Let me introduce you to Abigail. She is a 15 year old darling young woman who has grown up at Hannah's Orphan House. Although she has no earthly parents, she is NOT an orphan as she is God's daughter and there are NO orphans in God's kingdom. Nor does she have the perceived typical attitude of an orphan. Her eyes are bright and she is full of God’s love and joy. Most of the children at Hannah’s Orphan House exude this joy…if they have been there long enough. There are a few, who recently arrived, that still show signs of despair and sadness, but I know with Hannah’s love and Godly influence, this will change over the years. The kids at this orphanage wanted to know what U.S. children were like. We told them some of the unfortunate things that have happened to children in the U.S. like not being able to pray at school and watching too much T.V. and the children in the orphanage wanted to pray FOR the children in the U.S. That was amazing to us...that these children who live in an orphanage would want to pray for the children in the U.S., most of whom live in prosperity and grow up in families. Abigail volunteered to lead the prayer. She was the most amazing intercessor I have every heard. As she prayed, not a timid prayer, but one with power, all the kids would say Amen after each passionate statement she made. Except they pronounce it "Ah-Meen". I think the war paint on her face was so appropriate! We had no idea what she was saying, but most of us were in tears as we witnessed this extraordinary time of prayer. I aspire to pray with such boldness and passion as Abigail one day. If I could adopt anyone, I would love to have adopted Abigail, but again, she has a Heavenly Father and through Hannah's Orphan House, He has provided her stability and a Godly inheritance. I cannot wait to see Abigail again! She is one that has remained in my heart as I know God has wonderful plans for her and has brought her up in His power and love.
Please also take a look at Almaz's blog page. She is the wonderful young Ethiopian woman that God brought alongside me to help lead this trip. God knew what He was doing when He brought the two of us together. We will be friends forever. I love her dearly. She has an amazing story of survival and how God is now using her to reach the orphans in her home country. He is our Redeemer!
It burdened me to walk down the street and see the little ones with dirt and flies all over their face. We stopped to give some food and clothes to this one family on the road in Lalibela. I asked this woman if I could clean her boy's face as it was covered with flies. I can only imagine how good it felt to have his face clean! I pray it relieved him of the flies, if only for a couple of hours...
Numbers 6:25 - 27 25 the LORD make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you;
26 the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace."
Okay, here's an incredible story...and for those of you who don't believe, well, you are just going to have to get over it! ;) It's in the Bible!
While we were walking the streets in Addis visiting different orphan's houses, we were asked to pray for this old man who was really sick and had not left his house in months. So, about 6 of us from the Visiting Orphans team, plus 4 of our translators went to pray for him. While we were in their hut, we decided we should pray for his wife. Before laying hands on her, Serafel, one of our translators told me, "She's got an evil spirit". Oh Well! That didn't detour us in the least. Isn't this what we signed up for?! So, we proceeded and thank God for all the books I've read, stories I've heard and equipping I've received by many godly mentors in my life...because as we began to pray for her, sure enough, the evil spirit made itself known. The cool thing is that none of us were afraid and in fact a peace I'd never felt and a boldness came over me. We were speaking in English and our translators, especially Bruk, were speaking in Amharic and within moments that woman was free of that Spirit in Jesus Name! She fell to her knees praising God! It was an amazing thing to be a witness to and a part of! Well, while this was going on, kids from the community were piled up watching this through the window and word spread. So, people began asking us from all over to pray for their sick relatives. The people and kids came out of their houses and started walking with us down the road. It reminded me of the mass of people Christ drew as He walked on this earth when they would hear of the miracles He was performing! Once I got home someone a missionary from YWAM told me that Jesus would have stopped and turned around and told the crowd "Do you want to be healed?! I am the Truth and the Way and the Life". So wish I had that knowledge to have stopped and pointed the crowd to Him. Hopefully they heard that we were there in the name of Jesus though...Next time!
John 14: 12 I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these...
While walking through Addis we ran into a shop that sells the grain, "teft" for the injera bread that all Ethiopians use to eat their meals. We got to walk in and see how this grain is packaged and sold. They separate the pure grain from the chaff which is spoken about so much in the Bible. The definition for chaff is: The dry bracts enclosing mature grains of wheat and some other cereal grasses, removed during threshing. Two men will put the grain in this box and shake it constantly, sifting it. As they shake it, the chaff will separate from the grain. You can see the chaff in this picture. It is the light colored circle in the middle...They will then gently blow this chaff out of the box onto the floor. They will do this process over and over again until all the pure grain has been sifted thouroughly. Isn't it cool to know that He GENTLY just blows the impure out of our lives, it may not feel that way at times, but He really does take great care with our hearts...He is constantly sifting us..separating the pure from the impure.
We created a blog for our mission team. Please feel free to visit it and see the perspectives from everyone in the group! There is also a short video on our trip!
I heard this all too familiar song and thought it was perfect for describing our trip so I titled the blogpage, Where the Streets Have No Name Here is what is posted as the description for this blogpage:
In Ethiopia the streets are unnamed. The lyrics below symbolize what most of us went through...getting out of our comforts zones, out of ourselves and loving others...And as we do this, we are able to gain the right perspective on our lives. "I want to run, I want to hide, I want to tear down the walls, That hold me inside I want to reach out, And touch the flame, Where the streets have no name I want to feel sunlight on my face, I see the dust cloud disappear Without a trace..."
"Some have envisioned Jesus coming to the big city. Instead of heading for the largest church in town, he goes out on the streets to mix with humanity. He views the street children; He views the elderly street people whose nameless faces have long been forgotten by whatever family they may have had; He views an endless series of other sorrows and injustices - and He weeps! He weeps and will not be comforted for He did not come to be inspired by the reverent and respectable in their churches, but He came to see what His servants are doing to fulfill His command to rescue the lost and suffering." -Odyssey of a Romanian Street Child (by Catalin Dobrisan and John Kachelmyer)
At the end of our trip we went back to the Kirschner Study Center to give them a donation of the extra money that had been raised prior to our visit. We also dropped off supplies and children's clothes that had been donated. Almaz, the Director and her staff were so thankful. We all circled around them and reached out our hands and prayed for them. As we prayed, several of the women began weeping and crying out. In Ethiopia, they give out this shrill cry in praise to God. It's an amazing thing to hear... This photo captures Almaz weeping and others praising God. In American standards the amount of money we gave them was so small, but to them, they were so blessed. The meeting turned into a great church service as some of them ended up on their knees overcome by the Spirit. He is so powerful and unpredictable..You never know where He will show up! I'm so thankful for this time with these special women. They are blessed beyond measure for the work they do with the least of these...
The caption above are lyrics from a song by Christy Nockels. This picture is of one of the orphans at Hannah's Orphans Home in Addis. Isn't she beautiful!!? Divided by the Great Rift Valley, this land, Ethiopia,is twice the size of Texas, and faces an orphan crisis. UNICEF estimates that one in ten Ethiopian children, about 4.6 million, is an orphan. She is just an example of the millions of orphans that need love and security. At Hannah's Orphans Home, she is recieving the love of a caregiver and her other orphan brothers and sisters that are there. Hannah's Home does not adopt out, as she is creating an environment there in Addis where they can be raised and even financially be supported so they can go to college. She has about 90 children in her care and she started years ago with just 5! Hannah is an amazing woman who God has called to help care for these orphans...She inspires me!
Lalibela is famous for it's rock churches that are near 800 years old. At the exit of one of the churches, the blind and deaf can be found there and others with severe diseases, all begging for money. Some of us gave money, but we also gathered around them and prayed for them and for this man specifically. He has a "tropical" disease in his mouth. Please pray for his healing.. and for a doctor to meet him.
Our group that traveled to Ethiopia was so amazing. Each was hand picked by God, from all over the U.S. Each came to the group with a special gift that God used to accomplish His work while we were there. We had wonderful translators who were Young Life leaders there in Addis Ababa. They were so much fun and spoke great English and they got right in there with the kids just as much as we were..so they really added to our group. Young Life in Ethiopia, isn't that amazing!?
We met this young girl, Zimade, in Lalibela and the group decided to financially help her in getting this "cyst" removed from her upper lip. So, we left money and direction with her step father to bring her on the 2 day bus trip from Lalibela to Addis so we could take her to the surgeon. We left Lalibela on faith that this was actually going to happen. Well, they showed up early in the morning exactly 2 days later and God opened so many doors at the private Christian Korean hospital there in Addis. From that point we were able to see a plastic surgeon who told us that this is not a cyst, but actually a mass of capilaries. She nees an injection once a week for a month to narrow and constrict these capilaries and then if cosmetic surgery is still needed, they can work on removing what bump is left over. Problem was that they did not have the medicine for the injections there in Addis, so I am working here in teh U.S. to locate this medicine and send it to them there in Addis. Please keep this in your prayers! They are already running out of money for food since Zimade is away from home and now staying at a relative's house. Please keep her in your prayers and for continued favor in locating and acquiring and sending this medicine. We can't keep her out of school for too long...
Here is a link to her condition: http://www.birthmarks.us/case1.htm
If you know a plastic surgeon that can help us get the meds, please comment and let me know. Thank you!
At each orphanage we each led a station. My station was to paint faces. This was a hit! The kids so loved it and even some of the staff got in on it. I had fun painting them as tigers and zebras, etc. This lady worked at the Study Center and wanted to be painted as a tiger with the words, "Jesus Saved Me" on her forehead... :) Not one child went without face paint and we had just enough paint to last the entire trip...
Here's a picture of some of the children on the top of the mountain in Lalibela. Ababa is the second child from the left..Their feet were amazing. Hard as rocks and there had been a drought for atleast 3 months and so they were all so dirty. they would walk down this mountain, an hours walk each way to go to school in the city of Lalibella. Barefoot the whole way..
Hi Everyone, It's so difficult to write due to time restraints and lack of working internet. But I am in Lalibella...a city out here in the mountains of Ethiopia. There are churches carved out of the mountains and the people and the houses and the way of life are what you envision Africa looking like. Lots of poverty, but such warm people. Beggars everywhere. So difficult, b/c you give all your money and belongings away. we took a mule/horse ride up the mountain to 9000 ft. above sea level. It took all day. There was the little girl (9 years old) that lived up in the mountains. She was ragged adn dirty and had no shoes, like most of the kids. Her feet were hard as rocks. This mountain path was full of large boulders and rocks. She followed me all the way down this large mountain barefoot. She was like a lost little puppy. No matter how many times we told her to stay, she followed... All she wanted was a pair of shoes. When we ran into her initially she had cut her foot...so we bandaged it and she just followed us. So, I got her up on the horse with me and loved on her and let her ride the rest of the way down since it was obvious she was not going to stay in her village. Once we got down, I gave money to a guy to go buy her some tennis shoes. When he brought them back, her feet were just too filthy to wear them, so I asked the hotel for an open hotel room to bathe her. This was the most incredible thing yet...I put her in the tub and I've never seen a child so thankful in my life. She went crazy washing herself and thanking me over and over again. She had not been bathed in like 3 months due to a drought here. Then I put lotion on her and gave her the shirt I was wearing as I had on layers. I've never experienced the love of God like this...I could just feel His love flowing through me to her. Then I took her into the restaurant to eat with us all and she looked like a little princess...she'd never seen a restaurant or so much food. She was so overwhelmed... I will send pics of her when we found her and when we sent her off again. It truly was an example of what God does with us when we come to Him and He adopts us into HIs family. He picks us up, bandages our wounds, cleans us up, gives us new clothes of righteousness and then invites us to HIs banqueting table...and of course, in the mean time, He loves on us. I have to go now...so many stories to tell. Love in Him,
This is the other precious baby girl that fell asleep in my arms. Loved it! I can only imagine the comfort to those babies of being held as they fall asleep. Reminds me of the verse Isaiah 66:33 As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you..
This baby is an orphan that was up for adoption at one of the orphanages we visited in Addis Ababa. I loved it because after 5 minutes of holding him, he just fell asleep in my arms... I melted, of course. This happened twice to me. Of course, every maternal instinct you have just kicks in and you want to move heaven and earth to take them home with you...
Here is a photo from the Kichene Study Center we visited in Addis Ababa.I was actually holding two girls and just loving it...but this image only catured the one girl. They LOVE to be held and love so much affection and attention.
We visited orphans at a Mother Theresa orphanage in Addis. There was an autistic toddler boy that ran up to me as soon as he saw he and jumped up and down until I held him. Once I held him, he would not let me put him down! If i tried to, he would cry uncontrollably and throw himself down with his head hitting the concrete floor... I carried him until my arms gave out and it was so hard to finally just have to walk away from him. He had all these knots on the back of his head, I guess from where he's done this before..I still have the image of him throwing himself down and his head hitting that concrete so hard..he seemed completely oblivious to the pain of hitting the floor...only conscious of the pain of not being held anymore. At another orphanage, a little 4 year old girl would run up to you to be held. She had learned to wrap her legs around you so that when you tried to put her down, she would so contort her legs and feet so that she had you in a wedge and you had to have someone else literally pull her off of you. They are so hungry for love and affection. It's a basic need in everyone... they want so desperately to be held...
Follow along as I take this mission seriously and minister to the orphans in this world.
Visiting Orphans...It pretty much speaks for itself. Our lives are made to give away to others and I love it that helping orphans is pure and undefiled religion! Follow along as I take God seriously about this mission and minister to the orphans in this world. He is constantly at work in our lives..we just sometimes have to shift our perspective to notice Him. I pray you will hopefully see Him in the words and pictures below..through my perspective.
This blogpage follows the mission trips I lead to minister to orphans in this world. I am the Executive Director of a mission sending agency called Visiting Orphans. (www.visitingorphans.org) I believe my mission in life is similar to the President of Compassion International, Dr. Wes Stafford. In his book, "Too Small to Ignore" he says, "On one side of this international bridge, my role is to minister to the poor, to the orphans, to "comfort the afflicted." And then I cross the bridge, coming back to the Western, more affluent world, where my job is to speak and write and to "affict the comfortable" to call them to action." Loving people on both sides of the spectrum...
I pray that something in my words or pictures will inspire you to reach out beyond yourself...to GO and help the "least of these".