I am not quite sure why it is, but in taking a look back at our blog posts over the past year it jumped out at us that we have gotten out of the habit of writing general, all around updates for you all. So sorry about that. We are going to try and get better at writing more about every day life things going on here in Ethiopia so that you can get an idea from wherever it is that you read this crazy blog if ours, what the whole point of all this is.
In case you are just joining us, let me jump all the way back to the start and tell the super abbreviated story of ours so you can understand how it is that we got here and why it is that we do what we do.
Almost six years ago my wife had this crazy idea that we should move our family to Ethiopia to help out with an orphanage that was working with kids from a tribe in the south. (Yeah, crazy right?) Anyhow, I had just gone through a terrible season where the entire business that I built had fallen apart when the real estate market crashed, and so I said yes to something crazy.
For just one year. Yes.
We moved our three kids to a mud house 18 hours from civilization, adopted a fourth child, dug in our heels and tried our best to help in a country we knew nothing about. We made almost every mistake in the book, kept at it, and then made more mistakes. Finally, we started to learn a few things, and Bring Love In was born. Again we made some more mistakes, but we had the best team you could ask for and somehow by the grace of God this awesome amazing mission got up off the ground and now it is something we are darn proud of.
What is Bring Love In you ask?
Well, it is a ministry, or a movement, or an organization, we can’t quite decide what to call ourselves. But what we do know is that we are on a mission to share the love of Jesus and provide hope for a future to widows and orphans in Ethiopia. What we do is partner with local government orphanages here in Addis Ababa the capital city of Addis Ababa, and we take kids who have no option but to live in that orphanage and we pair them up with a local widow, together they become a family. A Forever Family.
So far we have rescued 58 children, and created 9 families. Pretty neat right?! The cool part is when you see one of these kids, and you talk with them about their life, the structure of family is something we feel is God breathed, and looking into the eyes of a child who knows both no family and now family, that is all the proof you need. God knew what he was doing.
But we the ministry does not stop there, after a while we started thinking, if family is so important, what can we be doing to preserve the ones who are so very close to falling apart? And so the second half of Bring Love In was born, and that is a program we call Keep One Home. What we do is support local families in our community who are living on less than 20 dollars a month, we come along side them and provide medical care, food support, funds for things like school and books, and then we give small business grants to the ones who are ready to step out and provide for their families through owning their own small shop. There are 156 families who we are able to link up with sponsors from all over the world for this program.
Anyhow, that is how we got here in the super short version. Now, where are we going?
2015 is lining up to be an amazing year, we are gearing up to grow both sides of the ministry, and feel that we have hit a sort of stride with our staff. As you can imagine cross cultural relations are always something we are learning more and more about, but I gotta tell you, these 47 folks who work here with us on the ground are just the best. They keep forgiving us, and we keep doing our best to learn more about how we can stand in the gap between the resources that we can collect in America from donors and the actual messy, muddy, dirty work of caring for the poor here in Ethiopia.
One cool thing that we get to do this month is buy a new bus, at the end of last year we raise funds for the purchase of a bus, and now that the new year has started which means the next fiscal year is here locally for us, we get to go shopping! Pictures to follow soon!
By God’s great grace we are still standing, and marching forward towards something that we think is pretty neat. All of our kids who come to us are permanent placements, and so despite this not being the most exciting edge of your seat work, it is good work, and it is something we believe in with every fiber of our beings.
On the side I have taken on a job here in Ethiopia (we wanted to keep 100% of the donations going to a place where they really can make a difference and not towards supporting our family). What I do is work for an investment company that builds new businesses in Ethiopia to create jobs that help lift the country out of poverty. One of the biggest things that is lacking here are mature markets that provide stability and income for the everyday people. What I get to do with my days is try and build those businesses. I know that this does not sound like the funnest thing to most people, but for me I get completely lost in this kind of work, and all fired up about the good that we are able to do here for the country. This work is something that I do as a day job and is completely separate from Bring Love In.
Anyhow, I am rambling on, but I wanted to just connect a bit with you all today, and say thank you for the support, we could not be seeing all this good in these lives here without your incredible support and prayers. Thank you so much for everything, we are thankful for you.