Please forgive me delay in sharing and forwarding you all pics of your sweet sponsor children in Ethiopia. It is probably a combination coming back to a busy life in America but also taking time to process all that I saw. As I began to write this little update I can feel the tears forming as I remember all that I saw and experienced. Meeting and spending time with the children was absolutely pure joy for me. I could not get enough of them and wished I could have stayed longer and had the opportunity to visit each of their homes and meet their families. It was an amazing trip and I saw God at work all around us confirming to me that he cares about the lives of these little precious ones He knows by name. I felt privileged to be able to go on this trip. Thanks to many of you who allowed me to clean out, organize and purge your closets in exchange for a donation towards my missions trip. The trip itself cost about $3000 but I was able to bring an extra $2000 thanks to God's provision with my "Wear it Well" business.
As you know we collected care packages from sponsors. I had around 45 bags and was planning on a $600 additional luggage cost at the airport. Each of you had contributed money towards that luggage cost. An incredible thing happened at check in! The staff at Ethiopian Airlines waived the luggage fees which allowed me to use that extra $600 in Ethiopia. Upon arriving at Adama I learned they had started a small store. It does not resemble anything like we have here. It is a very small room with a window in it. I was expecting to see shelves stocked with items for sales but instead I saw (4) bars of soap, (5) packages of pasta etc.. They have hired some of the single Mom's of our sponsor children to work in the store and have trained them how to do this. All the profits from the store are going into individual checking accounts for each of the children. Pretty awesome! So I took the $600 and used it to stock the store which products so that each of your children would benefit!
Adama is located 1 1/2 hours outside of Addis Ababa. Adama used to be the capital of Ethiopia so it has the feel of a small city. The Carepoint is located at a small house which used to be the home of Yemserach. Yemserach is a lovely Ethiopian woman who loves and cares for all these children. I was able to see first hand the amazing work she and her family are doing! I am thankful that we have partnered with such Godly, dedicated people. The blessing of sponsorship at Adama was so evident. Although these children still have great needs in their life they are well taken care of. We visited a Carepoint that currently has no sponsorship and there was a vast difference between the two. Thank you for your continued financial support and prayers for these children.
Our time at Adama was spent loving and playing with all the kids. We did face painting, played with parachutes, made balloon animals and hats, taught them songs and most importantly shared God's love and "good news" with each of them! I had the privilege of doing several home visits of our sponsor children where I saw first hand the desperate circumstances they are living in. I was able to make donations to several of the families to help them with "income generators" such as chickens, an injeera maker, or the funds to set up a small store to sell things. We also did a walk through the neighborhood where most of these children live. They invited us into their small homes with such pride and excitement that we had taken the time to come and meet their sweet families. Many of the children are double orphaned and are living with neighbors or extended family. We also have some being raised by a struggling single parent. Being a single woman in Ethiopia is very hard. My sponsor child's mother has HIV and was doing day labor by picking up stones in construction areas. Can you imagine? I spent time distributing and giving your care packages out although because of time I was not able to hand all of them out individually. I also spent time with the social worker, Bazile. He knows each of the 200 children by name and is intimate with their family circumstances. I spent much time trying to find out what children had the greatest needs. Below I have shared the information on these children with you.
Peter Kidd will be leaving at the end of this month as he and 5 other men are going over on a missions trip. He will be visiting Adama and he can take donations if you want to help your specific family or donate to the store! It is best to hand carry the cash as wiring money is costly. You can be assured that your donation will be put to the best use. Each donation is documented with a receipt. Look Development keeps meticulous records and everything that is donated is documented for the government who keeps a close eye on all their work. If you live close to me and want to give m the money I am happy to get it to Pete as I am sending some for my sponsor child.
I could go on and on and share so much more but I know that I will lose most of you if I do. Please don't forget about these children. They need your prayers and support! You are making a difference one life at a time and I was their first hand to see it and confirm it! Love, Blessings, and many thanks!