The Power of One – Guest Blog By Mallory Scott

I’m 18 years old and I am finishing up my first year of college at Motlow State Community College. After next year I will transfer to MTSU where I will get my Masters in speech and language pathology and audiology. This past year and a half has been one of real confusion and uncertainty. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with my life, which made me very anxious. It got to the point where my walk with the Lord got more and more distant. I was searching for my peace and security in knowing what I wanted to do with my life. I was trying to find attributes of Him apart from Him.

In the midst of this rut, I traveled with OH over to Ethiopia. I have traveled to Ethiopia 3 times total, my first trip being when we adopted my brother Henok, and the other two times with OH. The Lord has really used my time spent there to reveal Himself to me in multiple ways.

This past trip was really hard for me because when you go back, you see some of the same sweet faces in the same heartbreaking conditions. I realized quickly that I can not change the world. I can not even change the heartbreaking statistics that are prevalent in Ethiopia. But I can change the world for one person. And that is more than enough. After this last trip in December 2017 I was really at a loss on what I needed to do next… should I take time off of school and do an internship in Ethiopia? Am I meant to be there full-time? I knew I wanted to get more involved.

Eventually, I came to the conclusion that now is not the time for me to be over there full-time but that it didn’t mean I had to stop making a difference. I have always had a heart for kids and I started thinking on how I could get younger kids involved. This is when I thought of the after school “change drive”. Through this, I wanted to empower children to make a difference they otherwise wouldn’t have. I wanted them to understand the world is much bigger than their everyday life and I wanted them to be able to see the vast differences between themselves and kids across the world… but how in the same respect they can relate to them. I wanted them to connect with kids in Ethiopia. I wanted to bridge the gap.

So over the span of 4 weeks I taught these children the heartbreaking statistics. They learned faces and stories. They learned that seemingly meaningless things here make all the difference there. They were stirred to make a difference because they finally understood their ability to. It was a privilege to see these kids give selflessly. Listen intently. Love deeply. And grow immensely.

I think that through this program the kids of Woodland Park Elementary not only changed lives for kids in Ethiopia with their change…. I think that the kids in Ethiopia changed the lives of the kids at Woodland Park Elementary.

The different activities included: 1. making cards using Amharic greetings (they got to learn Amharic words!) 2. Talking about the people of Korah who work at Lila Products and how they make beads and jewelry to provide for their families (the kids then made jewelry out of paper beads, realizing how hard it truly is!) 3. making a banner where the kids made their mark with their handprints. 4. reading a book about how they can continue to change the world!

See that’s the thing. We don’t have to do huge things or travel across the world to make a change. It starts here with the people God has put around you. We love one person at a time. Here. There. And everywhere. The kids at Woodland Park ended up raising $94.17! These kids gave it all they had and I would have been content if they raised $50 because that would have been a dollar per kid… but they went above and beyond, and learned while doing it. I couldn’t be prouder of them! I thank God for giving me the opportunities that he has. I love advocating for OH. I love being a voice to the voiceless. I think that is why I choose to be a speech and language pathologist…. in a sense, I get to be the voice for people who cannot verbally communicate for themselves… and then I get to help them find theirs. It is beautiful to witness and be apart of, and I am excited for many more change drives to come!

Meet the Team Monday – Adanu, Desta, and Zewedenesh

Below are three out of five OH Guest House staff that clean the Guest House each and every day. Our Guest House gets constant remarks about the cleanliness and comfort of their stay, and it’s largely due to the hard work of these women. They put their heart into the work, and we are so thankful for their commitment to our guests over the years. Read the interviews below to get to know them more.

ADANU

How did you get connected to OH?

I knew about OH when I used to work at a different guest house that OH stayed at. I use to be amazed at what they did and when the OH Guest House was opened me and my friends joined the team.

Why do you love helping people?

I love helping people because I want to make God happy with my deeds. I am happy with what I do and I want the same kind of happiness for other people as well.

Why do you love Ethiopia?

I love my country; I love how we celebrate Christmas, because Christmas is the day Christ was born. The other thing I love is our coffee.

 

DESTA

How did you get connected to Ordinary Hero?

I met them at a Guest House that I used to work at. I was very happy about what OH was doing for our community. It was a big blessing for me to be one of the very few that got the opportunity to join the OH Life Center when it was opened.

Why do you love helping others?

Helping the elderly and helping the sick makes me happy. I feel like I am obeying God.

What do you love about Ethiopia?

I love my country so much. I love how we celebrate holidays, and I love epiphany holiday.

ZEWEDENESH

How did you get connected to Ordinary Hero?

I met OH at a Guest House I used to work at. I was amazed at how many miles people and teams travel to come here and help us. I was even more amazed when I became part of the OH Life Center & Guest House I was able to clearly see what they do.

Why do you love helping people?

Helping someone in need gives a great spiritual satisfaction. God is happy when we help those that need our help, and I always want to make God happy.

What do you love about Ethiopia?

I love how we celebrate holidays, the way we respect each other, our social relationships …. There are so many things I love about Ethiopia.

A New Era for Orphan Care

In recent months, Ethiopia has banned international adoption. For those that would like to learn more about the recent ban, click here to learn more. Below is a blog written by Founder, Kelly Putty, in response to the needs she saw at orphanages during her most recent trip, as a result of the adoption ban:

Since returning from Ethiopia, I’ve felt an enormous burden to raise my voice about what I saw and experienced within orphanages effected by the recent ban. The orphanage social workers now carry the largest burden of all, as they continue to receive babies without the capacity to care for them. I witnessed nannies caring for a room full of babies to the best of their ability, but simply put, they need help. Not only are they caring for the physical needs of the children daily, they carry the emotional weight of not knowing what their future will hold. They are faithful, hardworking heroes.

For many orphanages, they received monetary support from adoption agencies as the children were being placed up for adoption. They made sure that the children were cared for properly. Now that the government has stopped adoptions, these agencies have stopped their support, even as the orphanages continue to fill up with children. With their main source of support diminished, these orphanages are in need of new avenues of support.

 

While visiting two orphanages, Talita Rise Up and Kidane Miheret, that we consistently visit each Ordinary Hero trip, I asked the directors about their greatest needs. They both shared that their greatest need at this time is diapers and formula. Both orphanages have rooms full of babies that require food and diapers throughout the day.

Sister Lutgarta and sister Camilla have both served the children at Kidane Miheret orphanage for over 40 years. They have given their lives to the welfare of these children. They want more than anything for the children to be placed in families. Watching the nannies feed and diaper the babies one after another, as if they were their own, was very humbling to experience.

 

 

Our dear friends Abenezer and Atkilt started the Talita Rise Up orphanage in the countryside of Ethiopia. The police bring babies that have been abandoned, usually left in a forest or at a hospital. With the help of the local church, they have successfully and repeatedly placed these children in a foster care program in their local village. This program allows children to grow up knowing the love of a family.

 

 

We are launching a campaign to help these friends of ours. Most of us cannot imagine running out of diapers or formula needed for our children. By sharing the resources we have available to us, we’re lightening their load while also providing these children with the care they need to grow.

Our goal is to give 100 baby bundles, which will provide formula, diapers, and wipes to the two orphanages we support. Would you join us?

Click here to purchase a baby bundle.

 

Meet the Team Monday – Tewabech

This week’s Meet the Team Monday features Tewabech (aka Twexy), our assistant chef at the Ordinary Hero Life Center & Guest House. Tewabech is also currently studying social work, and assists with one of our partner ministries, Hand in Hand. She is known for having a passionate heart for God and serving others with a beautiful smile on her face. Read the interview below to learn more!

 

How did you get connected to OH?

I first heard about OH at the Guest House I used to work at. Since then I have loved what they do so much, they do such a good thing. When the OH Life Center opened I was happy to join the team as an assistant chief.

 

Why do you love helping people / serving people?

Helping people is one of the deeds of God. Helping people can be done in so many ways: praying for them, listening to them, helping them financially, and assisting them in what they do.

Helping is one way of expressing our love to people. God is love. So when I am serving people, I feel like I am serving God. In the Bible in Matthew Chapter 25 it says, “Then the king shall say unto them, come, you blessed of my father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world, for I was an hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me water.” I believe serving others is our responsibility as Christians. If we know God we should serve others. Serving is a sign of love and Christianity. Hebrew 13:1-3

 

What do you love most about Ethiopia?

I love our culture. I love how we help each other in so many of our problems. I am happy that I am Ethiopian.

Meet the Team Monday – Tigist Abay

This week’s Meet the Team Monday features Tigist Abay, one of our two Guest House chefs. Tigist, also known as TG, not only offers up delicious food to all who stay with us, but can also be found joking around with guests and playing with their kids. She brings life and laughs to the Guest House, and is a great friend that quickly becomes family to all travelers. Read our interview below to learn more about TG.

 

How did you get connected to OH?

I met OH in 2011. At that time I worked at a different Guest House. When I saw what OH did I was really inspired. I am always so happy with the things they do. God willing, a few years later I joined OH Life Center and Guest House.

 

Why do you love helping people / serving people?

I love helping people because that is what my family has taught me growing up. When we help each other we receive spiritual fulfillment. I want to manifest this in every day of my life; I always do my best to help my neighbors and my family.

 

What do you love most about Ethiopia?

I am so proud that I am Ethiopian. Though our country is considered one of the poorest countries in the world, we are rich in our values, we are rich in our languages, and we have a strong culture of helping each other. In the future I strongly hope we are able to change Ethiopia and come out of poverty.

Meet the Team Monday – Degafu

This week we’re featuring Degafu, our loyal Guest House driver for the past 5 years. Degafu works with integrity and positivity, making every team and family feel safe (which is no easy task if you have experienced Addis Ababa traffic). He has also been a driver for past field directors, who refer to him as uncle Degafu. Read the interview below to learn more about our friend.

How did you get connected to OH?

The first time I was connected to OH was when the OH Life Center & Guest House opened and I was hired as a driver. I am so happy to work with OH, I love OH.

What do you love about serving people?

Serving others is for our own good. I believe we actually benefit the most, more than those we are serving. When a person does good things for people in need, they receive from God more than they give. God loves when we serve. In any situation helping and serving people is really good. More than anything else, serving people makes me so happy.

What do you love most about Ethiopia?

What I love Ethiopia is the landscapes and weather.

Meet the Team Monday – Gelila Shewaye

This week we’re featuring Gelila Shewaye, Founder of Lila Products and OH Guest House receptionist. Gelila has been part of our team for years and we have so enjoyed partnering with her in recent years as she has grown Lila Products, a fair-trade business that employs the marginalized men and women of Addis Ababa to create fashionable products.

 

How did you get connected to Ordinary Hero?

Ordinary Hero teams used to stay at the Guest House I worked at and I got to meet some of the team members in 2012. I was so inspired by the work of OH. Eventually, I found an opportunity to work at the brand new Ordinary Hero Life Center & Guest House in 2013. I’ve seen so many lives changed and so many kids receiving education and opportunity through Ordinary Hero. I am very thankful to work with OH and for the work they do in my country.

 

 Why are you passionate about helping others?

As a kid, I grew up seeing people help each other. I saw so much poverty in my country, even children and mothers begging to provide food for themselves and their families. It’s hard to see poverty everywhere. I want the next generation to have every opportunity they can get in order to see our country step out of poverty. I believe all of us can play our part to create change for the next generation. When you help someone in need, you feel a sense of purpose, and it makes you feel like a better person each day.

 

 What do you love most about your country?

My country is full of history. Everyone is warm, welcoming and proud to tell about our country. I LOVE our holiday celebrations, our coffee ceremonies, and how sociable everyone is.

Meet the Team Monday – Selam Abera

This week we’re featuring Selam Abera, one of our amazing OH Life Center & Guest House receptionists. Selam is always a source of positivity and smiles, and we’re honored to have her as part of our team. Read her interview below to learn more about Selam.

 

How did you get connected to Ordinary Hero?

The first time I met OH was in 2014 when I was looking for a job and OH Life Center was looking for a receptionist. As soon as I saw their vacancy, I applied and luckily, I got the job. One of the things I love about the OH Life Center is the Christian environment. I have experienced other hotels but the Life Center was different. I got to be myself. Soon after I started working, I got the chance to meet different OH teams that were coming to serve. I feel honored that I get to work with Ordinary Hero.

 

Why are you passionate about helping others?

One of my greatest passions is helping others. When I was younger, I enjoyed helping my mom and my family with everything. As I grew older, that habit grew and I desired to help others as well. I like helping people find solutions that meet their specific needs. And it gives me great satisfaction and joy.

 

What do you love most about your country?

I love my country and my people because everyone loves God and fears Him. If they are in a bad situation, they thank God. They are also such welcoming people. I know that we are one of the poorest countries in the world and that makes me sad but in all situations, Ethiopians have amazing social interactions and know how to live and help each other. I am proud to be an Ethiopian.

Meet the Team Monday – Firehiwot Ayalew

This week we’re featuring Firehiwot (Fray) Ayalew, an OH original. It seems like we’ve always known Fray because of her level of involvement over the past few years. She may take the title of “Guest House Manager”, but she wears many other hats, and we don’t know where we’d be without her! Check out her interview below to learn more about this amazing teammate of ours!

 

How did you get connected to Ordinary Hero?

The first time I met OH was when I was working at a Guest House that OH teams used to stay at. I was amazed at the work Ordinary Hero was doing in Ethiopia. In 2013, when the OH Life Center and Guest House opened up, I was one of the few people that joined from the start, and I now work as the Manager at the Guest House. I am really happy to be a part of Ordinary Hero. It has been a great inspiration and I get to see and be a part of the great work OH does in Ethiopia.

 

Why are you passionate about serving others?

I love Ethiopia so much and it hurts me to know that we are one of the poorest countries in the world. I want this to change. I want us to come out of poverty, see the basic need for food, health care, and shelter fulfilled. I want people to get access to education. I strongly believe education is the best way out of poverty.

 

What do you love most about your country?

What I love most about Ethiopia is our fear of God. I love our diverse cultures; we have more than 80 languages being spoken across the country. I love our great social bond with many events that allow us to come together. And of course, I LOVE ETHIOPIAN COFFEE!

Adopted Brothers Give Back To Children In Need

It is great when we see people giving back to children in need, but it is even better when we see those who were helped themselves, giving back to children in need.

Mother, Jacqueline Gustafson, met Founder, Kelly Putty, during her stay at the Ordinary Hero Guest House to adopt her son from Ethiopia. The Gustafson’s have two boys from Ethiopia, Marjock and Abraham. Abraham is 10 and joined their family at 6 months old and Marjok is 9 and joined their family at 7 years old (on Christmas Day!).

Jacqueline wanted to make sure her boys did not lose sight of where they came from, so she began starting conversations with them about how they could be a blessing to children in their home country of Ethiopia. They receive an allowance each week by doing yard work, cleaning, and projects around the house, and the two brothers agreed to save $2 every week from their allowance. After an entire year, they had raised over $200 together! Not bad for a 10 and 9 year old. The Gustafson family decided to utilize our Mission Market, where anyone can buy much needed items for the children and families we serve in Ethiopia, and purchased three pairs of shoes and a school bundle, which will provide a child with all the education materials needed for an entire year.

A little generosity can go a long way, and we are so thankful for the Gustafson family sharing their story with us. We believe these small seeds of generosity will grow into a lifetime of service to others. Thanks for being an inspiration!

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