Friday, August 15, 2014

Celebrating the Life Of Beth Venable This Month!




Her children rise up and call her blessed (happy, fortunate, and to be envied) and her husband boasts of and praises her saying "Many women have done virtuously, nobly, and well (with strength of character that is steadfast in goodness) but you excel them all. Proverbs 31:28-29.

Ordinary Hero is taking the month of August to celebrate the life of Beth Venable. It has been two years, this month, since the sudden passing of Beth. Beth Venable loved the Lord, loved her husband, and loved her 4 children with all her heart. She had a passion for orphans, which led to the adoption of their son from Ethiopia in 2011. Due to complications from an unexpected brain surgery, Beth went home to be with the Lord on August 24, 2012. Beth's loving kindness was an inspiration to many. Her husband, Michael, asked that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to Ordinary Hero on Beth's behalf. He wanted to see her life lived on through the countless number of orphans who could be helped because of the life that Beth lived here on earth. Click here to see the moving story of Beth and Michael Venable.

After a trip to Ethiopia in October of 2012, Michael decided that he wanted the Beth Venable Memorial Fund to help launch the Ordinary Hero Life Center in Ethiopia. 

This Life Center offers a warm and inviting place for adoptive families to stay during the adoption process while in Ethiopia, giving them their first night free of charge and a loving place for them to bond with their new child for the first time. The Life Center also houses all of the OH Mission teams along with guests and teams from other organizations and church groups throughout the year as they serve children in need. This Life Center continues to be a blessing to our teams and adoptive families as they show love and support to children in need while serving in Ethiopia. 

CLICK HERE TO SEE OUR NEW VIDEO OR WATCH HERE! 
See how the OH Life Center has blessed hundreds this past year!




HAVE YOU BEEN BLESSED BY THE OH LIFE CENTER OR WOULD YOU LIKE TO GIVE TO A REALLY GREAT CAUSE? WE NEED YOUR SUPPORT!

Each adoptive family receives a discounted rate and one night's stay, free of charge, as a way to show our appreciation to families, like Beth's, that go through such extraordinary efforts to adopt internationally. Your donation will help Ordinary Hero continue the great work to show our support to these families and team members that travel across the world to adopt and serve children in need.

Please consider becoming a monthly partner of any amount, which is a great way to make your donation last throughout the year. Click the "monthly" option on the donate page
Become a monthly partner and receive a FREE OH TSHIRT OF YOUR CHOICE. 
Email info@ordinaryhero.org with your tshirt choice and size. Visit the OH Store to see options and availability.

 A gift of $500 will provide one night stay FREE and FREE breakfast the entire week in Ethiopia for 5 ADOPTIVE FAMILIES. With this gift, you also have the option of adding a name plate to the "Life Wall" inside the lobby of the Life Center in Ethiopia. You can add your family name, adopted child's name, in honor of your loved one's name, church or business name to the nameplate.  Please put the name you would like on the nameplate in the message box when making your donation. Email info@ordinaryhero.org with any questions. 

CLICK HERE TO DONATE.



We thank you for your continued support of the Beth Venable Memorial Fund and the OH Life Center! We count on your support to keep the Life Center and other projects through the Beth Venable Fund running strong. 



Friday, August 8, 2014

2014 Project Backpack in Nashville

On August 5th, Ordinary Hero held it's annual Project Backpack for the children at the Nashville Rescue Mission. 65 backpacks were filled with school supplies and distributed by Ordinary Heroes with great big hearts! 

BIG thanks to Bev Stacey for organizing such a much needed outreach for these children.  We really appreciate you always doing such a great job, Bev!




We want to thank all of you who donated toward this outreach! We also want to thank all the families who showed up to help pass out backpacks. This is always a great way to get the kids involved in giving back. 

We had many young volunteer Ordinary Heroes helping to make sure each child got a backpack filled with supplies. 



One family donated a backpack with supplies and added a sweet note with it. The mother came up to our coordinator and asked her to be sure to tell this family how much the backpack meant to her since she was not able to provide for her daughter this year. 
The smallest acts of kindness can mean the world to someone in need. We can all make a difference in the life of another that could use our blessing. Thanks to all who participated in blessing these sweet children and their mothers. 


Friday, August 1, 2014

Ethiopia Through The Eyes Of A High School Graduate Team Member


We LOVE our High School/College kids that join our teams every summer! 
This summer OH welcomed 55 High School/College kids as they jumped on board our summer trips to serve children in need in Ethiopia! 

We love watching their eyes be opened to the needs across the ocean!
We love watching their gifts be discovered and used to serve children in need!
We love watching their hearts burst open with compassion!
We love watching them pour love out of themselves that they didn't even know they had!
And we love watching their hearts be emotionally moved 
by the unexpected love they receive in return!



 Meet Jasmine! She just graduated from High School and wants to be a professional photographer. 
She joined us this summer in Ethiopia and was able to let her love for the children be expressed through the work she strives for and loves! 
"I fell in love with Ethiopia and the children there when my family adopted my brother. As a teenager...It was eye opening and a life changing experience for me and God stirred my heart to serve. Ordinary Hero has been such a blessing to my family and I am so thankful for the opportunity to go on mission trips with them and be a part of something way bigger than myself." 

Check out this video Jasmine made and catch a glimpse of Ethiopia and the things that stood out to her the most through the eyes of this teenager that longs to change the world! 


Stay tuned for new OH Ethiopia Summer of 2015 Trip Dates!!
Coming Soon! 
Join Us!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Endure In Spite of Overwhelming Obstacles ~ My Heart Was Not Prepared For This!


I've struggled with how to even begin to write this post. I just returned from two months of leading teams in Ethiopia and spending some of the sweetest time with my entire family there together. I have many amazing, life changing, blog posts to write but there is this day, along a roadside in Ethiopia, that has weighed on my heart and in my mind more than anything else. 
It is an experience that I will never forget! 

There is simply only one word. 

TRAGEDY!

We drove up on it and looked it in the face and on the faces of all those that were around us. 


Myself, my son, and the director of KVI (Kingdom Vision International), and a nanny and 3 orphaned babies were about 5 hours into the countryside of Ethiopia. I was super excited to be joining alongside KVI to help them launch a foster care program in my son's village in the south! Never before have we seen such an interest in a local church to step up for orphans through foster care. 42 families from one local church deep in the south were getting ready to come to our meeting for more info on how to care for orphans in their own community. This small church put some of our American churches to shame.  We were returning 3 orphaned babies back to their home village as some of the first to be placed into these homes. 
Anyway, this is another entire blog post to come about this new program. 
But....

We were driving down the long, endless, bumpy road, almost to the city, when I started noticing many people in the street just running in front of us! 
They were all running to the same location which ended in a large pool of people that we drove right in the middle of and had to stop because they were blocking the road. 
I was overcome by the loud wailing and moaning that was coming from this group of people. I immediately sensed that something was terribly wrong right about the time that, Eyob, the director, said, "this is not good."
People were laying in the road sobbing, crying, waving their hands up and down, burying their hands in their faces. I had never seen anything like it. 
I was so scared to know what had happened. I sensed the worst. 



Before I even knew what was going on, our car was suddenly surrounded by the villagers. Eyob got out of the car and they all surrounded him talking a million miles an hour in Amharic. I had no clue what to expect as Eyob disappeared in the crowd. My son got out and talked to some people and translated that there was a child that had been hit by a car and they were asking us to take her to the hospital. What??

Some were arguing that she was dead and there was no point to take her and some were yelling that she was alive and that we HAD to take her! My heart was racing and sick as I suddenly realized there was a hurt child in the sea of all those people! 


Eyob came over to my window and told me that they wanted us to take her. I immediately reached in the back that was crammed to the ceiling with stuff and grabbed this blanket that we had brought. 

You see, before we left on our journey, my son came down with a giant blanket and pillows for the roadtrip. I told him that we probably didn't need that big blanket because it would take up so much room but he insisted that we would need it for sleeping later so I agreed and he brought it. 

I handed the blanket out the window and all three babies to the nanny in the front seat because there was nowhere else to put them.  

I was alone for a split second in the backseat. It seemed as fast as I had handed the blanket out the window, the next thing I knew was they were handing me this blanket with a body wrapped in it and placed it on my lap. My mind was a little freaked out about what I was about to witness. As soon as I took the child, the mother, who was hysterical, climbed in right beside me and then the mother's father (the child's grandfather) sat beside her. There was no room left for my son to fit in the backseat and we needed to leave so I opened my door and raised up enough for him to sit under me and I sat on his lap with the child laid across me and the mother. 
With all three babies and the nanny and director in the front and all 5 of us in the back we drove away from that awful scene, leaving all these many heartsick people, watching us and crying in the distance.

What I experienced next is what I can't erase from my mind. 

As I pulled the blanket back I saw the MOST beautiful little girl that looked to be about 5 or 6 years old. I immediately noticed that she was gasping for breath so I turned her on her side and patted her back. It at least gave me hope that she was still alive. She had a gash in her head unlike anything I had ever seen so I pulled her head wrap across it and tried to apply pressure to slow the bleeding. In the meantime I am trying to comfort the mother who just keeps crying and repeating things in her language. The father just sits silent, occasionally looking at the child. The mother pulled back the blanket to look at the child and then just silently pulled the head wrap further over the wound in an attempt to cover it. 

This was the most god-awful experience and I had no clue what to do except just pray for this little girl repeatedly without ceasing until we reached the hospital. All I could even pray was just
"Jesus be her breath, Jesus be her life right now....just be with her....PLEASE!"

I looked at this mother and could not imagine what she was going through in that moment. I know people who have lost a child in this way and I have heard about others but to be this close to it and try to imagine what this mother was feeling was just too much for my heart! 

I kept putting my hand in front of the little girl's mouth and felt that she was still breathing. I just kept telling them to "hurry, she is still breathing!" 

We arrived at a christian hospital and immediately took her into the emergency side. We were greeted by a Dr that Eyob happened to know and they took the child and laid her and the blanket on the table. I was again thankful for that blanket in that moment because I didn't want her little body to lay on that cold, hard table. I was never so thankful to see Dr's in my life. Although the equipment that they were hooking her up to looked like a standard helium tank, it  started beeping and showing signs that she was alive. 

The mother and her father just stood helpless beside the bed and watched....

We all just watched....and prayed. 


When we knew that she was in good hands we decided it was time to leave. At that time they were doing an ultrasound and talking about having to take her for surgery. 
My heart was so heavy! I will never forget being so close, holding her sweet face in my hands as I felt her breath brush across my fingers, thanking God for each warm breath, and praying they would continue. 

I walked over and hugged the mother and had them tell her I would be praying for them all. Even in her grief, she was very appreciative of our help. She told us that the little girl's name was Tseganesh, which means "Mercy". All I could think was how bad she needed God's mercy in this moment. 

And that was it! We just had to leave! 

As I went to open the car door I looked down and noticed the blood that was on my hands and arms, and my shirt. The nanny handed me the baby wipes from inside the car and I just cried as I wiped it all off of me. I just kept thinking, "What in the world just happened?" It was such a whirlwind. 

We returned two days later to check on sweet little Mercy and we walked all through the halls asking everyone where she was and no one knew. My heart was sinking. 

We finally found someone who told us that she did not make it. Little Mercy had passed away. 

I just couldn't believe it! I just knew that God would spare her life and that the reason we found her was to save her life. But that wasn't the case. 

I'm still puzzled by all of it. 

All I know is that sometimes we are simply called to be the hands and feet of God to show love and support in that very moment, regardless of the outcome. I feel this way often in Africa when I walk into situations that seem too much to fix and all I can do is just show love and pray.

You see, God did ultimately heal her, but just not the way that we expected. God knew the extent of her injuries and what she would have had to endure so he called that sweet little Mercy home to be with Him. 

All I can do is trust His plan and know that He did use us that day. We were driving on another route and last minute turned down that road to take a short cut. He put us there in that moment to show up to help in a situation that must have seemed helpless for this mother who was watching her child that was laying, bleeding on the concrete. We picked her up, wrapped her in a warm blanket, showed comfort, love, prayers, and support, for her and her sweet child in some of her last moments. Although I don't feel like we did much of anything that anyone else would have done in that situation, I take comfort in knowing that they didn't feel alone. Any of us would want that comfort of knowing that God is with us in our last moments on this earth and our greatest time of need as we cry out for Him. 
He works in many mysterious ways. 
The healing part is up to Him and He chose His way, not ours. 


I post this definition of a hero because it has never seemed more accurate for such an ordinary person on a day's journey. I was riding along on an Ordinary Hero mission with 3 babies to try to place them in foster care in the countryside of Ethiopia. 

I found myself at the blink of an eye facing overwhelming obstacles. 

All you can do is find strength from God....
persevere...
and endure...
in spite of it! 

That doesn't make me a hero.

It makes me ordinary.

There is one Hero in this story. 

Her name is Mercy!

She has faced her overwhelming obstacles...

She persevered and endured...

and now has found NEW STRENGTH, as all of heaven rejoices at her homecoming! 

What a sweet angel that I had the privilege of praying for!

~ Kelly


Thursday, July 10, 2014

A Pebble In The Pond

Guest Blog :: Patty Shropshire, Ordinary Hero June 2014 Team Member
If you drop a pebble in a still pond, you will see the ripple travel across the water in an expanding ring.  One small pebble can change the look and feel of a large body of water.  The same is true of one person’s life.  God will use the words and actions of one heart to touch the lives of many more.  This is what I call the ripple effect, and I saw it happen first-hand during our missions trip to Ethiopia with Ordinary Hero this past June.
There are approximately 5 million orphans currently living in Ethiopia.  How can we possibly make a difference?  The answer is:  by changing the world for ONE.  We started sponsoring an eleven year old boy named Bati from Hope for the Hopeless (H4H) back in October through Ordinary Hero.  Hope 4 the Hopeless rescues and rehabilitates street children, while pouring the love and truth of Jesus into their lives. We had never met Bati, and we didn’t know his story.  But, during our time in Ethiopia, God showed us how one life – even the life of a small hurting child- can affect the lives of so many others.

Throughout our families trip with OH, Bati was able to spend the week with us visiting different ministries and getting to know one another. On the first full day of our trip, we had an unexpected change of plans and ended up going to Entoto Mountain.   While we were there listening to the director share his story, a group of boys came running up to us shouting, “Bati!”  At first I was confused.  Who were these children?  How did they know Bati?  And then it dawned on me:   Bati used to live there.  The compound where he had lived with his aunt and cousin was a five minute walk from where we were standing.  Unbelievable.  Bati led us down a dirt path to his aunt’s hut while a group of excited children followed close behind us.  As we walked, Bati talked to some of the boys.  He told them how God had changed his life and that He had a plan for them too.  Their smiles were genuine and you could tell that Bati’s words gave them renewed hope.  If God could change Bati’s life, He could change theirs too.  One unexpected turn of events.  One small conversation.  Many lives touched.


But, the story gets even better. A few days later, Bati took a group of us to Arat Kilo –the place where he had lived on the streets before H4H rescued him.  It was a metal bridge stretched across a busy intersection.   A plastic tarp used for a bed was hidden under a rock.  As I stood there motionless staring at the cold concrete, tears streamed down my face.  Just then, two small boys about Bati’s age covered with dirt and dressed in rags emerged from under the dark bridge.  They had been there sleeping.   “Bati!” they called with big smiles on their faces.  “Bati knew them too?” I wondered.   As it turned out, he did.  With the help of Kelly Putty, founder of Ordinary Hero, we were able to rescue them from the streets and take them back to H4H.  We gave them showers, clean clothes, dinner, and a bed.  They were welcomed with smiles, hugs, and love.  Bati told them that they would now be safe and that God would take care of them.  Two more lives were saved…and all because Ordinary Hero and H4H had first changed Bati’s life.

 


A few days later, our team went back to the old drop in center at H4H –the place where Bati now lives. Some of the boys who live there were asked to share their stories with our team.  Each one of them mentioned Bati.  Bati had helped them.  Bati had led them to H4H.  It was because of Bati that their lives were changed.  It was amazing to see how one small orphan boy who had lived such a hard life could change the future of so many others.  Someone gave him hope. And now he is spreading that hope to those around him.  God changed his life, and now in return God is using him to change the lives of others.  It’s that powerful!

Drop a pebble in the water and watch the ripples grow.  See what happens when you set out to change one life.  The big picture may look hopeless and overwhelming, but just think what will happen if each one of us changes the world for one.  Your pebble WILL make a huge difference!  Let it ripple!

If you are interested in sponsoring a child from H4H , please visit their website www.hope4hopeless.org.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Rethinking Hunger


Blog by field director, Lauren Putty.

Hunger: A strong desire for something; A very great need for food. 

It’s pouring raining as we drive up the ridiculously windy roads of Entoto Mountain. The uneven ground begins filling with puddles. We park at the top and even as the rain continues to fall, the boys come running. Today is the day Mesfin, director of Endihnew Hope, has promised the first Bible study for a handful of teenage boys in addition to his feeding program. Ordinary Hero team members identified these boys the previous week and their hunger for the Bible, so they were able to provide new Bibles and inspire Mesfin towards this Bible study. We slide open the van and way more than a handful jump in to get out of the rain. I look back from the front seat and see about twenty children piled in the van giggling to themselves as rain drips off their face. In the mix are the teenage boys Mesfin handpicked for the bible study, clinching their Bibles with the same goofy smiles. The rain comes to a halt and we scoot the extra boys out so that just the chosen five are left. 


I’m in flip flops and a long skirt trying to figure out how I’m going to trek through the mud and hating myself for yet again forgetting to acknowledge that it rains everyday here. 

The seven of us hop out of the van, slide through the mud, and settle into a small shack. The atmosphere consisted of a bed, a few benches, sunlit lighting through the window, and rain hitting the tin roof. It was one of those TIA moments. One of those moments your spirit says to your heart, “This is why you’re here.” One of those moments your heart bubbles over with all the things Jesus promises: peace, joy, love…

Mesfin opened by stating that we weren’t here to force a certain religion or theology on anyone, but that we were here to study the teachings of Jesus and learn to be a light in an otherwise dark world. The boys were hungry, feeding off everything Mesfin was telling them. 

Mesfin allowed me to share my story with the boys and then allow one of them to respond to mine, while also sharing their own story. One boy raised his hand to speak. The previous week I had spent 11+ hours with this particular boy in hospital visits for his beautiful little sister who has a number of heart defects. He had barely said two words that entire day so I was shocked when his hand shot up, and even more shocked when his voice came out strong and bold. He didn’t say much, but what he did say was that he had fallen away from God because a lot of boys his age were doing the same. He said that starting today, he was re-inspired to pursue God and that he was excited about starting fresh by attending church the following Sunday. I watched him gain strength and confidence, as he was fed spiritually.

The highlight of our time together was having the boys briefly share about their week. I think it’s instinctive and dangerous for us as Americans to think that these children living on less than us live sad, difficult lives consisting of no toys and scarce food. It’s because most of the time, our instinct as human beings is to focus on the physical and material things of a person rather than the spirit a person. These boy’s responses expanded my thinking and deeply inspired me as they all said that they had fantastic weeks. Most of them would add that it was fantastic because they read the Bible, learned more about God, and were very happy about that. These are boys that are way behind in school, boys that are orphans, boys with sick sisters, but their spirits are strong. They aren’t sad like we expect them to be, because their bellies are full of the hope of Christ. The last boy said that he actually had never really heard about God and didn’t know what the gospel was, so he was excited to learn as well. All five boys that day came hungry and left full. 

We all get hungry. You skip breakfast and by lunch you’re mind is on food. You workout at the gym and your next thought is ‘cheese pizza’. We were designed as humans to feel physical hunger and satisfy this feeling with food. 

Whether you acknowledge it or not, every day we hold spiritual hunger as well. We crave growth, acceptance, love, hope, forgiveness, community. These are things that we receive as ‘food’ through communion with God and feeding from God’s Word and promises. We’re able to consume hope, swallow forgiveness, fill ourselves with love.

There are people all over the world eating three meals a day, rarely experiencing physical hunger, but they are spiritually starving. There are people who are spiritually filling themselves daily, but lack physical food to sustain them into their calling.


Like Jesus, we are called to meet both. Jesus fed the thousands, and he discipled the crowds. He dispersed fish and He dispersed hope. We as people, as Christians, as ministries, must do both as well. Our job is to bridge the gap so that everyone is experiencing fullness. Full bellies. Full spirits. Full lives.

We love our partnership with Endihnew Hope and what is in store for the future of Entoto Mountain. Ordinary Hero supports their Saturday feeding program, as well as provides the opportunity for sponsorship guaranteeing three meals a day for a child. Having just launched our first boys bible study, we look forward to launching our first girls bible study in the coming weeks. Join with us in praying for the future of this partnership and all that is to come! If you would like to know more about our ministry on Entoto, inquire about sponsorship, or donate towards the feeding program, email kblevins@ordinaryhero.org for more information. 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Temesken and Kalkidan on Entoto Mountain

Written By: Lauren Putty, field director for Ordinary Hero

Today was a free day since the next team doesn’t come until tomorrow morning, so we decided to go see ‘The Fault In Our Stars’. I tell you this because it’s one of the saddest movies I have ever seen, leaving me crying even AFTER the movie, so I’m approaching this heavy blog topic with an already heavy heart. Should be interesting.
I said in my previous blog, “Even though on mission trips we meet hundreds of kids, God always has a way of allowing just a couple to go beneath the surface and grab a hold of our hearts. This unexplainable connection keeps us pursuing them through both action and prayer.” This is proving true yet again, even in the short time I’ve been here. Last blog I told the story of Temesken and Buruk, two boys that stole my heart on the side of Entoto Mountain, and I briefly gave a glimpse into Temesken’s life, including HIV positive parents and a 4 year old sister with an infected burn. 

A few days ago fate unexpectedly brought our team back to the home of Temesken for the story to continue. When we first met Kalkidan, Temesken’s sister, and saw her burn, the doctor on our team gave Temesken the tools and instructions to keep the wound clean and allow it to heal. About a week later as the team did home visits we decided to go visit their family and check on the burn. Instead of finding a Neosporin covered, healing wound, we found that it was about ten times worse than it was before, now oozing and pussing and wrapped in a head cloth.

 

This isn’t the type of thing you just throw money at or pray over. You don’t walk away with a heavy heart. These responses alone would have been much easier. Our hearts were heavy and we did pray for her, but Kalkidan is a little girl who fell in a fire, burning off the skin of her neck and shoulder. The only logical response was to bend down, pick her up, and help her. Love her. Kiss her. And this is exactly what we did. 

As we drove to the hospital, Temesken and Kalkidan were like Americans seeing Addis for the first time. They had always been stuck on Mount Entoto, just on the outskirts of Addis, having rarely ever seen their own city. As I fell into a trance watching their bug-eyes glued to the window, I couldn’t help but notice Kalkidan’s shirt collar that was falling over her limp body in my lap. It was covered in the ooze, infection, and blood that was all over her neck, and the smell allowed me to grasp just how bad it was.


After arriving at our third clinic, the only one we could find open (at noon on a Saturday?!), we were finally making progress. It came time for the nurse to clean the wound, and so began one of the toughest hours of my life. As Temesken, her 10 year old brother, and I rubbed the little hands of Kalkidan, the nurse begins spraying alcohol on her wound and what was simply squeezing her hands turned into pinning her body so that she couldn’t flail out of reach. In order to fully clean the wound, they had to remove the infected scabs that had formed over the burn and it was almost unbearable. Here is this four year old girl, screaming at the top of her lungs, being held down by me whom she barely knows while these doctors perform on her head. I told my mom, “She’ll never trust us again after going through all of this. There’s no way.” After about 45 minutes of literal blood, sweat and tears from everyone in the room, the process was over and she had fresh bandages covering her sweet neck. I approached Kalkidan expecting a dart in the other direction, but what I found shocked me. She fell into my arms and clinched me. She was limp, exhausted, and simply just wanted the comfort of being held. 


I held her tight, experiencing a similar comfort that she still trusted us, and rubbed Temesken’s back telling him what a good brother he was for being there. The small group of us took a good look at Temesken in his tied on, hole-y pants and Kalkidan who had put back on her blood covered shirt and decided they needed a moment of Oasis… The OH Life Center. 

I could go into tons more detail about their afternoon of getting bathed, fed, dressed, and played with but this would easily turn into a novel, and I think the pictures speak for themselves. Sarah Venable did an amazing job at providing a mother’s love, clipping their toenails and sponging their bodies. They had a blast. They felt loved and cared for. Uneasy and anxiousness changed to carefree and alive. Everyone involved was changed that afternoon. 


The beautiful picture of that day is that we got to see their full potential. Full bellies, healing wounds, glowing smiles. The tough reality is that it wasn’t permanent. We gave them an afternoon to remember but we then sent them back to their mud hut of seven. I asked Mesfin, the ministry director, how the family reacted when their children came home clean in new outfits and he said they were overjoyed, but immediately started asking if he could just take them to an orphanage because they couldn’t give them a full life like that. 

It’s heartbreaking but it's not hopeless. Ordinary Hero is focused on empowering ordinary people to make an extraordinary difference for children in need. In this case, we are focused on empowering Temesken and Kalkidan’s parents to take care of their five children, despite their circumstances. Their 28 year old mother, Mimi, has just begun a new clay works program through our partnership with Endihnew Hope, so that she is employed rather than begging. The next step is sponsorship. Sponsorship will provide money for their most basic necessities, so that their extra income can go towards caring for their family. 


I’m not being cliche when I say sponsorship is a miracle. That God would send us clear across the globe, for a few encounters that change the course of a families life is a God ordained miracle. That God would touch people’s hearts through a blog or Facebook post, enough to move them to action, is a God ordained miracle. My prayer is that we don’t skip out on the miracles God is trying to include us in, towards bringing families and children to their full, God given potential. 

For more information on the details of this sponsorship, or if you are interested in sponsoring this family, please email me at lauren@ordinaryhero.org.



Sunday, June 22, 2014

Stories from summer trips

Summer short term trips are in full swing! We have two teams on the ground right now, with one returning and another leaving in the next few days. It is awesome to see these team members INSPIRED to make a difference in the life of a child in need. And it's amazing to see how they continue to advocate for the children they encounter in Ethiopia when they return home, and then also find opportunities to serve in their own communities here in the U.S.

This summer, Lauren Putty is serving as Ordinary Hero's on the ground representative in Ethiopia. Here are her words…

I’m about six days into my time here in Ethiopia. I’m seeing everything in a different lens, not feeling rushed and beginning to consider this city my home. Back in December when I came on a 10 day trip, it never quite felt right to be hurrying through my experience and only spending spurts of time with so many different people. Now that I’m here for the year doing exactly what I’ve always wanted to do, I feel a peace and joy that I don’t know if I’ve ever felt before. I can feel the relationships I already have here growing deeper and new ones being birthed. This, coupled with the overflowing love from all of our Ethiopian family and community here, has me feeling right at home.

Also want to give a shoutout to the North Dakota team that just left to head back to the States. As the first OH summer team you guys rocked, were so loving and encouraging, and I know I’ll see a lot of you again. Keep doing you North Dakota.

The past six days have been full and amazing. I can’t share every story but I will share one from today. It’s not everyday that I get overcome by something that brings me to tears but today was one of those days. One of those “I can’t get my sunglasses on fast enough” cries. 

Three days ago we traveled to Mount Entoto where we learned about a ministry called Endhinew Hope. As we wrapped up the day and the children were performing a goodbye, I found myself sitting between two 10 year old boys. The one on my left named Temesken had a smile and spirit that I absolutely fell in love with, and the one on my right, Buruk, was sinking into my arms and I found myself staring at how small his wrists were. It was essentially just skin wrapped around his wrist bone. I felt such a connection in my brief moments with these two best buds that it left me thinking about them the next couple of days.

Fast forward to today, and we’re headed back to Mount Entoto for their feeding program. I’m shaking lots of little hands as I hear a little squeal, looking up to find Temesken. He leads me to sit and eat with him, where I then find Buruk with the small wrists. I watch them scarf down their injera, we take some selfies, and then we get the cue that our team is beginning home visits. After sneaking the two of them outside the gate so that they can join us, we set out to see the living conditions of the mountain families. We’re walking from hut to hut hearing heart breaking stories, all the while Temesken and Buruk are clinching my arms and fighting kids off from also trying to grab at my hand. Every time I would walk in to visit a small house, they were there waiting for me in the door frame to then squeeze my arm and wrap it around their neck. We walked like this until we came to the last home visit. All of a sudden Temesken perks up and says “Inay Bet”, “My House”. My stomach sank. He walks me into his home, one room, about as big as a walk-in closet, where we find his father sleeping (at 2pm) next to his 1 year old sister on a mattress that fills up the entire floor space. A translator begins telling Temesken’s story: six people sleep on the same mattress, his father HIV positive, unable to work, and his mother a beggar also HIV positive. All of a sudden I can feel the boy, still gripping my hand, taking a deeper place in my heart. Temesken drags me a few yards away to then meet his sister. “Zis is my seester” as I approach a glowing, smiling four year old girl. He gives her a hug and begins to unwrap a cloth around her head. All of a sudden I realize that underneath the cloth is raw, pink and purple, infected skin. His sister had been burnt and the burn was sitting untreated. As I’m taking all of this in, I can hear myself saying, “Oh my gosh. Horrible.. Horrible.. Get the doctor” and the rush of emotions turn to tears that I can’t shut off. I take a few steps back so that I’m not scaring the kids with my scrunched and wet face, and I sit and listen as our team doctor explains to 10 year old Temesken how to clean his sister’s wounds. 

I was looking at this family, and my heart broke. I’ve heard this expression but I don’t know if I’ve felt it in a moment like this before. I felt sick, and sad, and so much love for Temesken and his family. Temesken still smiling grabs my hand, along with Buruk on the other side and we start the trek back to the van. I’m walking back this time squeezing them tighter and picturing a better life for them both. One with fat on their wrists, treated burns, enough beds for everyone and healthy, loving parents. 

The beautiful thing about Endihnew Hope and Ordinary Hero’s partnership is that they are approaching this problem of poverty with both immediate and long-term action. To meet immediate needs, they provide sponsorships so that the children receive three meals a day, an education, and paid off rent so that other sources of income can go towards the livelihood of their families. Also, so that the families aren’t completely dependent on Americans they are developing a number of skills training programs so that the mother’s are able to make a sustainable income. Both approaches are vital to breaking the cycle of poverty. Neither Temesken or Buruk have sponsors at this time. If you feel led to sponsor these sweet boys, or if you have any quesitons, please message me on the contact page or send me a private message on Facebook. 

People who have been on these trips know that out of the hundreds of children we meet, God almost always allows just a few to go beneath the surface and deeply touch our hearts so that we will pursue them in action and prayer. These two have me all sorts of messed up, crying the ugly cry and writing long blog posts. Someone on our team asked the founder of one of the ministries we visited, “So what’s the answer to all of this? You’ve been here a long time, how do we fix it?” His answer was simple… “Just help one at a time, that’s all you can do.” I’m writing on behalf of Temesken and Buruk today. They have such bright, untapped futures in store and I am obligated and committed, we are obligated, to see them through. 

You can follow Lauren's blog here.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Awesome Night At The OH Banquet!




Big THANKS to everyone that came out to support Ordinary Hero last month at our annual CHANGE THE WORLD FOR ONE Benefit Dinner! With nearly 400 in attendance, Ordinary Hero raised over $80,000 and inspired many to tears!

Special THANKS to SHeDAISY for performing and remaking their hit song, "Come Home Soon", especially to fit the theme of the night!



And then there wasn't a dry eye in the house after Danny and Zelalem, new to America, finished speaking about their lives in Ethiopia.

Danny and Zelalem Share Their Stories ~ Ordinary Hero Banquet 2014 from Kelly Putty on Vimeo.

We always want to thank our sponsors for allowing us this opportunity to put on such an amazing event each year to raise much needed funds to support Ordinary Hero! THANK YOU TO ALL OF YOU WHO SPONSORED THIS EVENT!

Silver Sponsor
Carrabba's Italian Grill

Bronze+Sponsor
Bethel World Outreach Church
Matt and Gina MacConnell
Jeff and Stacy Rothenberger

Bronze Sponsor
Adoption Promises
Mark and Elizabeth Dupuis
Michael and Crystal Archie (Rodan + Fields)

Hero Sponsors
Visiting Orphans
Gulliver's Travel~ Sabrina Freeland
Wasatch International Adoptions
MLJ Adoptions, Inc

Event Partners
29Eleven Productions
Renascent Photography
Spring Tree Media Group
FormCo Printing

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

5th Annual CHANGE THE WORLD FOR ONE Event

Our annual benefit dinner and silent auction is fast approaching! 


Don't miss this exciting night! We would love for you to join us for dinner, an amazing silent auction, and a chance to be inspired to CHANGE THE WORLD FOR ONE at our 5th annual Ordinary Hero Benefit Dinner! 
APRIL 24, 2014
LIBERTY HALL IN THE FACTORY AT FRANKLIN
FRANKLIN, TN

BIG THANKS TO OUR SPONSORS!


Featuring Special Guest & Performance By
SHeDAISY

COME
BE INSPIRED
CHANGE THE WORLD FOR ONE

Get your tickets here

Friday, March 14, 2014

Attention Indiana Friends!!


There is a brand new adoption conference for our friends in Indiana! Starts tomorrow, March 15th!! Ordinary Hero will have a table hosted by one of our volunteers, Heather. If you are in the area, stop by the County Line Church of God at 7716 North County Line Church Auburn, IN 46706. For more information and to register click here.


Thursday, March 6, 2014

RUN FOR ONE, April 26, with Team Ordinary Hero in the Country Music Marathon




We are looking for runner/walkers/fundraisers to join Team Ordinary Hero, April 26, in the Country Music Marathon in Nashville, TN! This is a great way to support Ordinary Hero and raise funds and awareness for our cause. Sign up and create your own personal fundraising page today! Change the world for one! Join Us!

  CLICK HERE for more information about joining our cause, starting your own  team of fundraisers and creating your own personal fundraising page.

We are also looking for sponsors to support Team Ordinary Hero! Your name or business will be featured on our marathon shirts during the race.  

Please email Colleen@ordinaryhero.org

Friday, February 21, 2014

Perspective From An Ordinary Hero, Ethiopia Team Member~ "I Felt Her Pain In This Moment."

Guest post by Nakisha, Ordinary Hero, January 2014, Ethiopia Team Member ~




As I return to my lifestyle after spending seven days in Ethiopia, I jumped back into my routine a bit.  As I’m driving around in my oversized SUV heading to pay top dollar for some Espresso & baked goods, my thoughts travel back to the tiny village of Korah.  It is not tiny in population at all.  There are over 100,000 people living in this village.  I say tiny because these 100,000 people are living within a one and a half mile radius.  I am blessed to be living in the one of the richest counties in America, and yet I felt richer in Ethiopia.  How can this be you might ask?

While the villages, orphanages, and areas that I visited reeked with poverty and great physical need,  I found great joy and richness in the faith that is spilling over throughout this country.  I found inspiration and healing with the great love from my team members and from the beautiful people of Ethiopia.

My short term mission experience has yes, “opened my eyes” and yes, “they (the people of Ethiopia) blessed me more than I blessed them” and for this I am forever grateful.  I don’t want to stop there though.  I want to encapsulate these feelings and turn them into something bigger, something that has eternal value.  I want to be a blessing because I AM blessed.  I want to be the hands and feet of Jesus in a very tangible way.  If you haven’t been on a mission trip, I would highly encourage you to do so.  Just  “SIGN UP”.  It will be the best thing you could do for your life this year!

As I press forward with prayer and excitement in my heart, I will leave you with the picture and story of a beautiful woman I met in the village of Korah.




She sits gracefully while hanging her head in shame.  She humbled us with her story. She is a mother of two teen boys, living without a husband, in a mud shack.  Her body is overtaken with Leprosy.  Her fingers are gone.  Her toes and feet are gone.  When she slowly removed her shoes to show us what this treatable disease had done to her body, it took all the power within me to not burst into tears.  I felt her pain in this moment.  If she were disabled like this while living in America she would have a means through our government system to at least survive and possibly thrive.  There is no such system that exists for her in Ethiopia, and definitely not in Korah.  She is left to beg on the streets for her survival.  She slowly lifts her head garment to reveal an impression on her head where she was hit by a vehicle while trying to survive by begging on the street. She has constant migraines because of it.  She has no relief, no Advil, no Tylenol…nothing.  She can’t run to the local store for pain meds.  She can’t go to her medical doctor for help.  She has to suffer.  Unfortunately, she is not a minority in Korah. She is a part of the majority of women living in such inhumane circumstances.

I will not leave you…I will come to you John 14:18

Through OH and the team members of the January 2014 trip, she was able to see that God heard her prayers and fulfilled HIS promise to come to her.  In this moment, as we tangibly lived out the mission to be the hands and feet of Jesus, we stepped up to change the world for this one. I was able to see just how powerful and important missions can be for the masses but mostly for the one. We had a team member that advocated on her behalf and this beautiful woman now has a sponsor. I saw first hand that all the things that break my heart, break God's heart as well. What a blessing to be able to help change the world for this beautiful woman. God knew exactly where she lived and what she needed and we just "happened" to step right into her path.

Are you confused about how you fit into God’s plan?  Are you unsure of what purpose you can serve to make a difference in the world?  Go to www.ordinaryhero.org and click on the MISSIONS tab, you will be so glad you did! Search yourself and be a part of “Changing the world for one”!

In Christ,

Kisha Guzman