As for me, I know of nothing else but miracles. - Walt Whitman

Thursday, September 26, 2013

God Sets the Lonely in Families.....

Today is the day that our precious V (who we hosted for a month over Christmas last year) gets to meet his adoptive mommy and daddy. And to find out that they wish to adopt him and his best friend together. I would love to be a part of the meeting and get to see his reaction and the expression on his face. Can you join me today in praying for the Selman family as they meet their sons in Ukraine after preparing for this moment for a couple of years? Such an exciting and emotional day.....may V and S fall head over heels in love with their new family, may God bless their time together and may His name be glorified.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Bookin' It to Ethiopia! And An Invitation!

What do Chris's cousin, a library, and another mission trip to Ethiopia have in common? The answer is in that title up there! Bookin' It to Ethiopia is a project that Chris's cousin, Kelsi, and her friend, Tiffany (both high school seniors), started in order to raise funds to build a library and fill it with books at a school outside of Mekele in the Tigray region of Ethiopia. These two girls have an amazing heart for students halfway around the world, and I have no doubt that their goal of raising $26,500 will be achieved. But they need your help! Please visit their webpage at to read more about the project and to see how you can become involved. Also, the donation page is located here: Kelsi and Tiffany are planning to go to Ethiopia on a mission trip that Chris and I are leading next May/June to put the finishing touches on the library and present the keys to the students and staff at the school. 

To kick off the Bookin' It to Ethiopia project, the girls are hosting a fundraiser dinner at 6:00 pm on Saturday, October 5 at the Latty Apostolic Christian Fellowship Hall, located at 12651 Rd. 82 Paulding Ohio. And you are invited! The menu includes spaghetti, bread sticks, Caesar salad, cheesecake, water, pop, and Ethiopian coffee. Prices are $15 for adults, $8 for kids 3-12, and ages 2 and under are free. 100% of the money donated will be used to help build the library and buy books in Ethiopia. A silent auction will also be held. If you would like to attend, please leave me a comment below or email Kelsi at by September 28. Hope to see you there!

Please click here to read more about why Kelsi and Tiffany are working so hard on this project, and click here to donate to this worthy cause. You will receive a receipt after your donation is submitted. Thanks!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Safe In The Arms Of Jesus

When we were in Ethiopia this past July, we met a beautiful group of children who had just come to Hannah's Hope from the orphanage in Gambella. We enjoyed our time with them so much. There was one little boy who we did not get to meet, however, as he was sick and in the hospital at the time. After we returned home, little Chernet was feeling better and was matched with a dear family, the Besks, who could not wait to meet their beloved son! Earlier this week, the Besk family found out that their little guy had pneumonia, and his little body was not strong enough to fight it off. Yesterday, beautiful little Cruz Chernet went to be with Jesus. We are heartbroken for the Besks, who are traveling today to Ethiopia to lay their dear son to rest. Cruz Chernet did not get to come home to his loving family in America; instead he went straight home to his loving Heavenly Father. Please join us in praying for Kenny, Catherine, and their daughters as they meet their son and brother for the first time and lay his little body to rest. Also, pray for the staff at Hannah's Hope that took such great care of him and loved him as their own as well. He did not die an orphan. He knew he had a family coming for him; he had seen their pictures, had received their gifts. He died as a beloved son, and for that we are thankful.

Catherine's Facebook status from yesterday reads:
We love you all. Our God is with us and our God is for us. Our son has gone home to true healing and rest with Jesus. He died with Almaz by his side. He did not die an orphan. He is our son, and we are going to Ethiopia this week to claim him. We cannot bring him home, but we will be there to lay him to rest. He had incredible medical care and lots of love at HH. His little body was just too weak to go on. Pray for us. We love you. Thank you for your prayers. They were felt and heard. We will see you again our precious boy, our Cruz Chernet Besk. John 14:18 "I will not leave you as orphans. I will come to you."

If you would like to reach out to the Besk family in some way, please visit their blog at

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

God Is With Us

Tomorrow, I am visiting a local high school where I have been asked to share our adoption experience with 2 different class periods. I would appreciate your prayers as I speak to these young adults about God's work in our lives. The past couple of days, as I've been going back through our process and putting together a presentation, I've been amazed all over again at how perfectly God orchestrated everything in bringing Jalen and Jordan into our family.

Just this morning, I was thinking about the twins' given names: Opiyew and Uchan. We also found out awhile back that when they were babies, they attended a special service at church where they were given Christian names as well: Joseph and Emmanuel. Joseph means "God will increase/add" and Emmanuel means "God with us." I cannot help but think that those were the prayers of their birth mother for her sons. Also, as I think about those names in light of our adoption process (which I've been studying over again these last few days), I realize just how perfectly fitting they are. God did increase our family by adding 2 wonderful little boys that I now cannot imagine life without. And He was with us throughout the entire journey, and continues to be so today. I am so thankful and humbled by His love for us.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Lebu Library Project, Continued.....

The kids from the Lebu community in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia tugged at my heartstrings when we visited them in July. Shana gave some of her Prayer Buddy bracelets to the boys pictured in this video, which explains more about the library project that I talked about in my last post. I would absolutely love to get books into the hands of these bright young children! Could you buy a block to help turn that dream into a reality?

Friday, September 6, 2013

Want To Make A Difference For Children In Ethiopia?

In July, we visited Lebu, a very poor community in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. There, we met lots of beautiful, bright children.

We also visited the Lebu Library, a tin shack that contained very few applicable books.

I am pleased to announce that my friend Kathy Craig and her husband, Steve, are making a difference in Ethiopia as they work to build and fill a library for the children of Lebu. After visiting Lebu herself, Kathy says, "God immediately laid on my heart that this was to be my connection to this community… to help them build a library that gives their hearts and minds room to grow and dream. So, my mission is this:  to raise $20,000 to help build a solid structure to be a home for books, windows to the world, for my friends in Lebu."

Please read Kathy's story by clicking here. If you are interested in donating to such a worthy cause, you may do so at Buy a block, build a library! Thanks, friends!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Mending Fences.....

As you may recall from one of my earlier posts about our mission trip to Ethiopia this summer, we used some of our donor funds to purchase new fencing for the Brothers and Sisters Care Center in Gambella (the first orphanage at which Jalen and Jordan lived).

 This week, I was excited to receive photos of the new fencing in place:

The new fence will help to keep the children safe as they play outside, and is a great improvement over the old fence (below), which was only standing in a few places around the perimeter of the property.

I was also pleased to find out that some of our donors' money went toward replacing broken windows at the orphanage.





I'm so thankful for these improvements to a place that is so dear to our hearts. To God be the glory.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Labor Day in Photos.....

Our Labor Day weekend included lots of cousin time! On Saturday, we spent the evening with cousins from Illinois, and Sunday and Monday found us with some of our Ohio cousins. These photos are from our zoo trip yesterday.

Although it's not a great photo, I had to take one of the black and white Colobus monkeys, whose relatives kept us awake at night in Gambella, Ethiopia in July!