Tag Archives: Team Ethiopia 2011

Ethiopia Journey Inspires Teacher to Do More

9 Jan

Nathan Livesay, a teacher at Sumter High School and former basketball coach, spent nearly two weeks of his Winter Break in Ethiopia with Journey 117, a ministry of World Orphans.

BY JADE ANDERSON janderson@theitem.com  The Item

A trip out of the country can change a person.
“I wouldn’t trade those two weeks for a state championship,” said Nathan Livesay, a former Sumter High School basketball coach.
Last month, the English and credit recovery teacher traveled to Ethiopia with World Orphans, an organization that brings churches in Third World countries together with American churches to help supply basic needs of the children being cared for by the indigenous churches. He learned about the organization through the Willow Creek Global Leadership Development Summit simulcast held at Alice Drive Baptist Church in the fall.
“I was reading the statistics about HIV and AIDS, about people dying in extreme poverty, and the numbers really bothered me,” Livesay said. “I was compelled to go on this trip to put a name and face with the statistics. … Even with basketball, I’ve always had a heart for kids that don’t always have everything they need.” Continue reading

I’m Back…But…

21 Dec

This trip was seriously an eye opener. I learned so many stories from kids that are heartbreaking but seeing their joy through the experience was something that hit me. One boy, he was wearing a tye dye shirt, came to the Hope for the Hopeless orphanage after his father left the family and his mother was too poor to care for him. He came to know Jesus as his Lord and Savior. He had come from a muslim family. A couple years later his mother came to take him home but this boy decided to stay at the orphanage because he would rather have Jesus. It was such a cool testimony that he was willing to give up his family to have a relationship with Jesus Christ. This trip was filled with many tears both from happiness and from heartbreak. It was sad to leave the kids behind ūüė¶

by Bethany A., written the day after she returned from Ethiopia

Update #3 from Team Ethiopia

18 Dec
I wanted to send a quick update letting you know what we have been up to the past couple of days.  Yesterday, we traveled to Kore, the largest slum area in Addis.  Approx 150,000 live there, daily searching for scraps of food and ways to pay their rent.  We did a couple home visits, including meeting an elderly couple that is struggling to pay their $2/month rent!  After that, we visited A Hope, an orphanage that houses 36 HIV/AIDS children.  From there, we traveled to an inner city drop-in center and ministered to 17 children rescued from the streets.  Just wait till you hear their stories!
Today, we traveled into Kore again and served at Embracing Hope Ethiopia.¬† EHE is a daycare for impoverished mothers, providing free daycare service to mothers trying to find jobs.¬† We were able to play with the 32 children… doing crafts and participating in their music time.¬† During their nap time, the girls on our team gave the staff manicures.
Tonight we went to Yod Abyssinia Cultural Restaurant, a traditional Ethiopian dinner with live traditional music and dancing.  It was a great experience that everyone enjoyed.
Tomorrow we leave Addis for Woliso, a small town 2 hours outside the city.  While there, we will be visiting one of our World Orphans church partnerships who operates an orphanage on church property.
Thanks again for your prayers.  Everyone is still feeling great and God has bonded our team in ways that few teams have experienced.  We are starting to get tired (both physically and emotionally) so please pray that God empowers us for the next few days to continue our fight to defend the orphan.  We miss you all!
by Kevin S., Team Leader

Update #2 from Team Ethiopia

15 Dec
Thanks again for your prayers.  The past couple of days have been extremely emotional as our team has had the blessing of serving at 2 orphanages with different purposes.
Tuesday, we visited Kingdom Vision International, an international adoption orphanage that places children through several different agencies around the world.  We worked in the infant rooms, the toddler rooms, and taught early ed.  We also were able to pass out clothes, bed sheets, and sports equipment to the 57 children that currently are awaiting their adoption.  It was a fantastic day that opened our eyes to the adoption process and at times, flooded our eyes with stories of some of these children.
Today, we¬†traveled an hour and a¬†half to the countryside of Suluta.¬† While there, we visited a traditional Ethiopian institutional orphanage where 54 children lived.¬†¬†We spent 5 and a half hours¬†painting the girls dormitory in the African sun.¬† Amazingly, no one got too sun burnt!¬† At the end of the day, the bus full of¬†orphans drove up and the children were able to see their new dorms.¬† They poured out of the bus with HUGE smiles and laughter, instantly humbled by the work we were able to do while they were in school.¬† In the¬†hour that we played with them at the end of the day, we built relationships with some of the most precious children we had ever met.¬† So many details could be written here, but I’ll let your loved¬†ones tell you when they get home.¬† Get the tissues ready!
Please pray for us over the next 2 days, as we spend them in the slums of Kore ministering to street children, children with HIV/AIDS, and possibly going to a leper colony.  God has blessed us in miraculous ways and He will continue to do so in the coming days.
And thanks again for your patience.¬† Internet¬†is still difficult to rely on.¬† Our guesthouse is divided into two houses and there is only one computer to go around for everyone.¬†¬†Unfortunately, with our busy schedule throughout the days, by the time we get home, the computer¬†typically has been reserved by others at the guesthouse.¬† We’ll continue to keep you updated as we get the chance.
Thanks for loving us and thanks for your prayers.  Everyone is feeling great and your prayers have strengthened us from the beginning.  Keep them coming!

Training Camp for Ethiopia

12 Dec

Team Arrival and 1st Day of Training Camp

By Kevin S.

After months of conferences calls and Facebook stalking, we finally meet.  It was pretty easy to spot one another as we modeled our yellow shirts (except the guys who couldn’t squeeze their physiques into the girly-sized tees) and lugged our over-sized totes around the airport.  But, there we were…a team of 9 (not including our fearless training camp leaders Jesse and Emily).

Our team? Diverse, yet chosen.¬† Chosen to do great things.¬† Perfect? Hardly such.¬† Flawed actually.¬† We‚Äôre not particularly qualified‚Ķno one is a prodigy of the mission field‚Ķwe‚Äôre just willing.¬† Willing to be exposed by God.¬† Willing to be used.¬† Willing to learn.¬† Willing to ‚Äúdrop our nets‚ÄĚ and follow.¬† Willing to chuck entitlement‚Ķcomfort‚Ķthe American Dream out the window in search of a JOURNEY.¬† A Journey where we stop doing wrong‚Ķwhere we learn to do right‚Ķ.where we encourage the oppressed‚Ķwhere we defend the orphan‚Ķand where we plead for the widow.¬† Some say it‚Äôs a journey for the strong, but I wonder if the strong can survive such a journey.¬† Rather, I say this journey is for those who are weak yet discover their strength in Christ‚ĶMay we rediscover in our weakness ‚ÄúWho We Are‚ÄĚ and ‚ÄúWhat We Are Doing Here‚ÄĚ.

So, we set sail on this JOURNEY.  Around the corner nobody knows.  Are there plans?  Sure, our plans.  But as we discover who we are and what we are doing here, plans change.  We change.  In some ways our eyes are opened to things we never imagined…we see ourselves under a different microscope…good things…bad things.  In other ways our eyes are closed as we take part in this journey…closed to the life of self-centeredness…comfort…entitlement.  May we never open those eyes again.

So, I LOVE my team.  Strikingly similar to the disciples in the Bible.  Imperfect people following a perfect God.  Do we have a lot to learn?  Absolutely.  So, we’ll learn together.  Tania, Danielle, Nathan, Lindsay, Bre, Bethany, Carly, and Amalia…joining me on this journey of grace.  A journey not to earn God’s love, but a journey because of God’s love.  May His love permeate from us…may His glory sweep through us…may He be glorified…and may His Kingdom expand to the ends of the earth.

The Impact of Illiteracy

4 Dec

Blog post by Breanna A., Team Ethiopia 2011

As a college student in the United States, I have been in school for 17 years. Though I love school most of the time, there are days I find it dull and boring and I’m tempted to skip class and procrastinate homework. Some of my teachers seem passionless about the subject they are teaching and I question the class’s importance, but I have been fortunate enough to have some excellent teachers that have taught excellent courses. Through the good and the bad classes, I have tried to keep a thankful attitude that I have been blessed with an education, because I know it is a privilege denied to many.

Children who are not educated are highly susceptible to conditions such as becoming child soldiers, being forced into labor or sexual exploitation, or may turn to criminal activity to make money for food. There are many causal issues that lead to a child’s lack of education.

A major cause of illiteracy in children is becoming orphaned. Children are naturally reliant on parents, but a child without parents must find a means of survival, and that usually results in having to leave school to earn money.  This child then becomes enveloped in a downward spiral of poverty, with no real means of escape. Continue reading

Homelessness…

28 Nov

Blog post by Amalia K., Team Ethiopia 2011

As a child my family and I would always go to NYC to visit friends. Every single time I was there I always noticed the streets fill with people who had nowhere to live, the homeless. My family would always stay at a homeless shelter when we went visited because my mother was very good friends with the people who ran the place. While staying there I would have breakfast, lunch and dinner with the homeless.  Even though I was young, when I would see children homeless on the streets my heart would break for them. During my many visits to NYC I wouldn’t only watch the homeless but I would watch the business men, the beautiful people carrying designer bags, wearing $1,000 shoes and the fabulous train of Limo driving through the city. As I watched the upper-class, I noticed that they didn’t notice the homeless, the ones who has nothing, the ones who smelled bad, and the ones wearing dirty clothing. I was so disturbed by this. I would get so frustrated with them because it was like they saw right through these fellow humans. It was as if you lived on the streets you become invisible to the world around you.  I didn’t understand how they didn’t even notice the poor. I even noticed that the visitors who came to New York City would go across the street to avoid walking past a homeless person, they would hold their children close and look at the less fortune humans as aliens. It was as if just because they were homeless they weren’t as human as the rest of us. Continue reading

Poverty…what an emotional word!

21 Nov

Blog post by Danielle B., Team Ethiopia 2011

Poverty…The state of one who lacks a certain amount of material possessions or money

Absolute Poverty…The inability to afford basic human needs; clean and fresh water, food, health care, education, clothing, shelter

Relative Poverty…The lacking of a usual or socially acceptable level of resources or income as compared with others within a society or country.

Poverty…what an emotional word! I don’t know about you, but that word just makes my mind go in circles. Poverty! How can it possibly be that 1.7 billion people are estimated to live in absolute poverty today!?! I mean really, I look at everything my family and I have; a house with stable walls that doesn’t leak air, a pool with 15,000 gallon of clear water in it, a frig that is over flowing with way too much food, way too many cars, way too many Lego’s, etc. (I just get exhausted thinking about all the material things I have!) And then I think back on that word, POVERTY!  I just don’t get it, but I am trying my best to at least try to understand.

The last couple of months I have really been seeking to understand what the real meaning of poverty is and how God sees poverty. I have learned that many of us, good-will as we have tried to be,  have totally distorted the meaning of poverty and how we are to go about helping. My recent trip to Guatemala really opened my eyes to this. Continue reading

Seeing Changes Everything…

19 Nov

Blog post by Carly C., Team Ethiopia 2011

‚ÄúWe learned that orphans are easier to ignore before you know their names. They are easier to ignore before you see their faces. It is easier to pretend they‚Äôre not real before you hold them in your arms. But once you do, everything changes‚Ķ‚ÄĚ ‚Äď David Platt, ‚ÄúRadical‚ÄĚ

This quote is so true. We have all heard the statistics about orphans and poverty around the world but when you actually see the little faces and have personal connections with the orphans, it sparks something inside you that makes you want to do something about it. ¬†About a year and a half ago I was able to spend a week in Peru and while there, worked and ministered to some orphans.¬†It is the best feeling in the world to spend time with these special kids — to see them laugh, play and just be kids despite the fact they may be hungry, abandoned and poor. It is great to be able to bring a smile to their faces and show them the love of Christ.

My aunt and uncle adopted a little boy from Russia about a year and a half ago. He is the sweetest and most precious child I know. It pains me to begin to even think about where he would be if he was still in the cold and dreary orphanage my aunt and uncle adopted him from. ¬†He could be on his way to becoming part of the 70% of orphaned boys in Russia who become hardened criminals or part of the 10-15% of orphans in Russia and the Ukraine who commit suicide before the age of 18. I can now look at him and know that he will always know what it‚Äôs like to be loved and wanted¬† — not only by two parents here on earth but he will also know of love from his heavenly Father.

Most orphaned children go through things the average person cannot even begin to imagine. ¬†Things such as¬† starvation, forced prostitution, HIV or AIDS, neglect, and many others. God calls Christians to do something about this. I don‚Äôt understand why more is not being done. We need to inform people and churches about this worldwide need. If more people could see the faces and spend time with these children, I feel they would be more inclined to do something about it ‚Äď help in some way.

It can get discouraging looking at the number of orphans worldwide — between 143 and 210 million. It is hard to think that one person can actually make a difference when the problem is so huge. But when I think about changing just one child’s life and showing at least one child God‚Äôs love, there is no question about whether or not I should help.¬†I know that with God, I can do that and so much more! We need to come together as the body of Christ and let God use us! If God can create the entire universe I know that he can use me, and others who are truly willing, to further his kingdom and to show orphaned children his true, unfailing love.

Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; ensure justice for those being crushed. Yes, speak up for the poor and helpless, and see that they get justice.

Proverbs 31:8-9

Carly C. will be serving on the Ethiopia Journey 117 Team leaving in December 2011.

Human Trafficking – What am I doing?

14 Nov

I have a six year old daughter.  She is the most beautiful, smart, fun, wonderful little person I know.  The very idea of someone hurting her provokes in me some painful and angry thoughts that make me tremble as I try to type.  Modern day slavery and the sexual exploitation of children became real to me when I read the stories and thought that could be my little girl.  The thought of girls not much older than my daughter being sold as slaves and being forced to serve as prostitutes moved me to tears…

Then I started to find the staggering statistics about the fact that human trafficking is a 32 billion dollar industry that ranks behind only illegal drugs and arms as one of the most profitable criminal enterprise in the world. And that 27 million people are enslaved worldwide. And that a child is trafficked every 30 seconds.¬† 600,000 to 800,00 people are trafficked across international borders each year.¬† Of the 600,000-800,000 people trafficked, 70 percent are female and 50 percent are children; the majority of these victims are forced into commercial sex trade ¬†¬†This is massive injustice on a global scale.¬† And it‚Äôs not just over there ‚Äď it is estimated that 17,500 people are trafficked into the United States each year.

These numbers take my breath away if I slow down enough to think about the fact that every one of those numbers is a person just like me and my wife and my children. What can I do about a problem this big?¬† What can Christians do about this?¬† Honestly I have no idea.¬† Problems this big have so many layers that solving them will require solving many other problems as well ‚Äď problems like the fact that so many people live in extreme poverty, and that in many places women and children are not valued as people but as property, and that many times the legal system cannot or will not protect the poor from exploitation by the rich.¬† But I do know this ‚Äď I know that I cannot stand by and do nothing.¬† I know that I cannot spend all my time and energy and devote my talent and treasure to making my life as enjoyable as it can be.¬† I know that I am compelled to do SOMETHING.

So what am I doing? I am spending my time learning about organizations that are dedicated to helping children and families in need.¬† I would ask you to spend a few minutes at www.love146.com ‚Äď read those stories, look at those pictures, watch those videos and see if compassion moves you to do something to help. I am giving my money to organizations like International Justice Mission.¬† Would you visit their site at www.ijm.org and read about the work that they do all over the world bringing freedom and justice to victims of slavery and exploitation and consider how you can help?¬† Can you read about the work being done by groups like World Vision www.worldvision.com and see if you are compelled to sponsor a child or give a family a gift or participate in their microfinance lending programs?¬† For me, taking the time to learn about World Orphans www.worldorphans.com has resulted in my opportunity to go to Ethiopia this December to serve Orphans.

The most important thing I am doing is this ‚Äď I am praying daily that I can know God better, that I can know his heart and what he desires for me to do with all that he has blessed me with.¬† I am praying that he will show me how I can break out of my selfish mindset and begin to think in terms offering my whole life as a sacrifice to him, instead of giving God what is left over out of a sense of guilt or obligation.¬† I know that I can do very little in my own strength ‚Äď I am the proverbial kid throwing the starfish back into the ocean on a beach filled with more starfish than I can count, but I also know that I serve a God who loves every person he has created and has repeatedly shown that he can do great and mighty things through weak and broken servants.

As I close this blog I would like to quote from the opening chapter of Daniel Walker’s book God in a Brothel:

I began to wonder what would happen if men everywhere embraced the God-given destiny to defend and protect the vulnerable woman and children in their communities.  What would happen if in addition to unleashing their strength, skills and passion on the sports field, in their office or behind their computer screens they discovered their true masculinity by answering this call to arms and to action.

I wondered what would happen if the church worldwide took the offensive against oppression and slavery so that such acts of rescue and restoration occurred every day. What would happen within our faith communities if we became proactive in the face of injustice? Indeed how would our own families, our own discipleship be forever changed if we were all actively involved in some way in rescuing the oppressed and defending the orphan and advocating for the widow.

 

What could we do if whole communities of Christians decided to give their whole lives to Christ as an offering instead of giving him what is left after we get what we want and ‚Äúneed‚ÄĚ?