It Takes a Village

You have heard the phrase, ‘it takes a village to raise a child’, well the same holds true for supplying all the needs for a mission team.

We have been collecting money to help offset the cost of travel as well as ministry items such as coal, food, shoes, clothing, housing and other items that God places before us to fund while we are in Ethiopia. But there are also items that are easier and cheaper to take from here and share when we arrive.

There is one item that literally brings life and that’s baby formula. The orphanages we visit are full of babies and if you have ever had or known babies…they can EAT! This formula is hard to come by and very expensive in Ethiopia and shipping it is crazy, so taking it with us is a blessing. Last year’s team took with us about 250 lbs of formula. When we arrived at the Widow’s and Orphans’ Home in Adama we were met with 11 babies and the nannies were down to 1 1/2 cans of formula to feed them. They saw our bounty and began praising the Lord. It was a gift from Heaven they said.

This year we are blessed to partner with Into the Streets of Ethiopia to take over another 100 lbs of life-giving formula. Please check out their site and see if they are an organization that you would like to support…they are pretty awesome!!!

Our next village member is helping us nurture the souls of the children through arts and crafts. Have you ever taken the time to sit with a child and do a craft together? To see the look on their face when they have completed a task and can see their handy work? There’s nothing like it. We are partnering with a very cool organization called Art For The Nations.

They are supplying us 2 bags of art supplies so that we can make connections with the children. We are very excited about this opportunity as well!

Thank you for supporting us and being part of the village!

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May Our Eyes Be Opened

“Once our eyes are opened, we can’t pretend we don’t know what to do. God, who weighs our hearts and keeps our souls, knows what we know, and holds us responsible to act.” 
Prov. 24:12Children at KorahWidows at Orphans and Widows Home in Adama

Children at GutumumaChildren at KorahKorahOur eyes have been forever opened…

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God Funds What He Favors

Well the team is in the last stretch of fundraising and God is stepping up and showing off!

Friday night we had our last ‘big’ fundraiser at the church. It was to include a local Christian rap group, Raiderz of the Lost and they brought some friends to perform as well, a mime dance group that were phenomenal and a 2 man group named God’s Profit…I am still singing one of their songs….Do Somethin…

We had been sharing the information with our church friends, other youth groups, the local radio stations and anyone else we could think of…we were expecting a full house and huge crowd.

We set up and then waited for the big groups of people to show up…..

We waited …

and waited…

and waited…

…7p.m. rolled around, it was time for the bands to start and there were less than 50 people in the sanctuary. We decided to wait some more…perhaps more people would show?

The plan for the night was to request a 5.00 donation at the door for our team and then collect a love offering for the bands during the concert and the people in the sanctuary at 7pm were mostly their friends. We prayed and watched and prayed and watched some more, and still no big bus full of angels arrived.

We spoke to the bands and they agreed to still perform for the small crowd that had accumulated.

Our team was so disappointed in the turn out for them…but so blessed that they were still willing to perform for us. And perform they did! All 3 groups were God-filled and an amazing blessing!

We had a small video of our last mission trip that we played, we spoke for a bit about why we were there and what we were doing and what God was doing in the relationships He was building.

Then God showed us His Glory… the guys from Raiderz took a Love Offering for US! They stood before the people gathered and asked them to support us. One of them started it by opening his own wallet. I know our Team was blown away (are still blown away!) by the generosity and love that poured out of God’s people. Tiny children were taking money to the front…adults were coming forward…it was an overflow that we couldn’t have imagined!

God supplied over 900.00 on Friday night!

More importantly He supplied new friendships, new connections, and a humbling reminder that what we see as a disappointment can become the greatest blessing if we just trust in Him.

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Our Ethiopian Itinerary

Now that we are approaching our travel date, it’s getting exciting. We are less than 60 days from our trip and there is still so much to do and supplies to collect.

We received our itinerary, and this helps to make it that much more real for us all.

We will arrive early on Sunday morning and head straight to Korah so that we can worship with our friends at the church. What a way to start the week huh?!

For the next several days we will be working along side our friends at Korah Mesgane Church distributing food, working with the church leadership, loving on the people that Jesus told us were the least of these…yet the greatest!

Time permitting we will be visiting the Fistula Hospital and then our friends at the Mercy Development Center in Addis. This center has 2 compounds, one each for boys and girls. They minister to the street children of Addis and bring them back to the compound, if they are willing, for shelter, love, food and education. It’s a wonderful ministry.

Somewhere in here we will be having lunch at Metro Pizza. It’s kind of a running joke that I have a favorite pizza joint in Ethiopia. 😉

We will leave Addis and head out to Adama to visit our friends at the Orphans and Widow’s home. We will be hanging curtains, perhaps painting, and delivering items for the nurses station as well as loving on some beautiful children.

Then we will embark on our 10 hour bus ride West to Nekemte (Ne-Kem-t). This has been described as a sort of safari in a bus. Should be an adventure! I think we could use prayers for this trip. 🙂

We will be visiting 2 remote orphanages and doing some work projects on a porch, painting, planting grass, hanging curtains and putting up metal siding. Any guys out there bummed they aren’t coming? You can come next time!

We will head out to another little orphanage in Gimbie to do some work and meet some children. Then it will be back to Addis and a quick day of packing, shopping and getting ready for home.

It’s a full schedule and one that is sure to provide ample opportunity to learn more about this amazing country, build relationships and strengthen old ones. We are all excited.

We would like to thank those of you that have already supported us! We are down to needing about 3000.00. What a huge gift! We have about 3 more weeks to complete our monetary goal. We believe we can do it!

You ARE part of the team!

If you would feel more comfortable sending a tax deductible check to support us here is that information:

Payable to: VBUMC
Memo: Ethiopia Mission
Address:Virginia Beach UMC
Attention: Ethiopia Mission
212 19th Street
Virginia Beach VA 23451

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Why Are We Going?

Some people have asked why we are going to Ethiopia? Why not somewhere else? What do we think we can accomplish? Will 2 weeks really make a difference?

These are all good questions. Part of the answer is that Ethiopia is where my (Andrea’s) family has adopted from. We have 2 beautiful boys at home and 2 more coming. While in Ethiopia picking up our sons we found that the country is full of so much beauty in the midst of so much pain.

When praying one morning on Sunday School, I felt that God asked that we share the beauty of that country with others, and the only way I knew how to really get people to SEE it was to take them there.

Can we make that much of a difference in 2 weeks. Well no, not in the scheme of things. However in the last post about relationships we can make connections that last a life time.

That is actually our goal. Lifetime commitment. We aren’t just going to swoop in, save the day and swoop back out again. These trips are a means to an end that we hope will mean permanent relationships. We hope to partner officially with the church in Korah, so that we can help support that ministry. Our long range plan is to perhaps start a ministry in the colony for hiv+ women and children and other at risk people so that they might have a place to live and thrive and feel worth again.

This morning I was sent an email about a 3 yr old little girl who is in the hospital now dying from AIDS, her mother has just passed and her 10 yr old brother who is HIV- is going to be left alone. He will also be ostracized from the community.

These are the stories that break the heart. That for us provides a clearer picture and greater desire to do something to help. Even if it’s just to bring awareness.

If you support our trip financially you aren’t supporting a ‘fun’ 2 weeks in Africa. You are funding a vision trip to help open the eyes of some, share our hearts with others, and forge relationships that last a lifetime. We are still 6000.00 short of our goal.

Will you help?

You can donate online directly to our church, and your donation is tax deductible!
Here is the link to the website and here is a link to the online giving page.
Here are the steps:
1. Clink on the online giving link
2. Click on the link a the top of the page that says Online Giving
3. Input your information
4. Designate payment type
6. Enter the amount to donate and submit.

If you have any questions or issues please contact Andrea at better than good 10@ gmail. com. Also if you email Andrea with your Team designation and information you will receive a thank you gift.

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A lot of people think about what they will do while on a mission trip. Most people want to feel useful and productive…like they are doing ‘something’ to make a difference.

I felt the same way when I first thought of mission trips, but then as God revealed His word, it became more about the relationship. Reaching those that need to know they are not forgotten, that they are worthy and that they are loved. We want so badly to help, but what is really being asked of us is to serve.

There are indeed needs that need to be met. Buildings built, painting, trash clearing, beds put together, food distributed, concrete floors poured and walls erected. All of those things are physical needs, they can be broken and destroyed, but relationships can last forever.

The relationships built while serving in 2010 have grown and strengthened into lifelong family connections.

We found that while half a world separated us physically, our hearts are knitted together in relationship. We are learning about Tesfaye’s mother who needs surgery on her foot and is in much pain. We are learning that Tezera is a strong amazing woman who is only slowed down by the aches in her body. We are learning that Ruth and Samy are being attacked physically and dealing with illness. These are all physical … but the relationship the spiritual is lasting strong and profound.

There are babies in the orphanage that need formula, there are orphans in Korah that need clothing, shelter and food, there are widows in the Orphans and Widows home that need hope in a future.

Our short trip may not be enough to make a lasting difference to many people, but it’s enough time to create relationships, to grow bonds, to allow a few people to realize that the world is so much bigger than the four walls of our home. Those few people can share with others that there are needs, there are faces that go along with the stories, there are real people who live in a place a world away …that are just like them.

Thank you for following us on our journey. Thank you for praying for us while we prepare. If you would like to know how you can help and support our team click on the link above that says “How you can help”.

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Meet Tesfaye, our friend in Ethiopia

Tesfaye is an amazing young man. His family lives in Korah. He grew up there and found his meals in the dump as most other do, that live there.

One day someone came to the dump and saw his potential, lifted him out and began to save his life. Tesfaye’s story is one of fear, heartache, pain and hopelessness….until he was rescued.

He has chosen to use the gift he was given to give back to the people that he grew up with. He’s in school to become a computer engineer, and he uses all of his other time to help the people of his church care for those that are even more less fortunate in the colony.

This is a young man that ministers to the orphans, finds homes for young people that have come to him for help. He works with his pastor to provide for food and medical care. He and others literally carry the sick on their backs to the clinics for help.

Tesfaye has petitioned the government of Ethiopia to begin a ministry that will be recognized by them so that he can help the orphans and widows in the village that he ministers to.

He is full of faith and joy and blessings. He knows that He is working for God and sharing his life with the hopeless and helpless around him. When he emails, he asks us to share in his joy…or share in his pain. He struggles with the right words to say to the teenage girls that have found themselves orphans and alone. He prayed for a concrete floor for his church that was previously mud and dirt…God provided. He prayed for metal for the walls so that they would hold up in the wind and rain of the rainy season…God provided.

He prayed for a laptop to help him keep his ministry files together and help him in his field of work. God is providing.

He has become a brother. He is just one of the beautiful faces we are going to Ethiopia to visit. The money we raise will help him feed the people of his village, it will help provide coal for the people to cook that food, it will provide for his expenses. It will help provide for the people that he cares so much about.

Would you like to be part of our team? You CAN play a part in being a blessing to Tesfaye and his people.

You can donate online directly to our church, and your donation is tax deductible!
Here is the link to the website and here is a link to the online giving page.

Thank you for your support!

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