Sunday, December 29, 2013

Ethiopia 2013~ OH December Team Day 1

It's all thumbs up from Morgan after a 12 hour journey from DC to Addis Ababa! This thumbs up comes after Morgan decided last minute to join our team. She threw out her fundraising request the night before the team flew out and raised over $2800 in about four hours just from her friends on social media. She grabbed a last minute ticket and within 24 hours she found herself in Ethiopia with our team. Let this be an encouragement to all of you who want to join us on an OH team to Africa! Anything is possible! 

 We enjoyed a nice flight over to the ocean and the Sahara Desert.

 When traveling to Ethiopia you fast forward in time 8 to 9 hours. We got to enjoy watching all of God's amazingness in the beautiful sunset over the clouds...

 and then got to see it rise again just as we were arriving into Addis. 

 The team arrived super excited to see what is in store for us this week! 
We have four families on this trip that are here visiting children they will be sponsoring to join their family and get their education on student visas. We had some very touching moments as we all came through the gate and were greeted by these amazing kids, eager to see their families! 
We are thrilled that the Elliott family will be bringing Zelalem home with them on this current trip. 
These special first moments will always be treasured and our team is thrilled to watch this love in action as he is scooped up by his mom, dad and sister. 

Lots of happy reunions happening in this place! The relationships that have been made through our teams truly have been inspiring and a work of God. 

I'm thrilled to be on this trip with my two daughters, Lauren and Morgan! They got to meet Asfaw and Beza for the first time...two children very close to my heart. 

 Lauren and Bissy were super excited to see each other since it has been a year and a half since Lauren was last in Ethiopia. Bissy, our OH Representative, is near and dear to many hearts on our team. 

 Kennedy was reunited with two special boys she met last summer. 

 After piling our luggage in a truck and getting things settled at the guest house we all loaded up and went to the worship hour at Beza church. It is always an amazing experience to be in the middle of Africa and have the advantage of sitting in church with people from across the world as everyone sings together, "How Great Is Our God". It just shows you how close God is to all of us, no matter where we are. 
 After church we came back to the Life Center and had a meeting to brief everyone on our week and let let the team have a moment to share with everyone a little bit more about themselves. 

 We utilize our great space in the basement to sort through our donations and get them ready for the week. 19 team members bringing 100 lbs each of donations....yep, that is a lot of donations. 1900 lbs to be exact!
 After we finished sorting and gathering some things to take with us, we headed over to the original Hope For Hopeless drop in center where they now take in new children off the streets and transform their lives through the love of God, giving them food, shelter, school and much more. I can't say enough about this amazing ministry! The love that pours out of all the children is truly a testimony to their greatness. More pictures of us with the kids to come...
 While at the drop in center, we were able to have Asfaw's grandmother and her son join Asfaw so that we could show them this special place that took Asfaw in off the streets when he was 8 years old. He lived in this drop in center for 3+ years before he then moved to their countryside orphanage. Asfaw's family is in for a visit from the countryside and it was a pleasure to get to spend some time with them. If you are not familiar with Asfaw's truly amazing story you can watch it by clicking HERE. If you are on a mobile device you can watch it by clicking HERE.  I am thrilled beyond measure that we are working toward sponsoring Asfaw to join our family on a student visa to get his education in America. 

After our visit at the drop in center we returned to the life center/guest house where we had an early dinner and gave everyone the chance to crash early if they needed to from the jet lag. 

We are all excited to get to know the awesome adoptive families staying here this week! I will be blogging more about them as well. We are loving these two little cuties as this mama is working double time! 

 Stay tuned for our awesome adventures this week in Ethiopia!

~ Kelly 

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Last team of 2013 on their way to Ethiopia NOW!

The last team of 2013 is off to Ethiopia today. They will return January 6, 2014. Let's introduce you to the team members. We have two complete families on this trip, as well as a few mother-daughter teams!

First is the Odegaard Family from North Dakota. Their oldest daughter, Kennedy, went on a trip with OH this last July and her family were so inspired by her stories, they decided to join her this December.

The Elliott family from Illinois.

Mother- daughter team, Michelle and Grace from Illinois. Michelle was on a trip this past summer and decided to bring her daughter back this time.

Michelle D. from Illinois has been on several OH trips. She stayed a whole month this past summer and wanted to return this December with her friends, the Elliott family.

Ashley from Utah/California is on an OH trip for the first time!

Alicia and Courtney are friends from Illinois who signed up for this adventure together.

Lauren, Kelly's oldest daughter, and Adeline from Nashville.

And Morgan, Kelly's other daughter, from Nashville, a last minute addition :)

And Kelly, with Ann from North Dakota who also went on an OH trip this past summer.

Please pray for safety and health for these team members and that they will be a blessing to everyone they meet. Continue to watch the blog for updates from Ethiopia.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Pancakes With A Purpose

 Big Thanks to everyone who came out this past Saturday to join us
at our Pancakes With A Purpose! 
We had a great time connecting with may local, Nashville area, Ordinary Heroes! 
This was a great family event, complete with Santa and his little elf. 
 Our OH volunteers prepared pancakes for over 100 people. They did a great job! 

 We loved connecting with so many adoptive families that came out to support us and eat some pancakes.

 One purpose for this pancake breakfast was to partner with Shwab Elementary, an inner city, Nashville school. We prepared 48 dinners for families in need at Shwab Elementary in the Nashville area. Each bag was complete with a special Christmas card made by all the kids who helped pack the bags. 
 The kids also made Christmas cards for children living in an orphanage in Ethiopia which will be taken over by our next team. This little cutie was adopted not too long ago, herself, from Ethiopia. She found such joy in making a card to send to the kids in Ethiopia. 
 We had our merch available for sale at great discounts. 
 These two traveled all the way from Ky to attend our event. 

 We had 48 Christmas dinner bags ready for Shwab Elementary families after our event. 
 We also had some of our OH volunteers deliver three Christmas trees to three different Shwab Elementary families. They were thrilled and they all said this was their first real Christmas tree. 
 Big thanks to our Ordinary Hero families who delivered the trees. 

 We had a great day connecting with local families, eating pancakes, visiting with Santa, doing some last minute shopping, and packing Christmas dinners for families in need. We thank you all who came out and all who gave toward the family dinners.