Monday, September 23, 2013

Becoming A Mission Minded Family

I've just finished reading a book called "Awake: Changing the World One Person At A Time". It was a beautifully written book about world missions that left me in tears at the turn of nearly every other page. My heart would get worked up and my insides just in knots because I knew EXACTLY what the author was describing and talking about. Here is an excerpt that hasn't left my mind since reading it because it it so very true:
"You can change the channel when you see a starving child commercial but God knows that child intimately. A Father, who every day, has to watch his children die all alone in a little mud hut with no one to even cry over them."

Before we ever left for Ethiopia in June, God began impressing on my heart that there was something bigger for me. Something was going to happen in my heart there. I didn't know what it would be, but found myself just trusting Him and His promise of great plans for my future. I knew that as much as He was burdening my heart for a country that I had never stepped foot in that He was beginning a great work in me that only He would be able to do. While I loved my entire time in country and my heart felt at home amongst the Ethiopian people, I knew exactly where God wanted me to work my ministry within the country when we visited Entoto Mountain and Korah. I haven't gone in to great detail about either of these places so let me share about each of them with you. 

Entoto Mountain: 
* lies north of Addis Ababa (the capitol of ET) in the Oromia Region
* approximately 4000 people reside on Entoto Mountain
* many people who are HIV positive are outcasts and come to Entoto where St. Mary's church is. This church is well known for its  "holy water". The people come here hoping that the water can heal them
* Over 60% of Ethiopia is Christian Orthodox meaning that they do not know about Jesus as the Savior.  
* The government provides free antiretroviral medications but it has to be taken with food or not taken at all. This is the problem!!! There is a HUGE lack of food...and not just food, but also shelter and clean water.
* the women of Entoto carry huge loads of Eucalyptus branches down the mountain everyday on their backs for about $1/day. This is enough money to feed one child 1 meal. So who in the family eats?!? How do you choose which child? And how does the mom keep her energy to work if she isn't eating? Much less to pay rent and other expenses...
* The homes in Entoto are basically mud hut "complexes". 
* Tuberculosis is also a health risk on Entoto Mountain

So that is a brief glimpse into the living conditions in Entoto. It is a community of "outcasts" for lack of better terms. It is a community of people whom I have no doubt that if Jesus were physically here today, he would have gone to visit in a split second. Where their fellow country-men see them as outcasts in society, Jesus sees them as precious in His sight. He grieves over every single one of them just like he grieves over every single one of us. These people need help. Honestly, they need everything... it can be overwhelming at times (like now when I am stopping to really sit and think through it all). BUT, what they need the most is love. Simply love. They need to know that someone loves them, cares for them, and will fight for them. They need to know that they are worth it. 
"Faith in Jesus Christ that is not aligned with the poor...it's nothing." - Bono

Since arriving home, God has been relentless in His quest for "more" with me. I have been blessed to be able to help put together a child sponsorship program through Ordinary Hero for the children of Entoto Mountain. I have about 150 kids total that need sponsored and I know that God has the perfect sponsor chosen for each child. If you would like more information on 
becoming a sponsor you can email me at KBlevins@ordinaryhero.org
You can also check out the Facebook page called "Endinhew's Hope" where every Friday we do a Featured Child from the Entoto Mountain child sponsorship page. Click HERE to check it out. Also, Wednesdays are when we feature the women of Entoto and you can choose to sponsor a woman if you would rather do that.
"If I look at the mass I will never act. If I look at the one, I will." - Mother Teresa

Also, David and I are leading a trip back to Ethiopia next June where we are planning to focus most of our time in Korah, Entoto, and with the Hope for the Hopeless ministry. We cannot wait to get back and I am even hoping to make it over twice next year. We know that our family has been called to serve Ethiopia for years to come...as in our children too. We will be involving them in mission work there starting probably in 2015. It has become very common talk in our home. Heck, Brody even came home from preschool the other day and had colored a picture of a little boy with dark brown skin and when I asked him to tell me about it he told me very proudly that he made the little boy in the picture be from Ethiopia. My heart about 
melted!!! 
"Does it not stir up our hearts, to go forth and help them...to leave our luxury, our exceeding abundant light and go to them that sit in darkness?" - Amy Carmichael

Several people have asked me why international missions? Why Ethiopia? Why Entoto Mountain?  The truthful answer is we are being obedient to God and we have chosen to follow Him and not man or man's desire for our lives. I encourage everyone to follow where God leads you and if that happens to be in your own neighborhood, city, state, or country then that's awesome. Serve there! But wherever it is, just be willing to serve.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Make A Difference. Be The Difference.

All over America, there have been back to school talks consisting of: school shopping, notebooks vs composition books, markers vs sharpies, crayons vs colored pencils, teacher assignments, and the newest trends this year. I've read (and written) my own blogs about kids going back to school. I have enjoyed getting back into the routine of car circle, PTO volunteering, classroom volunteering, lunch with the kids, etc...

HOWEVER....there are some places, that school doesn't quite go like this. There are some places where kids can't go to school unless there is money to be able to buy the supplies and uniforms. The one place I am talking about in particular is Entoto Mountain, Ethiopia.

In ten days, the children of Entoto Mountain, are supposed to start school. But, instead of wondering who their teacher will be, or if their friends will be in their class, they are wondering IF they will even be able to attend school.  You see, without uniforms and school supplies, they are not allowed to go. Can you imagine being told that your child can't go to school because you can't afford supplies? You can't picture that because that doesn't happen in America! It's taken care of here and all kids go to school. Our children are blessed with an education because of where they were born, but why can't we bless the children who aren't that lucky? Well, we can! I can, and you can. But will you?

For the entire school year, it will cost $2000 to be able to send all of the children to school, purchase uniforms and pay for the supplies. BUT, since we are in such a time crunch (school starts in 10 days) I am begging you guys to give what you can and help me raise $1000 for these kids in the next 10 days. I know, I know, it may sound like a lofty goal, but my God is big, and He can get these kids even more than that. So, let's aim for $1000 and believe for even more. While we are at it, let's commit to praying Ephesians 3:20 while we see what God does in 10
days.

Here is the link (it is through Ordinary Hero- who we traveled with) that you can click on to give ENTOTO MOUNTAIN SCHOOL. In the message section, type "Entoto Mountain School". If you give, please send me an email letting me know so that I can keep track of how much we raise in the next 10 days. My email address is kellyblevins04@yahoo.com