Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Happy New Year and New Shoes!

Ringing in the new year always brings time of reflection as well as time of anticipation. It's hard to believe that it has been 3 1/2 years since I first met those first 11 kids at Kebron.  As we 2013 came to an end, we are now ministering to 67 kids with the potential for more soon!! God is doing a mighty work at Kebron and in the community!

We had a very exciting end to 2013. Children's HopeChest does an end of the year fundraising campaign called Change Their Story. We established the fundraising goal for Kebron to help build a medical and education fund.  Through the month long campaign, we were able to raise $13,405!!! This will go such a long way to help cover unexpected medical expenses with the kids as well as to help cover tutoring, school supplies, etc. 

I also was so blessed to meet a very special little girl named Delaynie. She decided this year to collect shoes for children who didn't have any. Through one of our sponsors, Delaynie became aware of Kebron and decided to collect shoes for the kids there. She was excited at the idea but had no idea how many she would collect. She let her friends and family know of her plans and that evolved into a community effort.  A local news channel even came and did a segment on her!

This is the local ABC station filming Delaynie.

One thing led to another and the shoes just came pouring in!! By the time the holidays were over, she had collected over 600 pairs of shoes!!

Even though I would love to take ALL of the shoes with me to Ethiopia, I just can't.  I am taking 100 pairs with me though and the rest were given to another wonderful ministry that serves children in Haiti. There are over 600 children who will be blessed because of the heart of Delaynie. We could all learn so much from her and having the faith of a child. Thank you, Delaynie!!

I believe that 2014 will hold even greater things for Kebron. I can't wait to see what God does!  I'm hanging on for an incredible ride!!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Enjoying His Presence, Not the Presents

Christmas time can easily turn in to a time of stress from extra activities, shopping, entertaining family and friends....and the list goes on.  Every year I vow to make it different.  I want to take in more moments than things, enjoy the presence, not the presents.  I wish I could say that I finally had it figured out and all you had to do was follow three easy steps.  Unfortunately, I don't.  I would like to think that perhaps each year I get a little closer.  

I can share that since I began my ministry with Children's HopeChest and Kebron in particular, I certainly look at things differently.  Christmas is still my favorite time of the year but for different reasons now.  I still love the decorations but am more simple now.  I enjoy buying gifts for family and friends but focus on the love and relationship than the stress of needing to spend a certain amount or get the latest thing. The gift of time together is of so much greater value.

Spending time with the children at Kebron and experiencing their delight at the smallest of things, opens my eyes to how far I've moved away from appreciating the giver and not the gift.  The children are so happy to receive anything that will be their own but you know what lights their eyes up the most??  The photos of their sponsor family.  As fun as a game, new pens or pencils, hair accessories or other trinkets are, they cling to the photos in the packages.  That's what they proudly hold to show others....this is MY family! For them, it's always the giver and not the gift.  What a lesson to be learned.

I am happy to share what God has blessed us with this fall.  First and foremost, EVERY SINGLE CHILD is now sponsored!!!!!  On November 13, our last unsponsored child was sponsored.  So much interest was generated in sponsoring that we are now working on adding just a few more kids to match with those folks who were unable to sponsor because the kids were all taken.  This was a huge answer to prayer!

                Estifanos was our last child sponsored to be fully sponsored!

We also have easy access to clean running water every day through a water filtration system that was installed by Eyes That See and Water Step. We previously had access to water through a pump on the property but now we have clean, filtered water. Clean water in Ethiopia is rare and so vitally important for good health.  Now all of our Kebron kids can enjoy clean, filtered water!

I'm sure you also remember the efforts of one of our sponsors, Stefany, in helping to raise funds for new school uniforms for the kids.  Most of our children had not had a new uniform in two years! Well, I am happy to say that the new uniforms were delivered for the new school year this fall!!  I can't tell you how excited they were about the uniforms when I visited this summer.  As a matter of fact, one of the older boys wrote a letter to Stefany and had me deliver it to her.

God is continuing to do big things at Kebron.  He is doing this through you and I am forever grateful for your commitment to your sponsor children and Kebron. It is only through your faithfulness that we can continue to serve the children and the community.

As we enjoy the holidays this year, I pray that you are able to find special time alone to soak in His presence.

Many blessings,

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Almost there

I wanted to give you an update on our fundraising for new uniforms.  One of our sponsors, Stefany, took on the task of fundraising to buy a new school uniform for each of the children at Kebron.  She did this in conjunction with training for a half marathon.  

Unfortunately, just days before the race, her father-in-law unexpectedly died.  Stefany had a very sweet friend who stepped in to run the race on her behalf.  She did a great job!

Through Stefany's fundraising and some additional funds raised by her friend, they were able to collect a total of $960!!!!  Incredible!!!  We need $1400 to be able to buy each child a new uniform.  That means we are just $440 short of our goal! If you would like to help us reach our goal, please contact me.

Let's help these children get new school uniforms for this fall!

Monday, April 15, 2013

It Matters to One

I'm sure you are familiar with the Starfish Story but it is such a great inspiration to follow your heart.

          One day a man was walking along the beach, when he noticed a boy 
          hurriedly picking up and gently throwing things in to the ocean.
          Approaching the boy, he asked, "Young man, what are you doing?"

          The boy replied, "Throwing starfish back in to the ocean.  The surf is
          up and the tide is going out.  If I don't throw them back, they'll die."

          The man laughed to himself and said, "Don't you realize there are miles
          and miles of beach and hundreds of starfish? You can't make any

          After listening politely, the boy bent down, picked up another 
          starfish, and threw it in to the ocean.  Then, smiling at the man, he 
          said, "I made a difference to that one."

We are making a difference to the children at Kebron!  Even though the number of orphans can be overwhelming (over 4 million in Ethiopia alone!), you can make a difference to one.  Sponsorship isn't just a monthly financial commitment, you become a crucial part of a child's life.  They rest in knowing that there is someone who loves them and prays for them.  Someone they haven't even met!

I know it may sound funny, but so many sponsors have shared with me the overwhelming and unexpected feelings of love for the children they sponsor.  They become family.

So if you ever wondered if sponsoring one child really made a difference, I can tell you without hesitation that it does.  

These are just a few of the children who desperately need sponsors now.  If you are interested in sponsoring, let me know.  You can be the one who makes the difference!

Kidist, 4 years old

Kalkidan, 5 years old

Abinet, 9 years old

Yohanis (boy) 5 years old

Feraol, 4 years old

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Running for Uniforms!

Let me start by saying that I am NOT a runner!!  However, I AM inspired by so many of my friends who have decided to start running at this point even if they have never been a runner before now.  That describes my friend and fellow sponsor, Stefany!

Stefany has decided to tackle a half marathon!! That is awesome!  She has also decided to raise funds and awareness about Kebron.  She is currently seeking people to join her by sponsoring her $1 for every mile she runs (13 miles total for you non-runners, like me :) ).  All the funds raised will be for purchasing new school uniforms for the kids at Kebron.

The children have not gotten new uniforms in a long time. Typically they only have one, which means they have to wear it every day.  As you can imagine, it doesn't take long to wear out their uniforms.  They are ready to get some new ones and Stefany is stepping up to help!!

Here is a link to Stefany's blog where you can read more:


If you feel led to help Stefany reach her goal of raising $2000 to buy the kids new school uniforms, please contact her or me.  I can't wait for the kids to be able to go to school with fresh, clean, new uniforms!!

Thanks, Stef!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

In The Comfort Zone

One of the best parts of my role as a Sponsorship Coordinator is traveling back every year to see the kids.  My planning for the next trip seems to start almost as soon as I get home!  I actually was making notes for myself on the loooong plane ride home this last time.  You can never be too prepared!  I'm learning from my house full of Boy Scouts!

I wish I could adequately describe the experience of serving the children.  Being in the midst of the children in surroundings that are so impoverished, quickly gives a lesson in our overabundance at home.  It actually can make it a little difficult transitioning when I return home.  The blessing I receive from the children in what true joy is though, is immeasurable.  I am always so blessed by the kids.

It is also an honor and delight for me to travel with people who are visiting for the first time.  We carry such perceptions in our head of what Africa will be like and especially in a third world country.  It is often through those misconceptions that fear takes root.  I love to experience the amazement from those very same people as they wonder what in the world they were ever fearful of to begin with!  What we think is stepping outside of our comfort zone is actually stepping right in to God's presence!  How He waits to delight us!

If you feel God has ever prompted you to serve on a short term mission trip, I would love to have you join me!  I will be going to Ethiopia 6/25 - 7/2.  There is a spot for you!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Christmas is My Favorite Time of Year

I love everything about the holidays....decorations, Christmas lights, Christmas tv shows and movies, baking, spending time with family and friends and the list could go on.  It's easy to get swept away by "doing" Christmas.  But this year, 
I'm trying to not get too caught up in the busyness of the season but to really reflect on the meaning of the season.  

Reminding myself that Jesus left the perfection of heaven to come and make himself human among man.  That He faced any trial and temptation that we face so that not only would he know our joys and hurts but that we would have an example of how to live.  And most importantly, He made the ultimate sacrifice for our sins in giving His life so that we could know eternal life with God.  I don't know about you, but that gives me a great reason to celebrate this Christmas!

As we enter the holiday season and begin our preparations and festivities, I often think of the children at Kebron.  While they don't have the material comforts that we often do, they share in the same joy in celebrating the birth of our savior, Jesus.  Their joy isn't from the physical circumstances they are in but in knowing their Jesus and celebrating the miracle of His birth.  

I have partnered with Children's HopeChest in their Change Their Story campaign.  We are raising funds to help provide additional nutritional needs for the children at Kebron.  Our goal is $7500.  I know that's a lot but I think we can do it!  Please consider donating ANY amount to help us reach our goal.  The following link will take you to the page to be able to donate.


Thank you so much!!