This was one of my favorite days of the trip. After devotions and breakfast we split up: the guys left for their Train the Trainers, where they would be teaching and training about 40 church planters. The gals headed first to Embracing Hope, a ministry run by Jerry and Christy Shannon. This was one of the coolest and most creative efforts I've seen to serve the poor women and children of Ethiopia. They have opened a free daycare for single moms so they can go to work and know that their children are well cared for. The Shannons said when they approached the government about opening this daycare, they were met with some raised eyebrows. Daycares were something only those in the upper class used. It was a new concept to offer this service for free to the poor. They opened their doors last April as today they have 60 children in their program. They help the moms find work, encourage them in their independence, and even offer micro-loan grants to help with those moms who have an entrepreneurial spirit. And they are finding these moms are discovering community through this program in a way they have not experienced before.
We spent the morning touring their day care, talking with the Shannons, and playing with the kids. It was such a blessing.
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Posted by Rachel at 2:16 PM
Monday and Tuesday: Bring Love In
Monday we woke up to another beautiful day in Addis Ababa. We left for Jesse and Levi’s house after devotions and breakfast. We spent the day sorting through piles and piles of donations they have received from visiting teams, prepping everything to be moved to their new office location. On Tuesday, we got to actually go to the new building and help with some cleaning and prep for it to be move in ready. We did some cleaning, some painting and installed some light fixtures. Seemed like a small contribution, but it is so awesome to know we have had the privilege to serve them and be a small part of this exciting start-up time of Bring Love In!
It has been so much fun to hang with the Benkerts-- listen to their stories, catch their vision, and be a part of the preparations for their new home(s) for children. The location they just signed on will be the transition home and office as they take in children. Their set-up will consist of small homes with 8 children and a mom, and they already have funding for 5 homes—it’s just a matter of opening them! It is a great design and way to help orphans in Ethiopia stay in their home country and be part of a forever family. I am super excited about it and can't WAIT to see what God does in the next few months!!!
I'm so glad to know this family. If you want to know more about them, visit their website at bringlove.in and be a part by helping contribute towards the water tanks they need for the homes. And if you know anyone headed to Ethiopia soon and willing to bring donations, I know of a list of items they could use, so consider blessing this family in this way.
Monday night was dinner at a traditional Ethiopian restaurant, and Tuesday we were hosted by our driver Ephrim and his amazing wife Yeshi. Another amazing couple whom I feel privileged to call my friends. If you'll be needed a driver in Addis, Ephrim is your man! : )
Thank you again for your prayers!
P.S. You can follow our facebook page here for updates and pictures from the entire team on facebook!
Posted by Rachel at 1:47 PM
We are here and having a fantastic trip already. The trip here was relatively problem free and all of our luggage made it with no problem. Even all 800 pounds of donations! Thank you Jesus!
Saturday we all woke up a little jet lagged but extremely spoiled in our accommodations at Providence Guest House. We met up with Jesse and Levi from Bring Love In (formerly of Drawn from Water). They took us to visit Anointed Word of God Church, who were caring for the poor in their area, giving Bibles to the kids and flour to the moms. It was a beautiful thing to see the body of Christ in Ethiopia caring for their own, meting both their physical need and their spiritual one. We were able to spend the afternoon hanging out with Jesse and Levi, who are opening a home for women and children (more on that later). Our day was a bit different from what was on our schedule, since their home is not open yet. However it was a blessing to be with this couple who have been faithful servants to the people of Ethiopia. Our evening was low key, giving us a chance to rest a bit. We had our debrief at Kaldi’s coffee shop, and we as a team were able to discuss our first impressions, our expectations for the trip, and our plans for the upcoming week as well as pray together.
Sunday we split up for church. The guys went to the Anointed Word of God church where we had been on Saturday. They experienced a 3 hour worship service in Amharic. The gals went to the International Evangelical Church for an English-speaking service. We met up at lunch and had a chance to spend time with Bisrat, who has organized our upcoming Train the Trainers. From there we headed to Entoto Mountain for a great view of Addis. After some shopping a the post office, we went back to our guest house for a debrief and spent some time sorting all of our donations.
God is faithful and we feel beyond blessed to be here. We are thankful to have had a slower schedule to recover from our jet lag but we are all ready to roll up our sleeves and get to work! Tomorrow we head back over to Jesse and Levi’s to help them with some organizing for their upcoming move.
More updates to come! A few pictures below (courtesy of Jessica Olivero)! Thank you for your love and prayers!
Posted by Rachel at 7:37 AM
I am in full-steam-ahead mode as we prepare to leave tomorrow for Africa for our Reckless Abandon mission trip! Lots of last minute details, packing, organizing, and errands!
But I just wanted to take a moment before we leave to say THANK YOU! so so much for all of your support, for your prayers, for buying MudLove bands...I am so grateful!
The in-laws are here and prepared to take the reigns for the next 10 days. Joe and I are excited to be on this trip together and to see all that the Lord has in store for our team!
I hope to post updates here while we are in Africa, but I'm not sure how cooperative the internet will be, so we'll see. For sure I will report back here when we return.
Our schedule will be:
- Thursday-Friday travel
- Saturday-Tuesday serve with Bring Love In
- Wednesday-Friday training church planters, serving with with Embracing Hope, and VBS with Compassion Families International
- Saturday shopping and packing; leave Ethiopia Saturday night
- Sunday evening home
- opportunities to share the gospel in word and deed
- our training of 40+ potential indigenous church planters
- that we are a blessing to the ministries we are serving
- safety and good health
- for our loved ones and kiddos back at home
Posted by Rachel at 11:41 AM