Tuesday, November 24, 2015

#GivingTuesday - Give the Gift of Christmas

On Tuesday, December 1, 2015, charities, families, businesses, community centers, and students around the world will come together for one common purpose: 

to celebrate and encourage giving.

#GivingTuesday is a day to donate toward your favorite cause and make a statement that you're choosing to GIVE this holiday season. You don’t have to be a world leader or a billionaire to give back. #GivingTuesday is about ordinary people coming together to do extraordinary things.

In 2014, approx. $9.1 billion was spent on Black Friday.
A few days later, 45.6 million was given to non-profits on #GivingTuesday.
Join us in flipping those statistics and showing the world that it's better to give than to receive.

This year, Ordinary Hero is excited to join in on the #GivingTuesday movement, and we want you to experience the joy of giving with us! We are inviting our OH family to give the Gift of Christmas this #GivingTuesday. 

The donations given this #GivingTuesday will allow us to bless our ministries with a Christmas to remember. Christmas in Ethiopia is a beautiful time of celebration. As a historically Christian country, Ethiopians honor the birth of Christ and celebrate with family, feasts, music, and time spent at church. This Christmas we would love to make sure every family and child within our programs have the opportunity to enjoy a special Christmas meal. 

So what we're saying is... 

Our goal is to provide almost 1,100 people in Ethiopia with a special Christmas meal! 

On December 2nd we will announce the amount we were able to raise and, of course, post pictures and video of the Christmas feasts we were able to create. But don't forget, Ethiopia celebrates Christmas on January 7th :)

To help us promote our #GivingTuesday campaign, share our posts leading up to #Giving Tuesday on Dec. 1st, and make your own! Take a selfie, hashtag #Unselfie and #GivingTuesday, and tell the story of why you plan on giving to Ordinary Hero on December 1st. Don't forget to tag us, and we'll share your post!

Not one for posting selfies? We understand. Right click and download this cute little guy, share, and let the world know why you're supporting us next week. 

We love you all and can't wait to see all the good that this day brings! If you would like to give before December 1st, NO PROBLEM! Follow the link below to give: 

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

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. 

If you are in the Pennsylvania area, consider joining this amazing cause. All details are below. If you're not in the area, consider what you can do to change the world for one, right where you are... 
"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, and any donations help. You don't have to be a superhero to be a hero in the life of a child!"  
Saturday, November 21st, 2015

North Park Boathouse
10301 Pearce Mill Road
Allison Park, PA 15101

Race Starts at 10AM 

If you would like to register for the race, click here: https://runsignup.com/Race/Register/?raceId=25977

If you are not able to attend but would like to donate toward this cause, click here: http://ordinaryhero.donorpages.com/DonatetoOrdinaryHeroFoundation/Hero5K/

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Orphan Sunday

Statistics show that there are over 153 million orphans in the world. To put that in perspective, the population of Tennessee, Kentucky, and Georgia combined make up ONLY about 21 million people.

But the reality is, majority of Americans, the most resourced people in the world, are either unaware or unequipped to act.

In honor of #OrphanSunday and #OrphanAwarenessMonth, we want to tell you a story that hopefully inspires you to change the world for one. Stories must be told in order to turn statistics into people. Below is the story of a 19-year-old girl from one of our partner ministries in Ethiopia. This ministry rescues street children and orphans, shares the love of Jesus with them, and houses them amongst three Centers. Lemlem, a friend of many, gives us a rare perspective into what it’s like to spend your life growing up in an orphanage. Lemlem told us that we could share her story with anyone, so that people may be inspired. So… Be inspired.
“My name is Lemlem. I am 19 years old. I am from Ethiopia, which is in Africa. My mom passed away when I was 4 years old. This was a hard time for me even though I was a kid, because there was no one who could take care of me at that time. I didn’t have any relatives. Just me, 4 years old, by myself. I still don’t know who my father is, but I heard that when my mom was pregnant with me he left her. He was a car driver and passed away in a car accident. That is all I know about my father. 
But after my parents passed, there was a woman that told my mom’s neighbor about an orphanage that has kids who lost their parents. After that they put me in the orphanage, and I began a new life. 
I was a happy girl. I accepted Jesus Christ as my savior and started a relationship with Jesus. I began a new life with others orphans. Everybody had his or her own story to tell. We loved each other and we were like brothers and sisters. It felt like home. But still, it was a hard life without parents. I was very jealous when I saw children with their parents. I asked God so many times why he took my family away from me. 
I felt more pain about losing my parents once I grew up and understood things better. The different things people would say about orphans made me really mad and I became ashamed of being an orphan. Since most orphans in Ethiopia had bad behavior, people thought that if you were an orphan you were bad. They gave you less expectation. I was just getting tired of being an orphan. I started complaining about my life and arguing with God every day. Sometimes I would get depressed. Sitting on my bed and seeing my mom’s picture, I would cry. 
Then I started to hear about adoption and stuff like that a lot around me and some kids from my orphanage started getting taken to the USA. My mind started thinking about that every single day. One day before I went to bed I asked God one thing, just one thing, to give me a family. To give me another family who can take care of me, love and care about me, and tell me what is good or bad. That was it. I was crying when I asked him that question. I was very hopeless. After that day I just kept asking God to give me a family day after day.  
But God didn’t answer my question for one whole year.  
After I finished sophomore year, during the summer I heard that I had a family who wanted to bring me to the US. That was the best day of my life!! I went to my room and prayed to God for forgiveness for going away from him, for complaining about my life, and I thanked Him for giving me a family. I saw my life change in about 1 year or less. I started my process and got my passport in one month. It was like a dream come true for me. God is good all the time. He wipes away every tear. My favorite verse is John 14:18, “I will not leave you as orphans, I will come to you.” He did not leave me as an orphan, He came to me and changed my future. 
I learned through all of this that God has His own perfect timing and His timing is better than mine. I also learned to not only thank him when things are good, but also when things go wrong. Thank Him through everything. When we do that, blessing comes to our life and we make God happy. 
I am very thankful to God for not letting me down! I now have my family, friends, and people around me who love and care about me. Now I am attending school in America and it is such a blessing for me. I am in 12th grade and I am going to graduate this year from High School. 
I have many plans for the future. I want to be a photojournalist and a missionary, and the reason why is because I want to help orphans, street children, and teenagers. My heart hurts when I see those kids. I want to see a smile on their face and tell them the gospel. I believe that God put a passion in everyone’s heart and I believe mine is to help others. I have had a passion to do that from a very young age… Open an orphanage and give hope to the hopeless… a smile to a sad face. My dream is to help these kids by gaining photography skills, taking pictures of them, telling their stories through magazines, and creating fundraising opportunities. I believe that I can do it with God’s help.”

Lemlem’s story is not unlike many others. She is one of many who have found hope and a purpose through the love of a family. This is the very reason we exist!

If you have adopted or are in the process of adopting, today we honor you and believe the step of faith you have taken truly has ‘changed the world for one’… or two. Or ten!

If your heart is beating to do more, below are some ways you can get involved. There is a next step for everyone to take.

How to Get Involved: 

Sponsorship: We believe sponsoring a family living in extreme poverty is the first step in reducing the number of orphans. Many times children living in orphanages actually do have relatives or a parent still alive, but they are too poor to take care of their child. Sponsorship for $50.00/month provides basic necessities for families trying their best to survive, and ultimately keeps families together. To sponsor a child, email kblevins@ordinaryhero.org.

Become a Change Partner: Partner with us and our mission. Our heartbeat is to see children thrive whether that be through adoption or in their own community. We would love for you to partner with us financially as an honorary Change Partner, and you will receive a monthly update from the field on the change your monthly donation is making possible, one life at a time. To become a Change Partner, follow the link: https://interland3.donorperfect.net/weblink/weblink.aspx?name=E247624&id=12

Take a Trip: “Orphans are easier to ignore before you know their names. They are easier to ignore before you see their faces, it’s easier to pretend they are not real before you hold them in your arms. But once you do, everything changes” – David Platt

If you truly have a heart to make a difference in the life of a child in need, come and see the need for yourself. It will change your life! We take teams to Ethiopia all throughout the year, and we would love for you to join us. Follow the link below for trip dates. http://www.ordinaryhero.org/action/ethiopia.php

Pray about Adopting: Do you feel like God is calling you to adopt? There are many agencies that make international adoption possible for the country of your choice, and we recommend researching those options.  For domestic adoptions, consider looking for more information at 

Advocate: Maybe you’re in college with no money in your pocket, but a heart full of dreams to help those in need. Become an advocate. Share this post and future posts. There is power in awareness, and who knows, your share could inspire another to adopt or sponsor, resulting in changed lives.

We are honored to play our part in orphan awareness. Thank you for standing with us! #ChangetheWorldForOne 

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

How Sponsorship Changes The World by Carly Marin (Guest Post)

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.......

How Sponsorship Changes the World
Carly Marin

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

Saturday, August 15, 2015

OH Life Center~ Ethiopia

OH LIFE CENTER in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Where families begin their bond for the first time.
Where the dream of adoption finally becomes a reality.
Where the Ordinary Hero travels and stays 
to change lives in Ethiopia.

Are you planning to travel to Ethiopia 
for adoption, missions, business? 

Visit the OH Guesthouse website to learn more and book your stay, or email ohlifecenter@ordinaryhero.org.  

We can't wait to watch you grow in family and in love in Ethiopia! 
See you across the ocean!  

OH Life Center ~ The First Year from Ordinary Hero on Vimeo.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Meet our featured TEEN Ordinary Hero!

Meet Allie! She is our featured TEEN Ordinary Hero! She has traveled to Ethiopia 4 times since she was 15 years old! 
We LOVE our teens that serve with OH! 

My name is Allie McCraw, I am 18 years old, and I have been to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia 4 times with Ordinary Hero! Participating in the Ordinary Hero trips has changed my life and given me an entirely new perspective. Every time I go I learn something new, whether it's another word in Amharic or how something as little as holding a child's hand can impact their life. I plan to keep returning as much as I can because every day is so fulfilling. Although at times the poverty is overwhelming, the amount of love given and received is hard to stay away from. Though I live in Tennessee, my heart lives in Ethiopia.

Thursday, August 13, 2015


Ordinary Hero team members capture some Ethiopia INSTA moments! Thanks for your hashtags and thanks for serving children in need in Ethiopia this summer! #ordinaryhero #changetheworldforone

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

ORDINARY. the documentary

Local Nashville, come out on August 20 to the first screening of our new documentary, ORDINARY.

Imagine taking your entire family across the ocean to a third world country for one month. Imagine what it would be like for your adopted child from that country to meet his birth family for the first time and hear the gripping account of "why" he was put into an orphanage. Imagine taking your family into the depths of so much poverty, starvation, and medical needs that it changes them forever. 

This inspiring documentary showcases how one, ORDINARY, Tennessee family of eight, steps out of their everyday routine of life to travel across the ocean to serve children in need in Ethiopia. They are met with the gripping reality of their adopted son's back story, They find themselves stumbling upon tragic, immediate, medical needs. And above all, they are met with unbelievable love that pours from a country that seems to materially have nothing. Join the founders of Ordinary Hero Foundation on this journey through their ORDINARY life! Witness the power of adoption, serving those less fortunate, and the reality of life in a third world filled with orphans. Be inspired to CHANGE THE WORLD FOR ONE simply by being ORDINARY!

 We want to share our journey with you because we want you to touch ONE person. To show them love when they feel forgotten.

Purchase your ticket for this August 20 event and get more info here. 

If you are interested in hosting a viewing of this documentary in YOUR area, please contact Lauren@ordinaryhero.org. 

Ordinary. Documentary Trailer from Ordinary Hero on Vimeo.

INSTAGRAM #ordinaryhero

Do you have an INSTA? Follow Ordinary_hero and hashtag #ordinaryhero #changetheworldforone. We love seeing and sharing all the cuteness! Celebrate adoption, foster care, foster-to-adopt, family, love! Big thanks to all of you who hashtagged us in these photos of your adorable world changers! CHANGE THE WORLD FOR ONE! 

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

See Jane In Ethiopia!

Jane Rhodes is a lifestyle blogger, artist, graphic designer and mother of four. Her blog and instagram reaches thousands. She recently traveled to Ethiopia with her daughter on an Ordinary Hero dental team this summer. 

"Myla and I went on our first Ordinary Hero mission in June. I still don’t have the right words for the experience. I shared a few of the highlights on instagram @see_jane, and I created the video above to remember as many details as possible."

She captured her experience beautifully in this video she put together. Thank you, Jane and Myla, for serving with OH this summer! 

Ethiopia 2015 from Jane Rhodes on Vimeo.

Monday, August 10, 2015

In The News In Knoxville, TN!

 Check out this news story in Knoxville, TN featuring OH team leader, Sabrina Freeland! Sabrina tells of her time and experience leading a team to Ethiopia in July to serve children and families in need. Sabrina's 12 year old son joined her on this trip and together they were able to spend time with their sponsored child while serving children in need and advocating for sponsorship in one of the world's poorest countries.