Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Orphan Crisis

This is the most amazing video I've seen on the actual statistics of how many orphans there are in this world. Please take a moment to watch it and realize the crisis the world is in. If you are moved to help just one, please consider buying a "ticket home" for an orphan through the campaign I direct called "An Orphan's Ticket Home"

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Pictures of 2008 Trip

To view all the pictures from both our trips, please click here for Ethiopia and her for Rwanda.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Young & Hopeless

The first two days of our time in EThiopia were spent at the HIV orphanage called AHope. The first day was spent at the young orphange where the kids were below age 8 or so. The children here were like most children, except a few had sores all over the faces. We had to watch which ones we painted, whether we painted their faces or their hands because of this reason. They did seem to have a little less energy than children their own age. I believe this was for two reasons...some of them were most likely battling illnesses and also they just seemed to have such little hope in their eyes. We held puppet shows for them and they delighted in being surprised by Chris who was a wounded man in our play/puppet show. Every once in awhile Chris would yell out, "Oh, Woe is Me!" and boy, did he ham it up and it was scare the kids and they would just delight in it. They probably didn't understand one word of the show, but they got that part! We had them up and dancing and jumping rope. Of course, playing soccer...
The next day we went to the "Older" HIV orphans home. These children had even less hope in their eyes. They seemed to understand more fully their plight. We played more soccer and volley ball and loved on the older girls by painting their hands and faces and nails. There was one little girl who had a gorgeous face, but she was so thin and you could see how tired she was. As the day wore on and the team grew busy with the other kids, we forgot about her. As we were getting ready to leave we were invited to walk through and see where the children live and sleep. I invited some of the team to go with me. We walked into one room and observed all the bunk beds and were about to leave again when I finally noticed that frail little girl all balled up sleeping in one of the bottom bunks. It was obvious she was sick. So, we all laid hands on her to pray for her and she did not budge one inch or respond in any way. Nate, one of the single guys began to weep as we prayed. I truly felt the anointing of God fall on us and that little girl and do believe some healing was exchanged through that time of intercession, but we were so sad as we left as she never once responded to us. The nanny said she gets very tired early and goes to bed for the day around 5 PM.
Many of the team wrestled later that day and week with the reality that not only are these kids orphaned, but they also may not live to be an adult...

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Rwanda - Light in the Darkness

Hi from Rwanda...

So sorry it has taken this long to finally update you all. As you can imagine, our schedule is fully packed and I had to opt to stay back from the mother Theresa orphanage here in Rwanda to be able to let you all know that we are doing very well.

So far we spent 3 nights in Addis and it was truly wonderful. We visited two HIV orphanages where all the children had lost their parents from AIDS and 90% of them had the virus. The name of the orphanage is AHope. The younger children can be adopted and it was so wonderful to see even those with the worst case being adopted and spared a death sentence from this virus. The older children's home though was heartbreaking.. We had some GREAT moments and time with them all playing sports and games and painting, but their energy level and light in their eyes was drastically diminished compared to other orphanages. At the end of our time there we went to see the rooms where the children slept and saw one very thin beautiful 9 year old girl curled up on her bed. She'd been there for the last 2 hours while we played outside with all the others. she would not wake up or respond to us. The caretakers said she was very sick and would tire easily and go to bed for the night very early. So, we all laid hands on her and prayed for her. She did not respond again...But, I know that God's anointing was there as I felt it...how could it not be? He loves her more than we do and is her FATHER. I did see an image that God was surrounding her as if in an incubator with a wall of protection so He coudl heal her, if not of what was temporarily ailing her, then for her ultimate healing of AIDS. I will let you know how she is doing as I hear.
Many hearts broke there in our team. By far the best part of leading a trip is watching those in our trip become wrecked for the Lord and changed forever. It is the biggest blessing and why I do what I do..yes, for the orphans, but I love to watch those who have never seen the reality of the orphan crisis be changed forever and go back and make eternal changes for them.
Rwanda has been difficult for me...We arrived yesterday and went straight to the Genocide Memorial. It was very thorough and detailed leaving no room for your imagincation in both pictures and video. So last night I woke up and grieved and still am. Mostly though b/c after learning of the genocide and the brutality of it just only 13 years ago and then meeting orphans who are now in their twenties who share their story of survival and witnessing all their family's horrible deaths, has been the part that has been hard for me. This is where I can use your prayers. I want to pull it all end and absorb and understand..I want to feel their pain, but I also need to be strong for this team, so pray for my Spirit please....
We go to 3 orphanages today and then another two while we are here. I will share more with you when we get back to Ethiopia on Monday night.
This team is wonderful and unified and the best team yet.
In His very Loving Arms..

Thursday, June 12, 2008

3 weeks & Counting..

Our team is gearing up to leave by going through different training sessions. Last night we were honored to have Pastor Carla Ives from Heart Cry International (www.heartcyinternational.org) join us on our Skype call to train us on Child Evangelism. What a GREAT teacher and her passion for children was so inspirational!
Next week we will be joined by Cissy Eldridge of Mercy Ministries who will train us further on prayer ministry and spiritual warfare. She has prayed over many women who have come through Mercy and seen great deliverances.
The last week we will be joined by Elmira Burke, a nurse and Ethiopian Adoptive mom who will train us on Blood Born Pathogens as this is mandatory for us to be able to work in the HIV orphanages we will be visiting.

Beth, Simon and I held an extremely successful Yard Sale this month in order to raise money for our trip. It was like a flea market at my house! I went up for prayer for this yard sale at my church and while praying for me, I saw an image of God turning over a bowl and shaking out the body of Christ (people) to come help and boy did they turn out! Hannah, Cheryl, Jessica (who flew in from CO!), Sarah, Jenny, Jake, Mike, Simon, Chris H., Evelyn, Chris F., David, and Tarah (who was 9 months pregnant!). We had so many donations that both my front, back yard and shed were covered with items and people who came to shop. We raised $2400! It was such hard work, but so much fun! I loved meeting all my neighbors who came out and getting involved in the community. Chris, Simon and I prayed over an older woman who had had cancer on her voice box and it had been removed. She was believing for God to restore her voice. She sobbed as we prayed for her and it impacted those that waited for us to help them as we prayed for her. (I tried to help someone before praying for her and she grabbed me and told them they could wait!!! That's how desperately she wanted prayer.) We also met a family who was fostering 2 teenage boys. Simon played some football with them and gave one of them a set of roller blades we had as well as the football they were playing with. The foster mom said that they had gone to visit one of the boy's mom and when they showed up his mom and all his siblings had moved away without even telling him. So, they were out yard sale shopping in hopes of getting his spirits back up. He was so blessed by the gifts he received spontaneously from a total stranger. To me this was a small scene of what can happen with the young orphan boys in Africa who have nothing at all. What stories people have when we take the time to get to know them! It really encouraged me to open up my home to this community more..and it is a testimony as to why I decided to live in a transitional neighborhood like this.

Thanks to all of you who donated items, came out to shop or have given money for this trip! In the next few days our team will be working on a puppet show and sign language for songs to share with the kids. They LOVE music, especially music with hand motions and other ways of communicating.

The pictures above are of our successful yard sale! Everyone has their passports ready to go on this trip, so that's a PRAISE for sure! We are reading the following books to prepare our hearts and minds, "Red Letters" by Tom Davis, "The Bait of Satan" by John Bevere, "Always Enough" by Heidi Baker, "Intercessory Prayer" by Dutch Sheets and others.

Thanks for your continued prayers!

Friday, April 25, 2008

2008 Ethiopia and Rwanda Trip!

I'm excited to announce that I am again leading a trip to Ethiopia this Summer. Except this time we will take a detour to Rwanda! The dates are July 7th to July 19th. Come and go with us as we visit a hospital for those with leprosy, minister to street kids, hold orphans and basically just walk in footsteps of our Lord & Savior, allowing Him to lead and guide us wherever His people need us.
Please let me know if you'd like to join us! It's always an amazing time..and will impact you eternally!

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

God Doesn't Give Up!

I have such great news. Zimade is going to have the surgery and all is finally well after 2 years since we first met her! This has been such a testimony to me that God ALWAYS finishes what He starts!! Even when I had given up on Zimade, He had not!

Here is the most recent report from the missionary Plastic Surgeon I was connected with who is working with Zimade. They work with Cure International, an amazing organization healing so many children in so many nations, not just physically, but spiritually. I cannot thank you all enough for all the money and prayers you invested in this little girl. I will keep you all updated as her surgery draws near.


I'm sorry I didn't get back to you sooner. It's been an especially busy week (we had a large group of donors visiting--I'm sure in your position in development, you understand).

I agree w/ Blair Summit that she appears to have a venous malformation. In the US, I'd have her get an MRI. I would be surprised if there's an adequate MRI in E Africa, but I'll look in to it. The MRI would be very helpful but probably not worth sending her to the US just to get that.

She's been in AA for about a month and has had 2 injections at Yek 12 Hospital by an Eth plastic surgeon. Not surprisingly, the injxns didn't help.

I recommended surgical excision and reconstruction. As it has not changed in size for 2-3 years, I suggested this can be done at their convenience. The reconstruction will be fairly complex and will likely involve at least 2 operations, so she would need to be here for at least a few weeks.

Her mother is concerned about the school her daughter has already missed so is thinking she'd like to bring her back when she is on break (maybe around December since our hospital will not be open in time for her June break). I did offer the option of having her care at the Korean Hosp (w/ me as surgeon), but for now, she will wait for the CURE Hospital (our new one).

I also told her to contact me (Robel said he'd keep in touch) if it seemed to be getting larger as I may then recommend operating sooner.

As far as the Eth pl surgeon (Yek 12), they were going to keep the clinic appt (should've been yesterday). I certainly gave them the option to cont care with him, but I think she just wanted to let him know they'd be transferring to us. I was supposed to meet last Monday with the head plastic surgeon there (for other reasons; but I was going to discuss her as well) but it was rescheduled for Friday.

I don't know yet what the quality of the Eth plastic surgeons here are (I do know a little about their training--would not be considered adequate by US standards; but, then again, her surgeon may be particularly talented despite the lack of training). Although I would not have recommended any injections (I don't know what they used), perhaps he attempted that b/c he knew how difficult the reconstruction would be.

I sent her your love and regards and told them that the Lord, Jesus, brought us here for Zimade. They both appreciate you very much.

We do this from the overflow of grace that Christ has poured out on us; we, primarily, wish to offer that same grace to these children for true wholistic healing (their souls).