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href=”https://seeingallthingsnew.files.wordpress.com/2014/01/dsc04797.jpg”>We Love Care Packages
We are so appreciative of the help we receive, not from just our friends we have made here in Ethiopia, but also from our family supporting us with their prayers and gifts from abroad. We opened a Christmas care package from my sister and brother-in-law, Claudia and Ken, and in it she had thoughtfully inserted 2 dresses that two of our girls, Tigist and Beti, just loved!!! Things have greatly changed in Beti’s life; she first only wanted to be known by her muslim name, Hikma, but as she began to meet and admire the changes the Bethel Street boys had made in their lives and attended their Christian church, she decided to become a Christian and changed her name to Beti, meaning Bethlehem in Amharic. She started to attend our church, Christ Embassy, and we have had the privilege of seeing the depth of worship the Lord has worked in her heart as she kneels before Him and at other times dances and praises Him with total abandonment. She still struggles with submitting to authority figures, which she seems to have been lacking in her earlier childhood, but we believe that she’s developing the discipline and character she needs to have a prosperous life. Beti comes from a tiny village Agwamariam; her parents split up and both abandoned their five children forcing them to live together with few resources. At the time Beti was 9-years-old and was deceitfully put on a bus by her older brother who paid a friend to drop her in our town, Hawassa, to live on the streets and make her own way. We found her living near the bus station and eager to be adopted into a safer environment. She’s 12 now and will be entering first grade in a few weeks after being tutored 4 hours per day for 3 months in Amharic language, Math and English. I can’t express the joy it brings us to see children who did not have much of a future receive the tools and opportunities necessary to become anything they want to be.

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Here our girls are eating with Sabla, the daughter of another family that we are helping survive the extreme poverty of Southern Ethiopia. The girls appreciate the support they are receiving but still struggle with treating each other kindly. If we hadn’t had the support of all our Amharic-speaking friends whom we have made over the past year to mediate arguments, we couldn’t have made it through the 3 months it took to finally open Bethel Girls Home. They will be the oldest girls in the house and will naturally lead the younger girls. Over those months we hope they have developed some of the necessary character and commitment to succeed as leaders and role-models of the younger girls who will be adopted into the house.

DSC04461Meet Hikama (Beite) and Tigist
We are moving forward!!! In the first week of November, Getachew, Claire and I went out to familiarize ourselves with the plight of girls living on the streets of Hawassa. We started at the Manharia (bus Station) and Claire recognized a girl, Hikama, that she had met the previous week and had been living on the streets for over a year. While we were talking with her another girl, Tigist appeared and, as Getachew was questioning her, we found out that she had been thrown out of the home in which her parents had arranged for her to work that very morning; it is common for parents in the surrounding poor rural villages suffering under severe poverty to make such arrangements. Some police officers agreed to watch the two girls while we went to the Womens and Children’s Affairs Office to inquire how we could help. We talked with the director and found that the standard procedure was to house them in a temporary shelter until a determination could be made to return them to their families or place them in an NGO, if the home is not appropriate. I had heard of children running from the shelter and returning to the dangers of the streets, so after expressing this concern to the director, we received permission to temporarily house them in our home until we could open our new home for girls in January 2014. They came home with us that night and we learned first hand of the challenges and blessings of helping street girls adopt a new life! This is a picture of Hikama and Tigist the first day we accepted them into our home.

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Miratu is one of the first youth who was supported by BSCFAS. In both the first picture, you see him standing with one of his street friends, holding the baby of the women who he was sharing the small piece of land in front of the fence. In the second picture you see Miratu, four other youth and the women with her baby in front of the first home he established for street youth. The women later left the home without any notification or way of reaching her. Getachew arranged with the regional government officials to adopt the baby, Ephraim, into his own family and has raised him as one of his own children. The final picture was taken 5 years later at the present location of Bethel Street Home. You see Miratu in the middle of the back row happy, attending school and functioning as a leader in the house. We are now seeing all these boys a couple of times per week and have grown fond of them as we pass time filled with humorous anecdotes of us learning to communicate with each other in our broken Amharic and English.

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Since we’ve received our work permit with Getachew’s NGO Bethel Street Children and Family Aids Services (BSCFAS), we’ve been discovering many opportunities to help the children of the street and their families. BSCFAS has successfully lifted 14 boys out of the dangers of the streets of Hawassa during the past 5 years. Getachew’s NGO has focused on prevention, also, helping the parental figures of families keep their children in school by supplementing whatever little income the family has by a stipend with the condition that the child must remain in school. The first picture shows the home of two children and the children’s mother who was lying paralyzed near his home and begging with her children. She asked Gethachew to care for her daughter as her family was to poor to support both children. Getachew hadn’t seen the mother for 5 months and later met the father who told him the mother had died in the hospital 2 months prior. The final picture shows the father, his two children and their aunt struggling to survive after the mother’s death. The father still lacked the ability to support his children and Getachew agreed to pay the daughter’s school fees until Bethel could start a home for girls. There are few homes in Hawassa for girls living in such abject poverty. We believe we can gather the necessary funds to establish such a house for girls and will keep you appraised of the opportunity to support this project.

Our Boys Saying Goodbye to Our Julia

After meeting the boys at Bethel Street Home, Julia has gained a great respect for them and the work in which the Lord has led us. We will miss you Julia!!!

In August, Julia came to visit us in Ethiopia for the second time. We celebrated her 21st BD in Mombasa, Kenya and reintroduced her to the boys to whom we have become devoted. We have seen these boys grow in both their allegiance to the Lord and their readiness to become active self-reliant and contributing members of our community.
After saying our tearful goodbyes to Julia at the Bole International Airport on Monday evening, we met Getachew Tikke, the director of Bethel Street and Family Aid Services (BSFAS) at the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs (MOLSA) Office on Wednesday morning and began the process of requesting our much awaited work permit. Although Getachew had all the required papers in order, Thursday we faced some officials who were fearful in authorizing the permit. Getachew with months of experience and wisdom in gaining his license certification for his own organization, was able to encourage these officials to meet their authorized responsibilities and the work permit was granted in a matter of hours. Hurrah!!! We immediately went to the Immigration Office one hour before closing, presented our application for residency and the required supporting documents and were informed to make copies of our new work permit and submit a letter from Shiloh Bible College releasing Claire to work with any agency of her choice. We were to come back the following morning to finish the processing. We had a celebration dinner, discussed and prayed over plans we would be soon starting before Getachew returned to Hawassa to meet his responsibilities there. Claire contacted Shiloh that evening and they quickly emailed her their closing letter.
We returned early the following morning and after a two hour expedited processing, we had approval of our residency status. After a friend from Christ Embassy Addis, had agreed to pick up our residency cards and mail them to us, he placed us in a private vehicle and we were back in Hawassa 4 hours. All we have is praise for our Lord Jesus in making the process so smooth; He answers our every prayer and does so surprisingly and abundantly!!! We are now ready to work and give others an opportunity to sow seeds in His Kingdom plans for the street youth of Hawassa.

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Christ Embassy Hawassa began in the Paradise Hotel with just a few members. Our Pastor Alex had been sent out by Pastor Chris from Nigeria along with Pastor Wale, who was to pastor the Addis congregation and was given 250 birr ($14) for bus fare and all other expenses. The Lord sent workers to help him and within a few months they moved to larger venues until we are at our present location. A critical issue as a member is passing the Foundation Training through which each member learns the importance of publicly confessing the often criticized teachings of some of Jesus’ most challenging words. Such teachings spawned from Bishop Benson Idahosa of Nigeria and Kenneth Hegin have been followed by signs and wonders and we regularly hear testimonies of people’s blood being cleansed of HIV and malaria, hands and limbs being restored as they believe and fight the good fight of faith against the deceptions of the enemy. Here Claire is receiving her diploma for passing a written test of the extensive doctrine of the teachings of Christ. We have accompanied our pastor to towns in the surrounding areas and seen congregations the size of ours spring up in Sheshemane , Durame and Laku. Pray for the continued work of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of all believers as we come to the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ (Eph 4:13) and are prepared (Eph 2:10) to meet our Lord and King as His bride without spot or wrinkle (Eph 5:27)

DSC03110In August 2012 we had returned to Ethiopia with all the necessary papers, expecting to find housing for as many street children as possible. We began sponsoring a new street home managed by a person that appeared to have the best interests of the children at heart. After a few months we discovered his motives were not at all what we had thought and he and the children were being forced to leave by the landlord. The children were placed in another home quickly and because of the potential threat to the standings of Shiloh Bible College, we agreed to cut off all our relationships with the organizations to which we were connected.
This was a particularly low point in our spiritual walk as the desire to fulfill our calling in the Lord had come into conflict with many worldly considerations. But the Lord is always faithful and we were introduced by a friend to Christ Embassy a congregation led by a Nigerian English speaking pastor. We came to the service just being thankful to hear a service in English since, all other services are translated from Amharic into English and much is lost in translation. We began hearing a doctrine that focused on seeing ourselves and other Christians as empowered by a new spirit (2 Co 5:17) and through the belief in our heart and confession with our mouth (Ro 10:9,10) of the power and authority with which Jesus has left us, we can overcome any obstacle. Our lives are to be forward and upward and, in Christ, we cannot be defeated in any area of our lives. We have been challenged to believe and have faith in scriptures as John 10:34,35 and Matthew 21:21 and fight the good fight of faith as we persistently confess with our mouths we are the bride of Christ doing the same and greater works that Jesus has done and awaiting His return.

Our First HomeSince we returned back to Ethiopia in August 2012, we lived for 5 months in two different houses before some friends moved back to the US and left this home vacant. We moved in Jan 1, 2013 and bought some of their essential items (i.e. stove, refrig, washing machine) and then purchased bamboo furniture which is both inexpensive and attractive.

Christian and Groom with bunny and Teko's father's house 014

Merry Christmas!  Christmas is right around the corner and undoubtedly you are busy preparing for the customary festivities associated with celebrating Jesus’ birth.  To us there is nothing more fun and exciting than blessing children that don’t have much of anything with something really special for Christmas.  I’ve talked to the house parents and asked them what these children need the most and unanimously they agreed on the following list:

           Teddy bears or washable stuffed animals to hold and cuddle even for the older children;

            Story books 2nd-5th grade level for boys from Bright Life Mission or Emmanuel Support Center, K-4th grade for Ebenezer Grace, and 4th-8th grade level story books for boys from Bethel Street Children and Family Aid.

Christian DVDs or children’s very tame movies especially ones with English subtitles; and

 Educational DVDs that teach the English language like Sesame Street for young children.

These are items that would bless each and every child. Postage is expensive so we are suggesting lighter weight items.  The following is a list of children’s ages and addresses at each home so you can individually package an appropriate grouping and send off to their respective homes:

Ebenezer Grace Supporting and Development Assoc. (orphanage) currently has 27 children. 10 are infants, 6 are 1-2 years old, and 11 are 3-11 years old.  Two 3-year-olds are boys Emanuel and Agango, one 4-year old boy Yesozer, one 5-year-old boy Grum, and one 5-year-old girl Christian;  two 7 year-old girls Goiti and Lantu who is blind; one 12-year-old deaf girl Ruth; two ten year-old girls Beti and Fasika; and one 11-year-old girl Marta.

Send to: Argaw Ayele, c/oWoma Yaikob, Ebenezer Grace Children’s Home, P.O. Box 1662, Hawassa, SNNPR, Ethiopia

Bethel Street Children and Family Aid currently has 9 boys.  Mesfin and Sinyab are the youngest at age ten; Esayas, Shilota, Tefera, and Soloman are about twelve years old; Miratu, Eyob and Zirfu are 16.

Send to: Getachow Tikke, Bethel Street Children and Family Aid, P.O. box 1418, Hawassa, SNNPR, Ethiopia.

Emmanuel Support Center currently has 6 boys ranging from a 3-years-old boy, Dereje, Belay and Hanock age 7 or 8 years old, Kasu age 12, Yihun age 15.

Send to: Teketel Esayas, Emmanuel Support Center, P.O. Box 1417, Hawassa, SNNPR, Ethiopia.

Bright Life Mission currently has 6 boys plus 3 girls including Mashuka and Hoptamu ages 9-10; Aklelu and Sabla, a girl age 11; Bertikon, a girl age 12; Adugna age 13,  Yoseph and Abriham age 14, and Free, a girl age 16.

Send to: Mitiku Bogale or Ashenafi Tesfaye, Bright Life Mission, P.O. Box 1228, Hawassa, SNNPR, Ethiopia.

Thank you and have an awesome  Christmas!