Sunday, July 31, 2011

Wrapping up Ethiopia with Team 2

Team 2 comes to a close in Ethiopia. I can't tell you what great teams we had this year. We had folks join OH from all over the US to travel to Ethiopia in order to serve those considered the least of these. What we discover every time is the least is actually the greatest. Although we travel in order to help others, we are always the ones that come back as better individuals than when we left. I truly don't believe you can ever discover your real purpose in life unless you step outside of your own world, move beyond your own wants and needs, move out of your comfort zone in order to discover a whole new world which exists and often times holds your own purpose within it. When you serve others you find a hidden purpose in the fact that there was a need and your feet were the ones that crossed paths in order to fulfill the need....not to mention the many lives that are blessed because you took time out of your comfort zone in order to do so. It is a win, win!

I wanted to recap the last couple of days of team 2's time in Ethiopia. You can see above that many relationships were made and hearts touched by some of the sponsored kids. Some of these kids joined the team for dinner at the Ethiopian cultural restaurant. After you pull the kids from their world of living in one room shacks and show them a taste of our American lives of comfort it is very hard to send them back to their own way of living. It is hard on us because we have never lived the life that they live every day. The kids loved the time spent with the team and I'm convinced returned with seeds planted in their minds of new hope and new friends that they consider family and can wait to see again one day. 
You can see some of the children in Korah writing to their sponsors. I can't stress enough how important a sponsor is to these children. You are the person that God has chosen to bring them a hope and a future.  If you would like information on sponsoring a child from the Korah trash dump community please email

The team spent one of their last days in the Korah community. You can see Carrie, below, got a feel for how to make injera.

Sarah, a sophomore college student, brought along her guitar on the trip. She loves to sing and play and I always encourage everyone to bring along your talents on the trip. She met this young boy who has a dream of being a guitar player. He was very good and had learned everything on a really torn up guitar. Sarah ended up making his whole day by giving him her guitar to keep before she returned to the States.
There are always new friends made when you travel to Korah.

The teams also get to have home visits with some of the families residing within this community. It is always very humbling to walk into a shack made of tin or wood and sticks and see how they live everyday. It gives you a whole new perspective of being thankful for what you have.

Another most humbling experience that some of the team had was to meet several within the community that have leprosy. These men literally don't have hands and need help in order to eat. The team bought sheep and slaughtered them that day in order to feed the whole community. 
Lauren said that one of the most impacting experiences of the trip was to feed some of the leprous individuals. I can't help but notice in the picture below that you see her feeding with her hands and yet you see the picture of Jesus' hand that was painted on the wall held out as if He has sent her to be His hands in that moment. Powerful!!

The team also went back up the mountain to find more of the women carrying the heavy loads on their backs for miles. A couple of the girls from the team tried to lift these loads themselves and could not even pick them up. These 60 year old women carry them for miles every day in order to only get paid what would amount to about $3 us dollars a load. This time the team had a special treat in store for some of these precious women. 

They went and purchased some donkeys to give away to these women in order to make their burden lighter. They also took along some of their sponsored kids in order to show them what it is like to serve and be a blessing to others. It was so great for them to be a part of this.
I'm sure these women felt like they had hit the lottery! Out of no where the team shows up with donkeys in tow and start giving them away to these women who have walked miles every day for years carrying these loads. Well....not anymore. Now they have a donkey to give their tired backs a long awaited rest.

Some of the children you meet along the way steal your heart and remain in your mind and your prayers for a long this little princess below. 
Her little Cinderella slippers show the reality in which she lives but her sweet spirit touched the hearts of many. 
One of the rewarding aspects of the trip is to find a little one wearing rags and replace those rags with new clothes. Can you imagine how happy it makes his Momma?  

Relationships are made on these trips not only with the kids but with our AMAZING guides and drivers. These guys have a heart to serve right along with us and get such joy out of being able to do so on all of our crazy adventures. We LOVE all these amazing strong men of God. 

To bring the trip to a close and wrap it up you can say......
whether it was several of the team on a home visit in a one room mud shack being served coffee....
Or feeding a group of starving kids their lunch for the day....

Or buying tons of sheep to give away for food....

Or holding the hand of a little one to bring them hope....

Or washing the tired feet of a woman who has labored and walked for miles.....

Or carrying the load, even if only for a moment in order to make their burden lighter....

Or taking pleasure in giving shoes to those who have none.....

Or showing an orphan they are loved.....

Or befriending those with leprosy and showing them they are not forgotten....

Or finding new children to sponsor and help make a difference in their lives....

Or whether they simply found a group of kids kicking around an old can or trash rolled into a ball, and threw them out a brand new ball with these simple words on it.......

Team 2 found many ways to be a blessing to SO many in their short 8 days on the ground in Ethiopia. 

Now it's time to head back to the States and process everything we saw and the lives we touched, which is sometimes hard.  We always encourage everyone to take what they saw and what they learned and turn it into passion when they return. Everyone can make a difference in some way...even from the States. There are many children that need sponsorships, there are many lives yet to be touched. But because we were there, many lives were, and will continue to be changed. 

If you have emailed and not gotten a response it is because I have been gone most of the month. I will start getting caught up on my emails and be in touch with you shortly :) If you need a faster response you are always welcome to email Melissa at  

We are in the process of setting up some kind of child sponsorship for many of the children we came in contact with on our trips and discovering many new ways to be a blessing to them.  If you are interested in sponsoring a child from the Korah trash dump community you may email  If you are interested in sponsoring a child from the country or street community you may email and we will add your name to a list of folks we will be contacting when we get it set up soon.  We will also have sponsor opportunities for the very hard working Nannies at Restoration Orphanage who need your support in order for them to provide the much needed care to the children who reside in the orphanage. If you would like to be a blessing to one of these Nannies please email me at for more information. 

Lots of great things ahead for all of you Ordinary Heroes to make a difference. Also, more info coming soon about our local upcoming backpack project for the homeless shelter kiddos. 

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Latest Grant Contest Results......

Drum Roll Please................(We announced this earlier this week. Just a little slow getting to the blog) :)

Winner #1 ....................Lori and Scott Florida
They really kicked it in the last few days (WOW) and sold $1,646.20 in OH merchandise! They had 24 orders in the OH store!They earned $658 dollars in commissions and adding the $500 Grant to that they earned $1158 with OH over the last week! WOW! Kudos to you both!!

Winner #2............................... Delilah Powell-Smith
She was the front runner all the way through the contest... she never let up! She sold 21 orders totaling $1509.35! She raised $603 in commisions PLUS her $500 grant!$1103 earned and going in your account! Go girl! She was lighting facebook up like crazy! It works! :)

Winner #3 ....................................Brian and Heather Keehn
Brian and Heather sold 10 orders totaling $1384.90! Wow! They earned $553 in commisionable sales plus their $500 Grant! $1053 earned!

I can tell you that the sales started SOARING this weekend- I am not sure if we have EVER had 3 winners all sale over $1000 in sales! Woo hoo! and it appeared this was starting off as a not so great contest- the orders came in slowly but you guys really woke up your friends and family at the end!~

One more thing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Honorable Mention goes to Ashley Clarke who sold $993.50! She had 18 sales in her account over this grant period!!  Since there were only THREE grants and she landed at #4 (these girls were CRAZY close all weekend and I could barely watch!!), Kelly has decided to let her pick an item from the store for herself! :) So Ashley, and I think I heard you were going on the Bullock/OH Mission Trip to ET, pick out yourself a shirt or sweatshirt as a reward for competing and for selling soo much! Just let us know what you pick and we will get it in the mail to you!

Congrats to everyone who fundraised because ALL of you are Winners- OH gave away $4,282.53 the last 10 days to families and individuals who are adopting and fundraising for mission trips! WOW!!! ! More grant contests and MORE NEW products to be shared in the store coming soon! And yes, You CAN compete MULTIPLE times and WIN grants multiple times!

Just a reminder you can sale in the STORE anytime! You always earn 40% of what you sell!

Thank all of your Ordinary Hero's out there who supported you! Again, you are ALL winners!!!

For those of you who emailed us to let us know OOPS... you missed out on the Grant contest this time... no worries... there is always another one around the corner! Check the blog frequently- we post that we are about to have a Grant contest a few days before it starts! We also try to email everyone to give you a heads up!

Just a reminder YOU can ALWAYS sell in the store and earn your 40% commissionable sales at any time on ALL items! Thell your friends about fundraising with OH! Tell your churches you are trying to raise money for mission trips! Its fun and we do all the shipping of the products you sell!We make it really easy to earn money for your mission trips and your adoptions! You are all TRUE Ordinary Hero's and it is so fun for us to see your Ordinary Heros's supporting you!

Blessings to all for a wonderful day! Thanks again for allowing us to be on your journey with you!

Gina Payne
OH Fundraising Coach!


Again, Congratulations to the Top 3 winners!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Team 2.....Street Kids find many blessings in Ethiopia

OH...the precious street children in Ethiopia!! They will break your heart. There are over 150,000 street children in Ethiopia. Most run loose during the day without a mother or a father. You will find many begging on the streets or selling items like chewing gum or shining shoes to make whatever money they can to survive. Throughout our OH trips we have continued to run across some of the same kids. Well Team 2 decided to invest in these kids and show them that they are loved....and what an amazing day it was for some of them. 

We, in America, take something as simple as a shower for granted. In Ethiopia, most people trying to make a living and survive do not have running water. They rinse off out of a bucket by splashing themselves with water with no soap. Team 2 rounded up close to 15 of their little buddies from the streets and brought them back to the guest house for a warm shower first. These kids had never had a shower before.

Lauren sent me these pics along with some of her own words. I will share.....
"As we dressed the boys we learned a few thing about each other. I learned that majority of them do not own underwear, they just wear whatever pants they have. They learned that us Americans wear underwear and SOCKS! I handed a boy a pair of socks and turned around for a second. When I turned back around... they were on his hands. We both just stared at each other blankly and after I got over the shock I corrected him. Poor boy had never had socks to keep his feet warm.

 I gave him a toothbrush and toothpaste to brush his teeth, and when I came back five minutes later he was still scrubbing. Probably the first time in awhile he got to brush.
 He had no idea how to work a shower, or even what to do. So Libby Williams helped explain "shampoo", "body wash", "hot", "cold"
 When I think of the market place, called "the post office", I think of a certain boy that I have seen on every single trip, with the cutest face and the most persistency to shine my shoes. He is the first boy I see each time I go, and I always look forward to it. Well when I went out to meet the boys Bissy had picked from the post office, he was the first boy I saw and we both lit up and hugged each other. I got to spend the entire day with him, and after getting to know his personality I am even more in love with my post office boy. He says he lives with his 16 year old sister, and that's all he has.

After each kid would take a shower they would walk around the guest house in their towel waiting for someone to clothe them with all the donations. In with the old out with the new. They definitely were not too concerned with keeping up with the smelly rags they were dressed in.

 Alida formed an instant connection with this transformed little girl. She arrived in literal rags, with no pants or underwear on. We bathed her in a warm bath that was instantly filled with dirt, but once the grime was removed she came alive. This little girl she fell in love with had dark brown hair, but after giving her a bath they came to find it was a light red color. All the dirt had built up in her hair to make it seem darker. We quickly learned that her hair was also infested with lice. But once Alida got ahold of her, they were attached to the hip for the day, lice and all. Lice isn't gonna stop us from giving love to the children

 Most of the children lack a father figure.  Evan provided them with love and SOCCER all day long, and they loved every second of it.

It's truly amazing what a warm shower and good clothes can do for a child's self esteem. We saw these boys come alive with smiles that we will never forget.

 Kate Carter had the brilliant idea to bring a photo printer, that you simply put a memory card in and out come the pictures. So we got pictures printed on the spot and they each got a picture of themselves to take home! I'm sure that was one of the first times they've gotten that opportunity, considering the people taking pictures of them come in and out of the country so quickly. Good thing we got them looking so sharp for their first picture.

Here is our after pic of all the boys spic and span, with their new items in tow, ready for our next big adventure for them. 

The ZOO!! We loaded them up and took them to the zoo, where many first experiences took place. It was probably most of their first time there, and it was my first time to be allowed to throw candy in the monkey cages. Apparently zoo rules aren't as important in Africa haha. A few of them got to ride the ferris wheel, and I think they smiled and laughed the full five minutes! They were having the time of their lives, and to think on any other day, and the day following this one, these kids would be begging on the streets.

The team made an executive decision to sacrifice our lunch to these kids we were now buddies with. They scarved every bit of it. Their smiles say it all.

After our fun-filled day with the children came to a close, we were faced with the grim reality that they lived when we had to return them to their homes. This is the house that we had to drop Alidas favorite and her brother off at. This impacted many of the team members that had fallen in love with these two children, and Alida plans on visiting this family again before the end of the trip to work out a sponsorship.
 As you can see, Team 2 had their world's rocked and their eyes opened once again to the harsh realities along with the precious souls that live in Ethiopia. These sweet children live lives that most of us could not even fathom. The team gave them a day they will never forget, but these children gave the team a day that will remain in their minds forever.  These kids showed the team their hearts and their spirits in spite of their circumstances. These are simply children. Children need love and support. I guess that is why we crossed paths. Once our eyes are opened how can we turn away? OH is now looking into sponsoring some of these street children in order to get them off the streets and get them into school. If you are interested in sponsoring a street child to go to school, please email and we will be in touch with you once the details are in place. As always, thank you for helping to CHANGE THE WORLD FOR ONE. Each one counts.