Thursday, September 4, 2014

Meet Timothy

 photo timothy_zps2c84cb76.pngTimothy is a sweet little boy waiting to be matched with a forever family. We had the privilege of spending time with him while on our mission trip to Ethiopia. Timothy is very affectionate and came up and laid his precious head in my lap. He would love a family who could love on him and give him the special attention he needs and deserves. Timothy hums songs a lot as he navigates through his day. He also loves swinging on the playset and playing on the slide. During our time at the transition home, we also had the opportunity to do music class with some of the kids, and Timothy came alive during the instrument and singing portion. He especially liked the rhythm sticks!

Timothy usually expresses himself through body gestures. He is very neat and organized, and is able to feed himself properly using silverware. Timothy has special medical needs. Won’t you help us be part of his story? Please share this post with others so we can help find Timothy a forever home. If you would like to learn more about Timothy, please visit

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Written by: Shelly Wilson & Suzanne Ward

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Meet Devon

 photo IMG_3534_zpsabfead30.jpgMy time in Ethiopia was full of many blessings, one of which was the opportunity to meet Devon. Devon is two years old and a joy to be with. Devon lights up with the most precious smile when he hears singing or a rhythmic beat such as clapping. Devon enjoys being held and being sung to. I enjoyed my time sitting and playing with Devon and getting to see his sweet smile. Devon is in need of a home with a family that will love him and give him the care that he needs.

You may request more information about Devon at

James 1:17 – "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change."

Written By: Shannon Mathis

Meet Freddie

 photo IMG_3376_zps212d3f82.jpgI had the amazing privilege of hanging out with Freddie during our time in Ethiopia. Freddie has the biggest smile! There is so much joy in his smile, that you can’t help but be warmed by it. He has big beautiful eyes that are so expressive. Freddie loves music and laughing. He is super ticklish and when you hear him laugh, it makes everyone around laugh with him.

One of his nannies told me that his name means “love” and I can’t imagine a more perfect description for him. Freddie is abounding in love and joy and needs a forever family to share it all with. This little guy is so full of life and would thrive in a home that could give him the care and attention he deserves. He truly was a blessing to me. Would you share his story and help him find the perfect home?

You may request more information about Freddie at

Written by: Courtney Rowe

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Meet Gavin

 photo 20140819022829_IMG_3471_zps82d50466.jpgGavin is a sweet and loving little boy who loves to be held. He has a smile that lights up a room. Whenever I spent time with him and someone would call his name he would get the biggest and sweetest smile. He loves to hear music and guided play. I will always treasure the time that I spent with this sweet little boy.

Gavin is waiting for a family that will love and treasure him. Please consider sharing his story and lets be a part of finding his forever home. You may request more information at

Psalm 127:3

" Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward."

Written by: Kiesha Hall

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Hearts Forever Changed

 photo 20140822043052_IMG_3850_zpse2b9de44.jpgOur team was comprised of 12 individuals with different gifts and abilities. We came together as a unified body working towards a common goal which was to love His children. Upon stepping off the plane, we were very anxious and excited about what God had called us to do in Addis Ababa. During our time there we visited several orphanages, learned about the Ethiopian culture, and built new friendships. The team experienced highs and lows all week long. In the midst of the ups and downs, we depended on our Heavenly Father to give us strength, guidance and wisdom. Even through the lows, God revealed himself through the joy, hope and smiles of these precious children.

Ethiopians are very affectionate and loving people. Similar to the French, the women greet each other by giving three alternating cheek kisses and the men greet by giving three shoulder bumps. They also have a unique way of saying hello by raising their eyebrows. They show affection through a coffee ceremony with the sharing of bread and popcorn in their home. The coffee ceremony is a significant part of daily life and they serve it three times daily. Their traditional meals are eaten from the same plate by pulling pieces of injera bread to eat the meat and vegetables.
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Driving around the city was an adventure in itself. There were very little stoplights, stop signs or street signs and it was common to see livestock such as horses, goats and cows in the middle of the road. Our drivers made the experiences unique as they taught us Amharic while they navigated the busy chaotic streets of Addis Ababa.
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Friendships were formed and bonds were made. As a team we supported and encouraged one another through out the trip. As we leave Africa we are forever changed and Ethiopia will always hold a special place in our hearts.

Now all the glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Eph 3:20

Written by: Janelle Kennedy & Kiesha Hall

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Buying bamboo and finding hope

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Saturday morning began our last day in Ethiopia. We all had a mixture of feelings of happiness to be heading home to our families and sadness over leaving the city of Addis that we have grown so fond of. Our day started out with a quick trip to the music store. Our driver Solomon has been playing us an Amharic praise CD all week. A few of us have fallen in love with some of the songs while riding in his van. The store turned out to be a small Christian bookstore. As we purchased the CD's, felt very good to support a Christian business in Ethiopia.

The store also had Christian books in Amharic. I was immediately drawn to some illustrated children's Bible stories. Since they were only 23 Birr a piece, the equivalent to around $1, I decided to buy four to give away to children during the day.
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Our next stop was the AWAA Transition Home to drop of a few more donations. We were excited to find that 4 children had just been transferred into the home from a government orphanage that we had visited earlier in the week. Three of the children were tiny babies. We took turns peeking in on the sweet sleeping babies. The fourth child was a 6 year old boy. He was so happy to tell us that he remembered us giving him candy at the other orphanage. It was so nice to see children moving another step closer to adoption. It was also nice to hear that we had made at least a small impact in his life by visiting his orphanage.

Barry and Shelly's son Grady only asked for one souvenir from Ethiopia. He asked for a piece of bamboo. While we were near the stores, Shelly decided to quickly look to see if she could find some. The rest of us waited in the car and spent our time saying no to the many, many street vendors that approached our van window asking, "You want?" Shannon spotted a boy walking down the street carrying what she thought was bamboo. She stuck her head out of the window and yelled, "Hey, we want." It turns out it was sugarcane. One of the veteran street vendor boys heard us say we were actually interested in purchasing bamboo. He disappeared and returned only a few moments latter with an 8 ft., freshly pulled stock of bamboo. After we finished laughing at his tenacity, Barry and the driver negotiated a price and asked him if he would be able to cut the stock smaller. He disappeared again, and this time he returned with a machete knife. We all had a good laugh again. Barry finally found shopping he enjoyed, shopping involving machetes, resourceful street vendors, and car side service. We were all glad that Grady would get the small piece of Ethiopia he wanted.

 photo 20140823074026_IMG_3900.jpg Next we were off to complete our main mission for the day, visiting sponsored children in their homes. AWAA has a sponsorship program for 107 children in Addis Abba. The children are high risk families referred to them by the government. The sponsored families receive 360 Birr per month ($18 US dollars.) The only stipulation is that families put 100 Birr of this money into a savings account for the child's future needs. We had seen so much of the city in the past week, but I was really excited to see where people lived, to see what a home in Addis would look like.

Our mission team split into two groups, and each group would visit 3 families each. On our way to our first home, I asked permission to give away the children's Bible story books that I had purchased that morning. I was given permission to give them to families that were Protestant.

The first and third homes we visited were both young girls who were orphaned but being raised by extended family. Both of the homes were Orthodox Christians, so I was not able to give a book to the children.

The second home visit was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. The home was about 100 square feet constructed of corrugated metal and cardboard. The sponsored child was a 12 year old boy who lived there with his mother. The mother warmly invited us in to her home and quickly offered us coffee. We insisted that we had just ate and would not be able to stay long. She repeatedly offered us coffee and tea. She was just so hospitable to us. We were told that both the boy and his mother were HIV positive, and the mother was battling depression. She was very proud of her savings account for her son that included the money from his sponsorship. She passed around the bank register for all of us to see. We began to chat with the family. We asked if they were getting all the medicine they needed; they were. We asked what subject he enjoyed in school; he likes English. We asked what he wanted to be when he grew up; he wants to be an artist, more specifically an author. We finally asked if they went to church, and they proudly told us that they were Protestant. It dawned on me that I was going to to be able to give the children's books to this young man who dreams of being an author. Then the mother told is something I will never forget, she told us that she was happy to have us visit. She said, "You are the only one's who have come here to see us." I felt so completely filled with joy and sadness at the same time. Joy that we were able to visit this family and bless this young man with children's books. Sorrow for the struggle that this family faced with their medical problems, stigma they face having HIV and depression, trying to keep feed and warm in their metal and cardboard home. But I also felt joy that they knew Jesus, that they will one day be free from these Earthly struggles in Our Father's House. As we left I knew I had been blessed by our visit exponentially more that the family could have ever been. We said our goodbyes with hugs and Ethiopian style three kisses on alternating cheeks. As we drove away, I realized that God had orchestrated our seemingly random events that day to bless that boy who loves stories and books with books that he could call his own. That family may not have had visitors, but God is watching, God knows their struggles, their needs, and their desires. He loves and cares for them. What a hope we have in Jesus!

"The Lord is near all who call out to Him, all who call out to Him with integrity. He fulfills the desires of those who fear Him." Psalm 145:18-19a

Written by : Jennifer Lane

Friday, August 22, 2014

Rich in History and Culture

 photo photo-31.jpgAfter a week of humbling work at the orphanages, our team was eager to embrace the culture of the people of Addis Ababa. As we rode in our trusty vans up Entoto mountain, around us were people preparing to feast and give thanks to God with their families and friends. Donkeys carried bags and packages full of produce, while goats and chickens were being purchased. At the top of the mountain was the location of Addis's very first church, as well as a museum that housed the most treasured items of previous emperors. I was delighted to hear more about the country in which I have prayed for in the months leading up to our trip. This experience gave me the desire to return as soon as God allows me to now that I have more knowledge of the city's background and culture.

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 After our time at the church, we were told that we would be taken to a market where many vendors sold traditional Ethiopian items. Little did I know, we would be taken to a much deeper level of love and appreciation for this beautiful and simple life that almost seems to contradict itself. Watching my team run from makeshift hut to any sort of covering to escape the heavy rains, all I could think of was how happy people seem to be with so little. From somebody who proclaims to know the Lord so well, this convicted my heart to a desire to change the way I perceive the world from the comfort of my easy life back in North Carolina.
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At the market, beautiful textiles were made on a simple sewing machine right beside where they were sold. We then drove to the "post office" where more souvenir-type items could be purchased. Our team had a great time searching for the perfect gifts to bring back to our family or something for our home that would remind us of the moving experience we shared. Our time in Addis was so impactful and we are very grateful for it.

Our day ended at a small pizza joint close to the post office. We all have loved the Ethiopian dinners we have had, we were excited to have a meal that touched closer to home. Our conversations all around the table varied from God-moving experiences during our week to the hilarious times we have had as a group just trying to figure it all out. Out of everything, I am struggling with the fact that tomorrow I will get on a plane and leave the children that have impacted my life so permanently. I can't wait to see what God does through this trip in the lives of the children we met with the help from all of the donors that made this life-changing journey possible.

Written by: Shannon Mathis

Meet Lillyanna

 photo 20140819020255_IMG_3371.jpgWe had the special privilege of meeting a beautiful girl named Lillyanna. She is so precious and her smile lights up her face. She enjoys listening to music and loves to hold toys in her hands. Lillyanna enjoys physical touch and interaction. She thrives on close up and personal connection with others. A highlight of the visit was hearing her laugh in response to our laughter from playing with her. Despite her medical needs, joy is easily found in her eyes.

She is a beautiful girl and made in God's image. She needs a home that will provide the unique and abounding love and care she deserves. I believe she would blossom with a family willing to invest in her life and future, giving her the love and attention all children crave. Help us find her 'forever family". You may request more information at

Written by: Janelle Kennedy & Keri Bosch

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Girls Dream

 photo 20140821035340_IMG_3762.jpgWe began our day by driving to a local orphanage, and were greeted by excited girls, all with big smiles and enthusiastic waves. We were equally as was the day the mattresses we fundraised for leading up to the trip were delivered!

We stepped out of our vans and received warm hugs and handshakes. The team began to break into small groups with the girls to do crafts, music, finger nail painting and all things girly! The girls were so eager to do every activity we brought. Unfortunately, it began to rain very hard, and we all quickly moved inside.

 photo 20140821030349_IMG_3725.jpgOur team was taken on a tour around the orphanage. The girls were so proud to show us their rooms and the thing that struck me the most was how similar the older girls were to American teenagers! They had posters on their walls of pop stars, as well as drawings and sayings. Of course, the conversations turned towards their favorite singers, and Rihanna and Shakira were at the tops of their list. Some girls even showed off their best moves to us, and we were impressed!
Speaking of dancing, my favorite part of the day was learning about a group of older girls who make up a dance team called "Girls Dream." They showed our team one of their routines, and let me tell you, Rihanna better watch out...she's got some stiff competition! But in all seriousness, it was great to see this group of young women channel their talents and aspirations into "Girls Dream" and use the gift of song and dance to fellowship and have some fun!

At last, we heard a big truck come up the path to the orphanage...the mattresses had arrived! The excitement was palatable for both the girls and us! The mattresses were loaded off the truck and working together with the girls at the orphanage, we were privileged to physically put fresh sheets on the new mattresses and hand deliver them to some of the girls' rooms. Watching the girls make their beds "just so" with their new blankets with such pride was quite emotional. To God be ALL the glory!

 photo 20140821034347_IMG_3757.jpg  photo 20140821040905_IMG_3769.jpg The rooms were prayed over and then it was time to go. There were many hugs exchanged and even some tears shed as we said our goodbyes.

The second orphanage we visited was smaller in size, but not in spirit! We had a wonderful time playing balloon games and sidewalk chalk with the children. We also had meaningful discussions with the orphanage director on how we can all make a difference in an orphan's life.

I would be remiss if I didn't share two final thoughts. First, I have grown to love and cherish the friendships I have made with my fellow team members. There has been much laughter, tears, life stories told and passions shared. I feel so grateful God has allowed me to serve alongside such amazing people.

Lastly, I am so very humbled by all of you back home who have prayed for us, encouraged us, supported us and loved on us this week. We have felt your prayers from many thousand miles away.

Philippians 1:3 "I thank my God every time I remember you."

Written by: Suzanne Ward

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Red, Brown, Yellow, Black and White they are precious in His sight

"Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world. Red, brown, yellow, black, and white, they are precious in His sight. Jesus loves the little children of the world."

I must have sung this song a dozen times today. Regardless of the circumstances the children here find themselves in, there is a Father in heaven that loves them more than we can fathom. Even though we were overwhelmed by the number of orphans we loved on today, the truth is that God knows each child by name. He knows every hair on their head and that each child is fearfully and wonderfully made in His image.

 photo photo-27.jpgWe had the opportunity to take diapers and formula with us at our first stop this morning and also provided a few electric heaters for the nursery. We were able to snuggle the babies, change their diapers, play and sing with them. One little guy was particularly fond of playing peek-a-boo and his smile lit up the whole room! We met a cutie in the special needs room who insisted on shaking each one of our hands. She would squeal with delight at our touch! We played games and got to hang out with the older ones before leaving for lunch. These kids are no different in what they want most. To be loved and held and we are so thankful we were able to do that this morning.
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After a quick stop to eat our lunches we briefly visited a privately run orphanage and then scooted off to the Marketplace run by Hope for Korah. This amazing program teaches women a trade to help them become self reliant and be able to provide an income for their families. There may have been a little shopping done and then we had the awesome experience of visiting the Elder's Home for Lepers (also funded in part by Hope for Korah). This home was built for elderly lepers in the Korah community that have been outcast because of their disease. Here they are cared for and loved on by many! It was very emotional to think that these were the very people that Jesus himself sought out. They were so full of joy that it couldn't help but bubble over in song and spill out onto the rest of us! It was truly an honor to share space with these men. After our visit we drove through Korah where people make their homes next to the city's garbage dump.Their days are spent rummaging through the trash on hopes of finding food for the day or discarded metal or plastic they can salvage and sell.

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It was a busy and exhausting day but God's grace was evident. Even in the dark places you can find the Light. You just have to look for it. Whether it be in the nannies that patiently care for the babies or the laughter of a child. God is there.

Written by: Courtney Rowe


Today was a day of many celebrations!  August 19th is an Ethiopian holiday called Behu. On this day the Christian Orthodox Church celebrates the Transfiguration of Jesus. The local boys go around town singing rhythmic chant-type songs of praise. We experienced this first thing this morning when a group of boys came to the gate of Ember House and sang for us. They played homemade instruments while they sang. It was a great way to start our day!

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Then we were off to the America World transition home. This is where children live who are already in the midst of the adoption process. Most of them already have a "forever family" but are still in Ethiopia waiting for all of the proper paperwork to go through. While we were there the celebrations continued!  Two of our team members were able to bring care packages to a few of the children who already have parents in the United States and are just waiting on the final stages if their process. What a joy it was to watch these children open their packages!  The smiles on their faces were precious as they opened their gifts to find clothing, stickers, candy, jewelry, toys, pictures, and special notes from Mom and Dad. Our team members who were sent with these packages were honored to be able to deliver them. 

We also got to experience another joyous celebration while we were at the transition home. After a two year process, two brothers finally got to go home with their dad today. What a privilege it was for our team to witness this!  A few of our team members are in the midst of the adoption process. They watched with hope and anticipation that it will be their turn to do the very same thing one day soon. 

Before leaving the transition home, the staff made a beautiful traditional Ethiopian coffee service for us. The boys sang for us in celebration of Behu. We were honored and blessed by their loving kindness toward us. 
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This afternoon we traveled to another orphanage where we were able to love on more children. We spent time with the older children making friendship bracelets. We also visited the babies and the special needs nursery. It was there that we met Elsa. She is a precious little girl with some serious medical challenges. I, along with a couple of other teammates, spent some time with her and loved on her. She was a blessing to us for sure!  Please join us in praying specifically for Elsa, her medical needs, and that she might find her "forever family". 

We ended the day with more celebration!  We went out for a traditional Ethiopian meal. While we ate delicious food, we were entertained by an Ethiopian band and a group of dancers. A few of our team members even did a bit of dancing themselves!
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All in all it was a great day!  A day full of celebrations!

Written by : Angie Hudgins 

Monday, August 18, 2014

Beautiful Big Eyes

 photo 20140818022013_IMG_3245.jpgToday was our first official trip to an orphanage and it was a great day. I think we were all very anxious to get going this morning! The morning was spent at a private orphanage and we began our visit with sweet little babies. And oh how precious they were! What beautiful big eyes that stared back into ours. Some of us were a bit rusty at the baby thing, but we all quickly found one, two or three of them to cuddle and play with. It was such a joy to get a giggle and a smile and to be able to provide them with the warmth of human touch. It was beautiful to see their innocence and openness to the love and affection of others.
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After we visited with the babies, we took a short tour of the older children's rooms and stopped in to see the children with special needs. Again, the beauty of simple love and affection and the effects of that on each of these children was overwhelming. We got to share with one boy his enthusiasm for music and celebration as we broke into impromptu singing and clapping. Human touch is a powerful thing, make no mistake. So much can pass between people even when there is no voice, or when there is no hearing or visible understanding.

Next we played and sang and danced with the other children at the orphanage and what a great time we had! We played football (soccer for us Americans), basketball, we taught them songs and dance and they taught us a few songs and games too. It was like the best recess ever! They really loved the new soccer balls we brought. One little boy just would not let go of the one he held in his tiny little hands. The older girls were very interested in us and I enjoyed talking about school with them. Some of them spoke English quite well. Even with the older children it is still quite clear that human touch is craved and needed. They were quite curious about us too and of course loved to get their picture taken but don't forget to show them the picture after you have taken it! What a wonderful time of play and music and talking with these children.

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After eating a quick lunch of peanut butter sandwiches and bananas we headed over to another private orphanage in what seemed to be the opposite side of the city. Upon arrival we were greeted by a beautiful welcome song in English that the children had obviously practiced many times. My heart was definitely filled with joy at this sweet gesture. We then went to see the baby room where the little ones were just finishing up their naps. Anyone who has children knows that they are most precious when consumed in slumber. But alas, that was quickly interrupted when one got up and almost all the rest were awakened! Only two little boys sleeping in the same crib would not let the noise deter them from their sleep. As in the morning, the eyes of these babies and their tiny fingers and toes were captivating to me and held my heart if only for a few minutes. We quickly had to move downstairs to join back up with the children who had so lovingly greeted us with song. They surprised us with even more songs including "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" sung in both English and Ahmaric (language of Ethiopia). How beautiful to hear those little voices! We then passed out rhythm sticks and bells, which they loved, and taught them "This Little Light of Mine." Music is so powerful and beautiful to communicate so much in such a short period of time. We all hated to leave so quickly but time passed more quickly than we liked. In all of the places we visited saying goodbye was very hard. It is difficult to feel as if you really loved well when time is so short.

The last stop of the day was at a youth center in a small community facilitated by a group of private sponsors. This is a sponsorship program that allows parents to continue to keep their own children in their home by giving them the opportunity to make a living while their children are well-cared for, receive three meals a day and learn life skills. It is the rainy season break here, which is like our summer break in the US, and this center bridges the gap and gives the kids a place to come and learn and have meals they may not otherwise have. These children are not orphans but to support them is a way to support the local community and the families living in them. The youth again greeted us with the same beautiful welcome song. We stayed only briefly but enjoyed meeting them and seeing what they are doing there. The English spoken by the children there was very good and they were all extremely polite. It was a privilege to meet them.

 photo photo-9.jpg It was a wonderful first day and there were so many examples of God's grace and mercy interwoven into it all. It is so amazing to see God's image in the people I meet here. He is a beautiful God that has made beautiful people. He loves them all and sent His son for them all. If you keep that at the forefront of your mind, loving them comes easy as His love flows through.

Written by: Keri Bosch

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Stepping outside our box

Our first day in Ethiopia has been great and exhausting! We are very tired and trying to adjust to the time difference. We have been experiencing local food at most of our meals which has been a great treat but also a lot for our American tummies to process! In the spirit of keeping it real friends, I will tell you that the biggest adjustment for me so far is not being able to flush toilet paper. This requires a whole new mindset of thinking and method and it's been hard! I'll leave it at that :)

We spent the majority of our time unloading and sorting the thirty-one, 50 pound bags of donations we brought with us. We are looking forward to being able to start delivering the needed items to the different orphanages starting Monday.

We also met with our Ethiopian liaison. Her name is Israel and she is lovely! She will accompany us on most of our journeys while here. Her husband has been in the states going to school in Tulsa, OK for over a year. Wish we could trade places with him for a bit so he could see his 10 month old baby in person!

The highlight of our trip so far has been attending church at International Evangelical Church. It actually felt a lot like church at home. The preacher was from Eritrea and his main topic was getting outside of your own box and telling others the gospel. How appropriate! I love how the message here was about missions and emphasised for everyone to be out spreading the gospel. I was also really amazed because they had a Korean service as well and they were just starting a Chinese and French small group. We took time to greet our neighbors and the couple behind us was from Zimbabwe and the music minister was from North Carolina! Crazy! Such a small world especially when you realize we are all brothers and sisters in the kingdom of God.
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After church we made a trip to lunch and coffee at Kaldi's coffee, the local Starbucks knockoff. Then off to Safeway to buy diapers and formula! The local grocery store was very interesting. We got patted down and our bags searched before we could even enter! I know we must very comical to the locals. It takes almost all 12 of us to determine how far our dollars are going in birr, the local currency. Barry has now become the team expert for all our purchases! We also came across some washing machines at the grocery store and we are hoping we can buy a few of these for several of the locations we will be visiting. Originally in the states we thought this was going to be out of the question but we realize now they were quoting us the price in birr, not dollars. Please pray that we can meet this very great need and be able to buy these machines and get them installed.

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We anticipate receiving the mattresses later this week. Please continue to pray that we will be able to see this project through to fruition. We brought 362 sheets and blankets with us and do hope we will be able to bless these girls with new beds and bedding while we are here.

Our message in church today was on Barnabas and how he was the great encourager. He noted that by being an encouragement, we can change someone's life. This made me think of all of you. I know every one of us have received encouragement from all of you and believe our lives are being changed. We hope to spread this encouragement to everyone we encounter. Thank you again for your prayers and encouragement as we move through this week.

Written by : Shelly Wilson

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Fifteen hours later

 photo photo-20.jpgWe started our long ride to Africa on a small plane, which turned into a big plane! On the plane we had a TV right in front of us. I could watch movies, play games, and see a map of where we came from and where the plane was headed. All that on one TV! We even had our own pillow, blanket, socks and an eye mask. The only hard part about the traveling was not getting a lot of sleep.

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I knew as soon as I stepped outside I would love Addis Ababa. The sun was not hot and there was a nice breeze. We had vans that picked us up and took us to the guest home. The ride was bumpy but we saw lots of things that we do not see in the U.S. I saw three boys leading a group of cows. I even saw a horse. The buildings scaffolding are made out wood. We even went to the bank to exchange our U.S. money. It has been a great first day and we have been taken care of so well and I'm glad that we arrived safely. Please continue to pray for our time in Addis Ababa . We are very thankful for how God has helped us on the trip.

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Written by: Libbie Wilson

Friday, August 15, 2014

Were off to share that Jesus is enough, Ethiopia here we come!

 photo 2014081595041913.jpg We are going to Ethiopia to minister and to love on orphans, but the most important thing we are going to do for them is to tell them about a God that created them, sees them and knows them down to the hair on their heads.  That there is a God that values them and knows their beauty. That He wants for them to know Him. That there is a God who loves them and most of all sent His son to die for them.  Psalm 27:10 says “For my father and my mother have forsaken me, but the Lord will take me in.” We will tell them about the God that will take them in and love them more than any mother and father ever can.  You see, we are all orphans in a sense.  

We have all been orphaned by sin, pain, sorrow, failure, shame, guilt, the list goes on and on.  We have all sinned, all failed, all fallen short of the glory of God.  But God has not left us in that shame and in the pain of sin. He doesn’t want us to be left as orphans. God demonstrates His love for us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.  He sent His son to this earth to die to take our place.  And He didn’t stop there.  He conquered death when He rose three days later and proved to us that the debt we owed, He paid. And because of Jesus, we all have the opportunity to become adopted as sons and daughters of the one true God.  The love He so freely poured out on the cross is a love that is truly at the core of why we are all going. 1 John 4:19 sums it up saying “We love because He first loved us.

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It breaks our heart to know that there are people, especially children, in this world who have never heard the name of our savior Jesus. This love is not something we have earned or can ever earn.  We are not going to Ethiopia to try to earn our way into heaven or to get on God’s good side.  There is absolutely nothing we can do to even try to do that.  His love is 100% no strings attached free.  All you have to do is believe in Jesus and what He did on the cross as the only way to be right with God.  If we could be good enough, do enough good works, go to church enough, there would be no reason for Him to die. The truth is that the love that put Him on the cross is the most life changing love there is. If these children have no one else to love them in the entire world except for Jesus Christ, they have enough.  We desperately want them to know that and we want you all to know that too.  We not only want the love of Jesus Christ to be known by the children of Ethiopia, but you as well.

Written By: Keri Bosch

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Packing & Preparing...T-minus two days

 photo IMG_1380.jpgWe have been counting down for months for our mission trip to Ethiopia and we are almost there. A portion of our team leaves from Texas tomorrow and the rest of the team will join them on Friday in D.C. We will all fly out on Friday together on a really long flight to Ethiopia. We are so excited and look forward to sharing with all of you as we go to do the work God has called us to. We have our itinerary in hand and will be visiting five orphanages and America World's Transition home. We hope to take you along with us, depending on how well we can connect to WiFi we will update daily about our trip.

Over the course of the last few months we have been collecting items to take that we can use to help the children and their caregivers. We have be blessed by the support of so many as you have dug deep to help meet the immediate needs of so many children. We have spent countless hours packing and squeezing in items to all the crevices of the thirty-one suitcases we will be taking filled with donations. We will also have twelve of our own bags as well. If you have not put those numbers together that is a whooping forty-four suitcases. As we were packing we could not help but look around at all that we had collected and stand amazed, our biggest problem was figuring our how to get all the stuff to Africa.  "Truly, I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me." Matt 25:40
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We ask for your prayers that all of our bags will get to their final destination successfully and that we will make wise choices in how to distribute the items. Our pray is that God would be glorified through our efforts because it is nothing we have done and everything that he has accomplished.
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Written by: Cindy Douglass

Monday, August 11, 2014

Embracing the Ethiopian Cuisine

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We met for a night of fellowship and food at Abyssinia Ethiopian Restaurant in Raleigh.We are really trying to immerse ourselves as best we can to learning as much as we can about Ethiopia. It is a yummy treat to have traditional Ethiopian food locally. The Abyssinia Restaurant is a family owned restaurant that serves authentic Ethiopian dishes that are all cooked from scratch. It was truly a dining experience like no other.
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Dining in Ethiopia starts with the breaking of injera. Injera may best be described as a very large crepe/pancake that is torn into smaller pieces. The smaller pieces are then used to eat the various stew like dishes. All the dishes are served from the same plate signifying the bond of friendship and loyalty. Ethiopians say that food tastes better when eaten together. The night was not complete until fresh roasted coffee beans were turned into some amazing coffee. The best part of the night though, was getting to bond with some wonderful women and plan for the up coming trip.

Written by: Janelle Kennedy