize your friends and family to step forward, go to our web site, and click on I WANT TO ADOPT A FAMILY and have the immense privilege of bringing relief to the Lord Jesus Himself (read Matthew 25:34-46 if you don’t believe me).

Empty Hearts Now Full

Muna has experienced a lot of heartache... after her husband died, she also lost their only son when he died of heart problems. Muna was incredibly sad and lonely.
Sengi (5)
Sengi was found abandoned in Shashemene and though she was loved on by the nannies, she didn't have her her own family.
Now that Muna has adopted her, this mother and daughter are both full of joy! Muna works in administration at a local hospital and cherishes her beautiful daughter. These smiles speak volumes!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Outstanding Kids… Amazing Family

by Joy Casey in Ethiopia
Today I visited two children who, technically, are full orphans. Their father died of AIDS seven years ago and their mother very recently died of HIV complications. Ben* is 14 and Betty* is 12. They greeted me in perfect English and Ben, who is in the eighth grade, said he loves studying chemistry and biology. Wonder what the future holds for this bright young man? Betty is #1 in her fifth grade class and has taken the award for being first in her whole school two years in a row. I wanted to see them to express my sadness at hearing about their mother’s death and to bring them a picture I had of her. I also wanted to meet their new family and to see where they lived.
Fikrte and her husband, Tenaye, were friends of the children’s parents and when their mother suddenly died they did not hesitate to envelope Ben and Betty with love and comfort. There was no question as to where they would live. Fikrte and Tenaye have 2 ½-year-old Emmanuel and adding these two children to their family seemed natural and easy. It was quite obvious that Ben and Betty felt comfortable in their surroundings and Emmanuel is soaking up all the attention from his new brother and sister. Ben, Betty and their mother were part of our AM 1:27 program and that same support will follow them to help Fikrte and Tenaye feed and clothe two more children and see that they lack for nothing, especially educationally.
Full orphans, yes. But God provided a second family for them full of joy and love, a family who loves the Lord and counts it a privilege to raise these pretty incredible kids. I was so happy to see good come from a very tragic situation.
*not their real names

Monday, October 19, 2015

Food, Shelter, Encouragement, Hope

by Joy Casey in Ethiopia
written on 10-18-15

Yesterday I finished up work in Gutumuma, Shashemene and Aje. It was a loaded three-and-a-half days and we accomplished much.

The Mana Gammachuu kindergarten in Gutumuma has only been in session a month, but the 20 children, all from Adoption Ministry 1:27 families, are eager to learn. Radiya is the new teacher, and after spending time with her and observing her with the children, I was extremely pleased.
Gutu 3
She is from the Gutumuma area and four years ago she became a Christ-follower.  She is the perfect one to shepherd these little ones’ hearts and teach them readin’, writin’ and ‘rithmetic. She is on the worship team of the Gutumuma church and is engaged to be married to a Christian man. Meeting her and hearing her story gave me a glimpse of the impact the Gospel has had in this area. The Holy Spirit is raising a generation of people who love Him in an area where Jesus has never been known*. People like Radiya and her husband will now pass their Christian heritage on to their children.

*DID YOU KNOW THAT UNTIL 2010 THERE WERE ONLY TWO CHRISTIANS IN GUTUMUMA? The two Christians were evangelists who lived in the village and prayed for seven years until, in 2010, God’s Holy Spirit drew 75 people to Himself! Today, there are 150 Christ-followers and that number is growing.
Gutu 2
Gutumuma is an agrarian village whose only industry is farming. The government gave people land to farm and it remains with the family generationally. They are not allowed to sell it. Therefore, many of the destitute families we serve have property but barely enough to eat. There are several factors working against them…
Gutumuma is a very dry, hot area. Planting and harvesting is only possible once a year. People plant their crops in the spring (May) in time for the rainy season (end of May through September) and harvest the food the end of September through October. This year there was a drought and the majority of crops failed. If you are rich enough to have oxen you have the wherewithal to plow your land. If you do not have oxen, you can only plant a small patch that does not come close to producing enough to feed the typical large family. If your crops fail, then you don’t have enough food to feed the oxen and a vicious cycle begins. I visited several families supported by AM 1:27 and was up close and personal with some perplexing economic problems.
Income generating through farming and inadequate housing were two major issues discussed with the pastor and AM 1:27 case manager in Gutumuma. I came away with no clear-cut solutions, but we have a wonderful team of creative thinkers who are tackling the unique problems in this rural area.

About 1½ hours away is the bustling market town of Shashemene. My favorite place to be is with the children of the orphanage and interfacing with our incredible staff there. There are thirteen babies and two little boys living there. The little boys are a sad story. They have a known mother and father, but neither can care for them due to alcoholism and instability so the boys cannot be adopted. Instead, they will be moved to a government orphanage to be raised. My heart broke for these brothers who are about 4 and 6. It is an uncertain future for them. Four of the babies/toddlers have been matched with families in the U.S. for adoption, six are in various stages of paperwork for international adoption, and two will be adopted by Ethiopian families. I was in heaven cuddling and kissing babies.
Aje 2
A half-hour from Shashemene is a town called Aje where we have a kindergarten for 60 children. What fun it was to watch them recite their lessons, enjoy the lunch the school provides for them, and play at recess. Kids are kids, no matter what side of the globe they live on. They are eager learners, have lots of energy to play, and need good food to grow on. The Aje Mana Gammachuu kindergarten is a wonderful place to learn and grow. I reacquainted myself with the two women teachers who were there last year, and met Ulfata, the new teacher. He is an experienced teacher and will oversee the school. I very much enjoyed watching him teach and appreciated the enthusiasm and vision he brings.
B 3
I visited several women in our AM 1:27 program, and that was a treat! “B” is a single mother of two little girls. Her husband left her when their youngest was born and she has struggled to survive. In 2013, a donor through Adoption Ministry 1:27 started supporting her and eased some of her burden. She told me on this visit that she has turned her life over to Jesus! The example of the church’s love toward her evidenced in practical support softened her heart enough to ask questions and learn of the Father’s love for her. She was living with her parents, and when she became a Christian her father got so mad at her he tried to kill her. She fled from her father’s house with her girls and the church found a house for her to rent for $10/month. She does not have money for this, but is trusting God will provide.
Bo 1
Bosha is a dear woman who I would have liked to spend the afternoon with. Her little first grade boy, Nuredin, has been very sick with tuberculosis and their sponsor sent money to get him to good doctors for treatment. Nuredin was the first to see me coming up the road and ran and flung his arms around my waist in a big hug. He is much better but not 100%. He has not finished his regimen of medication and has several follow-up doctor appointments, but thankfully he is going to make it. Her other children are beautiful and Bosha extended to me exquisite Ethiopian hospitality. As I sat in her room I noticed shafts of light coming from all parts of the ceiling. There were big holes and little holes and the sun was streaming in. In my imagination I converted the sun to rain and thought what it would be like sitting in that room during the rainy season. It would not be pleasant and certainly not healthy. The case manager told me of an incident that happened recently. Bosha and her children were getting ready for bed when a hyena pushed open their dilapidated door and came into their house! Fortunately, Bosha was able to get him out and the hyena did not hurt her children, but it was a huge scare and a very real danger. My admiration for this mother increased substantially.
Aje walking
It was a hot day in Aje and we had done a lot of walking. I looked forward to a cold Sprite as I said good-bye to the children and teachers.
Contemplating all I saw as I drove back to Shashemene, I knew for a certainty that God had drawn us to this place to touch lives for Him. How He loves the poor! God articulates clearly in His Word exactly what our response is to be: feed the hungry, shelter the weary, encourage the downtrodden, give hope to the broken hearted – in short, be His hands and feet by listening well and then serving those dear to His heart in culturally-relevant ways.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Visiting Three Entrepreneurs

by Joy Casey in Ethiopia
written on 10-15

Today I ad a great day today in Shashemene!  I am so happy for Emawayish!  This dear widow is doing very well.  When her husband was alive, he made cement injera bakers and Emawayish helped him.  She recently has resurrected his business and is using his molds to make the ovens.  She has a large pile of sand to the side of her house and she mixes the cement herself, pours it into the molds, takes the pieces out and sets them out to completely dry and harden… then she puts them together.  These ovens hold the heat well, heat evenly, and use very little fuel (wood).  She sells an average of 4 a week and they cost 200 birr ($10).  She is just so happy to be doing this business.  She lives in her husband’s family compound which is a very nice size, and her shop is right out her front door.  Low overhead!

I visited Tsion Tesfaye who has just started an injera-baking business.  She has a contract with one shop who will buy 30 injera a day and she is looking for other shops to sell to.  One injera sells for 3 birr wholesale.  We are going to buy Tsion one of the energy saving injera bakers that Emawayish produces.  It requires much less fuel (wood) and won’t be as smoky.  Tsion’s kitchen is right next to where she lives. 

I have never been to the market area of Shashemene, which is a culture unto itself.  It is like the Mercado in Addis only on a smaller scale.  It was crowded and colorful.  A real treat to stroll through.  We went there to see Haile’s grain shop.  He is so proud of his business, as he should be!  He has a very large place in this busy marketplace and has good inventory.  He should do very well.  He previously worked for a man selling grains so he learned the business well.  I was impressed!
Each of these three enterprising folks are part of our Adoption Ministry 1:27 IGA program (income-generating activity).  They were chosen from our sponsorship program as those who had a desire to become self-sustaining and were willing to work to pay back a micro-loan in order to start their own businesses.  They received business training and are sponsored until they have paid back their loan and no longer need any assistance.  Thanks to their monthly sponsors, they have food for their families as they work to establish themselves in business. 

We are so proud of them and so grateful for those who support them with monthly help and also finances for starting a business.  You can read more about this wonderful program here.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Traffic Through the Van Window

by Joy Casey in Ethiopia

Goats in road 1
I was on the road less traveled and definitely not meant for motor vehicles. 

Oxen in road
We met this herd of cows on the narrow path we were driving and so we had to back up because they weren't going to!

It was a little easier with the sheep...
Goats on side of road 

but the carts are always a challenge.

Mule cart w people

And you think you have traffic problems!

Friday, October 16, 2015


by Joy Casey in Ethiopia
written on 10-13

It is 8 o’clock in the evening here in Addis Ababa. My plane touched down a little before 7 this morning and I am feeling the effects of the long flight and a full day. Even so, I am eager to tell you about my time with two incredibly precious birthmothers I had the honor of sitting with today.

For those of us who have had relatively normal lives with the “American Dream” such a part of our DNA we cannot disassociate from it, it is hard to put ourselves in the shoes of mothers who make an adoption plan for their child because of unresolved health concerns or poverty the likes of which none of us will ever know. Choosing a family in a country on the other side of the world to raise your child plays second fiddle in selflessness only to heroes who forfeit their lives for someone else. Adoption is incredibly sacrificial and a portrait of love.
The family who adopted Desalech’s* daughter when she was 5-years-old made a sweet photo book of pictures that I had the joy of handing to her. The first thing she did was kiss K’s picture and then together we looked at all the photos. Desalech also brought a picture of K’s birth father who died when K was very young. She wanted K to have it. She is going to write a letter to K and her family that I will take back to the U.S.
After Desalech left, another familiar woman came to our office and I was once again struck by Momina’s* dazzling smile and gentle ways. It took me back five years ago when I first met Momina. I helped her with the process of transitioning her daughter to the adoptive family, and we have had yearly meetings with her since then. Her daughter is growing big and it brought tears to her eyes to learn about her activities, her tender heart for the Lord, and how she loves people. The pictures B’s family sent to her were carefully tucked back in the envelope and carried away. I can guarantee that those pics will be well handled not only by Momina but by everyone in her community who remembered B as a little girl.

*not her real name

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Taken In As Her Own

Jito and her husband are typical of many families in Ethiopia… they have seven children.  Yet they have become guardians of two children who otherwise would have no one to care for them.  Tolash is a seven year old girl and Yisihaq is a boy, also seven.  These two unrelated children would likely have ended up on the streets if they hadn’t been taken in by this family.

Jito is 50 years old with some children nearly grown, yet she found a place in her heart and her family for two more.  She represents everything our Adoption Ministry 1:27 program is all about – working to maintain permanency for all children, whether by stabilizing their family of origin or in a guardian family like Jito’s. 

Here’s the thing… Jito and her husband were barely able to feed seven mouths and now there are nine.  They live in a small house in Dembidollo and they must buy not only food but also clean water to drink.  Jito bakes and sells injera at the local market and her husband and a son are daily laborers.

We want to come alongside this couple who have opened their hearts and lives to two needy children.  By sponsoring this family at $50/month you will be assuring them of food to eat and help with some of the very basics of survival.  Please visit our webpage here to adopt this family!

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Business Women’s Fellowship

All the women together & Abonesh
Abonesh, who is our very capable IGA coordinator in Ethiopia, recently brought the entrepreneurs from Meseret Kristos Church (MK) and the Misgana Church at Bole Bulbula (BB) together for a very encouraging time of fellowship and shared experience.  These women are all recipients of a micro-loan through Adoption Ministry 1:27 and are successfully operating their own small businesses. 

Imagine how encouraging it would be to gather with other women who, like you, are determined to sustain their families through their own businesses (IGA – income-generating activity)!  All of these women came from extremely poor backgrounds.  All are working hard to become self-supporting.

They shared their successes and challenges.  Many spoke out about how working and AM 1:27 has changed their lives.  Solutions to problems were offered and discussed. 

Demiss and Ephrem (case managers), Abonesh and Kaleb presented Bible teaching on how Joseph, Jacob’s son, planned, organized and saved food for the future.  Hard work is appreciated in God’s word and they taught the women that the core values of our ministry are integrity and faithfulness.  Abonesh also talked about the vision, mission and goals of AM 1:27. 

The group ended with prayer ~ for personal issues, for their sponsors (YOU!) and the ministry as a whole.  What a blessing and a privilege to be part of helping these motivated women to change their family stories!

If you would like to find out more about IGA’s and how to help women sustain their families through small business opportunities, visit our website here.  It is exciting to be part of God’s work in Ethiopia!

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Embrace Tigist

Tigist T. MK-0007
Imagine the heartbreak and worry that Tigist must feel as the mother of Dagem, her five-year-old son, who is developmenatally disabled. Yet she remains optimistic. Dagem, after all, learned to walk two years ago. There is hope!

mk-0007-webTigist herself is not healthy. She has lung damage caused by exposure to charcoal smoke from cooking in an unventilated area. She has been in and out of the hospital and is unable to work steadily. Her sister helps Tigist pay their rent of $23 a month.

This mom has a lot on her plate. Your sponsorship of $50/month to help her provide for their needs would go a long way.

What a blessing you can be to this widow and her son!

To sponsor Tigist and Dagem – or another at-risk family – for $50 per month, please visit our webpage:    I Want to Adopt a Family

Thank you for stepping up to help ‘the least of these’ in Jesus’ name!

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