Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Support Reckless Abandon Ethiopia - Buy A Shirt!


As we close in on our fundraising for our trip back to Ethiopia this January we've been blessed with some incredible people who have come along side us to support us through prayer, finances, and emotionally. People that love us, love Ethiopia, love orphans, and love Jesus. Some of these people are complete strangers. I'm amazed at how blog land and facebook brings people together and even more amazed to be apart of the body of Christ as we come together to support each other as we all seek out one goal of loving others well and being the hands and feet of Christ in our daily lives both here and across the globe.

Over the last few weeks I've had the privilege of getting to know Kari Gibson a bit more through email and on the phone. Kari and her husband are in the early stages of their second adoption from Ethiopia. We've talked about the Lord, learned a bit more about one another's hearts and shared some sweet stories about what God is doing in our lives. Kari and her husband also designed an amazing shirt. I love this shirt. My picky pants husband LOVES this shirt. We ordered ours immediately. I gushed about the shirt to Kari which led to further discussions which led to Kari allowing us to purchase a bunch of shirts not only for everyone going to Ethiopia with us but also to sell as a fundraiser for that trip. Isn't that amazing?!?! I remember her saying "we're all in this together" and thinking WOW. You have an amazing shirt and your willing to let me buy in bulk as a fundraiser. What a gift.

Due to our trip coming up rather quickly and us still needing some funding we are doing a limited edition pre-order shirt sale for the shirts pictured below. Need a great gift idea? You can purchase your shirt on my side bar, we will only be selling the shirts through January 6th. We'll have the shirts within a week or so of that and we'll get them mailed out before we leave so long as USPS cooperates with us. Hurry and order yours! You won't regret it. Promise. We love ours, the quality is great and the message is perfect.

ALL proceeds will go towards our trip costs, in the event that we have an excess we will be donating all of that to one of the projects we'll be working with in Ethiopia.

Without further ado, The shirts.

The men's shirt is an olive green, black writing with "Simply Love" in red on the front. A great basic T with great color and quality printing fits true to size. My husband wears a large normally and he wears a large in this shirt as well. My son is 11 and the size small fits him with plenty of room.

Men's - Front

Men's Back

The Women’s T is black with white and teal writing, super cute! The fit is longer with not a whole lot of stretch but enough to be cute. My 12 year old daughter is wearing a small with room while I chose a medium for length and a bit looser fit. I can wear a small but it is fitted. The medium is less fitted and has more length on me.

Women's Front

Women's Back


David modeling his shirt on Christmas. :)


Email me with any questions and THANK YOU for your support! erica.shubin@gmail.com

Friday, December 18, 2009

Humbled.

Today I stand in awe of the generosity of friends, family, and perfect strangers. Yesterday during our 24 hour Facebook-a-thon to raise money for our mission trip there was over $1400 raised! Glory to God!! We had set a goal we felt was attainable in 24 hours ($1200) instead of posting the whole amount we needed. Thanks to many of you that goal was reached and then some! We're still fundraising and we'll still leave our donate button up, anything over and above what we need to get us there will be used 100% at the projects we are working on. Yesterdays totals is enough to buy a plane ticket! God is SO SO good!

Philippians 4:19
And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

James 1:27
Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.

Thank you for being apart of this trip, thank you for being the hands and feet of Christ and blessing us in this way. We're honored to be called to carry out this mission. Without you it wouldn't happen. THANK YOU!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

We have seen the Lord work in HUGE ways to work out all the details of this trip. There are a few things we are needing and are actively working on what the Lord has asked of us. That brings us to this point.



We need your prayers.

We'll be working with several different projects while we're in Addis Ababa. Including building a chicken house at Bright Hope School.

We're taking a group of about 10 people (Lord willing their funds come in) most of whom have never been out of the country. This includes our oldest child who is very excited about this opportunity.

Please pray for our team. Pray for unity. Pray for health and safe travel. Pray that the Lord provides for each persons specific financial needs.

Pray for our church. We are apart of a new church plant http://lifebridgechurchpinellas.com/ and part of this trip will be to identify opportunities where we as a church can have long term involvement. Our pastor and his family are also adopting from Ethiopia. His wife Rachel and their two kids are planning to go on this trip as well.

As a family we have hosted back to back garage sales with the help of precious friends, we've received many items to sell, random refund checks, some of you have helped by purchasing coffee, and others have given intentional financial gifts. To each of you that have supported us through giving of your time and resources THANK YOU!!! We are well on our way but we're still short a few thousand dollars.

We need you to spread the word.

This is where you can help. I was looking at my friends list and realized if each person gave $5 we'd raise over $2,000! Our goal is $1200 in 24 hours. Its been done before, my sweet friend Natalie T is where I saw it first as they raised money for their home study. We're going to have a Reckless Abandon 2010 facebook-a-thon!


Here's how it works:

Thursday December 17,2009 from 12:00am-11:59pm we're asking that you donate your facebook status (or write a blog post) to our cause. I'll have a paypal button up on our mission trip blog as well as this blog, all you have to do is copy and paste the info below. In other words spread the word and let the Lord work as He will in the hearts of His people.

Reckless Abandon Ethiopia - to give of oneself unrestrained without caution for the cause of another. Will you send us to Ethiopia to help build a chicken house? To sing and play with sweet orphan babes? To play soccer with the street kids? To be Jesus with skin on to those we meet? To show love in a tangible way. If everyone on my friends list donated $5 we'd be fully funded. Will you consider donating? Every dollar helps. http://recklessabandon2010.blogspot.com - Thank you!

Thank you for helping spread the word!! Stay tuned, if this isn't your thing but you want to donate items for us to take to Ethiopia?!?! That's coming up next! Merry Merry CHRISTmas to each and every one of you!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

World Aids Day

Today is World Aids Day. I know many of us don't really even know what that means. For us last year was our first year of really being involved in this movement. We bought T-shirts and the whole nine yards. I think after being in Africa and seeing the absolutely horrific effects of this disease it changes how you view AIDS and HIV. AIDS and HIV is not just a disease that affects a particular group of people. HIV is treatable. Many people in Africa have NO WAY of getting this treatment. We can help. We can help by supporting the (RED) campaign. We can help by raising awareness. Today is a day to SHARE. To SPREAD the word about the devastation of AIDS and let others know how THEY can be involved.

Here is a little video put out by the (RED) campaign on how medicine made a difference in the lives of these children.



Please be in prayer for those suffering from HIV and AIDS in Africa. Be in prayer on how God might use YOU to spread the word and make a difference. We are focusing intently on fundraising for our trip to Ethiopia in January and as others are joining to minister along side us we are humbled to see God provide for EVERY need as we go along. Kicking it into high gear for fundraising we are humbled that God has called us to go back to Ethiopia yet again. I truly feel that I gain more then I ever give when I'm there. Those of you praying about going on the trip - we are praying with you and for you even now. Watching the Lord put our "team" together is incredible. I leave you with this AMAZING video. I do need Africa more then Africa needs me.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Bright Hope School

Here is a video of the project we'll be partnering with. We should know sometime late October what our exact project will be. We will either be building a kitchen or a chicken coop. Builders, handymen, those willing to just get involved, this will be amazing! What better way to build relationships! We are so excited to see who God will bring together for this amazing team!

Not sure if you can go but you want to help someone else go? Want to support what God is doing in Ethiopia? Stay tuned! Details will be up shortly!

video

Monday, September 7, 2009

Update

Hello Everyone, Sorry it has taken me so long to update you. Much has happened in the past two months; let’s get straight to the point.
Blog:
We have a website or blog site up and ready to go, the address is: http://recklessabandon2010.blogspot.com/ - On this site you will find a down loadable letter that you can copy and make your own to send out for fund raising purposes. We encourage you to do this sooner then later in order to let people know your plans and to start praying for you as well as the rest of the people going on this trip. Feel free to use it as is or change things around to fit your specific needs or to put your church information in there if they want to help you out in this way. We will continue updating you through email as well as updating the website. If there are any prayer requests or things you’d like to see on the blog let us know and we will get it out there. Once we get closer to the trip and those who are going are nailed down we will add “authors” to give others the chance to post to the blog about what the Lord is doing in their lives and we’ll use it as a way to update from Ethiopia as well.
T-Shirts:
We are wrapping up the design phase of a T-shirt to sell as a fundraiser for the projects we will be helping with on this trip. You will be able to buy shirts for gifts, or tell others about them. We will be including a shirt in the cost of the trip so each person on the team will have one.
Projects:
Bright Hope School - http://orphan.childrenshope.net/fileadmin/media/pdf/Bright_Hope-_update-_1.pdf and a video clip - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=no6LnNWj_cQ Children’s Hope International is very involved with the Bright Hope School project; a couple of churches in Montana are working on much of the fundraising and have done some incredible things already. There is still a great need there and we are praying about how the Lord might use us. We’ve been in contact with CHI and they will know more of exactly what project we’ll be helping with after a work team returns home in October. Whatever it is we are excited to be apart! We have a few other projects that we’ve been given the go ahead on but these will depend on the time needed at Bright hope. Saturday afternoon will be spent with “Soccer Ephrem” for sure. He disciple’s street kids by playing soccer with them and building a relationship with these sweet kids.
Fund Raising:
We will be fund raising for the Bright Hope School project, if you have any ideas or would like to do some fund raising of your own in the area you live please let us know! If your church would like to be involved we have a few opportunities for that to happen. We are getting some ornaments that we will be selling around the holidays that we are working in conjunction with CHI on. They are all different prices and correlate with a particular part of the project at Bright Hope. More to come on this!
Cost:
Erica also has narrowed down the price of the in country portion of the trip to $400 per person. This will cover the in country transportation, (we’ll be organizing airport pick up for everyone as well) three meals a day, bottled water, and snacks, (we’ll be bringing some things from the states to make eating on the go a bit easier as well as eating out three - four times on the trip) accommodations, and a T-shirt. We will need to have a deposit of $200 that is due by Dec. 1 just to get an initial count of who is going and the remaining balance of $200 by Jan 1. This is a nonrefundable deposit, however if something comes up and you have to back out at the last minute we can discuss a refund at that time, this is to secure a spot for those who are serious in going. The deposit will enable us to secure transportation, food, and accommodations in country.
We have a couple of travel agents lined up, you don’t have to use them, but after hours of researching flights, costs, and the best routes these guys are on it! They are comparable in price depending on which flights you choose. Right now the tickets are running between $1400 and $1600 per person. We have some on hold for the three of us running just under $1400 each.
Travel Agent Contact Information:
Annie Bueller – Golden Rule Travel - annie@goldrule.net (Annie booked our adoption travel and she currently has tickets on hold for us for this trip)
Mike Snyder – MKI Travel - mike@mkigrouptravel.com (Mike booked Erica’s ticket for her trip to Ethiopia earlier this year)
We wouldn’t recommend booking a ticket just yet, holding is a great option and we’ve found that prices drop as the time gets closer. This past January Erica landed a ticket for right at $1000 about three weeks before she left and it was a great flight!
If you have any questions or need clarification on anything please don’t hesitate to email!
Many nations will be joined with the Lord in that day and will become my people. I will live among you and you will know that the Lord Almighty has sent me to you.
Zechariah 2:11
In His Service,
Dave

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Preparing Your Heart

Thank you Josh for sharing this with us.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

The First Email - Reckless Abandon Ethiopia

Hello Everyone,

This email is going out to anyone who has expressed an interested in going on a mission trip to Ethiopia with Erica and I. At this point we are just trying to find out who is still interested in going.

The estimated cost is going to be around $2000-$2500 this will include your airline ticket, food, room/board, and ground transportation; you will be responsible to schedule your own flight since everyone is coming from all over the country. Erica will be more then happy to help you in scheduling your flight as well as provide travel agent information. The tentative dates are Jan 23rd - 31st. The cost above is greatly based on the amount of the flight, we are hoping to get a group rate but that will depend on how many people we have. We’ve started a blog to keep all of the information in one spot, it hasn’t gone live yet but the URL is http://recklessabandon2010. blogspot.com - we will be covering fundraising information as well as providing a support letter any of you are welcome to use/customize and send out. We will have a small deposit due mid December to hold your spot and solidify the plans in Ethiopia. This trip is geared for adults and mature teens. We leave it to parental discretion on what age is appropriate. We are dealing with extreme poverty, uncomfortable conditions, possible food aversions, and lack of sleep.

We don’t have a schedule at this moment, there are several contacts we have made in Ethiopia but we are still working out the details. The purpose of this trip is to truly be the hands and feet of Christ. We will have more details on our exact points of ministry as the time gets closer. There are opportunities to go into some of the more remote areas, possibly doing a mini-VBS, building shelters, ministering to the AIDS victims, and the lepers living outside the city. Orphanages, prostitute rehabilitation homes, and the fistula hospital are just a few that we are praying about. Ultimately we want what God has planned for us.

Then he said, "Son of man, get all these words that I'm giving you inside you. Listen to them obediently. Make them your own. And now go. Go to the exiles, your people, and speak. Tell them, 'This is the Message of God, the Master.' Speak your piece, whether they listen or not." Ezekiel 3:10

To those of you that aren’t sure if you’re supposed to go on this trip I ask that you pray for God to start preparing your heart and seek His will. For those who feel that God has called you to be apart of this adventure, God is already preparing your heart and those you will be in contact with, which ever it is know that he is sovereign and all we have to do is obey. I challenge you with a couple of verses as you seek His face.

And the King will answer them, “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.” Matthew 25:40

Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the cause of orphans. Fight for the rights of widows. Isaiah 1:17

I look forward to hearing from all of you.

God Bless,
Dave Shubin

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Ethiopia Day 1

This is probably the easiest way to document the trip for all of you who supported and prayed for us. I'm finally in a place that I can share freely about the trip, the people, and the work the Lord did on my heart. This trip was tough. Emotionally, physically, and spiritually. I knew it would be but I knew it would be even harder integrating back into my "comfortable" life here in the states. It was ugly. Ask my poor husband and children.

For now, I'll do my best to take you back to Ethiopia with me. From my perspective. I'm sure Rachael and Sarah felt things similarly but different.

The flight from Phoenix to London where we met up with Sarah was flawless. London to Addis Sarah and I were bumped to business class and we asked if Rachael could join us which worked out beautifully. We all slept. It was great!

1:00AM Sunday morning we arrived in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Made it through getting our visa and off to get our luggage and have it searched. Being questioned about my cameras and all the donations we brought and why we brought them we were finally through. Exhausted and anxious to get to the guest house we looked for someone holding a sign with our names. No one was there.


Foreign country, two friends who'd never been beyond Mexico, alone. I told Sarah and Rachael to stay with the luggage and I was going to try and figure this out. The looks on their faces told me they were sure I was crazy. I walked up to someone with a cell phone and asked if I could use it. I now had a new best friend. He was from AGCI and he made sure I was able to get a hold of someone even talking to them for me. We had been forgotten but someone was coming. Another gal also on the mission arrived and she too was forgotten. We waited. Sweet Hanna and Zeyid came to our rescue! Let the adventure begin!

Out in the pouring rain we had the task of finding a taxi because the drivers who were supposed to get us were home in their beds. Everyone wanted to drive us. Everyone was surrounding us. Everyone wanted to help. Everyone wanted birr. It was still pouring down rain. Cameras, laptops, soaked. Finally Hanna made a decision and our driver was chosen. Sarah, Rachael, and I left with Hanna in her little car while Zeyid and the other Sarah went with our luggage in the van.

Hanna said she hadn't driven at night much. I wondered if she had EVER driven at night as she narrowly missed the median, couldn't get out of the airport parking lot, and struggled to see through the window. Bless her for coming to get us at this ungodly hour. I sat in front to try and be of some help, I thought Sarah and Rachael were going to claw off the seat backs. As the car careened around corners, never slowing, rain pouring, and only the dim light of one headlight I could hear the screams in the girls' heads behind me. I offered to help with the lights making it slightly better. At one point Hanna laughed and said I knew more about her country then she did. I so did not. I simply knew how to get out of the airport parking lot.

After our roller coaster car ride we arrived. In one piece and the girls had been fully immersed in driving school. Ethiopian style.

Our soaked luggage arrived and we discovered our room wasn't ready. We opted to share a room, Sarah and I crashed in the same bed and Rachael opted for a bed on the floor. We were only sleeping for a few hours anyways. It was nearly 4am and we were going to be up at 6:30. The traditional chanting had already started and I was hoping it would lull us to sleep. It worked.

The alarm went off, I was excited for Sarah and Rachael to get their first glimpse of Ethiopia by day. It was rainy and a little foggy. The smell so familiar, it felt like a part of my heart was "home". I longed for my husband to be with me. I dreamed of the day we are able to bring our whole little family over so they can see first hand the country we all love so much. For Silas to visit his birth country once again, to see his friends who helped him through some of the toughest transitions of his little life. It was a bit overwhelming.

Back to reality. We needed to get ready for our first full day in Ethiopia, Ephrim was arriving in less then two hours. We organized our packs, straightened our hair, applied some makeup, and met our new friends who would be on our little trek for the next two days. We were ready to roll! Breakfast and sir Ephrim arrived at about the same time. It was surreal to see him again.


Gathering our stuff, our new friends and we headed out to the church David and I had attended just one year before. A fairly westernized Evangelical international church. There was a baptism this particular Sunday and we learned while sitting in the service that our driver (not to be mistaken with our friend and guide Ephrim) was a Muslim and was asking a bunch of questions about the service. It was incredible to see Ephrim witnessing to him and sharing the love of Christ. What better time then during a baptism. The Lord met us there, our souls were filled and we were ready to pour out the love of Jesus to those we'd meet.

After church we headed for a visit with Giday and Hope For Abandoned Children. Not knowing completely what to expect we committed the day to the Lord and His perfect plan. As we arrived at the quaint orphanage the children surrounded us and begged for attention. We spent time with the kids, held the babies, loved on the toddlers, and held bottles for sweet babes. The kids desperately wanted some attention and ate up anything we would give. Another adoptive family had given the orphanage a slide and merry go round. So sweet. The kids loved being pushed around giggling as we went faster and faster. They blessed me so much just watching them take in every little bit, so thankful, so loving. My heart yearned to take them all home and love on them forever.

We took Giday shopping for supplies, food, and other needs that the orphanage had. This shopping trip was sponsored by ChangeForEthiopia! Such an honor to carry out this mission for them. On our way we saw many lonely faces, kids begging for anything we'd give them. Michelle knelt down with one little boy and cut out snowflakes with him, it was priceless. Time spent was more then anything monetary we could do. Relationships are what was important, even if only a brief encounter.


We passed out granola bars and lollipops. I caught myself staring, caught in the moment of reality that this could be me. Any one of us. They were no different then me. I would do anything for my babies even if that meant begging at every car window for something to eat. I was humbled yet again. As we shopped for Giday her gratitude over things I daily take for granted made me realize how much we have and how much MORE we should give. Watching her carefully choose only the items she felt they truly needed despite my offer to purchase whatever she wanted. Humbled to the core. Blessed beyond measure to be called to minister in this way at that very moment.


Later that afternoon we went to visit some of the street kids near the post office and traditional shops. Two fold purpose. Support the Ethiopian economy and the small shoe shine boys who so faithfully work to support themselves or their families. I had some sweet boys wanting to shine my shoes. Such an incredible experience. They took such care in making sure every spot was shiny and new. I was reminded of Gods refining fire making us more like Him, scrubbing the old out and letting the new shine through. If only we let him. He's not going to leave us where we are, He wants us to be more and more like him. Less of us, more of Him. That is my prayer.

The day was finished with hanging out with our new friends, room mates and much needed sleep to be ready for day two.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Mission Ethiopia 2009

My sweet husband made a video montage of our trip to Ethiopia. He took the pictures off my computer without me knowing and created this beautiful video as a surprise while he was out of town. Love it. It so beautifully captures Ethiopia, the people, and how blessed we were to be there. Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The Process.



I haven't checked this blog since we've been home. Reading Sarah and Rachael's posts tonight I realized just how much I'm still processing. I remember when we came home with Silas last year I could hardly speak of the trip without bursting into tears. I remember the silence David and I shared over what we had just experienced. I feel much of that again. Just in a little different way. I remember Sarah not understanding why I struggled so hard yet how she respected my guarded heart and waited patiently for me to be able to share. Now seeing her struggle with the same things its like a kindred spirit. Sarah, Rachael, and I share something that's difficult to articulate. Once we've processed our own thoughts and feelings with what we've experienced, discovered how to best share what the Lord has laid on our hearts it will come.



Eager to share what we've learned just struggling to let it all sink in and fully understand what we've just lived these past ten days. God is faithful, our only goal is to bring glory and honor to our King. May we all be vessels fit for His service. We were asked "what now"? In time that will be revealed, its still sinking in. More of Him, less of me.



The biggest thing that is impressed upon my heart more then what we "did" in Ethiopia is what Ethiopia did for me. The Ethiopian community is a perfect example of contentment.




I want to be completely content. Infinitely happy despite my circumstances, thankful for the little things, and joyful beyond measure. I want to give liberally and love selflessly. Forever etched in my mind is when I told one of our translators that I really liked his necklace. It was suubi beads and they were bright yellow, beautiful. He said "you do? Really?" I give it to you. I refused but his willingness to give me something he probably really like himself spoke volumes to me. I want that kind of selflessness.




The Ethiopian people will forever be apart of me. Our son is a constant reminder of that. I shared with David that a little more of my heart is deposited there just as it was last year. He gets that and I love that about him. He gets my wild and crazy heart, he gets my passions, I am so thankful for a patient husband who hasn't pushed me although I know he wants every detail. Even though he didn't travel with us, he was there in spirit. We both can't wait to return.



Here are a few pictures from the first two days we were there. I managed to shoot over 500 pictures of my own and about that many were given to me by two others. Many more to come. These are but a few.



Roasting coffee beans for a coffee ceremony. We were the guests of honor. Its such an overwhelming feeling to know something is being prepared because you are there. Humbling.



The first orphanage we visited - Also where our first coffee ceremony was.



The streets of Addis Ababa.



Sweet shoe shiners. Love these boys.


Ephrim and Co.- our AMAZING driver/translator! He took such great care of us. Thank you Ephrim!

The trip is over, but the journey has just begun

Rachael's post could not have said alot of my feelings any better. The trip has happened, but God is still at work. We had some truly amazing adventures happen while we were in Addis. There are not enough words to describe everything we saw and experienced, and the burden that was even more apparent once we got there. Visiting each of the orphanages and drop in centers became easier on the outside, because we knew what to expect, but only made our hearts ache even more after each one. The kids are all so excited to see us as soon as we walk in, and are always so polite reaching out there hands saying "Salem" (hello). Its hard to leave, and not take any of them with you. My mind is still processing everything we saw and experienced, so for now, I will leave you with that, and some pictures. Please pray for us, as we listen to what God is putting on our hearts for "What's next?"

... And Back

As we pulled into Chicago, a sadness hit. Not only were Erica and I seperating from Sarah, but I realized, as Sarah so eloquently put it, "We're back in the States." And that was rather evident from the familiar restaurants and the SuperBowl on big screens around O'Hare. Reality soon took over. And, as we finished our last and shortest leg, my mind reeled. We were back. Back to the comfort of our own beds. Back to the security of our own language. Back to the freedom to not be attached to a wallet on a neck strap. All this familiar is a great relief. But it is accompanied by a great burden.
This blog could easily be titled, "A Trip to Addis" and then stop after the last post. But it is fittingly called "To Addis and Back". The trip may be over, but the journey has just begun. Now we are back among you, friends, family, readers. Now we have the daunting task before us of explaining (or attempting to explain) the experience of Addis. The smells, sights, sounds and textures of a world you have never experienced. And the people. The emotions. All these untangible things that built up in us over our week-long venture for which there are no words. To these things we now try to put words.
The question posed to us on this trip was, "What next?" I think that for now, that is simply to share. To let you know the great need that has fallen on the people of Ethiopia, and to invite you to join us on our journey to see where we fit in to God's plan for them. It is exciting, and scary. It may not be fun, and it definately won't be easy. The experience may leave you seeing yourself and others in a whole new light. But it is worth it. It is definately worth it.

So continue to pray for us as we seek God's will in our return to America and the every day adventure, now that we have been to Addis and Back.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Heading Home

Its after midnight here and our van comes in just a couple of hours to take us to the airport.  We're going to sleep a bit and then head out.  This trip has been amazing.  The Lord met us here.  Our hearts are full of the joy of the Lord yet burdened to do still more.

There is so much to take in and the theme of this trip has been to leave with the answer to the question "what now"?  Each of us have a clearer picture of what that is and we're excited to share them here individually when we get home.  Blogging by email with difficulty posting pictures can get frustrating.  Once we get settled and love on our families a bit we'll all be posting.  :)

We've seen sadness and despair yet among all of that we've seen so much hope.  To watch the street children eagerly wanting to learn about Christ, to build relationships with them, and just to love on them has blessed me more then I feel I've done for any one of them.  This country has something I pray I bring back with me.  True Happiness despite the circumstances.  I do need Africa more then Africa needs me.  I believe that more and more.

Thank you for your prayers and support.  Rachael, Sarah and I are all well - continue to pray we remain that way for our 30 hour journey home.

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the
author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  Hebrews 12:2

--
Erica
"Life is change. Growth is optional. Choose wisely."

Friday, January 30, 2009

An update from Sarah!

Alright! So for the first time I'm atempting to blog. So far this
trip has been truly amazing! A lot of awesome visits with different
orphanges, and drop-in centers, all with the same result of having a
challenging time leaving the kids. One of the coolest things is
watching how excited these kids get when we pull into the compounds.
Its like Christmas for them, when we pull out our outdoor activities,
crafts and kid worship songs. I have so many storys and pictures, and
can't wait to share with everyone. Tomorrow is our last full day
here, and we have a full day planned. Please pray for us, and our
opportunites to share Chirst with the people on the street, and the
kids in the centers. God is doing amazing things through some amazing
people that we have met here in Ethiopia. Please keep them in your
prayers, as they continue to do God's work here.
--
Sarah <><
To the world you may be one person,
but to one person you may be the world.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Pictures....

It looks like we can only send them one at a time.  When we get back it'll be a picture overload.  :)


Dav 4

Good Evening! (Morning for all of you)  :)

Today was pretty busy.  We left this morning to head out to a family rehabilitation center.  We were all excited about this project as well as the drive out of the city.  It was beautiful!  Only problem, we had two flat tires so it was lunch in a field instead.  It was too late to continue on since we had meeting with the minister of labor and affairs in the afternoon.  We headed back through the country side to get ready for the meeting.  Later we headed to the Buckner baby home and held all the babies and played with the toddlers.  They had some super sweet older boys!  Please pray these sweet children find their forever families soon.

Off to dinner at Zebra Grill - which actually had some delicious non-Ethiopian dishes.  Then a pow wow at Kaldi's Coffee to end the night.   

Rachael is feeling better, she stayed in all day and got some much needed rest.  She's hoping she continues to gain strength so she can join us tomorrow.  Please continue to pray for her health and the rest of us.



--
Erica
"Life is change. Growth is optional. Choose wisely."

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Day 2 and 3

Greetings!!!
 
We've been so busy and the internet so sketchy that its hard to post and even harder to post pictures.   If I can't get any to load right now I'll work on it tonight.  We visited an orphanage and I'm hoping to get some video up, one of the guys here video'd and has a link he said I could post.  I'll try tonight.  Its so incredible to hang out with these sweet kids, to hold the babies and to just play with the bigger kids.  They love everything!  They are so sweet, they'll hug and kiss us and tell us they love us.  Its been heartbreaking to see the deep desire they have for a family.  We've all said we'd love to take them home! 
 
Yesterday we went to the AIDS compound.  That was probably the toughest thing we've done.  Sarah, Rachel and I were part of a small group that filled a 5x8 room of a man dying of AIDS.  Tears filled his eyes as we prayed for him.  I'm sure he was embarrassed but he still let us pray with him.  He is a believer and we know we'll see him again.  The whole compound was HIV + men, women, and children.  They stay up on the mountain and are looked at as outcasts.  We gave them clothes, food, and shoes. They're greatfulness was unbelievable.  I was able to pray for the group at the end which was amazing.  It was such an honor to be allowed to pray for them.  God has been faithful and we are so blessed to be here.
 
Please pray for Rachael - she's been throwing up since late last night and its not getting better.  Pray for healing for her body and that she doesn't get dehydrated.
 
Thank you all for your prayers!!

Erica
For Sarah and Rachael too.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Picture Test!

Today we went on a coffee stop.  YUMMY Macchiatos.

--
Erica
"Life is change. Growth is optional. Choose wisely."

Picture Test!

Hopefully this works.

--
Erica
"Life is change. Growth is optional. Choose wisely."

We're Here!!

Well we've been here.  This is just the first chance we've had to get on the internet. 
 
Ethiopia is of course beautiful.  The people are amazing and the exposure to the reality of the poverty here is life changing.  Watching Sarah and Rachael as they experience this for the first time is amazing.  I feel so honored to be here with them.  The group of people we are with is INCREDIBLE!  Truly God ordained. 
 
Sunday we went to church at the International Evangelical church and then made our way to Hope For Abandon Children.  We met Giday and saw the needs of her orphanage.  We are working with ChangeForEthiopia to get them supplies and improve the living conditions there.  Giday was so grateful for everything.  We were able to take her shopping and buy the things she needed for the very basic needs of the children.  They are hoping to add on to the orphanage so they can have a kitchen.  What they have now is similar to what we in the states would call a shed.  Watching her as she talked about the children she loves as own, despite them having nothing they had a coffee ceremony for us, we were the honored guests.  I know I came away more blessed then when I arrived.
 
We went to House of Hope today where Silas lived for seven months.  We loved on the children and met up with the staff that took care of our son.  It was so surreal and bittersweet to make that road again.  The staff kissed the pictures of Silas and asked all about him.  We loved being there.  The babies are all beautiful.  The older children sang us songs and loved on us.  Truly amazing.  We all made Injera and they humored us and said we did well when we know we didn't do near as well as they do!
 
Afterwards we went to a drop in center.  Heartbreaking.  The area is so poor.  The poorest we'd seen.  One thing we know is universal is children.  They all play the same.  They love having their pictures taken and they all hug and kiss you.  We've loved being able to give them attention.  Again, watching the people running these ministries challenges me.  Seeing how little they have yet how MUCH they do.  All giving praise and honor to our AWESOME God.
 
We met the Thiele kids.  I love these kids.  Sarah, Rachael, and I feel so honored to have been able to do this for Andrea and Bryan.  All I can say guys, you are SO SO blessed.
 
We've visited orphanages, a drop in center, played ball with street kids, handed out granola bars and birr to the people we met.  Truly amazing to see the gratitude.  One little boy wanted to polish our shoes.  I am now the proud owner of the shiniest black shoes you've ever seen.  Watching him work so hard, so thoroughly, and lovingly on my shoes said so much to my heart.  Being able to hug him and hand him 5 birr made his day, these small things have made such a huge impression on my heart. 
 
Tonight we're going for a traditional Ethiopian meal at Entonto.  YUMMY!
 
Tomorrow we head to the AIDS hospital and another drop in center.  Pray for the people we encounter and pray that we will remain healthy.  God is SO SO good.
 
We are all so very thankful for your prayers and support.  Start praying about coming here on a trip next year!  Its life changing!!!
 
To God be ALL the Glory Honor and Praise!
 
I'm going to try and post pictures.....we'll see if it works.


 

Thursday, January 22, 2009

We're About To Head Out!

This song perfectly sums up our feelings as we look ahead to this trip.


Tomorrow morning we leave. We hope to keep this updated either via email or my sweet husband will update it for us. :) Thanks babe!


However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace. Acts 20:24

And OUR King reigns supreme! We worship Him and Him alone! We covet your prayers!