DSCN0409After spending one month in Dar es Salaam, we traveled to Moshi in the Northeast of Tanzania. Our experiences at Christ Embassy in Dar had been exhilarating and anointed, as many people surrendered their souls to the Lord and entered into His Kingdom. Daily we would meditate on the Word, listen to Christ Embassy teachings and the anointing of the Spirit would enable us to respond to the needs of the souls we were meeting. If they received Christ, we would encourage them to attend our church and build their lives on the knowledge gained through His Word. We began to understand that the Lord is faithful to supply the anointing needed when we minister to those not yet in His kingdom. Our greatest physical challenge was the extreme heat of Dar but as our blood became thinner and the anointing thicker we readily adapted to the heat. During this first month, we also managed  to obtain Tanzanian driver’s licenses and purchased a 1996 Toyota Land-Cruiser (pictured here).  It’s a tough, well-elevated vehicle and negotiates the deepest ruts without bottoming out, often necessary in this country!

         DSCN0322Our journey to Moshi in the North was beautiful and uneventful. After traveling all day through tropical landscapes, we arrived in Moshi on Christmas Eve and received help in finding our room from Sister Margaret (pictured to the left). The climate is dramatically cooler in the north thus there is no need for air-conditioning.  We celebrated Christmas Day with her, her husband Ely and the 29 children she was caring for at their orphanage called Children of Destiny Foundation. The children, ages 10 to 17 attend school in Kenya and their room and board are paid by donations given to the orphanage. They have been taught in the Word of God since entrance into the orphanage and, when we went to evangelize the neighborhood, the older youth were very enthusiastic and the younger ones were eager to help in any way they could.

               DSCN0353Later that afternon, we attended a community Christmas celebration where old and young rejoiced in the the birth of our Lord Jesus. Claire and I were asked to present something and we boldly and unabashedly sung “Mary Did you Know?” Shortly afterwards, the DJ played the Kenny Rodgers rendition over the sound system and though our version was greatly lacking in professionalism, we concluded that angels had been rejoicing about us over the joyful noise we had just made. There were many believers from different denominations, predominantly Catholic and Lutheran, and we took the opportunity at the end of the program to pass out Rhapsody of Realities and invite them to discuss the gift of Righteousness God has extended to all those who have been born from above. Over the next week we met many of the college students (pictured at the left) and shared the good news of our new life in Christ. It was truly a glorious Christmas Day and a week thereafter for us.




DSCN0142 Christmas is a pretty awesome time of year especially when you are in the States with your family and friends.  But Christmas always evokes the



question, “What is the real meaning and purpose of Christmas?” Is it merely a time to enjoy spending with those we love while not experiencing the hassle of a work schedule, eating scrumdillyicious meals and treats, being awed by the lights, decorations and smells, or opening presents from Santa? Or is it something more? Of course in Africa you’re going to get an entirely different kind of experience; at least we have so far. Forget all the above items and go for the barebones of Christmas is a more accurate representation of Christmas in Ethiopia and Tanzania. Haven’t seen any Christmas lights or a rush on presents at the outdoor markets. I have seen a lot of people preparing to take time off to stay home with their family and celebrate the King’s birth.  The Muslims continue to work at Christmas providing last minute necessities of a Christmas meal or any other needed item, but basically, it’s Jesus most Africans are celebrating.  Everywhere Chuck and I go, the people of Africa want to hear about Jesus… even many of the Muslims.  DSCN0125

“What can be better than that? Yesterday was marvelous.  Practically everyone we talked to said the salvation prayer.  It was the way the Holy Spirit put the words in our mouths. There are many more like us who really understand what life is about.  There’s nothing as awesome as the gospel,” says Chuck as he glances over at me writing this blog.  It’s true, our lives are radically changing from helping the poor with income generating programs to helping the poor by knowing who they are in Christ Jesus.  When people have the spirit of Jesus in their hearts they become hot fire brands, unbeatable and unstoppable in anything they attempt to accomplish because the Lord is with them.  In the U.S. this sounds implausible, in Africa it’s a reality.  In fact anywhere we go in the world it’s a reality, but God is looking for hungry, searching, eager people to know the truth… the real meaning of life.

I’ve been a psychologist, and Chuck a probation officer, we’ve owned houses, raised children, lived the best and fullest lives possible and it wasn’t enough.  Enough… Jesus is enough…. God is enough… the Lord is enough.

We’re in Tanzania to begin new travels to touch the lost with the love of Christ.  We don’t have to travel far, just right outside our door, but God has a plan for us to go to Sierra Leone and we are on our way.  Little by little we are learning the ways of the Kingdom of God: how to reach the Muslim, the lost, the downcast, the broken, the maimed, the sick. God’s the only way.  What an adventure. What a celebration of who God is and what He has done! Come with us on our journey. I’ll make a commitment to write in this blog every week, and you may read it and find out what God’s doing over here in this corner of the world.  It’ll inspire you, maybe it’ll change you forever.

Have a merry, love-filled Christmas. We’ll write to you next week.

Love, Claire and Chuck






These 7 youth celebrated our western Christmas with us in our home. They graduated from a training program mentioned in our previous post and we wanted to reward them. They are now living securely in their rooms and paying their own food and rent costs, even saving money for their next desired purchase. We gave them their transportation money to visit their families over Ethiopian New Year and they promised to be back 3 days after Ethiopian Christmas beginning on Jan. 7,2015 on the western calendar to continue their education here in Hawassa. They are still happy to be attending government night school and as donations and work permit, may begin attending half-day school soon. We are hoping some of them will want to help the 2nd cycle of boys coming through the new-and-improved training program but at this stage they really don’t understand the accomplishment they have achieved in becoming self-sufficient. Christmas Photo Eating Cake


Here are 4 street boys (from right to left – Bereket, Habtamu, Cherenet and Segai) washing my motorbike. They graduated from the training program as stated in our last entry in August and now they are in a 2 month support program, where they are learning practical methods of business management (i.e. saving enough money each day until they can pay their rent and have enough money for food throughout the following month). They also opened their group association bank accounts according to the type of businesses in which they are engaged, allowing them to save money to either expand their present business or engage in another. They are living together in groups of 3 boys to a room and learning to resolve their conflicts, cook their food and follow the instructions of their caseload managers. From the first cycle of 32 graduates another 10 boys left the support program after being placed in their rooms and given an inventory of products to sell on the street. The boys face many practical and spiritual problems which their managers often never know about until they suddenly leave. Some return to their addictions or some decide to sell their own or steal the merchandise of others with whom they are living as a get rich scheme. We have learned much through this first cycle of street children and will make adjustments in both the screening and training of the next cycle of boys. The remaining 20 boys are still struggling with their businesses but are willing to help train and prepare the next cycle of candidates for the challenges from which they have learned.

Meet Addisu, another graduate in the support program. He was approved by the local government officials to sell on this favorable busy street in Hawassa but 3 weeks after beginning the business he was cased out by 4 older boys and robbed of all his merchandise and money. This is a lesson for all the other boys to sell together even though they might not like the competition with each other. He’s wearing his jacket and carrying his ID card that identifies him as a graduate of this highly approved program by the local officials. The boys need to make $1.50/day to pay for their rent and food for the month. The rest goes into their savings account to realize any future dreams. One of the hardest temptations is to delay immediate gratification of desired purchases in ordr to build up capital and prosper later. Another challenge is to aggressively sell your product and develop a joyful, expectant attitude that stirs compassion in those passing by. Some have this business presence naturally and others have to learn it in staged practice dramas.


One month before I left for the United States, two friends came to me and presented an idea to offer support to train 40 street children and eventually help them become self-sufficient and productive members of Hawassa. They both were working in local organizations, which they had founded called Concern for Street Children Association (CSCA) and Bright Light Missions (BLM) to help a small number of children, 8 and 10 respectively. The model that they proposed to me was based on the CSCA model which had been working for over 9 months where street children would attend school half of the day and work the remaining time in small businesses so they could pay their rent and food costs under the supervision of concerned adults.They proposed that they would select 40 children to receive training in character development, life skills and small business management in a training center where, besides the training, they would receive two meals per day and recreational activities (i.e. football and volleyball). After hearing of their vision, I agreed to arrange for funding through our connections for the month we were in the United States and thereafter we would evaluate the effectiveness of the pilot project.

Upon returning from the United States we met with our friends again and discovered that, after getting approval with local officials, they had arranged a rent-free training site at a local governmental school during the school’s vacation break, had selected the 40 children and of all who had been attending the training daily, only 4 of the children had dropped from the program. They had arranged to reduce the food costs of the program by 50% as they had procured donations from local restaurants. They further reported that 10 of the children had been experiencing persecution for wanting to stop their addictions and needed a safe place to sleep. As a result, they had arranged for the remaining 36 children to sleep at another government school so they could sleep safely at night.

The picture shown here is at a football game between the street boys in the training center and the boys in the two transitional homes of our friends. They all had been given new football jerseys and shoes by a government donation because of the high favor the innovative project has received. The next phase of the program will begin soon when the boys begin to develop their own businesses and move into rooms in groups of 3-4 per room and begin being supervised in the community by a caseload manager. IMG_6393


Tegegn and Berket's Rooms

A Working Model

We have been seeking a new and less expensive model for helping street children since becoming acquainted with the Anbesa Club previously mentionaed on our blog. By divine appointment, while inviting people to our Sunday evening service at the Pinna Hotel, I met Yadessa Negero, who worked with Christina, who started the Anbesa Club. As we were getting to know each other before the meeting, all the information that connected us both to this vision the Lord had given Christina unfolded. Since that time Claire and I visited the above home started by Yadessa and his associates. The home has been in operation for several months and they have become almost self-sustaining with a few setbacks caused by the manipulative and deceptive attitudes that are common with boys who have been on the streets for years. Through the God-given discernment and wisdom he receives, Yadessa is thoroughly aware of the earmarks of such remnant thinking in his daily conversations with the 8 boys he supervises and consensual agreements are instituted. It has been a blessing for us to know the Lord’s vision is being divinely supported as we move forward with supporting the Anbesa Boys.

DSC04575https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mvOxnBu_y8c&feature=youtube_gdata_playerDon’t Look Away

Thank you Efren. Here’s a video worth a thousand words. May the Spirit of God shed abroad in our hearts the love for the poor and may we share the power and authority that each of us has received from the Lord’s victory over poverty, sickness and death we have inherited. Although we are helping such people wherever we go, our message is this authority we have inherited. As Jesus said to His neighbors in Nazereth (Lk. 4:21-24), “You will surely say this proverb to Me, Physician heal yourself …” There is a spiritual purpose in Jesus saying this, as He walked in divine health and knew the importance of believeing the words of His Father’s Spirit that we must experience the power of divine healing before we can impart it to others. We must know that we have the power over the enemies’ testing of us in the areas of poverty, sickness and death!!!

We Are Bethel Girl's Home

We have been living in extremely impoverished conditions but now are sleeping in beds and have moved in with many of our friends who lived in the same neighborhood. Here we are altogether!!! Our house mom, Zem Zem is in the middle and we are experiencing her unconditional love and patience; we have never lived in a structured environmrnt like this so there are many things we don’t understand regarding the behavior that is expected of us. Our big sisters, Tigist and Beite are at our flanks and always helping our mom  correct us and direct us. Tigist is very important in this team effort because she speaks Wylitenna, the language of most of us and one that is not spoken by many in this Sidama region of Ethiopia.


These are the 11 street boys that form the Anbesa Club started by an American woman, Christina, who describes her calling this way. “He said “go”… with no church family behind me, no husband to lead me, and no money to provide for me… even with no clear plan of why I was going. The passport for my son miraculously was granted, the money for plane tickets miraculously showed up. “Be my witness, I will send them to you” was the only plan/mission I was given. Jesus had to be my focus, after all it is He who is the way the truth and life, nothing else.” So she worked with the street boys daily for 5 months before the enemy attacked the mission and she had to return to the states because of serious health problems. She had heard of what the Lord was doing in our lives and mailed us a plea to help along with a description of the boys to our PO Box in Hawassa. She requested us to pray whether we might help these boys continue in the plan and purpose she had to spiritually and materially raise them out of the desperate poverty in which they were living. Upon receiving the information we found the boys at the Manharia bus station and later brought a university friend to evaluate the possibility of resurrecting the plan the Lord had given her. We need to hire a case manager to monitor the small profits they make from their street jobs so they can pay for a room in which to cook their food and safely sleep. Then they needed football jerseys on which would be printed the name Club Anbesa and a ball in order to maintain the only semblance of belonging to a family since being displaced from their own families because of poverty and other extraordinary circumstances. Pray that we may receive favor from local government officials to legally help these kids to work, stay in night school and grow in the grace of the Lord to arise above the dangers of street life and the crippling affects of poverty on their destinies in the Lord. Although caseload management of street children may be a common idea in most western nations, the vision and mission given to Christina has not even appeared on the horizon in Ethiopia. Legal help is only seen as housing children in expensive and strictly regulated NGO facilities. Pray for wisdom and favor!!!