Thursday, August 26, 2010

Fallapalooza Coming Soon! We need your help :)

Fall is absolutely my favorite time of year. It will be here before we know it and we have a FABULOUS event planned on October 9th called Fallapalooza benefiting Ordinary Hero Foundation. There will be more details to come about this fun event for the whole family but right now we are looking for any of you who would like to volunteer with this event. Have you been looking for a fun opportunity to get involved with OH? Here is your opportunity.....

On Saturday, October 9th, we will be having Fallapalooza, an outdoor evening of fun for the whole family to benefit The Ordinary Hero Foundation. Fallapalooza will be held at a private residence in Franklin on the Harpeth River and will include a live concert from Radio Daze Big Band with music from the 30's, 40's, and 50's performed by Nashville artists Cameron James, Hope Darst, Mac McClenathan, Jason Morales, and Melody Sheppard. The night will include festival-style food, face painting, and picnic-style seating. A great way to start off the fall!
We need volunteer face-painters, vendors, greeters, as well as some behind the scenes volunteers a few weeks before and after the event. It will be tons of fun, and we won't be able to pull it off without people like you!
We need as many volunteers as possible, so please email if you would like to help. We will be having a Fallapalooza Volunteer Orientation Dinner and Walk-thru at the event site in the next two weeks, so we hope you can make it!
And tell your friends and family about this fun event! If you are not able to volunteer then mark your calendar and bring the whole fam out for an evening of fun. Tickets are just $5 for adults and kids are free. There will be more info to come. We appreciate you!

Monday, August 23, 2010

"I Found Him"

I wanted to share with you some things that have been stirred in my heart. I received an email today titled "I Found Him". It's amazing what you can find in the middle of God's will when you don't even expect it. God will shed light and hope in even the darkest of situations. This email reminded me of a moment while in Ethiopia. I was stopped in my tracks as I took the above picture while in Ethiopia at one of the orphanages. We were in one of the dirtiest places we had been. We were surrounded by poverty and orphans and not much that one would consider beautiful.....yet look what I found growing in the midst of it. Two beautiful, bright orange flowers, hidden among all of it. I had not seen any other flowers growing anywhere, yet God showed me these beautiful flowers as a reflection of those little faces in the background. These flowers reflected the beauty of His love for those who are sometimes hidden and unnoticed just like these flowers.....the orphans. It reminded me that there is always beauty in every situation. The best things in life are the things that are unseen, the things you have to search for to find. Sometimes you find these hidden treasures and sometimes they find you. Either way, the rest of the story depends on us to act.

The following email is what I received today. It read as follows from someone who was scheduled to travel with us but then couldn't go at the last minute.....

"I was unable to attend the mission trip to Ethiopia this summer. I was hoping to find my son during the trip. Thanks to you and your wonderful group, I found him. I followed your trip and once you posted the pictures, I knew it was him! We accepted the referral of Rodas and are busy getting all the paperwork ready. I had all but given up on adopting from Ethiopia. We had lost a referral that we had for 18 months and I had zero hope left. Thank you for restoring my hope and giving Rodas the hope for a forever family with us!!!"

This is one example of how God stirred the heart of this family and connected them with this precious boy, and what most would consider an "older child", at that.

Here is another email.....
"Hi wanted to let you know through you and sue and Tracy we are adopting tigist 6 yrs old we are in love, she was one of the waiting girls at celebrate children, thanks for all the hard work you do, it all matters:)"

I can't help but just be amazed as I watch God move as a result of people stepping out in faith. The first step for anything great requires US to take a giant leap of faith. The first step is always the scariest because it usually requires BLIND faith.....STEPPING OUT INTO AN AREA OF THE UNKNOWN. For many, doing something crazy like going on a trip across the world is just too much to even think about. I mean, seriously.....Flying that far, for that many hours, across an ocean, are you crazy?? That's too scary! For many, doing something crazy like adopting a child from halfway across the world is just too far out of reach. It is a nice thought. It may be something that we even thought we heard whispered in our spirit, but it is something we look at from afar and most of the time just leave it there......afar.

I feel I have been called to bring that which is AFAR.......NEAR to all of us. Why? Because it is near to God's heart. None of us will ever know unless we see. I know the reality for some is that they can't travel across the world so I will bring what is across the world to you and pray that we can all do something, rather than close our eyes to a world of need. I want to show you the lives that are out there and the lives that are being changed because people said "Yes". And along with their yes they said "Yes, it's scary, but YES, anyway". And then look at what can happen with their Yes. Let me remind you that NONE of these people on our mission team had ever traveled to Ethiopia before.

Gina, pictured above, and her son, Robby, traveled with us and found one adorable little guy who God decided would fit into their family just perfectly. God guided their steps miraculously as we ended up at an orphanage last minute that we never had scheduled and there waiting on us was Gina's son, much to her surprise. Well....they said "YES".......
As I look at all the lives that have been touched from our trip, there are none more touched than the orphans who find their forever families. Their world is changed forever.
I can't help but think and wonder as I stare into their eyes...."Who is waiting for you?" What family does God have picked out for you and how will He guide them here to get you?"
As we hold them and love on them......we pray for them.
We pray that God brings them their family so that they have to wait no more, and we pray that we can be the hands and feet to show them they are loved in the meantime.
I can't help but wonder, "Who's child am I holding? My God, what lucky family will end up with this precious child? God, hurry up and open their eyes. "
Could we be holding your child?
Is it possible that you have a lifetime of love from this precious child that knocks our socks off in just one day?
We mustn't forget the beautiful reflection of God's love that is there the whole time and we don't even realize it. IT COULD BE SO EASILY MISSED. We must discover it for ourselves.
We must QUIT looking at these children from afar. It is so easy to do. We are safe when it is afar because then we really don't know. We have an idea that there are children in need but we don't REALLY know UNTIL............
We get closer, we hear that whisper that tells us to act, yet we are scared. We move in closer but we are still looking from afar. We convince ourselves that they don't know that we know. But look, even through our veil......they see us! They wave, they regain hope. They know that we know.....and then what?
Then.... we remove the veil to find precious little ones standing right in front of us. They have been there the whole time. How could we not have known? Little children that wait for an answer and yet we might be HOLDING their destiny in our hand.
Then.... When we are this close we are compelled to go closer. We actually reach out a helping hand. Then there is no denying them. Then they are real. I have seen and I have touched. And then..... when I am this close.........OUR EYES ARE OPENED.
We actually SEE them for who they are. We notice things we never saw from afar.....things that shock us......things we can only see when we are close enough to stand in the mud with them......
Then.....when we are THAT close, we have removed the veil, we have removed the excuses, we have stepped into their world....Then.....we see the beauty wrapped with incredible need that cannot be denied.
They are no longer something viewed from afar that we can quickly turn away from. They are REAL, they are CHILDREN, and they reflect GOD'S BEAUTY and LOVE. Then what??
Then we act. We step in. We step up. We give to their outstretched hands. We wrap our arms around their dirty faces. We brush the flies away and give them a great big kiss. For some, we take them from this world of need and bring them into our world of plenty. We basically listen to the whisper from God and we act accordingly. Bottom line.....we do it scared!
We get our feet dirty.....and after a few hours of stomping through the mud, we don't even care anymore. We are over all the silly things that used to bother us.
We have stepped into their world for a brief moment in time.
And we will forever be blessed and better for it.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

The Waiting Children

I wanted to bring awareness to the waiting children that we saw while on our trip in Ethiopia. I have had some email issues and have only been able to get one Speak Up email out so far. I plan on getting more out soon with more children to consider. I must say that there has not been very many people inquiring about the kids in my first Speak Up email so far, which is why I wanted to throw the need out this way as well to try to give these kids another opportunity to find their forever family.

I chose the above two children to advocate for first because they are two that have been waiting for a REALLY long as in years. They are both from the same remote orphanage outside the city of Addis. Other than seeing the conditions of the trash dump in Ethiopia, this place where these kids are from was one of the poorest we saw while there. There is a difference in city poor and country poor and these kids fit into the country poor category. It was unbelievable.

These two stole my heart right from the beginning, especially when I discovered how long they had been waiting and how incredibly sweet they were. The little girl is said to be about 9 but probably older. She had a very sweet, timid spirit. She LOVED working on crafts with another girl from our team. She gave me that shy smile while chuckling under her breath while I was taking her picture. I just loved her and think she would be blessing to a family. She has been waiting for a family since 2008.

The little boy, pictured above, was ADORABLE! When he came up to take his pic, Sue told me that she didn't know if he was photogenic or not.....Well, let's just say, HE IS :) He sat down and threw on that smile like he was a little model. He had the cutest personality and Oh, so cute! I promise you there was not one bad picture of him. I just can't believe he has not been chosen for adoption and has been waiting for soooo many years. He loved playing soccer with the boys on our team and did so great with everyone. He deserves a home and I pray we find one for him. He is said to be around 11 years old and has been waiting for a family since 2008.

There were sooo many waiting children we saw. This means that they are paper ready and just need a family. Please email me if you would like the link to view all of the children we saw while on our trip. Email me at .

There was also a large group of children that came into one of the orphanages the day we left and I was not able to photograph them but I included them on this link as well. I'm telling you these kids are ADORABLE!! There are several in the 3-4 age group and several sibling groups with younger children as well as many older children. Just email me if you would like me to send you the link and LET'S GET THESE CHILDREN ADOPTED :-)

If you are interested in finding out more info about the little girl and little boy pictured above then email . Please pray they find their forever home quickly.

Not to mention there is a sibling set of 5 that is going to take a special family, I know, to adopt that many, but my gosh....they are precious! And they would be precious to look at on this blog if I were in a picture with them up at the top. I'm not saying.....I'm just saying :-)

OH Button...Grab It :-)

I know some of you have made me aware that you were not able to copy the button code to put our blog button on your blogs. Does that make sense?? Well.....I think I fixed it, I'm not sure. I say give it a try now and see if it works. If it works or doesn't work, shoot me a comment and let me know. Thanks so much.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Well.....Guess What??

Look at what can happen when we all come together to help............

Last night I received this email from Erin, who handles all of the sponsorships for Project 61.......

" Thanks to your posts, ALL OF THE KIDS HAVE SPONSORS!!!!! :)
God is SO good!"

I am just in awe, that in one day, with the help of my amazing team blasting the need out as well, that they ALL FOUND SPONSORS!! This is how we can all Change The World For One when we come together to make a difference. So, Thank you, Thank you, to all of you who are now sponsoring one of these precious children. I also heard from Sumer that they will be maxed out in this current school at 230 kids. Once they get them all settled then they will look at the ones left behind in the community and start thinking about the next school. I'm loving that we can all watch a whole entire community be changed one child at a time :) So if you are still interested in sponsoring a child from the trash dump area, contact She is now making a waiting list for the next round of children for the next school.....Yay!!

Also, for those of you in this area, I wanted to tell you about a get together at Thompson Station Church on Aug 31 called Korah Night. This is the message I received.......

Good Evening Sponsors!

I wanted to share with you all an exciting chance to come out and not only hear updates, see pictures and possibly even receive letters from your sponsored children, but also find out what's going on in Korah right now!! On Tuesday, August 31, Thompson Station Church will host a night dedicated to sharing about Korah, the precious children you are sponsoring, what the mission of Project 61 is and who makes up that dynamic relief organization. It will be an amazing evening that you won't want to miss! Please take a moment to read the following flyer and if you feel led, print it out and pass it on to others who may be interested in hearing more about what's going on in a once forgotten community that is now shining brightly with the hope and love of Jesus Christ!

We hope to see you there!

March on Ordinary Heroes.............God is Good!!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

A Glimpse of some of the kids needing sponsoring....

Please see my post is in reference to these kids. I just received an email from Sumer with these two pics. These are some of the kids that her heart is troubled over as she watches time draw near for school sponsorship. While on our trip, when I spent time with Sumer I noticed it was the older children that flocked her. These kids are the ones that she connects with, I think because they "get" what she is doing to try to help. It is like a dream come true to them.
This is from Sumer's own words today
"Hey Kelly! We still have about 20 older boys who live in the trash dump that need a sponsor, so I would love for you to put out another plea!! I have attached a picture of some of them in this group, as well as a picture of their house, you can see from the picture of me inside that it is just a place to lay down. You have to crawl in on your stomach. It is just made of cardboard boxes and trash, and 15 of them sleep there!!"

Not all of us are going to be crawling inside the cardboard, trash built home with these boys.....but we can all do something to help the ones who do.
Please contact to sponsor one of these boys today :) Thanks and God Bless!!
Also note...... I will be traveling back to Ethiopia at least by January and can take with me any notes, or special items you would like to give to these kids that get sponsored.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Time is Running Out....Older children from Korah dump need sponsors!!!

What if you knew you weren't the first pick? What if instead of a cute little voice that grabbed people's hearts your voice was deep and mature? What if people were telling you that you will not amount to anything because it is too late, you are too old? What if you dreamed of all the same things that the smaller kids dreamed of, even liked the same games, toys, and songs simply because you have never been allowed to be a kid yourself? Well such is the case with so many of the older children from the Korah trash dump.

We have had an incredible response with getting new sponsors for the children from the trash dump area. We are down to the last days of getting them all sponsored before it is too late. By too late, I mean that school will start and they will miss their open window to get to go to the boarding school 3 hours away with the rest of the sponsored children. Who will miss this opportunity? The older children that are left needing sponsors. All of the younger ones went first, which is very typical. But there are 17 teen boys and 2 teen girls left that need sponsors quickly.

( I actually just heard from Sumer and am throwing this in this post. She said there are 20 boys that live IN the trashdump in a house made out of cardboard and trash where you have to crawl in on your stomach to get in and there is just enough room to lay down. All 15 live there. ) She is putting out a plea for these boys to get sponsored and be able to go to school!!
The older children are the ones who need that second chance in life. They are old enough to know exactly what their situation looks like. They are old enough to be embarrassed by the fact that they don't have an education and they can't read. They are old enough to know that they smell from the hours they have spent digging through the trash for a coke bottle or a piece of tin to sell in order to eat. But yet they are old enough to pray and to hope for a better future. They see the other kids running around all excited talking about their sponsors, talking about going to school and getting new clothes and food. Yet all they can do is hope and pray that someone will choose to sponsor them.
You see Sumer, from Project 61, in these pictures with some of her boys, her older teen boys, who have been pulled from the trash dump and are now in her summer program. These boys have a future and a hope and God has a plan for them. There are so many older children who get overlooked and they grow up thinking that there is no hope for them. They think that their future is the trash dump.
Yet how amazing it is to go to each of them and tell them that they will be going to school. It is like God handing them a second chance at life on a silver platter. They are excited beyond words. You see the boy pictured below with Sumer.....he is helping her with Project 61 right now. He sees the amazing things she is doing for that community and he is right there beside her to offer his help. He had slept in the dump when he was 10 years old which is why he is passionate about helping her. And guess where he is soooo excited about going in the school!!
Lives are being changed one by one in this community with the help of sp0nsors just like you. Now we must give this one last effort to find sponsors for the remaining older children. They must not have to watch their friends go to school while they are left behind.
All of us connected with the older kids on our trip as you can see. They were always giving us compliments and just looked at us with this dreamy look in their eyes as if they could never imagine having the opportunities that we have. Well now they can!!
For a total of $700 for the year......
These older children can have a NEW START on life......
Their DREAMS can come true.....
They can be the FOUNDATION of the next generation......
The HOPE for tomorrow......
The LIGHT in the darkness......
The examples of REDEMPTION......
To show those coming up behind them......
That they are not forgotten......
God has CALLED US TO HELP the least of these........
Because when you have done this for them.......
You have done this for HIM..........

To sponsor one of these children contact Erin at . If you have any questions for me you can contact me at Let's get these kids sponsored quickly!! Thanks soooo much!!

Here is a video of some of the older boys singing with joy as we passed out lunch to them in the summer program. Excuse my nonprofessional filming abilities :)