December 25

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Spending Christmas in Ethiopia to learn about the orphan crisis

It’s Christmas Eve, and we’re traveling to Ethiopia today. Abby and I are excited to begin this adventure together finally!

As I write this post, we’re in Frankfurt, Germany, on our way to Ethiopia. I’m grateful for the support and prayers of friends and family who we will miss this Christmas. Being able to go on this trip to love and help orphans with my daughter is the best Christmas gift ever. I thank God for making it all possible.

I wanted to update you on our trip and how this connects with our vision for the Forever Families Project.

We’re connecting with four great groups in Ethiopia who align with our vision and help vulnerable children and orphans. Even though we have these plans, I’ve wanted to keep our schedule open. We hope to begin new friendships, be a blessing, and go where God leads us.

The first person we’re meeting is Mekebib Desta in Addis Ababa. Mekebib leads Emmanuel Light & Life Church, and they have a ministry to help children who live on the streets of Addis Ababa. They minister out of their poverty to help orphans and vulnerable children get their basic needs met and know the love of Jesus. It’s estimated that over 100,000 children live on the streets, left to fend for themselves. Abby and I will get to spend two days with Mekebib’s team. Also, I’ve been invited to preach in Mekebib’s church.

The next group we’re meeting with is Embracing Hope Ethiopia. Jerry¬†and Christy Shannon founded that. Their focus is on the poor, children, and orphans who live in a section of Addis Ababa known as Korah. This city area is impoverished and is known as a forsaken place. It began as a leper colony and then the site of the city trash dump. It has a higher prevalence of poverty, crime, prostitution, and disease than many other city areas. We love that they focus on serving children and mothers in holistic ways to prevent more orphans. Abby and I look forward to meeting the Shannons and volunteering at their daycare center, serving 100+ children.

We’ll also be connecting with Bring Love In, founded by Levi and Jessie Benker. Levi and Jessie have a fantastic story which I encourage you to read in Levi’s book. It’s great. Bring Love In is a community of people working together to bring love to the orphans and widows of Ethiopia. They connect orphans given to them by local authorities and widows from local Christian church communities to create new forever families here in Ethiopia. Abby and I are looking forward to spending time with Levi & Jessie’s family. It’s going to be fun meeting them.

The last group we’re visiting is Resurrection Orphanage & Center of Nekemte. They provide for orphaned and abandoned children in Nekemte, Ethiopia (located about 240 miles west of Addis Ababa) by meeting the basic needs of shelter, food, clothing, primary medical care, and spiritual education and training. Friends started this new orphanage at our home church in Mn. Nekemte is a pretty large city of 103,000 people, but this is the first orphanage we are aware of in the community. The need is great. Abby and I get to bring new clothes for ten children and money donated for the orphanage.

We’re looking forward to spending time with the children and staff there.

If you are looking for groups to provide year-end donations, please consider these worthy organizations. That’s all for now. More updates will come along with Abby’s pictures, who will be our photographer for this trip.


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