Thursday, September 29, 2011

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Little Liam Got A New Room!!

What an amazing blessing for this family!! A group of Ordinary Heroes in Nashville, TN discovered the needs of one special little boy, named Liam, and went to work to help this family. Some of you may remember a recent email I sent out requesting help with this. It read.....

Meet Liam.  Liam is a very special 11 year old who has been diagnosed with a genetic disorder that has left him profoundly deaf and blind, among other challenges. Liam and his family live in the Nashville area.  Liam spends most of his day in a room that is ill-equipped to meet his needs or the needs of his parents, who are his primary caregivers.  With hardwood floors, bare walls, inadequate storage, a bed that is too small, and an exposed fireplace/hearth, his room is not a fun or exciting place for him to learn and grow.  His parents, Amy and Jeremy, lost another child to this same disorder several years ago and are in a tough place emotionally and financially, as Jeremy lost his job several months ago and they continue to care for their family and pay off medical/hospital bills.  Let's be heroes to this family!  We are collecting funds and materials to redo Liam's room as well as address other needs that the family has.

Well.....You all came through for this family and we can't thank you enough! Read the latest email from Hannah, who was in charge of this outreach.

Hi everyone!  As some of you know, last Saturday was the big day for Liam's room makeover... let me just start by saying that it was INCREDIBLE!  Many thanks to our volunteers who came out that day to make it happen!  It came together so beautifully and even the smallest details were taken care of and turned out wonderfully.  God's hand was truly over the project in the weeks leading up to the day as well as the day itself.  I wish I had time and email space to share the stories of His provision for this family as we pulled this room together.  We had some wonderful ladies do an impromptu reorganization/spruce up of his little sister, Fiona's, room... she declared it "The best day of my life!"  It was wonderful to be able to give her some love too!  Also, thanks to some generous donations, we were able to shower Liam's mom, Amy, with a basket full of goodies to pamper herself with like a facial, massage, and haircut... she truly deserves some pampering!  My favorite moment of the day was the big reveal - the family was completely blown away by everything that all of you gave to make the room a special place for Liam.  They (and I) are so, so, so, so, so grateful for your generous hearts and selflessness to help make their dreams for this precious boy come true.  

Now take a moment to hear from this family, hear their story, and see the incredible makeover by watching this video.....It is truly heartwarming!! Click here to go to direct link or silence music on right sidebar and watch below. We can all be an Ordinary Hero to someone......  Special thanks to Hannah and everyone who donated, helped, and loved on this family.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Sponsorship Vision Trip to Ethiopia Next Week

Ordinary Hero Soon To Launch Sponsorship Program!!!

6 of us crazy OH girls will be traveling to Ethiopia next week to work the ground and get our OH sponsorship program set up. We have had several of you who have emailed us interested in sponsoring some of the beautiful children we serve. We also have OH team mission trip members who are always left with heavy hearts wanting to help, after meeting some of the children we serve in some of the more rural communities. Well, now we are going to take this opportunity to hit the ground running next week, make connections, find the kids, find the schools, and get things put into place for you to be able to sponsor children in need in Ethiopia. The exciting thing is that we will always encourage and provide an opportunity for you to personally meet your sponsored child on our team trips :) I have seen eyes opened, lives changed and life-long relationships formed through the gift of sponsorship. We, at OH, hope to give you this amazing opportunity to CHANGE THE WORLD FOR ONE through child and family sponsorship. We will be on the ground in Ethiopia for one week heading out next Thursday. I will be posting updates, pictures of the kids needing sponsorship and showing you some of the remote villages we will be visiting. I invite you to follow along with the 6 of us. 

Now let me introduce you to our Sponsorship Vision Power Team. First I will introduce you to the Fabulous Three from Utah who have stepped up to help with this sponsorship program!! All you Utah folks can proudly follow these three next week.....

First, we have Deborah, from St George, Utah. Deborah is married with 8 kiddos, two of which are domestically adopted. Deborah has stepped up to be our official OH Sponsorship Coordinator. So if you have questions regarding sponsorship opportunities, or if you would like to be added to the list of potential sponsors,  be sure to email Deborah traveled with OH Team 1 in July, 2011 to Ethiopia and met her sponsored child, Muluken (otherwise known as Winker), through the P61 program. She now wants to help others experience the amazing gift of sponsorship. 

Next we have Stacy, from Lindon, Utah. Some of you may remember her from our very first OH Team trip in July 2010 of last year. She is married with two domestically adopted children and a great BIG heart for Ethiopia. She is now returning with us to help launch this sponsorship program. 

Next we have Beverly who lives in Orem, Utah. She is married with six kiddos(three pictured below), two of which are twins adopted domestically. She is excited to help with this sponsorship program.

Next, for all of you Tucson folks, we have Sarah, from Tucson, Arizona. She is newly married to her husband, Josh. She absolutely loves children and is pictured below with her two nieces. Her husband is a  pediatric dentist who is looking into ways to help the children of Ethiopia on future trips. 

Next we have Amy, from Hopkinsville, Ky. Amy is one of my long-time best friends. She currently lives in my Hometown in Ky. She has 4 kiddos and is in the process of adopting an older boy from Ethiopia, whom she will meet for the first time on this trip. Her 16 yr old daughter, Elizabeth, traveled with us on our OH Team 1 trip in July this year. Amy is super excited to help us launch this Sponsorship program and get the Ky folks involved.

Finally, all of you should know me by now. I'm Kelly, from the Nashville, TN area. Busy mom of 6, one adopted from Ethiopia. I am pictured below with my sponsored child in Ethiopia whom I have grown to love dearly. I have watched his life change through sponsorship and I can't wait to offer this life changing experience to all of you.  These kids need us....they need you. So excited about this big week we have planned! Feel free to email Deborah if you wish to inquire about children you see us with next week. Can't wait to get back to ET...woo hoo!!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Last Day in Ethiopia for Team 3

Blog written by Adriane, Team 3 

The last day in Ethiopia, our team saw desperation and beauty collide in a nearly unimaginable way. We were scheduled to leave that evening, but we were not even considering that because we still had a full day to go and serve as many as we could before we left. Much of our day was spent on the mountainside, delivering donkeys to these precious women who carry huge loads 15 miles up and down the mountain, making barely enough money to survive.

 As soon as our van was seen at the base of the mountain we were followed by throngs of women and children seeking clothes, shoes, candy…whatever gifts we might be distributing that day. The word had spread from our visit just days before so people came from every direction the moment we appeared. We gave out every last donation we had with us, but like every other time, it didn’t seem to be enough.

And though it was incredible to be able to help the countless people we encountered, my mind couldn’t stop thinking about the woman we had encountered earlier that day. A friend of a friend of our amazing translator heard about what we were doing on the mountain and had told him about a woman he knew of that desperately needed help. On the way to her house, we were told that she was sick with many illnesses which made her unable to work while she struggled to support her two children. Going to this dear woman’s house is something that I will never be able to forget. We walked through a gate, followed a path between mud walls and crouched through a door way and into a dark tunnel; with not even enough room to stand up straight, we made our way back and then encountered another doorway.

 We had to step down into her house which consisted of a dark room dug into the ground; it was definitely not a place you would ever stumble upon and I’m not even sure I could find it again, knowing where it was. We stepped into the pitch black room lit by a single candle to bring some sort of light into the dark, hopeless room. You could feel the desperation in the air. We gathered around this woman, laying hands on her and praying for her. As we prayed, my heart broke for this woman. In that moment, I understood the heart of the Father to allow this broken, hurting woman see the hope and healing of Jesus Christ. After we prayed for her, we were able to bless her with clothes for her children and money. Her gratitude was obvious; she couldn’t stop hugging and kissing all of the members on our team. As we made our way back to the van, Jesus spoke so clearly to me. This is what I wrote in my journal that night: “As we got back on the bus, all I could think about was the grace of Jesus. I tried to imagine how that woman must feel--chosen. In a city of 3 million people, we chose her. Someone forgotten and overlooked by many. In her little home hidden from the rest of the world and lit by a single candle, we found her and we came to her. How amazing. How much more amazing that Jesus did that. He chose me. He came and He found me and called me by name. Seeing that woman today gave me a whole new understanding of that.”

Later that afternoon, we made our way to Korah and spent some time loving on the amazing children there. They clung to us and we poured our love on them. Seeing a place like that puts everything into perspective. How could you possibly walk away unchanged? Every person on our team walked away with an understanding of how amazingly blessed we are.

Every single one of us came on this trip with different expectations. We all wanted to see and experience different things and throughout our time in Ethiopia, each of us encountered Jesus in a new way. The thing that amazes me in all of this is the faithfulness of God to show us the one. No matter what we were doing or where we were going, each of us can share “the one” we encountered that day. It astounds me that God would choose us, a group of broken, imperfect people, to change the lives of a few. But, in changing their lives, ours were forever transformed as well.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Remembering 9/11 ~ 10 Years Ago

I'm sure like me, most of you have been watching the recaps of 9/11 on TV and have felt such sadness, yet such a sense of true heroism by watching and hearing the stories that came out of such tragedy. In an instant our country was torn apart, yet it was also bonded by the heroism of the men and women that gave their lives that day to save those who fell victim. My own brother was a New York City firefighter who was off duty that day at home with his wife and their brand new baby. He got the call and he responded, ready to help his co workers who were like his brothers, rescue those who were stuck in the towers. He made it as far as a bridge on the outskirts of the city. They had it closed and they would not let him pass any further. He felt helpless, knowing that his brothers needed him.  Without him by their side, his team of co workers were some of the first responders. He lost many brothers that day as they selflessly ran into the towers to save those who were stuck, never able to make it back down themselves before it crumbled to the ground. His own life was spared, but he spent the remaining months working night and day, sorting through debris, looking for any sign of life. He did pull one life from the buried debris of what looked like a war zone which is what fed his spirit the hope it needed to keep going in such circumstances. My brother, Michael, was spared that day because he happened to be at home with his wife and new baby. There were many Mommy's and Daddy's that didn't make it home that day. They are forever in our hearts. They are not forgotten. Their lives carry on through their children and their family. THEY ARE HEROES.

I found this video which puts the loss into perspective for one little girl who misses her Daddy. We forget how fast time flies. Make each day count. Be thankful for each day you have with your loved ones. God Bless those who have been directly affected by 9/11. God Bless our Heroes of America.
Click here to go to the direct link or watch it below and silence my music on the right sidebar.
 Grab your tissues.....

Thursday, September 8, 2011

OH Team 3 Shares About Baby Levi

Team 3's last day in Ethiopia fell on the day that they received the sad news of little Baby Levi whom I blogged about yesterday. We all go to Ethiopia to bless others as much as we can. We never expect to be hit with the reality of the loss of life that this country experiences daily. Team 3 was hit with it and they share their thoughts on it below as they describe hearing the news of Baby Levi's death. Before I share Baby Levi's story with you from their perspective, I wanted to share some special moments that this team had together this past week as they served the people of Ethiopia. Whether it was feeding the hungry, clothing the poor, passing out bibles, washing the feet of those who carry the heavy burden, carrying the heavy load themselves, making home visits to families in desperate need, or simply giving hugs and love to children who desperately needed one, this team and those they crossed paths with will be changed forever. Enjoy these special moments in time before you read the story of their last day in ET, written by Delilah.

OH Team - Day 6

A Story To Be Told...Levi's Story

Sunday started off on an extremely difficult note for our team. It was our first day to sleep in a little later before we had to leave for church. Everyone was buzzing around as we waited for Whitney to arrive with our driver. When Whitney walked in, we knew something was wrong. She asked if everyone was there in the main area because she had something she needed to tell us. She tried to choke back tears, but they won out. We all sat there, hanging on every breath waiting to hear what she was about to say. We hated what she had to say, and you probably won't like it either, but we cannot ignore that this is a part of life in Ethiopia. Levi, a sweet baby boy at Restoration Orphanage died earlier that morning.

Let me tell you a little about this adorable, tiny little boy. Just days earlier, he was found under a tree with hyenas...yes, you read that right, a hyenas. Who knows how he got there, all they knew was he needed a forever home! Once he was brought to the orphanage he was taken to see a doctor. They concluded that he was approximately four months old and he weighed about 6 pounds. He was sick! He had an infection and was put on a medication that required constant supervision and they sent him back to the orphanage. The nannies noticed that he was not doing well, so Ashli and Whitney started rotating monitoring him throughout the night. Around 5 a.m. Sunday morning Levi stopped breathing. CPR was performed, but he did not start breathing again. They rushed him to the nearest emergency room where they were directed to another location because there was not a doctor on site. The second location said the same. Finally, at the fifth place they found a doctor and Levi was pronounced dead. Unfortunately their journey was not over. They proceeded to go pick out a tiny casket and take Levi's lifeless body to the Orthodox church where they would bury him. This all took place before 10:00 a.m. Sunday morning.

Naturally our team was devastated. So much of what we had just heard seemed unfathomable, but it happened. We all visited with Levi just days before at the orphanage. We were shocked. How could God allow this? We were confused. Whitney confessed that she and Ashli struggled with the same questions, but the Lord, being so faithful had already answered their cries. Why did God allow him to survive under that tree, just to die days later? Why did he make it to the doctor? Why did the nannies and everyone at Resurrection have time to fall in love with him? For one reason, because Levi had a story to be told. Levi's story is Ethiopia's story. Things like this seem so unnecessary, so painful, but even if you haven't experienced it, it is still real life for someone else and very real life in Ethiopia.

When someone asks, "Why Ethiopia?", well now we have an answer. Because of stories like Levi's and the many others we've been blessed to share in this week. They are not all stories of smiles and joy. Some are hard to comprehend and painful to process, but God's promise in Romans 8 is that he will work all things for the good of those who love him. We know two things after this. One, Levi is definitely not an orphan anymore; he is smiling at his daddy as we read this. Two, God will use Levi's story, your story and our stories to further His kingdom, to remind us that HE still holds the reigns that He ultimately decides when he will welcome each one of his precious children home.

After hearing this news and taking some time to pray for Ashli, Whitney and all those at the orphanage, we were headed for Beza International Church. We were already excited to go, but now we were craving some time with our Lord. The worship and message could not have been more encouraging. The pastor spoke about response. He said, "Your response to any given situation is the outward expression of an inward perspective." He was teaching from the story of David and Goliath and highlighted that David's Godly response to Goliath is what allowed him to slay the giant. We all know that our response to what we've seen here in Ethiopia is how God will use this message to transform hearts. We have to respond!