What’s Next For Our Friends

As some may know, Ordinary Hero’s staff has been changing and transitioning the past few months as we grow as an organization. We have some new faces for you to meet, but we first wanted to acknowledge the friends that have been with us over the past few years, as they each move into different seasons of life. We wouldn’t be where we are today without the hard work and dedication of these faithful ladies. Their heart for the children and families was evident in everything they did, and will forever leave a mark on our organization. We are so thankful for you ladies.
Kelly Blevins will be taking a short season of rest with her family. She says, “They have been incredibly supportive during my years with OH and before I start my next venture I felt God leading me to pause and rest in Him with them.”
Beverly Soutas says, “I’m in year two of my three year MSW program, and loving my internship as a school social worker. Between classes, internship, parenting our 8 kids, and volunteering locally, life is crazy!”
Erica Simmons is taking time to spend more time with family and focus on homeschooling her son.
Hope Boyd has moved home this month from Ethiopia, and will be continuing her education at Austin Peauy while working part-time at a local coffee shop and serving at her church.
You will always be part of our OH family and we wish you all the best in what lies ahead!

Meet the Team Monday – Julianna Evans

Join us in welcoming our new Sponsorship Coordinator to the OH family. We love her already, and want YOU to get to know her too.

Tell us a little bit about yourself: background, passions, hobbies, family.

Born and raised in Northern California near the Napa Valley, the allure of Southern California led to me attending college at Point Loma Nazarene University, and subsequently spending the next 8 years in the beautiful San Diego sunshine. Upon graduating with a degree in psychology, I had the privilege of joining Make-A-Wish San Diego as their Senior Wish Coordinator, and spent 3 years granting wishes and creating magic for medically fragile children. During a brief move to Chapel Hill, North Carolina I worked as a Campaign Manager for a marketing agency, and learned the ropes of for-profit business and advertising. My husband, Chris’, emergency medicine residency training at Vanderbilt University Medical Center led us to Nashville in June of 2017, and we immediately fell in love with the great expanses of natural space, beautiful trees, and access to amazing music and restaurants alike. I enjoy discovering new coffee shops, playing with our cockapoo, Oliver, hiking waterfalls, cooking and baking, reading a good book, and finding myself on planes to new places.

What made you want to join the Ordinary Hero team?

After working in a for-profit company for a few years I knew in my heart the desire to return to non-profit was real and could not be ignored. There is something about working towards a mission that is greater than yourself, that leads to change you can see and experience, that provides a reward far greater than a paycheck. The mission of Ordinary Hero combines my passions for international travel, learning about other cultures, and serving those in need by focusing on “changing the world for one” with purposeful, impactful giving – giving that goes beyond a donation. Giving that has a sweet face, an adorable laugh, a warm hug. Giving that personifies joy. I am thrilled and excited to begin my journey with Ordinary Hero, and look forward to sharing in that joy with all of you!

Meet Our New Executive Director

We are thrilled to announce the newest addition to the Ordinary Hero team, Ellen Peterson, as our new Executive Director. In addition to a huge heart for global missions, Ellen brings with her a wide range of experience and expertise. She has been working in nonprofit for almost 20 years doing everything from fundraising and operations to communications and staff development. We did a short Q&A with Ellen so that you can get to know and love her like we do!

  1. Tell us a little bit about yourself: background, passions, hobbies, family.

I’m a proud Tennessean and was born and raised in Nashville, but after completing my degree at Auburn University, I moved to Houston, TX to work in ministry. What I thought would be a 1-2 year adventure, turned into almost 17 years in TX! Like they say, everything’s bigger in TX, including the hearts of the people. But once my husband, Grant, and I had children, we felt a tug toward a smaller, slower-paced place to raise our two kids, Megan and Brian. So, we packed up and moved back to Middle Tennessee in 2014. We love the two lane roads, driving past the horse farms, and watching our kids get dirty in the Little Harpeth River. I love a long hike with the dog, a good book, Auburn football, and live music. I also feel like I should sound way more interesting, but I’m really rather ordinary. Which is what drew me to Ordinary Hero in the first place!

  1. What’s your previous involvement with global missions?

 I became involved in Global Missions through the church where I worked in Houston. While I was working in Youth Ministry, the church created a new position to help support our global mission partners and I jumped at the chance to be involved. I became the Director of Global Missions and had the privilege of encouraging our mission partners around the globe, leading mission teams to serve in Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Belize, Mexico, Croatia, Budapest and Kenya. It was one of the greatest experiences of my life! Once you experience the vast creativity of God, seen in the diversity of his people and circumstances all over the world, you’re awakened to a new understanding of his love! As many of you involved with Ordinary Hero already know, you can’t encounter the people of Ethiopia and come home unchanged.

  1. What made you want to join the Ordinary Hero team?

As I mentioned, most days I feel pretty ordinary. We live in the ‘burbs’, and we’re raising two kids that do “burby” things like sports and scouts. It’s easy to forget that there’s a big, wide world out there that we’re called to serve and love. Ordinary Hero is about just that…ordinary people “changing the world for one.” I think that’s a message that applies to all of us; whether our heart is in Ethiopia or with our neighbors down the road.

  1. What are you most looking forward to in the future?

I’m most excited to meet all of you! Kelly and I are going to Ethiopia in November so I can meet the mission partners, see the children and families you are sponsoring, and get a feel for how all these pieces work. I can’t wait to see the faces of the people Ordinary Hero is impacting in Ethiopia, then come back to the US to keep encouraging you in our ministry together. Thank you for this wonderful opportunity; let’s go change the world for one!

 

So what does that mean for Founder, Kelly Putty? Though Kelly will no longer be leading as Executive Director, she will continue to lead from a Founder’s role, telling the Ordinary Hero story and advocating for children in need through speaking engagements and trips to Ethiopia.

Please join us in welcoming Ellen Peterson to the OH team!

 

What Will I Do With What I’ve Seen?

Guest Blog, by Kenneth Poindexter
“My last trip to Ethiopia with Ordinary Hero was life changing. I was surrounded by a great team and a very strong leader, Kelly Putty, to follow and learn from her example on how to be an ordinary hero. Our experience was full of life with the kids, staff and most importantly God himself. There is never an ordinary trip with Ordinary Hero because it involves layers of heart, struggles, questions, topping off with the question of “What am I going to do?”; “How am I going to change the world for “One”.
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During the trip we witnessed such suffering and poverty, but in the very middle of it was the joy of people who had nothing but leaned on the mighty army of God. My spirit was quickened to the things I was afraid of in life: If I was in the same condition and situation as the people that I was trying to serve, would I have the same gladness of heart as they do? Would I still praise God as they do?
This led me to make a stand, that I would not return home the same old way. There had to be a change in my life. I decided to make my prayer life a priority on behalf of those who are in Ethiopia, to thank God for their loving spirit. I also decided to go back to school for a Masters in Christian Leadership, so that God may use me for His Glory.
Thank you Ordinary Hero for giving me a freshness in my walk and my life.”
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How $50 Per Month Changed Lives, Including Mine / Guest Blog

Guest Blog, written by Madison Novacek:

“Before I go into my lengthy caption for these very important photos, I just want to start off by saying that I am not asking for praise or wanting to make this seem like I’m bragging in any way. My hope is that even if you get that vibe right away, that you can let the judgement go and listen to the greater message behind this post:

It just took 1,800 dollars.
50 dollars a month.
3 years.

That’s all it took for me to receive this amazing email today:

“I wanted to let you know that your sponsor family, Lome, has officially graduated from sponsorship!!! This is incredible news as it means that they are completely self sufficient and actually have been for a few months now. The money that has been sent for the past few months was put into their savings account and they have done well making it on their own. The business is profitable and your family was truly happy to be graduating.
We celebrated with cake, coffee, and speeches from each family who graduated. I cannot even begin to express the gratefulness your family had for you when it was their turn to speak. LOVE…that is the best way to describe how they spoke about you and your support and encouragement.”

IM SHARING THIS SO WE CAN ALL CELEBRATE TOGETHER! And maybe by me sharing this today I can encourage you to let it be known that ANYONE is capable of making an impact. The best part is it doesn’t always require as much effort as you think.

Sometimes all it requires is a “Yes, I’ll help you because even with whatever excuses I can find, I recognize that I have privilege and resources to help.” I literally did nothing. This was not me. I just kept living my comfortable life while 50 dollars got automatically taken out of my account every month, and this was the result. Lives changed, mine included.

PRAISE JESUS!

Thank you for reading this and celebrating such an awesome moment.”

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Water Tank Project – Yirgalem, Ethiopia

Thanks to generous donations, a 2000 liter water tank was installed at the Talita Rise Up Orphanage in Yirgalem. This water tank will not only spare the ministry staff with the arduous task of walking to fill their water jugs each day, but will also provide them with water security during times of drought. The new system will provide the much needed clean water for daily tasks such as making formula, cooking, and bathing for the children. But that is not the only benefit that this water tank provided.  When the system arrived, village locals were hired to install the system, providing jobs and boosting the local economy.  As we know, every little bit helps!

Everyone is looking forward to enjoying the fresh, clean water made possible by supporters like you! If you would like to get involved with other projects like this, please contact Kelly Blevins at kblevins@ordinaryhero.org to learn about our latest ministry needs and how you can help.

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An Excerpt From My Journal / Guest Blog

Its been some time since I returned back to the States. The thing is my feet are here, but my heart is there. I got to talk to Habtamu between classes at school today. I miss him so much that it hurts, but hearing his familiar giggle and broken english put a little joy in my heart.

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My mind often wanders to the sweet faces we met on this trip. My heart aches for these people, what did they do to deserve this? I am learning how to trust God with a deeper faith than I have in the past. I recognize there are things that I simply cannot control, but I rest knowing that Jesus is in control of all things. I rest knowing I can hand my every worry and my every doubt to Him because NO Earthly worry is too big for my God.

“Love like Jesus”.

I have repeatedly played this saying through my head since I have returned. Going back to school as soon as I got back to the States opened my eyes to so much. One being that I struggle loving His people here compared to how naturally I love those overseas. This has been a constant struggle for me and I’ve been working so hard at it. Surrounding myself in prayer from start to finish everyday has helped me to consciously love His people, no matter the color of their skin, the condition of their clothing, or the social status that they attain.”

John 15:12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another just as I have loved you.”

God calls us to love His people just like He has loved us from the very beginning. He has protected us, guided us, and loved us since the very second we were brought onto this Earth and we owe it to Him to love His creations just as He would.

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5-Year-Olds Can Change the World Too

5-year-old Tucker is changing the world for lots of children on Entoto Mountain. For the second year in a row Tucker is making his birthday about more than himself. This year, in partnership with the Be One Rummage Sale, he was able to collect 60 jackets for children in need in a cold area of Ethiopia. Last year he and his brother, Ben, collected backpacks.

Tucker said, “I just want to help my friends in Africa”.

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Both of his parents have traveled to Ethiopia, and his mother has traveled twice. It’s pretty clear that even without having been, Tucker has caught his parents’ heart for the country! We are so thankful for all the little world changers that are making a difference in the lives of children in need at such a young age. There’s a lot to be learned from the heart of a child.

Thanks Tucker!

HOPE / Guest Blog by Abby Camp

Hope, the thing with feathers, an anchor for the soul. Hope is a word I have thought a lot about this week.

hope that child will have a family that loves him one day.

hope that sweet mother has enough food to feed her children.

hope that child grows up to be the doctor he wants to be.

hope I can be the change this world needs.

Unfortunately, one person can’t change this messed up world.  That is God’s job. So I guess all we can really hope for is to be the change for one person. That is exactly what Ordinary Hero stands for.

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For me, this week was unlike any other mission trip I’ve ever been on.  I left Nashville with tears in my eyes as I said goodbye to my family, leaving to spend 2 and a half months in a place I’ve never been and with people I’ve never met.

hope I love it there.

Thankfully, it was so easy to fall in love with this country and it’s culture. Everyone is so loving, so welcoming. Within 7 days, I have met some of my best friends. I hope God has used me to touch their lives the way I know they have touched mine.

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The most impactful part of my week here was being able to see the effects sponsorship has on these families and children. I was a little confused when so many kids were coming up to me, showing me pictures of American families, and pointing out their mom, dad, brothers, and sisters.  At first, I thought maybe they were in the process of being adopted but I quickly realized they were referring to their sponsor families. These children will think of you as their family. They will love you in a way you have never been loved before. What is only a small amount of money each month for us can provide a family with the things they need to survive. Children are starving everyday here in Ethiopia and we have the ability to change that. Watching families meet their sponsors this week has really opened my eyes to the many ways you can change the world for one.

I no longer have to hope I can change someone’s life.  I can!!!

If you are interested in sponsoring a child, please visit this link:

Ordinary Hero Sponsorship Program 
I can’t wait to share more about my time here in Ethiopia! As they say “Selam” (Peace) and God bless you!

-Abby Camp

Photo Blog | Korah Landslide Donations

 Thanks to your generous support, we have been able to provide basic necessities to those who lost everything in the Korah Landslide a few weeks ago.

Below are some pictures of what your donations made possible…

Household Materials: broom, pots, cups, plates, buckets, storage, coffee set, laminate flooring, etc.

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Meals for hundreds living in tents

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Coffee and tea are part of every day life in Ethiopia –

200 coffee cups and 200 tea cups were bought for families

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Water, coffee beans, and snacks were distributed throughout the day

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14 mattresses were distributed to those living in tents as well as those receiving new housing.

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These two young girls were homeless after the Landslide.

Your donations gave them a place to call home, and fully furnished it.

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Your donations helped meet medical needs of families and children, like the ones below.

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And our staff continues to spend time with these families, loving on and encouraging them..

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Thank you for your continued support toward the Korah Community. These pictures represent a small fraction of all that you’ve made possible. Our ministry partner and their staff are working diligently every day to restore the lives of those affected by the Landslide.

If you would still like to give, click here.

 

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