Friday, September 17, 2010

Loving The Least Of These: Oceans of Justice

Please take the time to read the following post by a friend. It describes an encounter she had in Ethiopia that challenged her on many levels. It is powerful!

Loving The Least Of These: Oceans of Justice: "My last post was about our stories. Today marks the one year anniversary of one of the most important stories I've ever had the opportunity..."

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

I wanted to write and share a post with all of you from Andrea while she was in Ethiopia. You may remember from a previous post I talked about two little girls who had lost both of their parents to AIDS and were living all alone in their little hut. They had come to our orphanage Adama the day that Pete & Andrea were visiting "Adama." One of the little girls they found out was in fact their sponsor child. Below is the post Andrea wrote about their visit to these little girls home and what they learned about their situation.

Our first day at our sponsor community called Look Development was amazing. We spent the time handing out care packages from all the families back home who treasure these kids. We, of course could not wait to meet our sponsor children in person. As Isabelle's firend walked through the door, her older sister was holding her hand. This was our introduction to Selem (10) and her sister Abeba (13). As we said hello and began giving Selam her candy and clothes and goodies, we learned what she needed was bigger than anything we could have put in that zip lock bag. They had just lost their only living parent to AIDS, and were living all alone! The 13 year old sister was taking care of them. The look of pain and fear and despair on their faces was indescribable. We knew we would be back in a week, and asked Look Development to help us help them. We left in tears that day hugging the girls and telling them we would see them in 7 days. They asked us to visit their house when we returned.

We learned later in the week that their house was in shambles and was not safe. They had no mattress, no blankets and no food. The window and door to their hut was broken, we agreed to pay for all these things and would deliver them when we returned. Prayers and prayers were lifted up for them and for our hearts to be prepared for what we would see. Nothing could have prepared us, and only Jesus, holding all our hands and holding me up could have gotten us through our next meeting.

At Look, we were shown all the supplies that had been purchaased for Selma and Abeba, but there was a problem, anything that had been given to them was stolen. We could not even bring them the basic things they needed, because what they needed was even more basic! PROTECTION.

We left to go see them and where they lived. We drove and drove, down long muddy rodes, until we were told we had to start walking. We walked down a thick path that led to their hut. They came running out and I saw smiles from both of them for the first time. You could see they could not believe we had come. Walking up to their house was sureal, part of my mind begged to not have to enter the door, to run away and to never look back. My flesh screamed..... my spirit walked me throug their door reassuring me that this was part of our purpose and God was with us.

We stepped into a dark square of a mud hut. All that we could see was an old wire bed frame, covered in clothing.......the clothing of their deceased father and mother. This is what they slept on. Did it bring them comfort? Could they still smell their parents when they selpt? On the wall, was a poster of Jesus, and there was a Mesobi (for eating and coking) in the corner. Also a very dirty yellow jug for water.....where did they even get far did they need to walk.....was it even clean? My mind was racing as the sweat began to drip down my forhead, and I watched a huge spider crawling inches from my face. I glanced at my 2 oldest, for a brief moment wandering if they were o.k......they were, but the looks on their faces I will never forget, as a work was being done right in front of my eyes.

Our representatives from Look were talking with Abeba and asking them how they were. I went weak as they described the nightly scene of drunk men coming to their house and banging on the window to get in. I pictured these 2 beautiful girls huddled together fearing that these men would break in and steal the only things they had, or even worse, steal from their innocent bodies. We told them we would pay for them to move into a new place closer to the Look Development office so they could be safe. They did not want to give up their house, it is the only memory and only thing left from their mother and father. They feared the gov't. would take it away from them. We told them we would fix their window and door and gate, so they would be more protected......I could see Abeba's face changing, she was mustering up courage, she was so sweet and so quiet, but her face told me something was coming........I knew in my heart what is was, and I was paralyzed. She looked at us and asked to be adopted. They want a FAMILY and to bbe ptrotected and loved. Pete and I barely caught each others eyes, as we had no idea how to respond. Both of us wanted to grab them and run and bring them home and never look back. Pete only said it was a very difficult and long process, and we would do what we could to help them.

We stood outside their house and hugged and prayed over them. I held each of them tight until they cried. They needed a mother's love and protection and the feel of safet, if only for a moment. I kissed them all over their faces and told them I loved them and we would see them again, and help them in the meantime. Isabelle and Johnny begged to give them all the food we had in the van, so we asked them to walk back with us. We walked down that path to the van, praying the whole way. I didn't know until later that night after looking at the pictures that we were all holding hands. Isabelle and Johnny love these girls too, and their hearts were broken and changed that day too.

As we said goodbye and drove away, I prayed to God to show me waht to do. It was no accident that we were led here, that we were to see these girls and to learn their story. As I licked my lips I could taste Selam and Abeba. Anyone who has visited orphans knows that salty, dirty smell that the kids have. You look past it, because you care more about giving them love than the dirt or smell they carry. For the first time that taste was so sweet and I didn't want it to go away.

My prayer, is that these girsl will be protected, that YOU will be touched by this story, moved to action of some sort, that SOMEONE may see their daughters in these two girls. Last night God told me to write this story and to share it, I pray that I was sent to these two for one of you.

Thank you for reading, looking into the dark and hard places that Jesus sees and begs us to walk with him. I thank you for passing this along to anyone and everyone, and for any step you take to help us help these girls.

I am uploading an album called" Selam and Abeba", please look at their faces and pray for them, and pass this along.

I spoke with Andrea today trying to catch up a little on the happenings. I have been in California caring for Stefan's very sick mother and Andrea came home from Ethiopia and ended up in the hospital with vertigo and has spent the last week recovering. The most amazing news is that after she posted the story above on "Facebook" a family contacted her and felt that God was calling them to adopt these little girls. The process has already started!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Waiting Children

My heart is heavy tonight as I just finished looking at a waiting children's list from Ethiopia. My dear friend Kelly Putty was just in Ethiopia on a Missions trip. She has a heart to help children find forever families. We met in Ethiopia while both our families were there adopting our sons that just happened to be in the same orphanage. We both knew we were being called to make a difference and not forget the great need in Ethiopia. As part of her trip she makes it a priority to work with agencies on the ground in Ethiopia that have waiting children. This means they are paperwork ready and just waiting for a forever family She takes pictures of these children and shares a little about their story in hopes that God will nudge someone to step out in faith and change this child future. I know from first hand experience that God does whisper into your heart the word "adoption." He did to me and it scared me to death. Was I really hearing Him or was it my own emotions just wanting to help? Sometimes we look at the these children from afar. We tell ourselves that the problem is too big.. What can we do? I am learning that God calls us to make a difference one life at a time! To that life it is everything! Don't ignore God's gentle nudge.. sometimes it starts with just entertaining the idea of stepping out to do something radical. Radical obedience brings Radical blessing! If you are interested in in adopting a child from Ethiopia email me at and I will send you the link to look at the beautiful pictures of these precious children who are waiting on a family. The children are with "Celebrate Children" which is an agency that is licensed to do adoptions from Ethiopia. I am happy to put you in touch with Sue Healdburg who is the owner and has more information on these children.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Andrea & Pete Kidd are coming home...

Andrea email with great news! They have passed court in Ethiopia and will be brining their new son Endale home on 8/22. They will arrive at Dulles Airport but I don't have any of their particulars. I will be traveling on Wed for a family vacation to California and won't be home until 8/31. The pictures above are some that Andrea sent. The little boy in the orange jacket is the Thomas family's sponsor child and the little boy seen kissing his care package is the Reilly's sponosr child. Andrea reported that Pete has been working on a video for all of you of the children and each one receiving their care package.

Also thought it would be nice for us to provide a couple of weeks of meals for Andrea & Pete Kidd. If you have interest in making a meal you can go to this link:
Just sign up for the date you want. All the information is provided!

Please pray for their safe travels and readjustment to live back in the USA!

Friday, August 6, 2010


A few more pictures. They are Tesfahun (McGowan Family), and Edelewezk (Cokefair Family) and a few others which I am not sure of.


I just received an email from Andrea with pictures of some of our kids at Adama. It is so fun to see the joy and excitement on each of their faces as they are receiving their gift bags. The lady that you see Andrea hugging is Yesemvich. (not sure of the spelling) She is the precious soul who loves on and cares for these littles daily! I looked at each picture and tried to match families with pictures. These are the ones I could match! Tesfahun (McGowan family), Enat (Carreras Family), Edelewezk (Cokefair Family), Lidiya (Ditthardt family). Enjoy the photos.. more to come

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


Hi Everyone, Just received an email this morning from Andrea & Pete with some details about their first visit to Adama and wanted to share it with you.

I don't even know where to begin.....Adama/Look was AMAZING!!!!! I can't wait for you and everyone else to go experience the love, the action, the Holy Spirit that exudes from this place. The children were incredible....singing and clapping as we eneterd. They had been waiting for 6 hours for us! All smiles and wanted to touch and shake each of our hands. They wanted to be SEEN and felt. Recogning their face from the profiles immediately brought me to tears. They look SOOOOO much better. They are dirty and are in rags, but they look fuller and more fed. Praise God for our sponsor community feedingthese kids.

We got to go and spend individual time with each of the first 40 (sponsor names A-M). Words can barely do justice to the excitment and joy as they saw the pictures of their familes and learned that they are loved and prayed for every day. They lit up like nothinhg I have ever seen. THEN, handing them their treat bags.......truly faces of shock and disbelief. They did not understand it could all be for them. Had to teach many about lotion and hair care, as they had never seen it before. We wanted to make sure they didn't eat it. They were in heaven. Some of their care givers were there, and came to hug us and thank us. they are SOOOOOOO grateful and sooooooo need our help. They are the happiest kids despite their obvious need. I can't get their smiling faces out of my head as they ran after our bus when we left.

I want every family to know that these kids were seen out in the courtyard KISSING the pictures of their sponsor families. You all mean the world to these children. We have special one-on-one pictures and video of each child gettingtheir things, we will breakingthis up and givingto each family to treasure and these children treasure you!

A story of a NEED: We kept hearing about 2 girls who were very sad, they had lost their last family member to AIDS, and were all alone. It turns out the younger girl, is our sponsor child (isabelle's girl, her age). The older sister is also sponsored by a family, but I have not looked her up yet. Anyway, she came in and we learneds the story/. A 10 and 13 yearl old sisters, who just lost their mom and are living ALL alopne!!!! The 13 yr. old is taking care ofthe house and the 10 yr. old. They just wanted to be held and hugged. We gave them all the food we had brought and are going to see where they live next Tuesday....oh my. They are being given extra care by Look, and are now in legal custody of Look Development. But there is nowhere for Look to have kids stay, so they go home all alone at night. Too much to take, they are so beauitioful and so sweet, but so broken and so in need. We continue to ask God how we can help these girls make it. PLEASE pray with us as we learn more next week. The younger one is Selam.

I will update more, we miss you and appreciate your prayers daily!


Please keep these two little girls in your prayers. Can you imagine going home alone each night at 10 & 13? The thought of it breaks my heart.. these little girls having no Mommy & Daddy to tuck them in and tell them they are loved! Yet it is going on all over Ethiopia due to ADIS. I don't think the older girl is currently being sponsored but will confirm with Andrea. I will continue to keep the updates coming. Thank you for your generosity and desire to help these children!

Blessings.. Melodie

Monday, July 26, 2010

A Sponsored Child's story

On Memorial Day weekend we hosted an event at our house to share our hearts and information with friends and family about our partnership with Children's Hopechest and details about the oprhanage that we had committed to helping. During that event the video below was shown to show how much sponsorship means to a child. This is just one child's story but it is so powerful! I wanted to share it with those of you who were not able to be at our gathering and to those of you who may still be considering sponsoring a child. Pete Kidd met this special young lady the vision trip he took in December to pick our orphanage

Saturday, July 24, 2010

More Pictures

Received a text from Andrea this morning! They have all been suffering with some stomach issues but feeling better now! But I know nothing can take away the pure joy I see in her face in both the video and pictures!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The First Encounter with their Son Endale..

Hi Everone:

Wanted to share this moving video with you of the Kidd Family meeting their sweet son for the first time! Get out your tissue box. What a heart this family has! Sacrificing resources, putting their life on hold, moving to Ethiopia and opening up their hearts and lives to Endale. Wow! Andrea texted me this morning and let me know that they do not have internet access where they are staying. All is well and they hope to visit Adama next week with all the care packages!

See their video

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Pete & Andrea Arrived Safely!

Above is a picture of the Kidd Family at church when they had Gigi dedicated. I received two texts's from Andrea in Ethiopia and I wanted to share her words:

"Things are great here! Endale is amazing and the kids are having a blast. We met with Tesfa (lead contact in Ethiopia for Children's Hopechest, his sister Yesemaich runs Adama). We will go to Adama in one week as we need to be with Endale until our court date and paperwork is done. We went over the entire list of sponsored kids and came up with a plan to meet with each child. We are all so pumped. Court is on Wed, 7/21 so please pray that all goes well. Love to everyone!

I know Andrea will send more details as she can. Also wanted to let everyone know that there are seven more children who need sponsorship at our carepoint in Adama. Sponsorship makes a huge difference in the lives of these children so if you know anyone in your network or would like to sponsor a child yourself please email me at I have precious little girls and 4 little boys who need your help!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

"Selam" to the Kidd Family!

Tomorrow Pete and Andrea Kidd will be leaving for Ethiopia. Stefan and I along with the family visited them on Saturday and took all of the care packages that were put together. We brought extra bags and rubbermaid bins in hopes of getting all of them ready to travel all the way to Ethiopia. We never dreamed we would have this many and also underestimated how many containers we would need to store them in. The great news is that we got them all put together and we are praying that Ethiopian air allows them to bring the 7 extra bins! Andrea and Pete have promised to send lots of pictures, video footage and details about their visit so please check the blog for regular updates.

Friday, July 9, 2010


We have spent the last month compiling lists, double checking those lists and putting together care packages for all of our 88 kids at Adama Orphanage in Ethiopia. A BIG THANKS to our sponsorship community who made it all happen. I have attached a picture showing the Mandanis Kids and the Greason kids with many of the bags. It was fun to watch them be so excited and talk with them about what it will mean to their sponsor child to receive such a special gift. Thank you for caring about these sweet little ones. I know many of you have been busy with kids home, vacation, work and it will mean the world to these little ones to receive this very special package from their sponsor family. Many of you not only sent packages to your sponsor children but did extra bags for me for those children who have not been sponsored. Thanks to Barbara Hardy who went out and shopped and brought me a huge shopping bag full of goodies to help pack extra bags. We know there will be children at the orphanage that are new that we don't even know about. We wanted to make sure these children received something as well.

Andrea and Pete Kidd will be moving to Ethiopia and departing on July 14 where they will be for 2-3 months depending on how long it takes to bring their son, Endale home. Please pray for their health and safety while they are there. Endale also needs prayer as he is malnourished at 14lbs and 1 year old. He also has ricketts. Pete and Andrea will be able to visit Adama and spend time with our sponsor kids while they are there. I am hoping they can send pictures and give us updates during their stay. I will be posting their updates and pictures to this blog so you can enjoy seeing the kids and learning more about Adama.

Also wanted to remind you that I have posted a picture of our "Africa Shirts." on the blog. They are black shortsleeved T-shirts and have the continent of Africa beaded on the front with our "logo" written underneath. It reads "Live Love Give.. Become." The key to our mission is "Become." God doesn't just call us to love others and give to those in need...He calls us to "become" the hands and feet of Jesus to the desperate world around us, and meet their needs in real, practical and tangible ways.

They are $40 and you can email me at if you would like to purchase one. I have them in small, medium and large.

Monday, June 28, 2010

It Has Been Awhile!

Well, this is my first post in two years! Some how adopting our third child from Ethiopia has kept me fairly busy. Lots of challenges, transition and growing for the Mandanis family and me personally. As I sit back and take stock of my life I am amazed at the beautiful tapestry that God has woven in my life. If you had asked me 10 years ago what my family would look like I would have never envisioned it as it is today. I am so thankful that God holds the master plan and I can relax and trust that he has plans to give this family a hope and a future. All I have to do is be willing to be "radically obedient and then I can enjoy the ride" as my friend Lysa Terukurst says.

What is on our hearts now? Many topics that are tough to talk about. Sexual slave trade, bonded slave labor, poverty, AIDS, malaria, unclean water and the orphans crisis in Africa!

My journey outside my nice little life began when I attended a leadership conference for my church at Willow Creek Church in Chicago. In addition to the many seminars they featured a segment called "What One Woman can do." They highlighted three women who had heard God speak to their heart about the compelling issues going on around the world and decided to do something. I was so touched and moved by all of these women. After these women spoke they had exhibits outside from organizations around the country that are making a difference. I grabbed books, pamphlets, brochures and started reading. All at once my eyes were opened to the stark realities and hopelessness of the majority of our world.
I noticed article after article in magazines and newspapers about the plight of orphans in Africa. I began a personal journey to learn what was happening and began educating myself on these serious and compelling issues. The numbers were staggering. I learned that there were 45 million orphans in Africa and 5 million in Ethiopia alone mainly due to the AIDS pandemic. Young children were watching both parents die and often caring for them throughout their illness. In some cases they were left to care for their younger siblings all alone. As I evaluated my own very blessed life, I felt compelled to make a difference in some small way. Although there are many serious and challenging issues in Africa, which can sometimes be viewed as overwhelming, I firmly believe that each of us can make a difference one life at a time.

I felt that God was asking me to go and see for myself. I spent ten days in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia visiting orphanages and seeing first hand so many children who have been orphaned by AIDs. The numbers were staggering but the children and their faces would haunt me for the next 10 months. I spent many sleepless nights sifting and processing what I had seen. Our family talked for hours about our responsibility to help others and what kind of response God was asking from us. My husband and I both agreed that after seeing the desperate needs first hand we could not look the other way. We could not look the other way and could never forget! And so began our journey to bring our son, Tam home.

Our trip to Ethiopia to bring Tam home reminded us again of the plight of these children. We knew we were being asked to never forget, to never walk away, and to never stop caring. After much research we decided to partner with Children's Hope Chest and the Kidd Family to reach out to our networks to help children. Andrea's husband, Pete took one more trip to Ethiopia on a "vision trip" and hand picked an orphanage/community center to come along side of and help. We have 88 children who are in desperate circumstances. We are currently working on sponsorship for these children, raising capital to help with improvements at the orphanage and I am hoping to lead a mission trip with our sponsorship community next summer to let these children know they are precious and dearly loved by the Lord. Your can also write to these children via letters or email and attach pictures of your family.

The website for Children's Hope Chest is and you look at who they are what they are up to around the world! Also here is a link to an interview done with the CEO that tells his personal story and his heart for helping orphans.

Here is the link for the Tom Davis interview:

Thankfully out of 88 children who need sponsors, we only have around 11 left! The family we partnered with (The Kidd Family) are adopting a little boy from Ethiopia (4th child and 2nd from Ethiopia) and will be moving there for 2 months. Ethiopia recently changed their travel requirements and are asking families to travel twice with a two month window in between. Their little guy is only 14 lbs at 1 year old and is severly malnourished. They have made the decision to move their entire family to Ethiopia to be with him during this time. Talk about amazing and sacrifical hearts! They are going to be visiting our care point/orphange while they are in Ethiopia and assessing the needs and loving on our kids. They have offered to bring care packages for our sponsorship community. We currnetly have a sponsorship community of 44 families who want to come along side this orphange/community and make a difference. God is definitely at work! I am so thankful for all of these families and desire to reach out and make a difference!