Tuesday, June 29, 2010

A Wheelchair for Ephrem

On Sunday, our Zeway trip team had a conference call to discuss trip logistics as we prepare to leave on July 5. As we discussed luggage, Matt Kouri briefly mentioned we might have the opportunity to fly over a wheelchair for Ephrem, who several from our team met and prayed with last summer while in Ethiopia. Ephrem is on staff with Food for the Hungry (FH) and was severely injured in an automobile accident in Ethiopia a couple years ago.

God reminded me of an acquaintance I met through the adoption blogging community a few years ago while we were in process to adopt our son, Zane, from Ethiopia. Knowing it was a long shot, especially given our very short timeframe (2 weeks!), I emailed Drew and Carey in California. On Monday I heard back from Drew who graciously agreed to help and get in touch with a couple different organizations. By Tuesday Drew emailed saying an organization offered to give Ephrem a wheelchair. We were hoping to find a wheelchair with arms that lowered, making it easier for Ephrem to get in/out of bed from his chair and this particular wheelchair did not have this functionality. However, we felt like anything would be an improvement.

And then came Wednesday. Drew shared Ephrem's story with UCP Wheels for Humanity and they agreed to CUSTOM BUILD a wheelchair for Ephrem, with arms that lowered!! They felt like if we could move quickly, providing photos of Ephrem and various measurements, they could get the wheelchair to me in time. WOW!

God is good, abundantly good!

John Connelly, the FH country director in Ethiopia and his wife, Janice, worked quickly to gather the needed information and on Thursday it was emailed to Drew. Yesterday morning I received an email from Drew asking if we had been able to get the requested info yet. I frantically looked back through my email, knowing I had seen the information zip through my Inbox on Thursday....only to find Drew's email address had a typo. Ugh. My heart sank. I quickly forwarded the info to Drew, explaining the glitch and praying God would provide abundant time to the generous person who would need to build Ephrem's wheelchair.

Monday afternoon - that's right, I typed MONDAY afternoon, the very same day...I received an email from Drew with photos of a gleaming, beautiful, made-for- Ephrem wheelchair completed! Amazingly, UCP Wheels for Humanity had the exact parts needed in stock, and was very kind to quickly put it together. Drew had it packed and mailed the same day.

I awoke this morning to this photo of Ephrem below, minutes after being told about his wheelchair and seeing photos. I think the smile on his face speaks for itself.

God's love is abundant. He has knit together friends, strangers, and acquaintances to bring Ephrem a wheelchair. God did not need me, or any of us, to show His love in this tangible way to Ephrem - but He generously allowed us to play a very tiny part so He could share His joy with us and to bring Him glory.

I can't wait to see what God has in store for us in Ethiopia next week!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Wonderful and heart-wrenching Zeway updates!

Friends of the Zeway Orphan Partnership,

We have received our quarterly report from Dawit and his team in Zeway, and we needed to share some of the highlights with you. Please read them to see how God is moving mightily and how you can specifically pray to Him for these orphans.

Important Updates and Praises:

  • 47 orphans are currently fully covered by the program and more are being added, with a broad census of the region to occur next quarter.
  • Housing was provided to 10 of them including Ibsa and Cherenet.
  • 5 new missionaries (called “holistic transformational development agents”!) we are funding received 15 days of training and were sent into rural areas around Zeway.
  • 46 local community leaders (see picture below) were trained on the needs of the orphan-led household, after which participants pledged to help identify and support these orphans.
  • The Zeway social workers held a special day of prayer for Grace Covenant Church after Dawit returned from Austin.
  • Our mission team of 5 (John and Dawn Patterson, Heather Bauer, Matt Kouri, and Rachael Moise from Austin Stone) is almost ready to go to Zeway for 10 days on July 5th. Praise God for providing the funds we needed! Please pray for our continued preparation.

CBO Orphan Training

Specific Prayer Requests:

  • Lidia, a 12-year old, recently got very sick and when FH went to take her to the hospital, she refused and said she wanted to stay home and die. She has become hopeless and needs the hope only Christ can provide.
  • 7 of the 47 children are regularly attending a Christian church (praise God for that); please pray for the other 40, most of whom are Muslim.
  • Ibsa is still lonely and somewhat hopeless in that he lives alone still.
  • Cherenet’s sister Kidist lives in the country as a laborer and he is concerned with her and wants to be reunited.
  • Amanu and Muktar both need new homes.
  • Pray for the older girls in the program who seem to be seeking unhealthy relationships as their way out.

Trusting in Him,

The Zeway Action Team