Monday, December 29, 2008

Solomon's Letter 12/26/08

Hello mom,

Thank you for the beautiful Christmas gifts. I love all of it very much. The pajamas, deodorant, shirts, toothpaste, musicʼs and the delicious cookies too. I would like to say thank you again and again.

It is midnight here all boys are sleep but me I canʼt because I just think about you. I think about our amazing relationship. I think an amazing Jesus Christ plan for us. I cried a lot when I think about you. I donʼt know what kind of love this is.

Mom, you know there is a built wall between us this is Jesus Christ. We build our relationship by him. He is our savior we live in this time because he loves us too much. He thought that for all people about love. Love is greater value than anything. I beg Jesus to bless our beloved relationship. I love you mom millions time.

Mom, I plan to tell you many things when you meet in person with me on April. I am praying for you God to give you enough money. If you trust God, he will do for you what ever you want. Finally I would like to say Happy Christmas and New Year for all of you. I couldn't say Happy Christmas yesterday because in our compound there was inter connection.

Your loving son,

So, here is the latest! In my recent letter to Solomon, I asked him to join me in prayer about me going to Ethiopia in April 2009. I am praying for discernment for the Lord's will to be done. I am wondering if I am supposed to go to ET with Tom Davis, Children's Hope chest leaders team in April. Jerry, Ellie and I are feeling strongly that I am supposed to go. However, this is going to take another MIRACLE! We have no money, and I have a huge responsibility here at home with 5 littles. But at the same time, I know with everything in me that the LORD took me to KOLFE for a reason. Much as happened as a result of our visit there. Besides the Lord using us to help raise more than $50k, we have been blessed to hear that one of the young men from our video is getting adopted by a family in Florida. They had emailed us saying that they were so strongly impacted by our Kolfe video and when SCC sang "So what now, what will you do?" they were led to inquire with Gladney about adoption from Kolfe. They are getting "David" (not his real name) who wants to be a pediatrician. I can't wait to see him again and give him a Mamma's hug here on USA soil! Also, the sponsorship by Children's Hope chest is just getting off the ground and we really want to be a part of this ministry if the Lord will have it. Tom Davis is coming to Raleigh January 8th and we will be meeting with him. So, all this to say, I know the LORD is orchestrating all of this and I just want to be obedient to HIS WILL and not mine. So, please join me if you will in asking the Lord to make it clear if I am to go to ET in April. If so, HE will perform another miracle for all of us to SEE! Stay tuned as this journey of faith continues. There are many things cooking here that we will soon share.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Solomon's Letter Dec. 7, 2008

This letter is in response to a letter I wrote to him. The Wolfe Family got home with their 3 new children from Ethiopia. Ashalew, who lived at Kolfe sent me a hand-written letter from Solomon. They were very good friends and now Ashalew lives in Indiana with his two sisters and their family. See their blog here. Solomon wrote a beautiful letter on beautiful stationery with heart stickers all over it. He also sent a beautiful card as well. When my scanner gets fixed I'll post it. It is absolutely beautiful. I can't help but think this young man has been in the Kolfe orphange for over 10 years now. Who taught him that Moms love flowers and heart stickers, and beautiful cards covered in flowers, pink and pretty? He was so detailed in everything he sent me. I am just a bucket of tears!!

Hello Mom,

Mom I don't think before my hand writing is beautiful but I am very amazing to heard that it is beautiful. Yes mom I like to care my appearances. I always want to be clean. I don't play just like other boys by my clothes. I take a shower three times a week the deodorant you sent for me also good. I still use it. I got it from your first package.

Mom, I am very happy to hear that you come on April. Wow, I see you again after four months later. I am so eager after I meet with you again. I pray for you this things come to real. It is a good thing to talk with you in person.

I like the versus you write for me. Yes they are very encouraging for me too. God words are the food of my life. I eat it when I hungry and I drink it when I thirsty. God is the loyal shepherd for all of us. He knocks our door, if you are open for him, he get in into your house. He is that bread of life ask him what ever you heart desire and he fulfils all your desire. He is the first and the end.

Mom, after I met with you all things is changed. My prospective and thinking, my desire and hope, dream and pray, generally my life. My real life starts after I met with you. I didn't forget your first kiss. I remember it all of the time. More people are live in kolfe around 150 but why God made strong relationship specifically with me and Habtamu. Don't you think that God have his own plan? But I think. Why choose me to be your son form 150 boys? Because you are a right person to be my mother. I also a right person to be your son. Well mom thinks about this. It is very amazing thing for me. I pray to God to show me everything. Now I must go back to study. I will talk to you soon my sweet mom until then God bless you.



Saturday, December 6, 2008

Shaohannah's Hope Fundraiser

On November 15, 2008 we attended the Shaohannah's Hope fundraising dinner. It was a weekend of fellowship and blessing as we heard about the work that Shaohannah's Hope is doing and has planned for the future.

These are the ladies that all went to China with Ellie this summer. They have bonded in such a special way and spent this entire weekend working and serving.

We were invited to share our adoption testimony. The theme was based on the story of 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish in Matthew 14. The Lord multiplied this to feed more than 5000. Well, when Shaohannah's Hope gave us a grant to bring home 3 precious children, none of us had any idea how much more the Lord was about to do in us and through us. Here is a list of what the Lord has done so far:

1. Three precious children are now in a forever family that loves and adores them.
2. Their birthmother has professed a new found faith in the Lord Jesus after hearing our testimony of how HE miraculously and intentionally brought us together for such a time as this. We spent Thanksgiving Day 2007 with her and shared the gospel that she lovingly received.
3. The Kolfe Boys Orphanage radically changed our lives. We now have another unofficially adopted son who we minister to and he loves the Lord. Our blog and speaking engagements have turned into a ministry that has helped raise $50K plus that has been used to make repairs at the facility as well as support some of the boys’ education costs.
4. 10 families so far, have communicated to us that as a direct result of our journey and testimony, they too are stepping out in faith to adopt. This makes a total of 13 more children being adopted, with some getting 2 children.
5. Ellie went to China with Show Hope and served the precious children there. After these two trips, she now has a passion and vision for her life being dedicated to the orphan crisis.
6. We have been introduced and networked with many new friends and organizations that have all been called into to the world of orphan care ministry.
7. We have been "GLORIOUSLY RUINED" and our passion and vision for our lives is to be dedicated to the orphan crisis in the world. We are on page one, chapter one of this new journey!
8. I HAVE HEARD OF YOU BY THE HEARING OF THE EAR, BUT NOW MY EYES SEE YOU! JOB 42:5 Our faith, and many who have witnessed along the way, has been magnified by SEEING GOD at work so intentionally and so clearly through this adoption journey. WE are forever changed and forever grateful!

Emily (Chapman) Richards was the Keynote speaker on Friday night. She was absolutely amazing. She very eloquently shared how the Lord has taken her to a new place of compassion and understanding for the orphans and the lost people of this world. Having personally experienced the loss of her baby sister Maria, she understands what loss really is. This personal experience of such heart-wrenching pain and terrible grief has given her a new perspective and deeper understanding of what these children are experiencing having lost their entire families.


All of the centerpieces and decorations for the weekend events were Maria's personal artwork.

Steven, Mary Beth and our family huggin and lovin each other. What a blessing to have been brought together into this ministry work for the Kingdom for such a time as this!

Jeremiah having a good time!

A major miracle in our adoption testimony is how the LORD allowed the adoption tax credit for the twins’ adoption in 2003, to be hidden from us until when we began this adoption journey in 2007. He miraculously revealed it just a few weeks before the expiration date to claim it. Isn't that just like HIM to show HIMSELF so clearly?...only HE can get the glory in how this whole thing happened.

Well, what are the odds that the very person who authored this law, (along with several other people she adds)that was approved in 2001, would be in the front row while we shared this amazing testimony. Sarah Gesiriech and a team of other wonderful people, worked endless hours to write this tax credit. When she was introduced to me I literally wrapped my arms around her neck, squeezed tight and burst into tears! I could not let go of her for several minutes because I was completely overcome with gratitude and love for this women who is also partially responsible for us having our precious babies!!

She told me that President Bush insisted this law be passed because he really believes it will help more children get adopted. Sarah was also a personal assistant to Mrs. Laura Bush. She was so moved and blessed to hear our testimony because this was the first time she had ever heard of how this credit had been such a blessing and helping 3 children get adopted. The "Special Needs" adoption tax credit from our twin boys, was used to pay for the adoption of our son and his twinette sisters! How wonderful is that!! DO YOU SEE GOD?? How personal and detailed is HE to orchestrate this meeting and Sarah being able to hear how HE used her and blessed the fruit of her hands!

Melanie Hall, Natalie, Me and Kerry Hasenbalg
More Sisters in the Hood of Orphan Care Ministry...what a blessing to make new friends!

Mr. Chuck Colson was the keynote speaker for Saturday night. He and Stephen have been very close friends for many years. His topic was on humility and he shared how much he respects and loves SCC because he is a man who humbly walks with God. He talked about how many people in the entertainment industry get puffed up and will walk away from the Lord. But Steven and MaryBeth are two of the most real and humble people you can meet. He also shared about how we are servants and here to do the Lord’s work. SH is all about doing the Lord’s work!

He also shared this funny story.

Chuck and his wife were on vacation in Maine one summer. They decided to go to a matinee movie one day. It was a small theatre and only a handful of people were inside. As he and his wife walked into the theater, everyone started to applaud. He graciously bowed and waved at everyone and took his seat. He leaned over to the man next to him and said; "Wow, I didn't think anyone would recognize me here. That was very nice of you." The man replied "Who are you?" Why I'm Chuck Colson, didn't you hear the applause? The man replied, "We were clapping because they told us the movie couldn't start until two more people came in. They can only turn it on if they sell a certain number of tickets. When the two of you came in, they were finally able to start the show."

Ellie spent the entire weekend working with the Shaohannah's Hope staff and volunteers. She is such a blessing and she is "Ellie Marie, as cute as can be".

SCC singing "Every Child in Africa is Yours.."

Uncle Dave Trask and our grandson, Vaden Elliot

Mary Beth Chapman shared for the first time publicly, how she is doing since the loss of Maria. She was absolutely amazing as Steven stood by her side for encouragement and support. She shared how she has gone through many phases of confusion, anger, grief etc. She has been asking the LORD many questions. Why Lord? Were you really there in the car with Will Franklin when you took our Maria? Was this really necessary? Why now, Why this way??

As she humbly sat before the Lord asking for answers he took her to the book of Job. He told her that Satan did not find Job on his own. The Lord said, "Have you considered my servant Job?" The Lord had chosen Job for the suffering, his cross to bear in his life to bring glory and honor the LORD. The Lord provided Job with everything he needed to go through these trials. She realized the Lord has also chosen the Chapman family for this trial, this time of suffering. She can rest in the truth that Maria is safe in the arms of JESUS, but the pain and grief she is personally experiencing, makes her ache and yearn for Jesus to come back today and take us all into Heaven. Where the pain will be gone. But since we don't know when that day will come, she prays earnestly that she and the Chapmans will walk this road, through this valley in a way that will bring honor and glory to the King, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. She asks that everyone please continue to lift them up in prayer because they know the prayers from the saints have been the foundation of their ability to make it thru thus far. She closed with the same verse the Lord has given me...I have heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eyes SEE you. Job 42:5

This young lady Melody, went to an SCC concert and heard Steven talk about orphan care and ask the audience for help. She went home and started talking to her mom about how she can help. She also talked with her Grandma who suggested she have a bake sale. Well this little lady has been baking pies and selling them to raise money for Shaohannah's Hope. She has raised over $700 and she delivered it to a concert all in coins and cash, just the way she earned it. She now has a passion to care for orphans.

The decorations were absolutely beautiful all weekend at every event. There were approximately 400 people at the dinner Saturday night.

Scott Hasenbalg and all of the staff worked very hard to put on this fundraiser weekend and it was very evident that they all walk in humility and are seeking the Lord's wisdom and discernment for how Shaohannah's Hope proceeds and handles the funds that are entrusted to them. They regretfully announced that each month they receive over 100 requests for grants but are only able to give about 35 per month. Please spread the word and pray about supporting this wonderful ministry. Their prayer is to never turn down a grant request.

And finally, this is our grandson Vaden Elliot who very cleverly announced to us that he is going to be a big brother. Melissa and Randy are expecting our second grandchild...due in June 2009. What a blessing...Thank you Lord!

Monday, December 1, 2008


When we were in Ethiopia last November, this week is our one year anniversary, our days were planned for us. One morning Ryan told us he was taking us to the older boys orphanage, Kolfe. He told us the boys ranged from 10 20 yrs old. My immediate response was "NO THANK YOU!" We had our beautiful 14yr. old daughter with us. Common sense, along with some street smarts having been raised in NY & Jerry being LAPD retired, told us it would be absolutely insane to take her to a compound with 185 testosterone filled young men. When I told Ryan we were not interested he told me he really wanted us to see this place. He assured us that Ellie would be safe. Needless to say, I spent the rest of the morning very quite and not very happy! I suggested we go to the market to do some shopping instead. We brought a few dollars to do our Christmas shopping there. I thought we would help their economy and bring some very unique gifts home for everyone. But Ryan insisted. All the way there, approx. 45 a minute drive, I sat in the car very upset, nervous and asking God to make something happen to prevent us from going to KOLFE!! I felt like something was going to happen and I thought is was going to be bad.

Thank the LORD HE always HAS A PLAN!! I had no idea that HE was about to rock my world and change me forever. He took me to a place in my heart that needed a major restoration. HE needed to show me how I had to learn to LOVE in a new way, to find a place in my heart that had never been utilized before. A new place in my heart that I never knew existed. It's like a door was opened to a new world. The Forgotten Boys of Kolfe showed me God in a whole new way! He created each and every one of them in HIS IMAGE. HE has a perfect plan for them. They are the future leaders of the next generation, the husbands and fathers of the generation after that. They have smiling faces, feelings, desires, dreams, aspirations, needs, they laugh and cry and their hearts need to be filled with the LOVE of JESUS. They need us to care about them, to visit them and to help them.

As soon as my feet touched the dirt of this compound, I knew that God was speaking to me. He gently whispered that he brought me their for a purpose. I heard him say I was to give each one of them a "Mama's hug" and to tell them HE loves them,and HE has a plan for their lives. Kolfe is not all there is in their lives. "I know how many hairs are on each of their heads and I have a plan and purpose for each of their lives. When you hug them, tell them this for me." So, as crazy as this sounds, I told Jerry and Ryan I needed all the boys to line up for a Mama's Hug. As Ryan told them to line up, they all looked a him like he was crazy. He told them "It is OK, this is MAMA EILEEN." So, they all lined up and one by one I reached out and put my arms around them. I put my hand on each of their heads as I told them what I felt the Lord impressed on me to share. You know when you hug a stranger there is a tense feeling and sometimes a pulling away? Well, each of them did just the opposite. They leaned into my arms and put their heads down. They stayed in my arms until I released the hug. Some of them had tears in their eyes and some giggled as they ran off. I learned later from Jerry, Ellie and Ryan, that many of them ran off to the soccer field and brought another boy to get in the line. Some ran off to the dorms and were bringing boys to get in the hugging line. And, some got in a second time. For some of them, it was the first Mama's hug they had felt. When the line was gone, I looked around to be sure I had gotten everyone. There were some older young men sitting on the side line and I went to them and said, "Your turn". These young men hesitantly got up and got their MAMA'S Hug too. One of them started talking to me in Amharic and Habtamu translated for me. He said, "We have been here very long time, no one cares about us, can you please help us get out of here?"

To which I responded, "I will go back to America and I will talk to God's people. If they will listen to God, they will come and help you and bring you things you need. I will ask God to help me talk to as many people as possible. I will not forget you, God has not forgotten you. If you see people start to come here, people from America, then you will know that GOD is at work here at Kolfe. He told me HE brought me here for the purpose of telling you that HE LOVES YOU AND HE HAS A PLAN FOR YOU, HE HAS NOT FORGOTTEN YOU! I will do everything I can to help you.

And so began a new world, a new life for me. I will never be the same. I am a bundle of tears ever since my trip to Ethiopia, but especially since my day at Kolfe. I cry at the drop of a dime, and I tell anyone who will listen about the Kolfe boys. I pray the Lord will continue to open doors and opportunities to share about HIS precious orphans that need the LOVE, CARE and physical presence of JESUS CHRIST!
On top of everything else, I recieved the gift of my other son, Solomon Bekele.
Here is my sweet Solomon's letter from today, look at what I almost missed.

Dear Sweet Mother,

I hope this letter(message) finds you and the rest of the family in the best of health. I miss you all very much. Apart form this, I am very well.

I am very busy by school that is why I took many days to write for you but I always thinking about you. I have pictures of you and I saw it when I have feel lonely.

I and Lynn(Kibrom mother) communicated by email. We talked about you and Jesus. She is good knowledge about Jesus and she told many things about you. I proud by all of you and the rest of my family.

Mom did you receive my letter yet form aschalew family? Did you meet with aschalew ? he was very eager to meet with you while he is here.

Mom, you and the rest of my family are very sweet and beloved. I always thanks God for his special gift. I donʼt think before to have a person just like you but God plan is very amazing. I donʼt know what is look like for you but for me it is unbelievable. It is just like a dream.. God brought you into my life for good reason. I havenʼt much knowledge about Jesus before but know things are changed because of you my dear mom. I am sure God pay for you by the think that you did for me. Thanks for the package and the money you send for me. It reached for me at the right time. But mom I donʼt want to worry to much ok. You are not only my mother you are also my soul. I love you very much. God bless you now, tomorrow and forever.

Your Loving son,


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

No Good Deed Ever Goes Unpunished!

This is one of Mom's famous sayings! Remember the EXTREME BACK YARD MAKE OVER?? We redesigned the back yard about 3 weeks ago and put in a playground for the 5 little's. We redesigned the old sand box and put plastic borders all around it. It looks great! Well, it just so happened that one of the spikes holding the border in, pierced the main drain pipe coming out of the house which caused it to get clogged up and back flow into the house. We got home from Nashville, TN at about 3 a.m. (post on that coming soon) and then got a phone call at 8 a.m. from Mom downstairs telling us there is water in her bedroom. Both of the bathrooms, toilets and shower just backed up and the "BLACK WATER" flooded her house!! Contaminated carpets, vanities, etc. So, for the last week we have had "Pettyjohns" a flood restoration company, in here taking everything out and now we are in the process of getting all new replacements. New bathroom vanities, sinks, flooring, painting etc. Talk about another chapter that totally takes us by surprise. Dealing with Insurance company, getting bids from contractors, shopping for supplies, moving everything out, and in, etc. This has been very stressful for Mom & Dad as well as created a safety hazard for them. Please keep us in your prayers... it is never a dull moment around here!!

On our last trip to Nashville, we had to replace the alternator in the van. What's up with this???

Blessings to you all today!!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Solomon' s Letter 11/15/08

Hello my dear mom,

Yes I received my package and the money. I donʼt know what I can say. I canʼt express my feeling by words. Thank you very much. I enjoyed very much the delicious cookies and chocolate. The jacket that dad and Jonathan wore also wonderful and it fit me and the shirts too..

I received the birr from Wolfe family. I learned for two years in my college with out payment (scholarship) but now they asked me to pay half price payment. Unless they told me to stop so, I decided to pay the money you send for me. I asked Ryan if he can help pay for me but he said that it takes a long time so, he told me that it is better to pay the money that you send for me. The amount of money that my collage asked me is 1300 birr

You know if you didnʼt send me this money, my only choice would be that I have to stop school but this did not happened because of you. Thank you so much.

I sent you a letter and a big hugs and kisses with Aschaew & family. If you want to know any information about me ask Aschalew he know all about me. He was my best friend. It was very difficult thing to say goodbye to him. But I had no choice.. I remembered him all the time. Before he left I told him to pray to God to makes a way for me too to come to America.

Mom, I love you and thank you very much for the money and package. I understood why tears came to my eyes when I taught about you because I love you too much. Words are not expressing my feeling anymore about you. You all are Awesome for me. I havenʼt a potential to do anything for you except pray. I love you mom.

I wrote the letter all about my feelings that my heart told me about you and some of my favorite proverbs. Say Hi to all my family for me and I love them all too much.

Kibrom send his greetings to you and he wants to tell you love you too much.



This is my precious son whom I love!! My heart is aching to see him and hug on him again. Kibrom is the young man in our Kolfe video who wants to be a pediatrician. He is being adopted by a family in Florida as a result of them seeing our video. Ashalew just arrived home to Michigan with the Wolfe family. In His own words, he has been set free!

Please stay tuned, I have several posts coming to share some wonderful events that have recently taken place!!

Blessings to all of you who read our blog and share our journey of faith.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Something Changed

Adoption has changed our lives forever and we will never be the same! Thank you God for your precious gifts!

Sunday, November 9, 2008


We are so excited we can hardly stand it! This past week we finally did our extreme back yard make over. It took 10 tons of dirt and a lot of loving tender care to transform our back yard into this amazing playground. We have lived in this house for 8 years with a very sloped yard and nothing to do but slide down into the fence. Well, we finally got this project on the top of our to do list. A dear brother in Christ and friend Mark Devenney,owner of Heritage Landscape Company, came in and worked for 5 days. We had to move the shed and make a flat surface for Creative Playthings, Inc. to come in and assemble the new play set. The first day with our new set, the dogs decided this was their new potty area. So, we then had to put up a fence to keep them off of the play ground. Jonathan did a fabulous job of installing our new picket fence. We then added triple shredded mulch, some Camellia bushes, stepping stones to the shed and transformed the sandbox with plastic borders and more sand. VOILA!!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Solomon's Letter Today - October 31,2008

Hello mom,

I am very fine. Mom I know that you are always thinking and praying for me. I know how much you worried about me I am feeling it for the first time what does mean mother love. I can say my life is started after I met with you. I told you many times I canʼt explain or express about you by words. I thanked God because of given for me awesome mom. Mom I love you million and millions times ok! I think you understand from this how much I love you and miss you so much.

In kolfe the kitchen is already fixed we got more books for library. Ryan helps some youngerʼs leaved from kolfe and he paid for college for some youngerʼs I also told to Ambes (the person represented by Ryan to pay for me collage payment.

Mom, Jt visited me on September and he promised for me to come back again but he hasn't come back yet. Did he tell you anything?

Mom, first of all thank you for your treatments and helping me. You just mentioned it the thing what I need. I only need to say thank you so much again and again. Please mom know that I also loving, praying, thinking and missing you very much. Please mom pray for me God to make for me a way to come there. I LOVE YOU MY PRECIOUS MOM!!!!!!!




Kolfe Sponsorship Has Begun!!

Praise the Lord for HE is Faithful!!My prayers for Kolfe have been answered!! But the Journey has just begun..Please read below and join us in this journey....

October 28, 2008 By Tom Davis
Sponsorship of Kolfe Orphanage in Ethiopia

Kolfe orphanage is an incredible place filled with 130 boys outside Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. After spending just a few hours with the young men there, I was struck by how polite, engaging and smart they are. They are so conversational I almost didn't realize that this orphanage is situated on a dumping ground. Every window is broken out of every building except the office and the only thing more prominent than garbage and glass on the ground is the red dust that covers every square inch of this horrible place. I see two possible roads for these boys. Down the first I see future husbands, fathers, and leaders of Ethiopia. Down the second I see death. I will occasionally use hyperbole to make a point but be clear that this not one of those times.

What They Need

Family. The boys of Kolfe need a church family with a heart for seeing boys become men. They need role models and mentors. They need someone to see their potential and walk with them through life to help them realize it. Here's an overview of Children's HopeChest's orphanage sponsorship program. Thanks to Sam Henry at Red Letters Campaign for the post.

The Basics. Serving these boys begins with meeting their basic needs for survival. Today and tonight they are exposed to the elements living in dormitories that are in shambles. Their food is meager and mean non-existent. Children's Hopechest needs to raise $25K immediately to repair housing facilities, provide beds, and buy books while we find a church sponsor. If you would like to GIVE click here and mark Kolfe orphanage as the recipient.

Help. We are hiring in-country staff to oversee and manage these Sponsorship programs and to identify additional sponsorship opportunities. The field teams' role is threefold: 1) Point of continuity, trust, and fun to the kids throughout the year. 2) Point of financial accountability for orphanage leadership. 3) Facilitate connections between the sponsoring church and children in the orphanage.

If you are interested in recruiting a church or community to sponsor Kolfe, please contact me immediately at We already have 3 sponsorships in process since returning last week!

Well a lot has happened in the past 11 months since our visit to Kolfe. The Lord has been so faithful to us and has validated that we were sent there for HIS purpose and for helping get the word out about these precious FORGOTTEN BOYS!! Jerry and & I are hoping to make another trip to Kolfe in the very near future. We are yearning to hug & kiss on our son's Solomon & Habtamu. Lord willing it will be very soon! If any of you are interested in visiting Kolfe, please let us know. There is a trip being planned for January 2009 and one for April 2009. Just send us an email and we will give the you info. Blessings to all of you who have faithfully followed our journey on the blog. Please continue to pray and stay tuned as we WATCH GOD AT WORK!

Saturday, October 18, 2008


Again I sit here in tears as I read this post on the Red Letters Campaign blog and Tom Davis, founder of Childrens HopeChest's blog. He is also the author of "Fields of the Fatherless" and "RED LETTERS Living a Faith that Bleeds". As you may remember, the Lord touched my heart like never before when HE took us to the Kolfe Orphanage and we posted about the FORGOTTEN BOYS. I have been burdened since that day to tell everyone about them. We have been SEEING GOD show himself in miraculous and wonderful ways as HE has been weaving a tapestry of networking us with HIS people to do HIS work for them. These guys just went to Ethiopia last week to start the process to open it as new country with their ministry. Please read below and SEE GOD!!!!!


"After spending just a few hours with the young men at Kolfe Youth Orphanage, I am struck by how polite, engaging and smart they are. There is a spirit among these lost boys that at first look seems unbreakable but I was deeply troubled by the absolute squalor of Kolfe more than any other place we visited. Upon arrival Ashunafi (the group’s apparent leader) and the boys invite us to play volleyball and soccer on a dirt field and the rowdiness of boys rules the day. They are so conversational I almost don’t realize that the orphanage is situated on a dumping ground; that every window is broken out of every building except the office; that the only thing more prominent than garbage and glass on the ground is the red dust that covers every square inch of this horrible place. The lone rosebush between rows of decrepit dormitories and brambles reinforces for me that life at a place like Kolfe is destitute and full of thorns.

To borrow Tom’s analogy, I see two roads for these boys ages 12-20. Down the first I see the future husbands, fathers, leaders of Ethiopia. These boys were amazing! Down the second I see death. I will occasionally use hyperbole to make a point but be clear that this is not one of those times. God help us if we are complacent in the face of this great tragedy! Please join me in praying that a church with a heart for seeing boys become men will adopt this God-forsaken place post haste!

In the next 9 months, our goal is to connect 10 churches with 10 orphanages in Ethiopia through Tom Davis and Children’s HopeChest. Talk to your church about living out the red letters of Jesus and walking out your responsibility for the poor, the orphan and the widow. Pray that God would open doors, change hearts, and renew our/your commitment to ‘the least of these.’ If your church isn’t doing anything substantial for the poor, who cares?"

This is what Tom Davis said after he visited Kolfe.

"This trip has been so amazing. My heart burns for Ethiopia in a million ways. The kids here are amazing. Full of life and as kind as can be. Today, we were in an orphanage called Kolfe, a boys home with about 120 kids. You would think this place so filled with testosterone, would be a bit dangerous, cold and resistant. Just the opposite. These boys had incredible manners, they showed so much respect to us, even bowing when they met us. And, it is dirt poor. They have nothing, and I mean nothing. They never get to eat meat, and don't even have the money for a hair cut. They just want the chance to be men, to make their mark on life and accomplish something. Many have dreams of going to college, and I want to help them.

Sponsoring this place would transform your community, I promise you. I'll post pictures and video when I get home.

I think we are up to 6 orphanages that will soon be available for sponsorship. I'm hoping to have 8 by the time we leave. The vision trip looks like it will be some time in April. Please email me if you want to come.

Thanks for the prayers. God is doing great things in this beautiful country. With His help we can change the lives of these kids forever. Want to be a part? Just say yes!"


"I just got back from Kolfe with Children's Hopechest and Red Letters Campaign:

Hopechest has the single best model I've ever seen because it's about on going, holistic care for the young people like these. Kolfe is a great fit for their model, and they could basically pull the trigger on sponsoring the boys as soon as a church would be ready to sponsor them.

Pray for the right church that would see the potential in these future leaders of Ethiopia."-Jamie Wallace

Friday, September 26, 2008

FIREPROOF - In Theaters This Weekend

This movie is opening in theaters this weekend and I want to encourage everyone to go see it. The reviews have been fabulous and attending this weekend will help their ratings as well as send a message to Hollywood!

On Friday, September 26, FIREPROOF will open in more than 800
theaters nationwide. This new movie, from the creators of Facing the
Giants, is an action-packed love story about a firefighter, his
wife ... and a marriage worth rescuing!

While this faith-based film is flying under the Hollywood radar
screen, real people in real communities across the country are
rallying behind it. In fact, it will open in 95 more cities than
originally planned thanks to local people buying 1,000 tickets to
bring it there!

I hope you will see FIREPROOF on its opening weekend. Hollywood
judges a movie based on how it does in its first three days, so it's
important to go September 26-28. If you want more information, go to

FIREPROOF is showing in 3 Raleigh theaters - Wakefield 12, North Hills, and Brier Creek! Showtimes in Wakefield are 1:30, 4:10, 6:50, and 9:30 each day. Schedule a date with your sweetie and go THIS WEEKEND!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Adoption Fair & Expo This Saturday, Please Come!

8 A.M. - 4 P.M.

6229 Glenwood Avenue
Raleigh NC 27612
Contact: Teresa George 556-6808; Becky Estes 326-3000

Are you considering adoption?
Do you have questions, but are not sure where to start?
Join us for an exciting day that will include:

. Expo featuring multiple adoption agencies and support organizations
. Breakout Sessions
. Testimonies
. Panel Discussions, Q & A
. Breakfast & Lunch Served (FREE Chick-fil-a)
. No child care provided

Register online at

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Josiah Turns 4 Years Old!!

We just celebrated our first birthday with our precious Josiah Abel! He was so excited to finally have his own birthday! He has celebrated the twinettes turning 1 year, the twins turning 5 years, Jonathan turning 18, Ellie turning 15, Randy, Melissa, Grandpa, Papa, and Grandma also had birthday celebrations since he has been home with us! Finally it is HIS TURN!! Next week will be mine too which he is also very excited about. How precious that he noticed I haven't had one either. Visit our twins blog for photos and details HERE.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008


It has been a couple of weeks since my last post because my life has been absolutely overwhelming!!! We started back at school which has brought a lot of new items to my daily to do list. But the most exciting thing has been the result of the Lord's new work and opening doors to OUR NEW ADVENTURE!!!

I have been overwhelmed this summer with adjusting to my new life of having 5 small children, being alone for several weeks with them and dealing with my heartache for the Forgotten Boys of Kolfe. My new son Solomon has been emailing me a lot and I have just been crying out to God for wisdom. I am asking HIM why this young man is in my life?? What am I supposed to do to help him?? Please show me why you brought him in to my life and what I am supposed to do? Just be a pen pal Mom? Just be a prayer warrior? Again, I felt HIM prompting me to go to HIS WORD. HE took me right to the story of the good Samaritan. After reading it with the boys, it was that small voice again speaking to me, "I did not send you to Kolfe to be a passer by. I have something for you to do, just trust me!" It was another one of those situations where I honestly felt like the Lord was speaking directly to me!

As I have mentioned earlier, I believe I am supposed to look into the Foreign Exchange Student program for Solomon & Habtamu, but I know absolutely nothing about it. Several people have sent me some information and I have been putting out some emails requesting more. I got some info back with a list of names to contact about the program. There was one name in particular that was listed for Ethiopian students but I didn't have time to do anything with it as I had to pack for my weekend getaway to Asheville, NC, to attend the SCC concert and to meet up with Ellie and the girls that went to China with her.

So while Melissa and I were driving to Asheville, we had been driving for several hours and I was sharing about Solomon and my overwhelming feeling that I am to find out about this ES program etc. Suddenly, her cell phone rang and it was a client that she is doing photography work for. While she was talking, that small voice spoke to me again, "Take the phone and talk to that man, he can help you with Solomon & the Kolfe boys!" It was very strange and I of course thought it was crazy! As I sat there listening to this voice, I almost ignored it but thought, I better do what I'm told. So, I motioned to Melissa that I would like to talk to her client. She looked at me a little strange and then told him I would like to talk w/him. As she handed me the phone, I asked her what his name was. I took the phone, "Hello Justin, I was wondering if you could tell me what you do? I know my daughter is doing photos for a directory you are putting together of various ministries in the Raleigh area but what exactly do you do?" He proceeded to tell me that he networks the prosperous people with finding ways to help the poor. I then proceeded to share about our adoption and how the Lord took us to the Kolfe boys orphanage and that now HE was prompting me to look into the FES program to bring them here. He was quiet for a minute and then told me a client of his had just called him 2 hours ago and asked him to help find a host family for a young man he is bringing to Raleigh from Ethiopia as a Foreign Exchange Student. I got goosebumps all over me, got a bit choked up and said, "Justin, the Lord told me to take the phone from my daughter and talk to you because you can help me with Solomon. Do you see God here??" He said, "Yes I do! I guess I am supposed to introduce you to my client. I am emailing him as we speak and I will get on the phone when we hang up and see if I can set up a meeting with the both of you. I will be in touch with you asap."

Well, the meeting took place about a week later. On the way to Justin's office I said to Jerry, "We are going to this meeting with these guys we have never met and I really don't know what is going to happen. I wonder what this is all about??"

When Mr. Lyston Peebles arrived, he greeted us with a warm hug and smile and said, "OK Justin, so what is this meeting about and why am I here?" We all felt the same way, we were sitting at this table as strangers and had no idea why???? I began to tell him about our adoption journey to Ethiopia and the day my life took a turn into a new world at the Kolfe Boys Orphanage. I shared this story of how the Lord took us there and told me to put my hand on each boys head and give him a Mama's hug while telling them the Lord knows how many hairs are on each of their heads and he has a plan to give them a future and a hope. To prosper them and not to harm them. Kolfe is not all He has for them. I told them Jesus loves them and that He wants them to trust Him with their lives. Mr. Peebles broke down in tears as he listened. When I told him that the Lord had prompted me to look into the FES program and to take the phone from my daughters hand because the man on the other end could help me, he wiped his eyes, perked up closer to the table and said,"OK, NOW I KNOW WHY I WE ARE HERE! He proceeded to hand me a piece of paper and give me names, emails, tele numbers and information of people to contact. He said, "We have both been given the same Kool-Aid by the Lord and we are in this together." Mr.Peebles works for Cherokee Gives Back Foundation which is working in Ethiopia to help the orphans and poor. They have just built two hospitals in Addis Ababa and he actually owns a house there. He has told us we can stay at his house, in fact, he thinks I need to go visit Solomon & Habtamu very soon and will be helping with the arrangements. He is currently bringing over students to study in the US and is going to help us see if Solomon & Habtamu can get in the program. DO YOU SEE GOD HERE????

I have been meeting with several of his people, communicating with staff in Ethiopia and they have gone to visit Kolfe and my boys already. They are going to do everything they can to see if the boys qualify for the program. But, Lyston told me it is going to take a miracle!! It is very, very difficult to qualify. They have to be very gifted academically and the fact that they are orphans makes it even more difficult. I told him I honestly don't know if this will happen for them and that I am only stepping out in faith. I am only responding to the Lord's prompting and so far, HE has been performing one miracle after another in our lives. Look at how we wound up at this table together!!! So, he agreed to do what he can and I agreed to accept what ever the Lord is doing. This is not about me, it is all HIM!! Isn't it amazing that this organization is right here in Raleigh and they are working with Ethiopia and bringing exchange students over??? Oh, and the other day I looked at that email with a list of names to contact in the program. To my surprise, the Cherokee Fund and Lyston Peebles were on that list that I never did anything with!

We also just received a very generous monetary gift for Solomon from a family in Texas, that has been following our testimony on this blog. The Lord is bringing HIS saints into this journey and we are absolutely humbled and amazed at everything that is happening. We are setting up an account with this gift and praying that this is for the soon to be expenses to get him here. The timing is very interesting.

Mr. Lyston Peebles is very much on the same journey to care for the orphans and he has a lot of connections. As we shared our testimony and mentioned names and events, he was astonished at how every person we named was a personal friend of his. He is on the board of Crown Financial Ministries and Howard Dayton is one of his best friends. Our testimony was aired on their November radio program and we met Howard at the Christian Alliance for the Orphan conference we attended in May. Ryan & Abby Brown lived in his house when they first arrived in ET as well! He is also going to hook us up with one of his dearest friends, Tom Davis, author of Fields of the Fatherless and Red Letters. He gave us a signed copy of this book at the meeting and told us we have to meet with him. They are both on their way to Russia this week for more orphan care.

So, all of this has been happening in addition to my already very busy life of a homeschooling mother of 6, and a grandma too! I honestly don't know where this is all going to lead, I am praying with everything in me that Solomon and Habtamu will get into this program as well as Getahun. My friend Shelly unofficially adopted him when she too visited Kolfe. This new adventure is being totally orchestrated by the LORD and we are waiting with great anticipation to see what will come next. Mr. Peebles told me he plans to bring several Ethiopian students throughout the USA and he is desperately looking for HOST FAMILIES!! So, would you please join us in prayer and see if this is something you can help with? I told him I would put the word out and try to help raise up Godly families that will take these students in. Please see HERE to get more information on this program and please contact me, or them directly if you are interested. And in the meantime, STAY TUNED AS WE EMBARK ON THIS NEW ADVENTURE AND WATCH THE LORD AT WORK!!!!

Sunday, August 31, 2008


How cute are they?!We are in a co-op group with several other home school families that now meets every Friday. This is our second year using Tapestry of Grace curriculum and we are loving it. Ellie is in the 10th grade class with some of her friends that were in her preschool coop class. It is wonderful to have such good friends that are still making memories and studying together. The boys are in a Kindergarten class and the girls are in a nursery class. Fridays are extremely busy for us now.

I have been absolutely amazed at just how much the children have learned in this past year. With all of the adoption mania that has taken place over the last year I was afraid the boys were not getting enough time, attention and schooling. But yet again, the Lord has shown himself so faithful. They have learned so much in the little bits and pieces that I was squeezing in here and there. They know the alphabet, they are writing, they are beginning to spell and read already. Even Josiah is speaking English so much better and communicating so well.He knows all the colors, counting, alphabet, and just about everything the boys are doing. He is right on their level. They all have worked a lot on their drawing, coloring, cutting, pasting, painting, and overall artistic abilities all summer. They are all budding artists. Our house is plastered with art work in every room! We also did a lot of music and dancing this summer. We read lots of books and hunted for lightning bugs every night for the month of June. We rode bikes, played out in the rain, went to Myrtle & Wilmington Beach, and took a road trip to Tennessee. We had relatives from out of town stay with us and we had a wonderful time. This was our first summer with our new three additions and they loved swimming in the pool. Josiah is a fish!

We have had a wonderful summer of fun, laughter, some sorrow, some trials,lots of sweet fellowship and lots of Popsicles. It was too hot to be outside very much so we spent a lot of time in the AC and with each other. The three boys are inseparable and the girls are wanting to do everything they do as well. It's changing from a threesome to a fivesome! We are blessed more than we deserve!

Red Letters - Tom Davis Video

Please click here to learn more about this ministry.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Focus On The Family & Steven Curtis Chapman

Focus on the Family Interview to Air

Tune in and receive a blessing as Steven Shares their journey of faith through this tragedy.

(This post is from Jim Houser, Assistant to SCC)
I'm told by stellar producer Jacci at Focus on the Family that the interview with Steven and Dr. James Dobson is planned to air over three days this week, August 25 - 27, Monday - Wednesday. Here is the link to listen to the program.

This means that practically every word of the compelling conversation will air. And you will not want to miss it. Dr. Dobson isn't in the Broadcasting Hall of Fame because he doesn't know how to use a microphone : ) Dr. Dobson is a tremendous interviewer, and gave Steven the time he needed to expound on stories you may have heard portions of (on GMA, Larry King or in People Magazine) previously. He also allowed Steven time to tell some of the experiences you haven't yet heard yet. He's been a strong friend to the Chapmans through this difficult time.

Additionally, listen on August 22nd, tomorrow, for a re-air of a conversation the Chapmans had with Dr. Dobson a few years back on adoption and Shaohannah's Hope.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Larry King's Response to the Chapman's Interview

I have attached the "ABOUT LAST NIGHT" comment by Larry King after he interviewed Steven Curtis Chapman and his family a couple of weeks ago. It is so encouraging and testifies to the importance of us "SPEAKING OUT LOUD" and sharing our faith even in the midst of trails. Too often we are quiet out of fear of judgement, shame, or for believing lies from the evil one. The Lord has spoken to me about how HIS people have eyes to see, but they don't see me, they have ears to hear, but they don't hear me, and they lack faith to do my will. This is such a testimony to what the LORD can do when we trust him in the midst of a trial and choose to be humble & transparent yet speak out loud and testify to HIS work and HIS plan not ours!

I encourage you to watch the 90 second video which was recorded after the Chapman interview which can be accessed by clicking here.

Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Today's letter from Solomon and Another Update

Hello my dear mom,

Mom, How are you? I told Aschalew about you and I given to him your picture. He likes you very much. I told him everything you did for me. He said that " I can't wait to see your mom she is really good". yes you are really good mom. You are special gift for me from God. I don't want to lose you any more. That is my always prayer.

Mom, God met us for a reason so, I am sure I live with you one day but it takes a time.

I asked Habtamu if he would be interested to come there. His answer is yes. He is very happy about that to live with you. He finished his exam 2 weeks ago. So now he spent his time in the campus.

In Ethiopia this time it is winter so, it is very cold. I slept to my bed and thinks about you. I cry to God, you put me with her why don't you show me your miracle? I want to live with my mom. I know that God listen me also I know one day this comes to be true . Until then your picture and love with me. I will talk to you soon mom!!!!!

your son Solomon,
to my dear mom Eileen


Friday afternoon Melissa, baby Vaden and I drove to Asheville, NC to the Biltmore Estate to see Steven Curtis Chapman in Concert and to visit with Ellie and the girls who went to China with Shaohannah's Hope. While driving, Melissa received a phone call from a client for whom she is doing photography work. While she was talking to him, I heard the little voice say, "Take the phone and talk to him about Solomon, he may be able to help you." So, I did! Here is how the conversation went:

"Hello Justin, my name is Eileen and I understand you are in the business of networking different Christian organizations. Can you tell me what it is you do?" Justin proceeded to explain he is putting together a directory of various ministries in the Raleigh area and he also helps with fundraising for various ministries. He likes to help the prosperous find ways to help the poor.

This seemed to fall into line with where the Lord has taken us, so I shared some of our testimony of adoption and Kolfe, and the recent call I believe the Lord has given us to help get these boys here as exchange students. He responded with, "I just got an email this morning from a man here in Raleigh who is bringing a young man from Ethiopia here as an exchange student and we just found a host family today!!" I immediately got goosebumps and tears in my eyes as I felt like the Lord was right there at work in the car with us!! So, he is now setting up a meeting this week for us to meet and talk about how to bring Solomon and Habtamu here. DO YOU SEE GOD???? Stay tuned as this journey continues!!! And PLEASE PRAY FOR US!!!

Chapman Family Update

The concert with Steven Curtis Chapman was absolutely wonderful. It was a true worship service to the Lord. We were outside, on the lawn of the Biltmore Estate, mountains all around with a beautiful sunset with the sound of SCC praising and singing to the Lord. It was absolutely wonderful. We then had the privilege of visiting with Steven, Will, Caleb and David for about 45 minutes. The Chapman famiy is doing better every day. They are still grieving and asking many questions as to "WHY?" They are totally leaning on the LORD and not their own understanding.
Steven Will and Caleb Chapman

Press Release going to media shortly
Family to Appear on GOOD MORNING AMERICA, LARRY KING LIVE and in PEOPLE magazine

New Single “Yours” goes to radio and DSPs with Additional Verse

NASHVILLE, TN....AUGUST 4, 2008....GRAMMY and Dove Award winning artist Steven Curtis Chapman, along with his wife Mary Beth, and eldest children Emily, Caleb, and Will, will soon be opening their hearts to America about the loss of their daughter and sister Maria Chapman this past May 21st. GOOD MORNING AMERICA will air a special interview with Robin Roberts from The Chapman’s home in Franklin on August 6th, followed by a live interview from Los Angeles on LARRY KING LIVE on August 7th, and an extensive feature in an upcoming issue of PEOPLE magazine. The decision to speak publicly was not an easy one, and these will be the first interviews the family has participated in since Maria’s death.

“Initially Steven talked about never doing any concerts or media ever again,” comments Jim Houser, Chapman’s manager. “But quickly God began to show Steven that if he ever believed the songs he was writing, singing and recording before May 21st and Maria’s loss, that they must still be true now. It’s the family’s hope that these appearances with serve as a chance to proclaim to a watching world what they know and are deeply convinced of even in these difficult days, the Gospel is true and faith in Christ is our Hope.”

As a part of the family’s acknowledgement of the tragedy and God’s faithfulness to them through this difficult time, Chapman has also written a new verse to his song "Yours" from his current project, “THIS MOMENT”:

I’ve walked the valley of death’s shadow
So deep and dark that I could barely breathe
I’ve had to let go of more than I could bear
And questioned everything that I believe
But still even here
in this great darkness
A comfort and hope come breaking through
As I can say in life or death
God we belong to you.

“Yours” is the follow-up single to his hit “Cinderella,” a song written about Maria and her sisters, for which Chapman is also now changing the poignant last line in life performance to “’Cause all too soon the clock will strike midnight/But the truth is... The dance goes on.” “Yours” will be available for purchase via digital service providers including iTunes ®, Amazon, Rhapsody, Napster, etc. as of August 5th, with 100% of Chapman’s royalties from the sales of this single being donated to Shaohannah’s Hope. Producer Matt Bronlewee and co-writer on “Yours” Jonas Myrin have also joined the effort with 100% of their royalties from the single going to Shaohannah’s Hope, and additionally monies received by Sparrow records from the sales of this single, after deduction of expenses and royalties, will be donated to Shaohannah’s Hope. Shaohannah’s Hope is a 501C(3) organization whose goal is to help families reduce the financial barrier of adoption, and as of July 2008 has provided grants to over 1700 families wishing to adopt orphans in the United States and around the world. For more details on Maria’s Miracle Fund and Shaohannah’s Hope, please visit And Please keep the Chapmans in your prayers too!!!

Steven & David with my grandson Vaden and top photo with Ellie and the girls that went to China with her.

The beautiful Sunset at the Biltmore