…is my own transliteration of how the Amharic speaking people say ‘thank you!’ Dave and I have been working over the past couple weeks in our evening time to put together a video that comes to all of you who partnered with us in such a powerful and tangible way…we hope this gives you a sense of Ethiopia–the beautiful country God created it to be…His heart for that Nation and the ways He is moving there.
HERE ARE MY STORIES and a 10 MINUTE VIDEO that Dave and I put together of this life-changing journey. Amasaganalo…thank you.
I also want to write a few brief stories of how and where much of your money was given, how your prayers were answered and how God provided for His children in very tangible and beautiful ways. Again, it was a total honor for me to be the hands and feet that carried such great resources to the people in Africa…many were surprised, shocked and completely encouraged in their faith when they realized that God had used MANY OF YOU…to bless and provide for them–a half a world away…My new friends in Ethiopia send their gratitude as well…Praise God for each of you and your obedience to that call. I love you.
(A large portion of the money will be given on line to AHOPE and to Soddo Hospital’s Benevolent Fund since I was unable to take the total amount in cash with me.)
GIVING HOPE TO THE HOPELESS.
AHOPE was a powerful ministry and I was so blessed in my time there, but they NEED this support so badly. They are completely sustained by outside support from donors and supporters in the US, whereas many other orphanages are supported through government agencies. There are two orphanages, one called “Little AHOPE” for the younger ones and “Big AHOPE” for the older children. Many of these children are awaiting their forever families…It is a phenomenal way that God is loving and providing for children that would not have another way in their country.
A Gift of Healing.
Soddo’s Benevolent Fund is a powerful ministry as we explained earlier, many families must choose to feed their family OR medical care, so often the choice is for feeding and providing enough for survival rather than the ‘extravagance’ of medical care. The benevolence fund makes it possible for this Hospital to do many surgeries, deliveries and extended care for patients for free or very little cost! When I walked through the town of Soddo, I really was stunned by the poverty. This Hospital is in a critical location to be a place of LIVING WATER and Healing–I really believe that.
BRINGER OF PEACE.
Selamawit…this sweet baby girl was born at 31 weeks to a mom who had lost 3 babies already. This momma was so distraught during her delivery–begging for a ‘live’ baby…the resident who was on that night was able to share the good news of Christ with her and God did a miracle…This baby–31 weeks lived!! I met her the following week…she was growing and eating…remember, there is no incubator, no intensive care unit. God sustained this little one and gave her life. At first the momma would not really attach to her baby–can you imagine? Losing so many and then not wanting to have your heart broken again…but Dr. Ruth, Becca and others came around her, encouraged her, prayed for her. But I believe God wants to work through this little life even more.
A really cool thing happened to me when I met this woman. I tried to communicate as much as I could but I did tell her that her sweet one was so beautiful…she looked very surprised and asked me sincerely, “You think she’s beautiful?” I told her yes, of course…she was amazing! I told her God has blessed her with a miracle and asked her the baby’s name…she quickly laughed and said, “No name.” Now, as a mom of 5, I was in disbelief at first, but then I took a minute to think of what a name does for your baby…it holds meaning, it makes them yours…it makes them real and personal to you…it would be incredibly painful to keep naming your sweet children knowing they would soon die. I suppose it is a way of protecting your heart as a mom…it broke my heart and I felt so certain God had a mighty purpose in this little baby’s life, so I blurted out, “Oh, you have to name her!” The mom said, “Really?” and all in the room laughed a bit…I reiterated that she really should name her…then I thought to suggest the name Selamawit (partly because it is one of two names in Amharic that I know 🙂 but also because the name means “Bringer of Peace”) and I sensed this is really what God wanted to do in this woman’s life…to bring her TRUE peace in the knowledge of the Savior that LOVED and gave her life. Thankfully, I finally had enough sense to hold my tongue and not be totally culturally inappropriate, so I told her again how beautiful the baby was and that she definitely needed a name…the mom smiled and we again prayed for her.
The next day, Dr. Ruth came and told Becca and I that the mom was bonding with her baby and had given her a name…SELAMAWIT!!! Can you believe it!!??! I can, because God had chosen this little one to bring PEACE!
Selamawit is still of course so small, just a few pounds and the hospital wanted to provide her with formula to ensure her health and growth over the next few months…This was one of the sweet joys of having money to share…so, together we provided many months of formula for this one…which will be given to her in small amounts, so the mom will need to bring Selamawit back for regular check ups to receive the formula!! PRAISE GOD!!
A HEIFFER NAMED JULIE.
Haha!! I know you’ll read this one! After meeting and spending just a short time with Sam and Noah (who I wrote about in an earlier Snapshot from my trip) I sensed God wanting us to support them. These two are serving at an orphanage for orphans ages 3-18 who will never have a family outside of the orphanage. These children are literally being rescued from a village a few hours outside of Soddo..they are without families, without record of birth, surviving on their own…It is too horrible. I feel that this makes it even more vital that they are supported and provided for in tangible ways from those of us who can give…we are to ‘care for the orphans’ and these children are truly orphaned in this world…but GOD IS THEIR FATHER and will provide…I had to rest in that.
Julie Jr.'s Future Home.
So after awhile I sat down with Sam and Noah, feeling rather giddy and said, “Okay, so let’s hear some of the things that you feel God wanting you to do to meet the needs at the orphanage.” They both looked at me funny, so I got pretty blunt, “All right, so lots of people have given me LOTS of money that I want to give to you…what should we do with it?” They were so excited and so funny…they started spewing out so many of their visions and hopes for the orphanage…some of which were new beds so they could bring their numbers up to capacity, making the kitchen more sanitary, a better cooking area for the cook…then Sam got a huge smile and said, “And I want to buy a cow.” I don’t know why, but this really got me excited…so I asked him for more information. Basically, a cow would provide a lot of milk for the kids, which is a rarity there in Ethiopia. Not only this, but they have a large piece of land that would be perfect for their cow and goats to graze…Sam had already thought and researched this quite a bit and said he didn’t want an Ethiopian cow…they are very skinny and don’t produce much milk (only about 4 quarts a day)…BUT, it Addis he could buy a HEIFFER from the US that would be a good milk producer! They wanted to sell a bit of the milk each week to buy the food needed for the cow and that way have this be something sustainable for the orphanage…So, we’re buying the orphans at CCCE a Heiffer!! The guys promised to send a picture of “Julie Jr.” as they so appropriately named her as soon as she joins the family there!!
They will also use some of the offering for new beds! They are only at half of the capacity that the government regulations allow, so they are passionate about getting the children there and safe…restoring them and bringing them to a place of peace. I don’t know if we can wrap our minds around the severity of this situation…but here’s a piece that blew me away…The Friday before I arrived, their newest 3 children had arrived. They were supposed to receive 6 that night, but these children are placed in the back of an Isuzu to make the 3 or 4 hour trip. Three of the children were too sick to make the trip–they feared they would die on the way, and one of them actually did die in the days to follow. They are trying to rescue the most critical children as they are able, bringing a few into the orphanage at a time. Beds will be the tangible provision needed to get more kids ‘Home’. Thank you so much.
Sam and Noah WERE SO BLESSED, send their thanks and said this kind of provision had never happened to them before….thank you for encouraging them and providing in a tangible and lasting way for the children!
Another way we were able to bless was for my sweet friend Sophie…she is the nurse who works up in the mountains outside of Soddo…This girl is pouring out her life. Not only is she a nurse, but twice already she has taken in babies for months at a time to nurture them and bring them back to health so they can live with their families…a few months ago she took care of a newborn because she was so small and sick. The family was so grateful they named their little girl Sophie in honor of this nurse who truly ministered LIFE to this little one. (I joked with Sophie that at least she got a baby named after her…I just got a heiffer!!:)) But now, Sophie is taking care of a little boy who’s been very sick. She was telling me that in her room she had to find ways to keep him safe at night because he was starting to roll around as he slept between her and the wall…SO, she now has provision to get a crib made for her ‘babies’!! Thank you for providing for Sophie, so she can get some sleep while she ministers day in and day out…and for a safe place for these sweet babies that need healing. THANK YOU and PRAISE GOD!
RESCUED FROM THE PIT.
I had the opportunity to meet a sweet girl who has sadly been in the hospital for over a year (You can read about her tragic story on Paul and Becca’s blog it’s the post half way down titled “Poverty” in the fourth paragraph) BUT, God did redeem her life, literally, from the pit, she IS healing, both physically and spiritually and soon will be able to be discharged from SCH. She is a beautiful girl with a sweet, shy spirit. When I saw her, I couldn’t imagine the pain of what she had experienced, the loss of her brother, the trauma she endured…but then also the long lonely days in the hospital. I was so blessed to see the sweet Chaplain has spent so much time with her–teaching her to read the Bible in Amharic (you’ll be able to hear her sweet voice during the video). Becca has been visiting her regularly and wanted to get her some new clothes for when she gets to go home. SO again, it was a fun, personal and special way to bless this little girl. I thought of how God clothes us in HIS Righteousness…HE GIVES NEWNESS and a fresh start…hopefully a new outfit will signify a new beginning of beauty and restoration for this sweet child of God.
Here are two more INCREDIBLE, INSPIRATIONAL women serving Jesus in Soddo. Stephne Bowers and her sweet daughter, Carmyn are two that are making a tremendous difference in the lives of so many precious children who are orphans at CWA in Soddo. Stephne overseas this orphanage along with another, but the most amazing part to me is the heart, passion and love behind all she does. I have never seen an orphanage like this one. It was peaceful, calm, structured–a sanctuary. The children looked healthy and safe. They were loved and well nourished…I wondered what was different. I witnessed how Stephne LOVED the children and her staff. I saw how she set standards, discipled and mentored her nurses, caregivers, and other staff to do everything excellently within the walls of this orphanage. It was truly amazing.
One of the amazing stories that Stephne shared with me is an incredible way that God heard and answered her cry for His help and provision. Awhile ago, Stephne was leaving CWA, walking home…she was discouraged, and burdened for the countless children she had in the orphanage who were constantly sick and so malnourished…she was praying, “Lord, I KNOW you have provided for your people…I KNOW that you give the land enough to sustain your children here…what are we missing??” She said the answer came so quickly and so clearly, “It is under your feet.”
Soon after, Stephne noticed that the Ethiopian women who were in labor were given a thick, mucky looking tea to drink right before they delivered…she asked what this was and was told it was a tea that was full of nutrition to give the women strength and health before giving birth…this intrigued her so she began to ask questions. Then, she began to experiment. She and her nurse bought a kilo of 10 different types of grains that are locally grown and developed a mix that is then ground into a fine powder and can be served as a tea. HERE’S THE INCREDIBLE PART…she had a nutritionist friend look at this and analyze it and it was PERFECTLY BALANCED…just needed a little flax seed oil!! God showed Stephne how to make a nutrition rich drink that was affordable and completely made with locally grown grains! Stephne began giving this to the children every day…they began looking healthier, the rashes disappeared, their eyes were clear, their hair is growing and healthy looking…they are rarely sick!! It is like a miracle drink!!
Each time the nurse purchases the same amount of “MITTEN” ingredients and they make the product together…so Stephne wanted to honor God with this provision as with any other…Give Him the firstfruits, so she told the nurse they would give the first 10% to the poor of each batch they made. Don’t you know that EVERY TIME, their batch of MITTEN is bigger than the time before?!? God is honoring and blessing!! Stephne has gotten permission to build a MITTEN production plant and is now in the fund raising process for this building!! Many more of the hungry and needy will now be able to have this miracle from God!!
We have felt so blessed, so surrounded, so encouraged in our faith…
THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU…
MAY GOD MOVE YOUR HEART TO PRAY FOR HIS GLORY AND HIS PEOPLE IN SODDO, ETHIOPIA!! GOD BLESS YOU!
(click on the arrow in the center to watch our video!)