Join us in prayer as we serve the King of Kings and His precious children in Adama, Ethiopia. We feel God's vision is to bring ALL 147 million orphans into their forever homes...caring for each one along the way. We desire to be a part of that vision as we live and work at the Orphans and Widows' Home. We know He will provide, work out all the details and never leave us!
The one who calls you is faithful and He will do it. 1 Thessalonians 5:24
I'm not sure that anyone will read this. I realize it has been way too long since I last posted something. We are no longer in Ethiopia... this is why there have been no posts. I am feeling broken... in my heart, in my mind, and in my spirit. We left quickly and for more than one reason. This isn't the place or time to discuss those reasons. But it was hard.... one of the hardest choices I've ever made... and it haunts me still. Daily I question if I was right... if I ever heard God in the first place. There was no way to change the things that caused our early departure... but I wanted to endure longer. That wasn't an option. I can't begin to express where I'm at.... I don't even know most days. My heart is broken for Ethiopia and for the children there. I miss my kids more than words can describe... how I wish they could know how much I think about them... that I even still think of them at all. Knowing I let them down is hard to swallow. Feeling like I let everyone down is something I won't even try to swallow... not right now. Everyday I battle my thoughts... trying to line things up in my head.... trying to get answers for myself... while at the same time feeling like I must give answers to others... that's hard to do. So many things about the last year don't make sense. That's okay. I've always known it wasn't about me. But what we saw.... well, we saw it. And what we lived... we lived. Our experiences were real and life changing. Things happened that made me question God... that made me mad at God. I'm moving past that... but some scars remain forever. I'm at peace with that because our scars are small compared to the ones that so many others bare. Counting the cost is real... it's not just some phrase from the Bible... it means exactly what it says. Was I willing to count them? Am I still willing? Is God truly worth everything?.... my life... my child's life. I'm working through sadness and anger ....we both are. We're home... but it doesn't take the longing away.... wanting to wake up to their laughter.... the desire to reach out to those who need it desperately. I feel confused and out of step.... as if I've stumbled into the wrong room and can't really figure out what to do to keep up with everyone else. I look at pictures a lot... I cry a lot... I'm silent a lot. But I'm listening for God.... I believe He still speaks... and I believe He isn't finished yet. I'm in a hard place and felt like I should say so. Maybe more for myself than anyone else. I don't like to appear weak... amazing since it didn't bother Jesus and I'm supposed to be chasing after Him. I remain in His grace.... even though the future is a blur. I am humbled by what He's allowed me to witness. I am grateful He makes beauty from ashes... and I'm glad it's not about me... or it would be one big mess. Thanks for listening... thanks for praying.
God places burdens in our hearts. One of mine is for the Muslim people. I was honestly surprised when God sent us to Ethiopia …there were two other countries, one in North Africa and one in Central Asia, that we prayed about. We would have certainly worked with Muslims because that is their full population. In Ethiopia this number is about 50%. But we came here knowing it’s not about us and that God’s plans are too big for us to understand. I quickly found out about a local group of people who are working to change the statistics in this country. Last week I had the opportunity to see the fruit of seven years worth of their labor. The beautiful village of Bulbula. Over eighty families live here, in their huts, with their goats, and donkeys, and crops. They all gathered under a beautiful tree to greet us. They have NOTHING when we look upon them with our western eyes. But they have EVERYTHING they need. They are poor and dirty …. The children in rags at best …food is minimal …no electricity or running water. Yet their eyes had life and they danced and sang. They lifted their hands to heaven …giving thanks for all they had. They know they are blessed because He lives in their hearts …because they have been set free …because they have all they need. And on this day He had sent others who might be an answer to prayer. A prayer for little homes made with sticks and mud …a prayer for a small building to worship in ….a prayer for a school room for the youngest children.
I am challenged because it takes so little to give them so much. This little village is surrounded by Muslim villages …I believe the children of Bulbula will one day evangelize them. They are only one generation from Allah ….you see …this whole village has converted. God is doing amazing things. I am so grateful that I was allowed to witness God’s goodness …that I was allowed to be blessed by these wonderful people …my brothers and sisters.
Lord, these four walls, they box me in I think of all the places I have been I long for the wind to carry me away Backward in time to a carefree day No worries of God or hearing His voice What I gave up was always my choice But now I must give all to my King My heart, my life, my everything It’s hard to love that homeless man Others say, “I know you can” But they don’t know my bitter heart Or how some days I play the part Not really caring about the call Not really feeling “Christian” at all Not seeking Jesus as I should Not sharing truth like I could Thinking of things I wish I had Thinking I have the right to be sad Looking around and wondering why Not ever knowing if they live or die Asking myself, “Why am I here” To give a hug and wipe a tear? I want to feed thousands every day I want to share truth where the crippled lay I want to give children a chance to smile I want to stay and visit for a while I want to give hope, and love, and care I want to give so they’ll learn to share I know the truth deep in my heart I’m only called to do my part Jesus my Savior is The Way He wants me to follow Him every day He will feed, and heal, and love Through me He flows from above Lord, help me to be empty for you Help my plans be what you want to do Help me to notice every lie Help me remember why you had to die Help me now as I look at each wall Knowing you placed me here after all May I rest easy in the shadow they give Feeling safe where you’ve asked me to live
My apologies.... we have had SERIOUS Internet issues ...not sure if anyone is still reading. I'm trying my best...
We’ve had a wonderful week. There has been a team here from Grace Baptist in Syracuse, NY. This group of 12 were amazing. They have been involved with supporting the widows and orphans of Ethiopia for more than two years. For some of them, it was their second trip here. All the children enjoyed VBS, games, candy and friendships that certainly surpassed language barriers. I have been so challenged by Pastor Gary and his team. There church has less than 200 members yet they support 39 missionaries. They raise large amounts of money to support children and families right here in Adama, Ethiopia. I saw God move in their hearts on more than one occasion even while they were here. The Holy Spirit would prompt them and they would just give whatever they had. I love to see people stepping out in faith…saying to God… “what do you want me to give”….and than giving it …even when they don’t know how they will. But God honors that. In a time when our churches are becoming larger and more luxurious…when our homes are bigger …our garages too full ….when our closets need organizers…when we’re too concerned with what WE are getting from OUR church instead of what GOD is DOING through HIS church …it is a blessing to see lovers of Jesus …reaching out and BEING His hands and feet ….touching, kissing, and loving the least of these. You guys ROCK and you ministered more to mine and Kenli’s hearts than you can ever know …God is so good!!!!!!
"Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst. The sun will not beat upon them, nor any scorching heat. For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; He will lead them to springs of living water. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes."
This is a blind widow who lives at our home. She makes gorgeous baskets. The first time I witnessed this, it amazed me. How does she do it? I have sat for long periods of time just watching her. It finally occurred to me she was working off experience …she didn’t need to see what she was doing. It was second nature to her …she trusted her hands to do what they always had. Why can’t I have such faith in my experience with God? I’ve seen Him in action. He’s proven time and time again that He’s faithful. The story of the Exodus always amazes me. I find myself questioning the sanity of the Israelites …how could they possibly doubt God? How could they so quickly forget what He had just done for them? If God parted the waters right before my eyes I’d never doubt again!!!… or would I? God has parted the seas for me …God has done miracles in my life …God has never broken a promise …God has never left me …He remains the same. My experience tells me that He will always provide, always make a way, always listen, always show up, always defend me and always love me. Why can’t I trust God to do what He always has? I’m no better than the Israelites. Maybe the blind widow trusts so much because she doesn’t need to see to believe…she feels the basket and knows that it is sturdy and beautiful. Maybe I’m too busy looking for God to show up …always wanting to see the miracle …always wanting to see the fruit of my labor. Instead of just trusting God’s hand. Knowing that He will make it sturdy and beautiful whether I ever see it or not! One of the most faith filled people I know is my friend Steve …who just happens to be blind. It was no accident that we crossed paths. I love that God teaches me to have better sight through those who can’t see.
Four more precious children have been released…. Nate, James, Mercy, and Isaiah passed court on January 12th… the whole process was done in God’s time. We have been praying for these children for quite some time. I am thrilled they will be home soon with their wonderful new family. You can witness God’s grace unfold this story on Tracy’s blog at www.ourunveiledfaces.blogspot.com .
“A” and “T” have also been released. Their journey has been long….the kind of journey that wears down the soles of one’s shoes… the kind that leaves you dusty and tired …the kind that leaves scars …real and emotional. They have waited too long… finally …prayers are answered …the process of their rescue has begun. These little boys carry more pain in their little hearts than mine could ever bare. Praise God they will go HOME soon.
Aliyah Beza and Joshua Cherinet have placed their feet on new soil…. Yes, it’s a new country …but more important, it’s a new life. One that offers a home, a Mom and Dad who love Jesus and adore their children …a life with plenty to eat, a bed to call their own, laughter, hugs, acceptance …a place where scars can heal and hope can grow. I love you both …you carry a piece of my heart …you have been blessed with AMAZING parents …you have also been set free and I know that you will never forget those who have not. God bless you Butler family!
My heart is burdened for praise …to praise Him more often and more intensely. I have joined the Gratitude Community …a place where many are coming together to give Intentional Thanks for One Thousand Gifts (and more) …I will journal mine and put them on my blog …if you’re interested just look on the left sidebar under Intentional Thanks...
Our boys are 10, 8, 7, 5, 3, 2 and 3 months (not pictured)….I feel a bit like Michelle Duggar (love her) or my friend Laura M. (love her too)….boys are a bit foreign to my family, so I’ve had to adjust myself to the life of a boy. Constant running, jumping, flipping, climbing, kicking, karate chopping, mud making, bug squishing, fearless actions…..whew … a bit different from the nail polish, dolls, books, stuffed animals, baking and house playing that my family is more familiar with. Not to say that these things don’t occur in the lives of both …but they really are different. I am learning to embrace the difference and I’m happy to be where the boys are!
My Mom sent this little pack of paper ornaments. The children had a blast making their own creations…thought we needed a splash of color around here. Ethiopian Christmas was Thursday, January 7th…there were no decorations or even a tree…so I figured we would leave these hanging around. I went ahead and wrote their name and Ethiopia - Christmas 2009 on them….thinking they would make a neat keepsake on their American Christmas trees for years to come. Hope you're having a great day!
Note: I've been having serious internet issues...so if I'm not around...that's why.
...is in WISCONSIN... where Arsema Rose and Ytbarek Taye now live...I love these children and saying goodbye was hard ...but I'm happy for their new lives and new family.
...another piece is in ARIZONA with Benjamin Tesfaye, Asher Bilisuma and Grace Miheret... the three musketeers.... These beautiful children always made me laugh...I miss them.
...and one more piece is in COLORADO with precious Yonas... his smile can melt any heart and those eyes!!!
All of these children left Ethiopia on Christmas Eve and arrived into their forever families on Christmas day... now that's a gift! I am so grateful to God for allowing me a small part of their lives... the smiles, tears and laughter. Thank you Lord for these three families who answered your call...may they each be abundantly blessed!
I’ve spent Christmas away from home before. But I’ve never been in this small room, in this house, inside these four stone walls, along this dirt road, just off the beaten path, in a third world country in Africa. A country that celebrates Christmas on a different date and in a much different way. When you take away the trees, the stockings, the lights, the plastic yard figures, the music, the candy, the reindeer, the jolly man in red, the huge amounts of food, the family gatherings, the egg nog, the gifts, the plays, the traditions and the count down calendars…..yes, all the STUFF that we add to make it Christmas….well, it becomes a day like any other. I would have never known it was Christmas except I have a ten year old who wouldn’t let me forget! I love Christmas…maybe a bit too much…which is no doubt one of the many reasons I’m here. I awoke to a strange sound…but it wasn’t footsteps on the rooftop…it was the daily 5am Muslim call to prayer…than another familiar sound woke me at 6am…the sound of the handmade broom sweeping the courtyard. There was nothing magical in the air….there was no reindeer poop on the steps outside…it was just Friday. When all the STUFF is taken away….we are left with the one thing that is not of this world….Jesus…and our relationship with Him. With everything else removed, I could focus on Him and truly celebrate His birth. It should be like this every day. I spent some time this morning holding “H”….a beautiful 8 week old (we’re guessing)… who was found about 3 weeks ago laying in the dirt on the side of the road…I bet Jesus likes this story…He can probably recall the taste of dirt on His lips as an infant. I know His plans for “H” are glorious. I thought about how today for her was just another day to survive…another day waiting for simple things… things every child should have. I looked at “M”, “A” and “D”… a young girl and her two little brothers who watched their mother die from AIDS and than lost their father in a tragic accident….they know loss…they know hunger… they know poverty …they know what it’s like to be left at an orphanage by their only living relative. Today for them was just another day to survive. A day longing for a family…the comfort of their own bed …a promise of full stomachs every day. There were no visions of sugarplums dancing in their heads. But I’ve seen 7 year old “D” praise the Lord with pure abandon…they still have such hope….and joy …and they have no idea what a stocking is….much less a candy cane. I think with Christmas we are trying so hard to produce joy…to create magic …and to make others happy. What I’m realizing is that there is tons of joy all around me …all around each of us …if we’ll just look for it. I know now that I’d rather find Jesus in an unwanted child than in a plastic manger. I’d rather taste the sweetness of orphan kisses over a Snickers bar any day. God is working on my heart …on this day…just like any other.