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,