From the field
Intense. Hard. Rewarding. Redeeming. Battle. Faithful God. Sad. Elated. Trusting…
If we had known what we were to encounter and embrace over the past few months, we may never have known how to prepare for it. As you may have noticed, we have not sent out a monthly newsletter since May. We left in June to for Ethiopia to adopt our son, Huxley. It was to be a simple scenario, and we had planned to be in country for 6 weeks at most. We ended up being in Ethiopia as a family for 6 weeks and then I (Caleb), have been here almost 11 weeks to date. We experienced challenges, set backs, battles and sheer frustration as we just wanted to become a family of four. As of this past week, after spending a month home in Tulsa, Becca and Sakari joined me back in Ethiopia.
Let me back up a little to just before we left the US. We were and are amazed at the people that God has surrounded us with and that support was so beautifully and uniquely demonstrated in an idea the Lord gave us--Huxley’s Canvas of Love. Through this canvas we were able to raise the funds we needed for travel to Ethiopia as a family. In 29 days, over $11,000 was raised! God is faithful!
We had our court appointment on May 27th and it went well, with the exception of one page that had a notary that was expired – which should have been a non-issue and the US embassy here had never seen a case like this before and agreed that it was unnecessary. Nevertheless, we had to get this updated, so it has delayed the official approval for him to legally become our son. We were able to visit him each day for six weeks, but we were so ready for this adoption to be official and for the wait and battle for his redemption to finally be over. Our extended stay allowed us to spend time with our ministry partners and contacts while preparing for our July teams and a leadership summit. We felt every prayer on our behalf, but some days we were frustrated and tired beyond words and tears. We never stopped trusting God, but wanted to be real about where we were in the process and knew that it wasn’t God’s will for Hux to continue being in an institution, even though our agency is amazing (www.awaa.org) and fought for us and with us.
We have spent time with several of our friends and contacts here and are staying at the amazing Ethiopia Guest Home (www.ethiopiaguesthome.com) that serves as our home base and make shift office while we are in Addis Ababa. We are grateful for those God placed around us here in Ethiopia, as well as at home. We are eternally indebted to you all.
We are discovering the good, the bad, the beautiful, and the ugly sides of orphan care while we are here. For One Child to be truly effective and good stewards of our time and resources, it’s been vital for us to discover these things. Orphan care is not something that requires a bandaid. It is full of complex social and spiritual challenges that one must give their lives for to bring healing. The more we learn, the more we find how much more we have to learn. We have been praying and asking God for wisdom and for hidden things to be revealed, and He has been faithful to answer. We pray above all things, that God is glorified. We hired a tremendous part time staff person here in Ethiopia who will help us strengthen our infrastructure and systems within the country. This will bring more accountability and support to the ministries we work with consistently here in Ethiopia. Already, he is proving to be faithful an invaluable team member.
In July we had 2 teams of about 30 people from all over the nation. We have been visiting ministry sites, orphanages, and meeting with leaders. Our teams installed water purification systems, started the remodeling process for a church/orphanage compound, and served the least of these in a holistic, sustainable way. The next One Child teams will build on these projects. From the July trips, God is already stirring the hearts and minds of people for the cause of the orphan, widow, vulnerable, and destitute. Artists and clean water advocates: stay tuned for "The Clay and Water Tour" details.
Our first annual leadership summit was held on Saturday, July 23. A reporter from an Ethiopian web magazine (www.ezega.com) attended the summit, and it was published along with a story on our family’s adoption. Here are the links:
Visit the One Child Campaign Facebook Fan Page for photos from the summit and the teams.
God is using His people here in Ethiopia to wake up the church to their responsibility to care for those in need. Our teams were partnered up with projects and contacts based on their gifts, talents and passions and we feel that more than ever before, our roots are going deeper and deeper here.
One of the biggest highlights of our time here by far was the incredible opportunity that I had to meet our son’s birth mother, Alemitu. Many details of this meeting are part of Hux’s history and story and we don’t feel it appropriate to share here, but his birth mother loves him very much and did not have any other alternative for him. She is a believer and prayed that he would find a family. When I asked her what her desire was for Huxley’s life was, she simply told me, “I want him to grow up to take care of the fatherless, just like we (our family) are taking care of him.” How God places the lonely into families with such divine purpose is beyond us! Alemitu has no idea that her prayer not just for him, but for hundreds of children has already been answered through One Child Campaign, the ministry God has entrusted to us. We are humbled and in awe of the greatness of our King.
As we drove back through the African plains, I couldn’t help but intercede for this nation, these children, our partners, our family, and One Child. It has never been so intense. I felt God speaking with such clarity to me during those hours and giving us even more direction. I felt that we need to ASK God for more and I decided it was time to boldly approach the throne of grace and ask our Father for this nation. This beautiful, exotic, historic and strategic nation belongs to God, and I believe, the best days are ahead. I asked God for this nation to be our family’s inheritance.
As of August 1st, Huxley is now living with us full time as he is legally ours! We wait now for his passport, visa, and final embassy clearance, but we expect to be heading home very soon. Attached to the email is one of our first pictures of our family of four!
We have a few more strategic trips scheduled for 2011, and I ask you to earnestly pray about joining us in our fight to bring compassion and justice to the fatherless. Sometimes, it looks like clean water or a hug or sponsorship or building a bathroom or giving vulnerable women jobs – all it takes is YOU using what is in your heart and hands and watching what will happen! We have several more trips scheduled over the next year, we pray that you will join us on one of these vision trips. We are combining our 2 October trips into one, so the trip dates are now just October 7-14 and this trip is discounted by $300 for the in-country package - just $1,290. Applications are attached to this email...the deadline for sign ups and funds are just one month away (September 1st). Our trips are specifically designed to be different from other trips. They are not just “mission” trips. These trips are for casting vision and raising awareness while serving and loving the Ethiopian people. This is not necessarily glamorous work, but it’s what God has called us to. You must also know that when we speak of orphans and the fatherless, we are not only speaking in the natural but also those who are spiritually fatherless.
While here in Ethiopia we have identified a couple new projects and ministries that we feel very connected to and believe we are to partner with:
Mission Ethiopia: Mission Ethiopia's vision is to empower individuals (mainly women) to fulfill their calling of glorifying God by working and supporting themselves and their families with the fruit of their work. I have been talking at length with the founder about the projects and the impact these projects are having on their communities. To date there are 4 locations, 56 women and 6 supervisors. MOWYCA (Ministry of Women, Youth and Children’s Affairs) randomly visited one of the locations and raved about the project and concept. We learned that a new kiln would increase the productivity of these women incredibly. We have located a suitable kiln for approximately $4,000 USD.
We are also looking to partner with Mission Ethiopia on a project that will bring jobs and resources into Korah, a leper community. We are especially excited about this, but for now we remain in the brainstorming and proposal phase. Please keep praying.
Embracing Hope Ethiopia: Jerry and Christy Shannon have started an amazing ministry in the Korah area of Addis Ababa. Their mission is to partner with God, individuals, and the local church in ministering with the poor, orphans and vulnerable children (and their families) of Ethiopia using compassionate, holistic practices that promote sustainability, transformation, community, and Christian discipleship which invades all areas of life for this and future generations. The first phase for Embracing Hope is a day care center for about 30 children so their mothers are empowered to work and more easily care for their families.
Barrett Ward – www.livefashionable.com
fashionABLE creates sustainable business for women in Africa. Our commitment as a non-profit is to the development of people — fashionABLE works with women who have been exploited due to the effects of poverty. So, when you purchase a scarf you are providing jobs, and then we send the profits back to holistically rehabilitate more women. This is the beauty of non-profit….
Scarves provide jobs, profits provide restoration. In Ethiopia, prostitution is often linked with deep levels of generational poverty and financial hopelessness. Lacking meaningful resources and a sense of hope, many women resort to prostitution as a means of supporting themselves and their families. These women are often desperate to leave the sex industry but remain trapped by a lack of opportunity and rehabilitative support.
“Women At Risk” is an organization we have partnered with to rehabilitate former sex workers. This work requires not only getting these women off the streets, but also providing them counseling and helping them find alternate means of income – this is why we created fashionABLE. Our ultimate goal is to help these women become healthy and productive members of society.
Headquarters for scarf production are in Addis Ababa, the capital city. Scarves are made by women in the program, as well as other Ethiopian sources that include women and men, to help meet demand. While being supported by those sources, fashionABLE is continually funding the training of more women in order to employ as many women as demand will allow. All the while, we are meeting the mission that your purchase of a fashionABLE scarf continues to create sustainable business for more women in Africa.
Has increased by $200/month – just over 12% of where we need to be monthly.
Who do you know? Help us share the One Child story. Do you have a home church that would allow us to come and share the One Child vision? Do you have business associates who are passionate about investing in vibrant, accountable non-profits? Email us with your connections. Trust that we will present a succinct, professional vision and action plan for the One Child Campaign through video or a personal visit if appropriate.
If you are wondering what to do with your tax refund? One Child is looking for support for a special December trip. For roughly $6,000, we could bring over a photographer to document many ministries, people, and stories to raise greater awareness for the plight of orphans and the destitute. Eventually, the photos will be turned into a wonderful book.
Projects – There are several projects listed at OneChildCampaign.com that still need funding. Do you have creative ideas for raising money among your church or peers that could contribute to these projects? You can designate your fundraiser to a specific project, and we’ll be happy to send photos of your dollars in action.
Monthly Partnerships – We are grateful for our new partners, and we hope you will consider becoming one, too. We have attached an easy way for you to give monthly via credit card or we can send monthly emails to remind you of your commitment.
In other news…
· In June, we had a team go to Guatemala to serve as the hands and feet of Jesus ministering to the broken through service projects, prayer, drama, and a leadership conference. Want your church or group to have a custom designed vision trip experience with One Child? Email us for more information!
We are also working to forge a new partnership to facilitate our online store for shirts, jewelry, etc. to do more good that just raise awareness! We are also working hard to make online giving easier for you and will soon announce a new project/family sponsorship program. Stay tuned…
Coming in September: More updates from Ethiopia on our projects, trips and new partnerships! Also, a MAJOR update that any Ethiopia adoptive family won’t want to miss out on!
Meditation: Psalm 68:31
“…Ethiopia shall soon stretch out her hands to God.”
One Child Campaign is a ministry outreach of Faith Central Ministries. The vision of the Orphan Awareness and Vision trips is to create a united effort of ministries to give voice to the over 5.5 million orphans in Ethiopia and around the world. This will be accomplished through sponsorship, empowerment and discipleship that will meet the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of the children. This trip will immerse you into the lives of orphans and street kids. It will create an experience that will raise awareness not only to the orphan, but also for the body of Christ to realize the impact it can have through advocacy and adoption. An important part of our ministry is to provide resources for adoptive families. This is a mission to raise up a generation with selfless faith. Together, we can breathe hope into the orphan crisis.