KORAH RELIEF (1)

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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Orphan Sunday : Our Approach To the Orphan Crisis

 

Today we celebrate Orphan Sunday, a day that is dear to our hearts. A day that raises awareness for the children whose stories have changed our lives forever. The majority of our staff at Ordinary Hero have adopted one or more children, so this one is personal for us.

Although many numbers and statistics will be shared today, each number is an individual story that deserves individual attention. We try not to assume that one approach fits every case.

The reality is, most of the Western world believes orphans to be children who have lost both parents and are living in orphanages.

UNICEF defines orphans as children who have lost one or both parents. Of the more than 132 million children that fall into this category, less than 10% have lost both parents, and the majority of orphans are living with a surviving parent, grandparent, or other family member.

So with this in mind, we seek to know the story behind the child and family. We strive to support them to the best of our ability to ensure they reach their full potential. Below are some stories that sum up our approach to the orphan crisis. We hope this sheds light, not only on the issue at hand, but how we can change the reality of the orphan crisis, one life at a time.

1) Keeping families together

Too often children are orphaned because their parent(s) do not have the means to care for them. Ordinary Hero seeks to strengthen families through sponsorship, so that families can stay together.

Eulalem is 29 years old. She is originally from an area called Gojam. Eulalem came to Addis Ababa 4 years ago because she felt like she could find a better life with more opportunity in the city. She ended up settling in Korah as the cost of living in the trash dump was much cheaper than anything else she could afford. Her husband left her when she was pregnant with her daughter and she has not seen him since then. Her child’s name is Rahel and she is 3 and a half.

Eulalem recently told us the following,

“My daughter already has and will continue to change my life in incredible ways. I used to want to give my child away because I couldn’t support her but this sponsorship has given me hope. I cannot imagine not having my daughter, so this sponsorship has kept me united with my beautiful child. There are not enough thanks in the universe for our sponsor!”

2) Supporting orphaned children that reside with family members

Extreme poverty often splits families in different, complicated ways. Whatever the case, both double and single orphans are often taken in by existing family members that strive to the best of their ability to care for the child. Through sponsorship, we seek to support these family members and their effort to care for orphaned children within their family.

Desash Desalegn is one of our precious grandmothers who is caring for her granddaughter, Bethlehem (Beti). Beti’s father is currently in prison for committing murder, and even though it was an act of self-defense, in Ethiopia it is still a crime that is punishable by jail time. Once Beti’s father went to prison, her mother moved to the Middle East to find work and no one has heard from her since.

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Beti is well adjusted and greatly loved by her grandmother. She is 14 years old now and in Grade 8 at Bright Hope School in the Korah community. She is loving her History and Social Studies classes this year in school and LOVES soccer! She is determined to become a famous soccer player when she grows up and works hard at it often.

3) Supporting double orphans

One of our partner ministries, Talita Rise Up, located in a town called Yirgalem, facilitates an orphanage for abandoned babies. These babies are found frequently in forests, toilets, trash cans, and the like. Talita Rise Up is the only ministry of it’s kind in the village that accepts babies from the police, and we have come alongside them through sponsorship to support them.

One of the babies that have been brought to the center is sweet baby Agaze, pictured below.

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It’s been an amazing year of support for Talita Rise Up, with many great things having taken place at the orphanage as well as in the community.  Our most exciting report is that some of the children in the orphanage have been moved into the care of a foster family, which gives them a deeper sense of love, stability, and security.

Talita Rise Up partners with churches in their town of Yirg’Alem to carry out this task and have seen great results. The reason that the foster care program was started was because the government closed all international adoptions in this part of Ethiopia.  It is nearly impossible to find domestic families willing or able to adopt thus the need for foster care. In order for the child to be placed with a family, the foster family must have a home study, medical check up, criminal record checks, and the training that the orphanage staff gives. After this, a child is chosen and the family is introduced to them over a 15 day period. This allows them to get to know the child before signing the papers. The family then agrees to care for the child and give the love he/she needs while the Talita Rise Up staff agrees to visit the child and provide any documentation that may be needed by the family.

Sweet baby Agaze has been placed in a loving home in the city of Addis Ababa and is doing extremely well.

4) Supporting those that are interested in adoption

Lastly, for those that have chosen the beautiful journey of adopting from Ethiopia, we open our doors to you and invite you to stay in our home away from home, the OH Guest House & Life Center: an oasis and safe place to bond with your child in Ethiopia while undergoing the frequent hurdles that come with international adoption.

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“Since I was a child I have always loved children and helping others. As a teenager I was able to go to Mexico twice on eye opening mission’s trips. I hated seeing the people, especially children, in such desperate situations and witnessed toddlers sniffing glue in a trash dump to mask their hunger. These trips ignited a fire in my core and I knew that I wanted to adopt some day. Shortly after celebrating my one year anniversary to the love of my life, Brian, our hearts were shattered when we were told we were unable to conceive a baby. That was incredibly devastating news as newlyweds, but it obvious for us that we wanted to grow our family through adoption. We were introduced to a local couple who had successfully adopted 3 of the most beautiful children I had ever seen. They explained they were from Ethiopia and had experienced mostly smooth and speedy processes. Their encouragement and positive stories inspired us to dive right in and the mountains of paper work began. Eight months later came the day we were longing for. We finally received a referral for a beautiful 1 month infant named Dinkinesh. There was no doubt she was our daughter and we knew from that point that we would do whatever it took to ensure her safety and to get her home.

After lots of waiting, we finally received exciting news! We were told by our agency that we had gotten the approval we were waiting for, we just needed one more signature which was estimated to be happening very soon. A month at tops.

I just couldn’t take it anymore. Brian and I decided it would be best for us if left my job at the hospital that I had worked for 8 years and go be with our precious Dinkinesh. My brave mom and I boarded a plane Ethiopian bound to seek out my baby girl. We were able to rescue her from the overcrowded orphanage and care for her until we could all go home.

The first guesthouse we stayed for a month what basically a nightmare. It was dirty, the locks did not work, I was electrocuted several times when plugging in electronics, we were eaten alive by bed bugs and I vomited several times from the food. The staff was friendly enough and I had lost about 10 pounds, but I knew I had to get my mom and baby out of there ASAP. I was desperate and began searching my options when I came across the Ordinary Hero Guest House. I was skeptical of all of the wonderful reviews and the beautiful pictures, but I was hopeful that anything would be better than where we came from. We pulled up and I felt like we hit the jackpot.

The staff was super friendly and spoke English! It was very clean and beautiful, there was a huge breathtaking view of the city, the food was great and they even provided fresh fruit juice. Our room was the size of an apartment and even included a microwave and mini fridge. I was certain we were going to survive here. We felt safe at all times. Little did we know that this “short” trip to get Dinkinesh was going to turn into 6 LOOOONG months. We encountered problems and defeat left and right. I often wondered if I would ever get home and if I was going to lose my mind.

I kept gazing and my daughter and knew failure and leaving her was no option. I was not always strong and positive, but I had to try my best to make a conscious effort to start over daily. By choosing this option, God opened my eyes to so many truly awesome people, experiences and life lessons that I will take with me forever. These outings led us to feeding programs in Entoto Mountain and Korah Dump, celebrations and excursions with the kids at the Hope for the Hopeless, and visiting Talita orphanage. Talita Orphanage was probably the most impactful blessing I have ever experienced. I was able to be a part of OH’s first visit to the orphanage and saw it change from having no hope and barely surviving to fully funded and thriving. The staff, the visitors and the teams became our family away from home. Despite my fears about Dinki’s adoption I had so many loving people who would take time to encourage, cry, laugh hysterically and pray with me.

It was scary being a first time parent by myself, but the staff loved my daughter as their own and were always there to help. Had I not had OH as a rock and support system, I doubt I would have had the strength and endurance to keep going. Every time I would feel defeated, I would come “home” to OH’s love, support and encouragement which would always redirect me to fight with faith and to trust in God. Through the darkest time in my life, I was able to see past my own struggles to seek the underlying beauty and deep faith of the Ethiopian people and to experience their great love and culture. Although I had never felt worthy to change the world, God taught me that even I can be an Ordinary Hero.

P.S. Love truly does heal all wounds because we are currently in process of bringing home a little brother for Ellie from Ethiopia.” – Ashley Yoder

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New Field Partner : Hand In Hand

Part of our mission at Ordinary Hero is to ‘partner with impoverished communities’. This allows us to link arms with those in Ethiopia who have a vision for their community and country. Our ministry partners have become some of the most respected ministries and change-agents of their communities.

With that being said… We are pleased to announce our newest ministry partner on the ground in Ethiopia: Hand In Hand. This ministry is run by long-time friend and translator, Tekabe Ambaw, and we are so excited about all the lives that will be changed through this ministry.

 

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When asked why he wanted to start this program, Tekabe said, “First of all, it is the calling of God. This is God’s plan and not my own.”

He never dreamt he would be doing this kind of impactful work, but God has brought him to it and he is being obedient to the passion God has laid on his heart. Tekabe spoke briefly about how God introduced him to OH, and when he came into contact with working with children, he began to love them passionately and appreciate everything they constantly taught him.

“They [children] changed my life. They have played a role in helping me find Jesus in the way we should know Christ. Children are my heroes.”

Tekabe says that education can and will make a difference in the future generation. He says that he is a testimony to this. Tekabe grew up in poor family, and his Grandma was illiterate. She had a dream for Tekabe, and he tells of how she encouraged him and pushed him to continue his education. He wanted to achieve the dream they both shared for his life, and that was to continue and passionately pursue education.

“Invest in a child’s education and their life can change, then the whole community and eventually the country can be shifted.”

Tekabe chose to focus on the poverty-stricken area of Chirkos in Addis Ababa. He first learned of the area from friends of his that were discussing top areas of the city with hunger concerns. It turns out that Chirkos is one of the neediest areas of the capital city. He researched the area, and educated himself more intently on the needs of this community. Tekabe learned that most do not have a way to generate income, and therefore, many turn to prostitution as a means to survive and provide. As a result, many children in the area are half orphaned, not knowing their father. The poverty in many families is severe, and the teachers of the area are used to witnessing kids fainting in class. Often, children find quitting school as the only option. The children in this area are badly in need of educational and nutritional aid.

“The kids say quitting school is the only way, but I say education is the only way. If we can help these kids have a different outcome than their parents, then we can stop the cycle of poverty.”

As we provide school materials, uniforms and such, it is a tremendous way to also help the children psychologically, to have confidence that they can achieve great things.

Hand In Hand aims to identify the obstacles that are stopping children from getting an adequate education, which Tekabe believes largely are the expense of food and school materials, and provide these things in addition to hope, care and love. To view children that are waiting for sponsorship, click here. 

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Erihale’s Story

Erihale and her father Atkilt recently asked to be taken off the receiving end of sponsorship because they are now self-sustainable.

Atkilt and his daughter were in Ordinary Hero’s sponsorship program for the last two years through their partner ministry, Endihnew Hope. This desperate father came to Endihnew Hope Charity Organization on Entoto two years ago to seek help when he and his wife could no longer provide for their family. Both of them were HIV+, and Erihale, then 4 years old, was needing to start school. Because of the love that Ben and Kathryn Walker felt in their hearts towards little Erihale upon seeing her photo and hearing their story, the Atkilt family became sponsored and their burdens were lifted. Below is a picture of our staff telling them they were sponsored.

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Then, disaster struck their family. Atkilt received a phone call when he was in the countryside that his wife had fallen ill. By the time he got back to Entoto Mountain in the capital city of Addis Ababa, his wife had already passed away and Atkilt not only lost his beloved wife but also their soon-to-be second child that she had been carrying for six months.

After some time, Atkilt earned a position working at a bank at the bottom of the mountain. His salary was still not sufficient enough for him to be free of sponsorship, so his support continued and his family’s basic needs were faithfully being met through the blessing of sponsorship. During his time at the bank, other co-workers and managers took notice of his incredible work ethic and determination to provide for him and his daughter.

Recently, Atkilt’s life changed when he received the opportunity to work at the airport. He sought out a position at the airport after the government created more jobs, and they gave priority to men that had fought for the previous government. Both Atkilt and his father fought under the late Prime Minister, so Atkilt was able to apply for the position. His hard work ethic and faith in God is what he believes landed him his newest career. He is now a Porter Passenger at the airport and when asked how he likes it, his face lit up and he stated how much he loves his new job.

The salary of his new job is still very low when taking in consideration the cost of house rent, school materials for Erihale, food, clothing, and other needs. However, he makes the majority of his money by receiving tips from the passengers he helps with their bags. This job does not allow him to live extravagantly, but he says it is enough for what he and his daughter need.

When asked why he decided to stop sponsorship for him and his daughter he said, “I am worried for others. When I see Entoto people and when I compare my life to them; I am good. Others on that mountain have children crying and hungry. But when I see myself, I have enough. All praises to God.” He hopes that in graduating from sponsorship that his spot will be given to another family that needs it more than him. He wants others to receive the blessing of sponsorship. Atkilt continued by saying that he is young and able to work and now that he has been given a wonderful opportunity, he wants to provide for himself and his beautiful daughter.

As for Erihale…she is now 8 years old and will be going into the 4th grade this month when school begins.

She is very proud of her dad and the strength he exemplifies. Erihale works hard in school and her favorite subject is English. During her free time, she loves to play Susie (a jump rope type game) with her friends. Thank you to the Walkers for stepping in during this family’s time of need, and thank you to all of our monthly sponsors that are supporting a family toward sustainability.

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Korah Sponsorship Graduation

Written by Sponsorship Coordinator, Kelly Blevins: 

On Tuesday, August 26th, Ordinary Hero’s first group of Korah Income Generation families took center stage and accomplished a feat that many people in developing countries, as well as those in first world countries dream of doing: starting a business and keeping it profitable for over a year. We couldn’t think of a better way to honor these precious families for all of their hard work and determination than by throwing them and a few other income generation family hopefuls a graduation party that they would never forget.

I was leading our last summer team so we put the gears in motion by ordering 3 cakes, orange Mirinda soda, and gift bags for each of the 4 women who were graduating. I wish during the prep that I had prepared a little speech to give as well since Pastor Tesfaye, the ministry leader, asked me to give one, but one from the heart and off the cuff is generally better anyways. And this one was truly from the heart as one of the women graduating was a lady my family has been sponsoring for 3 years now.
Meseret Musa has got to be one of the strongest and most fiesty women I know, but this wasn’t always her story. When we first met her in 2013, she was shivering and cold, sitting underneath a blue metal roofed church, holding her then 3 year old son with her two older children beside of her. She looked timid, and scared. My husband took one look at her and her children and leaned over to me and whispered “them…let’s sponsor them. There is something in her eyes and I think that is who God has picked for us.” From that point on, they became our family. We loved her like she was our sister and her children were our own. We saw something in her and began praying for her future and her children’s. Little did we know that just 1 year after choosing them Meseret would become a strong, independent woman with a spunk for life! And we certainly never imagined that 2 years after starting sponsorship that she would be selected to draft a business plan, be given the capital to start it up, and then be given a year to make it profitable while sponsorship continued. Now here we are at the 3 year mark and she is a smart business-woman who is making it in this tough world by selling seasonal vegetables and home goods. I recently visited her business and was blown away at the line of people standing there waiting to purchase things. God is so so faithful!! And her story is much like the other 3 women’s who graduated on the same day. Zenebech, Abebe, and Workinish are all women who just needed someone to stand in the gap for them through sponsorship, pray for them, and then believe in them as they worked towards their goals.

Back to the party though… after I delivered my speech of how these women are ALL Ordinary Heroes and that even though sponsorship is ending that they will ALWAYS be part of the OH family, they were called up one by one to receive the gift we had for them…an Ordinary Hero T-Shirt, a letter from their sponsor, and a photo. Completely expecting them to take the bag and sit back down, I was shocked when they ALL put their shirts on right away as everyone clapped in unison.. The guests were genuinely thrilled for these sweet ladies and it continued on as they cut their cakes together and everyone enjoyed this sweet treat along with the soda we brought plus the coffee ceremony which the ministry prepared. There was so much joy in the room we were in that it radiated from everywhere!

As the party ended, the ladies met with me and Pastor Tesfaye for a little pep talk about what would be happening over the next few months as sponsorship phases out. They all are very ready and appeared excited. I just say watch out world – these ladies are fierce, they are smart, they love God, and they are on a mission to grow their businesses – and I couldn’t be any more proud of them! Betam gobez ladies, betam gobez!

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How Sponsorship Changes the World

Carly Marin served with Ordinary Hero on the ground for one month in Ethiopia as a trip member and photographer. We are thankful to Carly for her contributions through photography and her beautiful expressions in her own words below about her time spent in Ethiopia…….

If you’re like me, you wish you could save the world.
If you could, you’d replace war with peace, put an end to physical, emotional and sexual abuse. You’d stop human trafficking, rid of mental illness, cure cancer and see to it that every child was safe and cared for. You’d put an end to poverty and world hunger while you were at it.
If that sounds like a tall order, it’s because it is.
Here’s the simple truth that’s sometimes hard to swallow:
It’s not my job to save the world.
I’m not God.
What then, am I responsible for? I believe, full heartedly, that the calling on my life, and on everyone else’s is, in its most basic form: to Love (John 13:34).
When you love someone, you give yourself to them. You have a relationship with them. It takes cultivation, time, prayer, resources and dedication.
I’ve been blessed to serve overseas as a missionary for a total of one year. I first spent 11 months in 11 countries on a mission trip called The World Race. Ten months after my return, I set out to go to Ethiopia for a month, where I teamed up with Ordinary Hero. It was there that I witnessed the incredible, life-changing difference it makes when time, effort and pursuit is poured into just one person—and the impact it has not only on that person for the rest of their lives, but on their community.
Meet Tesfaye
Tesfaye grew up in Korah, a community that sits amongst the city’s trash dump where its residents scrounge daily for their food. A majority of them have leprosy or HIV and many spend their days begging on the streets. Both of Tesfaye’s parents had leprosy. He remembers being five years old, himself and his siblings surrounded by the mountains of trash. They were in search of food for themselves and their parents, as they were unable to do so themselves due to their illness. Dumpsters would come in from restaurants and thousands of kids would flee toward it, fighting each other as they raced to find food amongst the waste. People were hurt all of the time in the process. One day a dumpster hit the side of Tesfaye’s mouth which resulted in a huge infection that proceeded to worsen and cause him immense pain over the course of six years. He would often ask God why his life and the lives of others around him were so terrible, until one day his life changed forever.
While in the dump one day, a teenager on a missionary trip found Tesfaye. When he saw the horrific condition of Tesfaye’s mouth infection, he was able to get him to a hospital for treatment. Beyond that, he sent emails requesting help from back home, and a neighbor of his from America decided to sponsor Tesfaye. They still keep in close contact to this day. Because of this sponsor, a stranger from across the world, Tesfaye was able to get an education and a degree. He’s now a pastor in Korah and heads a sponsorship program that helps provide families with food, basic medical care, and rent for a month at a time.
“My sponsor changed my life,” he said.
And now Tesfaye is helping change the lives of his community.
I had the pleasure of hearing Tesfaye tell his story a multiple of times to missionary teams that came to work with the ministry. The way he shares his testimony is so real and so genuine. His eyes alone speak volumes, and his words are coated with the pieces that his life has been dealt.
Some may think that sponsoring a child or family will have little to no impact on the world as a whole. But the truth is, if Tesfaye hadn’t been poured into and sought after by that one missionary decades ago, he wouldn’t be where he is today. Today the impact he provides for the entire community of Korah continues to multiply throughout the hundreds of families that live there. The moral of the story is: changing the world for one, in turn, changes the world for countless others.
While in Korah, I witnessed a row of women who stood in a line. They had deep lines drawn on their faces, marks of life and time passed. One by one they told us their name and why they so desperately needed a sponsor. Some were sick or had sick family members, unable to care for them. Others had children. They were begging us to help them find a sponsor to save their families.
By this point, I believe, Americans have become numb to an extent, and possibly repelled by those commercials with the sappy music and slow motion montages of African children with flies covering their faces. I know from experience how different it is to read stories like these or see the commercials about life oceans away and how distant they seem. I’m guilty of seeing them, thinking some sympathetic thought for a moment or two and then never thinking about it again.  I wish I could express the urgency and reality of the situation of these people here. I wish I could put you exactly in my place when I was with them. I hope you trust me when I say that these are real people, with families and hardships as real and tangible as yours, though of a different kind. I don’t say these things to guilt or obligate you into action, but please see them and remember them as more than a story on a blog.
I’ve been sponsoring a young girl named Carolyn for several years now. Carolyn lives in Uganda. We’ve never met but I receive updates and photos of her every so often. Throughout the years, I’ve loved Carolyn though she’s seemed like a stranger that lives oceans away. I’ve never met her in person. And for years, I’ve put my trust and funds into a separate organization, though reputable, that I don’t know on a personal level.  As I spent days with crowds of children and families awaiting the food only possible via sponsorship, I saw Carolyn in them. I saw her in the sweet faces that waited in line at the feeding program on Entoto Mountain. I saw her in the women that carry their monthly food supply wrapped tightly on their hunched backs as they walk it all back to their tin houses. I saw her in the joy and thankfulness that they had, and I witnessed the impact that sponsorship makes.
The motto for Ordinary Hero is “Change the World for One”. As simple as it sounds, it’s quite profound. And after spending a month with the “ones” whose worlds are being changed, my world was changed from being exposed to the impact of sponsorship.
I can’t save the world, but I can help change the world for one.
If you would like to change the world for one, please contact the Ordinary Hero Sponsorship Coordinator, Kelly Blevins at kblevins@ordinaryhero.org and visit our sponsorship page.
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Sponsorship Is More Than Money. It’s Love.

Written by team member, Shannon Collins:

Awhile back Lincoln, Ordinary Hero’s field director, shared a story with me about a girl named Etenesh. The story took my breath away. It was harder to hear than any story I have ever heard. I spent days thinking about his words and this girl across the ocean. She needed a sponsor and I knew our family would help. Mark and I talked about her and decided that we would commit to sponsoring Etenesh. We have six children and already sponsor a family in Korah, but we just could not let this girl go.

In June, I traveled to Ethiopia with Ordinary Hero and met Etenesh for the first time. My children, Macall, Brynn and Hudson, all got the chance to meet her too. We spent special time with her. We were able to spend time with her amazing foster family. They have poured love into her and helped her heal. At first Etenesh was timid, but she soon opened up and danced with my girls as they sang Taylor Swift songs in the backseat of the car. Before long, she was sticking her tongue out for pictures and having so much fun.

 

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She would reach for our hand as the trust merged between us. She went to church with us. Etenesh had been hurt and spent many months recovering from surgeries and this was the first time to church in a long time.
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We spent an evening in her apartment being prayed over by a friend. It was a holy night and one that we will never forget. All of these experiences connected us. Saying good-bye to Etenesh that last day was difficult. She holds a piece of my heart. We know God has amazing plans for her life as He promises in Jeremiah 29:11. We will walk each step with her!
I urge others to sponsor a child or family. It is an amazing opportunity to open your heart, give hope to someone and be stretched in an incredible way. If you would like to sponsor a child through Ordinary Hero, you can email kblevins@ordinaryhero.org to do so.
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A Trip To Ethiopia Through A Child’s Eyes

This guest blog was written by a very special 9 year old girl that got the chance to travel to Ethiopia on an Ordinary Hero trip with her momma, our Sponsorship Coordinator. We hope this inspires you to involve your children in the different works God is doing around the world, both locally and abroad!

This summer I went to Ethiopia with my mom and dad for two reasons. We went to adopt my baby brother, Bissy, and to do missionary work with Ordinary Hero. I had a fun time while I was there for a month, but there were also parts that made me sad.My favorite thing we did with our mission team was visiting people at their houses on Entoto Mountain and in Korah. I liked doing this because I got the chance to see how other families live. Their houses were very different than mine. First, they were made of mud and straw, or plastic instead of bricks. They also didn’t have lights or windows like mine does and it was very dark in the homes. A sad part though was that lots of people live in a very small house and most of them sleep on the ground. They didn’t even have a bed or mattress for everyone to sleep on.
Entoto Mountain is one place we visited a lot. It was really fun and I liked playing with all of the kids. I even got to see my friend Meki who stayed at my house for 2 months last winter. She came to America with my mommy for heart surgery. She is like a sister to me and I have missed her a lot. I also got to finally meet my brother who we have sponsored for two years. He gave me a big hug and was happy to meet me. He doesn’t have parents like I do so my parents are like his.

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I was really surprised at how tall Entoto Mountain is and that the kids have to walk up and down the mountain to go to school everyday. My mommy drives me and my brother to school and I am thankful.

When we were on Entoto, we played with the kids at the feeding program. Some of the games we played were hopscotch and I taught them how to play it the American way. We also did jump rope, gymnastics, and played soccer. The kids are really good at soccer. When it was time for the kids to eat I noticed they all went into the building and sat down. The food was passed out and they ate it really fast. We eat 3 meals every day and the kids there only get one meal every day if they don’t have a sponsor. But the kids there were all very happy and playful and having fun no matter what.
Another place I liked was Hope for the Hopeless. The girls there wanted to play with my hair and put it in braids. It was really pretty. I liked their room a lot because it was decorated in Bible verses and crafts they had made. It was lots of fun to hang out with them. They love taking pictures and laughing just like I do!

One thing that I learned is that the people I met seemed happy even though they had so little. My mom says its because they have Jesus and that is all anyone really needs. I think so too. My one wish for everyone in Ethiopia is to get the things they need to live and be healthy.

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#GivingTuesday Christmas in Ethiopia

Ethiopia celebrates their Christmas holiday on January 7th. It is typically a day filled with family, feasts, worship, and play. This year was a special year, as we got to bless families and children within our programs with a special holiday meal as a result of your gifts during our #GivingTuesday Campaign.
One of our ministry leaders shared, “One man named Tesfaye, who is HIV positive, said he had never seen anyone doing this for people (providing chicken on Christmas). He said that it had been a long time since he had had chicken for his children. He was on the verge of tears telling us.”
What could have been a Christmas marked with lack and burden, was instead a Christmas filled with blessing and joy. We want to thank everyone who gave this holiday season. Your money went further than you will ever know, feeding over 500 people on Christmas.
Enjoy these snapshots of Christmas in Ethiopia!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Pennsylvania 5K Race, Saving Lives

Leave it to the next generation to change the world! Below is the story of three high schoolers and their brilliant plan to support the medical needs of our sponsored families in Ethiopia through a school project.

Lack of resources for simple medical care prove to be life threatening for families living in third-world poverty. The money raised through this 5K will, without a doubt, save and improve countless lives as it is applied to the medical needs of our sponsored families.

“Our names are Lauren Gronbeck, Madison Graner, and Jenna Snavely, and we are seniors at Eden Christian Academy.

At Eden, every senior is required to do a “Senior Project.” These projects can include everything from broomball tournaments to shoe drives. Since we all run on Eden’s cross-country team, we thought a 5K would be the perfect project for us. At the onset, we had no idea of the incredible amount of work that goes into one of these races! However, we are determined to “go big or go home,” and the fact that you are reading this right now means that we are halfway to accomplishing our goal!

We decided to raise money for an organization called Ordinary Hero. Ordinary Hero is an advocacy organization that partners with impoverished communities, advocates for the vulnerable, and empowers ordinary people to change the life of a child.  Last year, Madison served on a mission trip with this organization and saw first-hand how Ordinary Hero is making a tangible difference in Ethiopia.

The branch of Ordinary Hero that we are supporting provides medical care to Ethiopians in their sponsorship programs. This is a big undertaking. You don’t have to be a superhero to be a hero in the life of a child!”

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