December 2015 Update from Zeway

Our latest updates from Zeway have brought us joy in celebrating with the children along with many tears as we mourn the loss of two of our amazing and dearly loved kids. Robdu passed away suddenly due to heart complications. She had been studying at a university to become a teacher. Johannes, whom we have spent years praying for his health, passed away due to complications from AIDS. The last months of his life were spent in and out of hospitals with the CHH staff accompanying him to different cities to find the best care. When his body finally began to shut down, he was able to return home and pass peacefully with this father by his side. We loved both these children and know how precious each of their lives were. They touched so many people, in their own community as well as across the world. They were inspirations to us whenever we visited them and we rejoice in their homecomings.

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(Robdu pictured in green above)


We also received news recently on our children who took 10th grade exams. Three of them, Beniyam, Alembirhan, and Mohammed, passed their exams and now will be furthering their education on a path towards a university in their near future. We praise God for their results. These orphans now have an opportunity to attend college and further themselves and their siblings. Amanu, who took his 12th grade exams, will no be attending a university but is now furthering his education in a local college studying public service. Amanu is an amazing young man who has done so many great things with his life already. We look forward to following him through this next stage.

We learned that Amelework finished her hair dressing training and is now prepared with a skill to provide income for herself.


Negatu (Johannes’s father) is now able to begin working again. He had been home full time caring for his son during his illness. Our program has helped him to begin selling goods at the local market again.


A fun update on one of our children, Edatu. Edatu finally mastered riding her bike. This little girl is such a joy and has so much energy. I’m sure she is thrilled to be racing around Zeway on 2 wheels!


All the children had great starts to the school year and we look forward to updates in the coming months.

Summer Update from Zeway

While on summer break this year, some of our CHH (Child Headed Household) children took on
summer jobs to help supplement the support they receive from our Partnership. Through our
Partnership and the holistic care it provides, these orphans are healthy and motivated to take on
even more responsibility to better themselves and their siblings:

  • Melkete, one of our original CHH children, was employed in a local hospital as a cook. She also delivered food to the patients. Her younger sister, Denebe, took on more household chores to allow her sister this opportunity.  Below is a picture of Melkete helping to feed another CHH child Johannes in the local hospital after he was admitted earlier this summer to treat a fungal infection.
  • Bedilu secured employment for the summer working a horse cart, transporting people throughout Zeway. In addition to the money he earned, he was also provided breakfast and lunch by his employer.Bedilu ride horse cart
  • Samrawit was able to secure summer employment and supplement her large family working at the local flower farm.

While making repairs on the home he shares with his 2 brothers, another CHH child named Dagnachew fell and broke his arm. He has received treatment and is doing better. Pray the break heals completely without any lasting physical limitations.

Johannes, who we have been following closely since our last visit in April, is still struggling to fight off a fungal infection attacking his skin. With a depleted immune system due to HIV and numerous medications, his body is weakened. Pray for complete healing for Johannes.

Eternal Perspective



Slightly over two weeks ago, I returned from a week in Zeway, Ethiopia. During my time there, I experienced the stark contrast between poverty and wealth, sickness and health, desperation and hope. For most of the children I visited, the only reason they are able to survive at all is because this program provides for their basic needs. Even with the food, clothing, rent, etc. that is provided by Hope in Ethiopia, they are undeniably poor and living in difficult conditions. We met multiple HIV+ children, whose sickness not only wreaks havoc on their bodies but also on their social status. Some families have homes in very poor condition, or must move frequently in order to stay housed. Throughout the community, there is hunger, disease, poverty, homelessness, and death. That is daily life for the people of Zeway. Yet Zeway is not devoid of hope or joy.

Here at home, most of us don’t encounter absolute poverty at any point in our lives, let alone each day. Therefore, when we are faced with situations like those in Zeway, we are shocked, heartbroken, and maybe appalled. And that is ok. We should use those emotions to motivate us to advocate for those who need it. However, when we allow those emotions to transform into worry, anxiety, or despair, we need to stop and reflect. Because this is not all there is.

You see, it wasn’t the images of severe poverty or even of grave illness that imprinted themselves on my heart two weeks ago. It was the hope and joy that I often saw in the midst of those circumstances, namely in the faces of those who were followers of Jesus. In that environment of hunger, sickness, and death, the people of Zeway have few if any false notions of personal control over their circumstances. Facades and fake smiles have no place there, because they don’t provide food or heal sickness. All veils and distractions have been stripped away, and what remains is reality. Yet for many of the kids in our program, there is not just an earthly reality, but a heavenly one. And perhaps because, not in spite, of their circumstances, their knowledge of and hope in eternity is a more intimate and real one than I have ever known.

They know a Jesus who is more powerful than hunger, disease, poverty, homelessness, and even death. And His power is not just to change those hardships on earth, but more importantly to eternally reward and exalt those who love Him so that all the hardships they experience on earth are simply “light and momentary troubles”. The followers of Jesus in those one-room houses in Zeway understand that and it is their reality. Because of that, they radiate joy, hope, and purpose. Jesus is not an add-on; He is the Only. There is nothing else to cling to, no other sources of eternal provision. I want to know Jesus like that. I want to view eternity as my resting place and my true home. And though I have more obstacles and distractions in my life that my keep me from that, I can know Jesus like that, because in reality He is the one true Savior and nothing else can take His place.

My week in Ethiopia gave me valuable insight into the lives and souls of the precious children we support, and invaluable insight into who Jesus is and the hope that He alone can bring. My prayer as I continue processing is that the Holy Spirit will continue to strip away the distractions that keep me from depending on Christ only. I pray that I will be able to believe and act as Paul describes in 2 Cor. 4:16-18:

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” (NIV)

This is a Hope in Ethiopia

There is a Hope in Ethiopia and I witnessed it today.  My first 12 hours in Ethiopia brought me to the front row of an Ethiopian church service – an experience I couldn’t have imagined or will never be fully able to explain.  Sitting on the floor in the front of the service were the sweet, hope filled faces of children.  Singing, chanting, dancing, playing – just being kids, kids filled with hope.  As I watched them, moving, whispering, poking their friends, giggling, and squirming, I simply saw my own boys.  How similar but a world apart, literally, both filled with the same hope and love of Christ.  I will never forget the music ringing in my ears and the kids dancing and jumping all around me.  The joy and pure abandonment they had – from young toddlers to teenagers – all there to worship the One True God as a family in Christ.  And, I am part of the same family with them.

Tomorrow I set out on my first visit to an orphan’s home.  An orphan whose responsibility as head of the household – caring and providing for their younger siblings – weighs heavily on them.  I will be honored to meet these children of God.  To tell them of the love I have for them, but, more importantly, the love God has for them – how He values their life and has a divine purpose for them.  Their purpose is to bring glory to God and continue to grow strong the Hope in Ethiopia.

From their perspective

By Dawn Patterson

It’s one thing to share the stories of Hope in the Hope in Ethiopia
ministry.  But then we got to thinking…..what are their stories?
How do they feel about this ministry?  We did a brief interview with
Bezawork Lakew who is the director of the Child Head of Household
program, Zeway


Before the CHH program came to Zeway what were some of the biggest
problems you saw for the Children?

Children were in great grief and trauma due to the life they were
living.  They were abandoned and in a desperate situation.  They had
problems getting to school.  Food, clothes, and getting house rent
were some of the problems observed and some of them were getting their
food by begging.  They were not healthy in their physical development
and they didn’t have money to go to health institute when they got

What has been the biggest change in the children since CHH was brought to Zeway?
After the CHH Program started children felt relieved about their
“tomorrow”.   They feel hope, and their grief and trauma is eased due
to the support of their social worker. They go to school and learn in
a stable condition.  They are growing healthy and get medication when
they get sick.

Why was the defacto orphan program started and do you feel it has helped?
The defacto program started because Children were living in HIV
positive families and one day if their family passed away they would
surely became child head of household with in a desperate situation.
Even before their family passed away children were living in fear of
being abandoned if their bed ridden family passed away. So to treat
children ahead and to help them to get relief and not feel anxious
about their situation, we started defacto CHH program.  For example
“Belayenesh” a mother of two Children passed away after she entered
the program and was getting support for a certain period of time. Her
two Children namely Meserete Alemayehu and Samuel Habtamu, are now in
the program and they are continuing their education and their
relatives are serving as their guardians.  The children did not have
to wait for care because they were already in the program.

What is the hardest part of your job on this point?
The hardest part has been when the children reach adolescence.  It is
hard to guide them because they are deceived by peer influence.  These
children come from hard life conditions and their parents were
prostitutes, addicted to chat and alcohol and other hard situations.

Can you share one small story of “hope” that has really blessed you?
The story of hope I want to share you is that the involvement of the
church to support the orphans. The program by itself challenged the
church to see their call and what they are doing. Leaders repented in
most of our training focused on Care for orphans, poor and the widow.
Some Churches of Zeway and metro started to care for orphans and
widows. Let me share you the case of Bulbula church. The Church
prepared a special service for CHH living in Bulbula every Saturday.
Danie, one of the Elders in the church that serves CHH and taught a
lesson on salvation for big boys and Girls.  The small Children are
learned about the  Bible in pictorial representation.  They have also
a program arranged by the Church to visit each other on Friday once a
week and they go to home visits to visit their friends together with
their Sunday class teacher and share joys together and see each other.
 Daniel an elder in Bulbula Meserete kiristos church knows each CHH
home and visits each of them.   It is because of this, we have hope
for this program to be sustained locally.  Children even came to
Christ because of the example Teshome Tadesse showed (the brother of
Asnakech) when he received Jesus as his own lord and savior. Asnakech
his sister is now serving in Choir. Aynalem (defacto orphan) who was
leading a very desperate life also received Jesus Christ as her
savior.  Most of the Children living in Bulbula are now going to
Church every Saturday and showed an increasing interest to be in
Church. So we give praise to God for all this.

Finally I would like to share you some of the prayer request.

  • So please pray that Children to live a stable life & attain their future, to be hopeful and resist the challenges they face from peer influence.
  • Pray for social workers that God give them wisdom to lead these children into the best future.
  • Pray for Zeway Church Leaders to expand what they started and for those who are not active in holistic service especially for Adami Tulu leaders to start holistic ministry and give care for orphans and widows in their Church.

God bless You


By Julie Kouri

Matt and I have been in the Ethiopian adoption process for 2 ½ years and finally in October we were able to bring our toddler daughter home. She joins her two brothers who were adopted from Russia several years before.

Between the two of us, Matt and I have had the great privilege of taking several trips to Ethiopia. We value the culture and love the people of Ethiopia so much more because of our time spent there. As we transition as a family, it has been wonderful to be able to see the cultural traits our Ethiopian daughter brought with her even as a toddler.

When we brought our daughter home, it was just after Ethiopia’s rainy season. During rainy season, power outages are very common. The lights and electricity go in and out throughout the day or the lights may go out for days as the rain comes down. Having her most recent memories of Ethiopia during this rainy season, our daughter was surely used to the lights going on and off in her baby home.

Knowing this, I found it interesting how she responded one day when I accidentally turned the light switch off when she was taking a bath.

I had our middle son in the bath tub and she was in a small tub in the shower. They were both splashing away when I hit the switch accidentally and the lights popped off. My son yelled out of instinctual fear of the dark and complained of the inconvenience of not seeing his bath bubbles. Our Ethiopian daughter, who had been in our home for 2 weeks, did not flinch. She kept right on splashing.

I switched the lights back on. My son did not respond to this at all. He started playing with his bath boats. My daughter, though, looked up, squealed with delight, and clapped her hands in celebration of the lights coming back on.

Because I have had the pleasure of knowing many Ethiopians as my friends, I see this as a likely common practice – they celebrate the good things in life, but they do not complain about the bad. My daughter demonstrated this in not noticing the lights had gone off, but cheering when they came back on.

How often do we do this? How often do we complain to God in the bad times, but during the good times ignore Him?

This story relates to the $100,000 fundraising goal we recently set for the end of 2012. It would be easy to focus on the $20,00 that we did not reach. BUT we do have $80,000 MORE than when we started in September to donate toward the future and hope of orphans and widows in Ethiopia, and we are thankful for the generous supporters who gave towards the goal. We are still on track to meet our broader goals. And even better, we can celebrate the continuous and amazing spiritual, mental and physical progress being made by the partnership, both HERE and THERE.

So let’s imitate the example of Ethiopians for a while and praise God, not for what we are missing, but for what we have. He is good!

No One Could Do That

By Sandy Burton

Most would say parenting is challenging.  The rest just haven’t been parents yet.  Reflect for a moment on how much of your life is spent doing “parenting things”.  Really reflect.  If you have more than one child, think of how you handle each child differently, because each is unique.  Maybe you have a special needs child.  What thoughts come to mind?  Overwhelming? Tiring?  Rewarding?

Now, imagine if you had 30 or 40 children, in different houses, in different towns.  And your children had all been through trauma after trauma.   You found them alone with no parents, the older ones caring for the younger ones, literally just trying not to die.  Some are ill. All are afraid.  Many of them have watched as their parents suffered and died.  And now they are all yours.  What thoughts come to mind?  No one could do that!  Impossible?    Rewarding?

Tilahun, Abduerhman, Tsehaye, Beza, Abdulfeta are those people for our orphans. That is their life and ministry with Hope in Ethiopia.  As an answer to prayer, members from the Zeway area churches now help when they can. These precious people are literally the on-site, 24-7-365 caregivers for the children and HIV+ widows in these places where God has brought our attention.  And, they have their own families and lives!  What thoughts come to mind?  Painful?  Exhausting?  Rewarding?

When Grace goes to walk alongside the caretakers in Zeway, we bring construction paper photo pages to give to the kids – as encouragement and so they know what our families look like.  This is our way of giving faces to those who pray for them, just as we have the faces and stories of them in our prayer books that we distribute.

I made some from my son and I, but felt strongly about creating pages to give as encouragement for the staff and workers.  They were made with Hebrews 12:1-3 in English and Amharic, the Ethiopian language.  I wanted these “parents” to know God and many cheer them on in His mighty power.  However, in handing them out on the last day, after all we had seen, it felt like offering an umbrella in a hurricane.  I had seen their exhaustion, felt their pain as they hurt with the kids, and cried at the explosive joy and enormous hugs that came from the kids when the staff and we visited.  Tilahun said to me, “You see?  It’s all worth it and God is happy.”   God’s word does NOT return void.
I came home with a deep passion to pray and encourage you to pray for these “parents”. Would you please join me?  Join me in praying and giving of your heart of prayer and resources to keep these precious people able to continue this work.   God uses whatever you give to make the impossible possible and I pray with all my heart that you feel the deep reward.   I pray for you, that God open His storehouses for you that you may see His heart doing the impossible.  Thank you!


Let’s Party!

By Heather Bauer

Everyone loves a good party. And, if you are reading this blog, you probably love advocating on behalf of orphans. So why not combine the two? The countdown is on to raise $100,000 in 100 days by December 31, 2012. While that number may seem daunting, we are well on our way with $41,105 already donated. So, let’s party plan, people!

Have you ever hosted a fundraiser? My husband and I had never hosted one prior to December 2010 when we held our first Christmas Cocktail party to benefit Hope in Ethiopia. We felt pretty intimidated and also somewhat awkward asking people for donations. BUT, we were blown away and humbled by the generous response from neighbors, co-workers, and friends who shared their evening with us and let us share our hearts for orphan care with them. The first year $1,000 was raised. Last year nearly $5,000 was donated!

More than the dollar amount raised, it has been an awesome opportunity for us to share orphan care within our neighborhood, workplace and with an expanded circle of friends. Our date is already set for this December and we are excited to see how God might use this evening to grow awareness and support for orphans in Ethiopia.

What can you do? Set a date! Create a guest list and keep it simple using Evite or Pingg for communication. Appetizers, especially finger foods will keep guests mingling and help you avoid having to stock utensils! Christmas makes decorating for a party easy since you likely will already have your halls decked out. If you are hosting an evening event, dim the lights, and light every candle you own to create a festive evening. Display a slide show with photos of the children in Zeway on a television or laptop throughout the evening.

Don’t go it alone! One couple set up a great table display that helped give guests visuals on how far their resources can go in helping orphans in Ethiopia. For example a $4 large latte equals malaria medication for a sick child or a $6 magazine equals a Bible in a child’s native language. We also asked a couple friends to help with food and borrowed glassware and serving dishes.

After guests arrive, take a moment, welcome your guests and share a couple stories of transformation from the widows and orphans being supported in Zeway. Lastly, share the need for financial support. Offer marketing materials so guests have something to take home, pray and consider supporting these children. Have a laptop or iPad set up and linked to the donation page for guests to donate at the party if they wish.

We have much to be thankful for and celebrate this Christmas season! We have a great opportunity to use our time, talents and treasures that God has entrusted to us, to be part of transforming both our community at home and the community in Zeway, Ethiopia!

Be Part of $100K in 100 Days

By Scott Thacker

September 22nd kicked off an ambitious year end campaign to raise $100,000 in 100 Days for Hope in Ethiopia. The $100,000 will cover a majority of the 2013 expenses to care for the 150 orphans and widows that are cared for thru the Zeway Partnership. $40,875 has been raised to date!

How can YOU help? I’m so glad you asked!

1) PRAY for generous hearts

2) ASK for contributions

3) See below for ideas!

Social Media – spread the word with your 500 best friends on Facebook and Twitter. Got a blog? Blog about how you or your family have seen HOPE thru the Zeway Partnership. Give Zeway a name and a face.  Include the donation link and promote the progress to date with this link:  Also, ask your friends to like the Hope in Ethiopia Facebook page!

House Party! Whether it’s a block party, a THANKFUL party, Christmas or Costume Party, the Fall is full of reasons to celebrate. For example, we are in planning mode to host our 3rd annual Cocktail Christmas party to benefit Hope in Ethiopia. Last year $4,500 was raised by 40 guests. Guests include neighbors, co-workers, parents of kids our kids play soccer with, some churched but many unchurched people. It’s a great outreach opportunity to share HiE with friends. Laptops and iPads are set up to allow instant donations and track progress throughout the evening via:

Dinner Party! Invite a group of friends for an intimate dinner and share about HiE. Tell stories of individual widows and orphans, and how their lives have been radically changed by God thru the Zeway Partnership. Send guests home with a small bag of Ethiopian coffee and include the donation link on the coffee bag:

Birthday or Christmas Gifts! Do you really NEED anything for your birthday this year? In leiu of gifts, ask friends and family to make a donation to Hope in Ethiopia. Email friends or family, or post on Facebook this birthday wish that is truly life giving. Don’t forget the link:

Garage Sale! Ask your friends and neighbors to donate their old stuff and give the proceeds to Hope in Ethiopia.

Want to get the kids involved? Ask them if there is something they would like to make to sell (artwork, jewelry, baked goods, etc). Host a gathering where friends and family can purchase their wares. Another idea is to let them set up a hot chocolate/apple cider stand.

An Unusual Invitation

By Ellen Tuthill

I had been inside the tiny homes of Ethiopian orphans before.  But this June, I was invited into a home in our “de facto” orphan program, where 3 generations lived together – a widow Amina, her widowed daughter Aliya, and 2 small grandchildren, ages 9 and 6.  Amina was aging, Aliya was very ill with HIV, and the children, Sara and Baradeen, might soon be orphans.

The absence of friends stood out on this visit.  No neighbor children hung around the door to stare and shyly smile at us.  No women stood nearby in quiet welcome.  It turns out that the people of  their small community have completely shunned this family because of their HIV+ status.   No one speaks to them…they cannot use the communal water pump…neighbor children are barred from playing with Sara and Baradeen.  This also means that they have no way of making a living.  The family seemed surprised that we actually intended to enter their home.

As soon as we sat down, this tiny Muslim grandmother stood up, raised her voice, and began praising our young Christian friend and social worker, Tsehaye, calling this 20something girl “my mother”, to our great surprise!  This was because Tsehaye (middle back row in olive shirt) arrives regularly on behalf of Hope in Ethiopia – on behalf of all of us who support it – to deliver food, conversation, hugs, and money for rent and school.  In Ethiopia, this means Tsehaye deserves the honor due a parent.  And outside of Tsehaye, this family is totally alone, because she is their only visitor and their only friend.  She represents hope, and she represents Jesus.

Tsehaye is a humble servant of God who has something in common with that much-envied, much-imitated Proverbs 31 woman:  “She extends her hand to the poor, And she stretches out her hands to the needy.”  Unlike her, you may never meet these widows — but you can send Tsehaye to their house.  You can pay her salary, and you can even fill her hands with food, clothes, medicine, and money for the schooling and housing this family needs.  You can pray that every time she wraps her arms around Amina, Aliya, and the children to comfort them, they will feel the embrace of God.  In giving to Hope in Ethiopia, you can help keep these widows alive day to day, and bless their children with a future.

It’s an unusual invitation.  But consider yourself invited.  :-)