Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Making a big difference in the life of a child ...























At "Kind Hearts" care-point in Ethiopia, we have gotten to know 56 children who NEED the love, encouragement and family-connection of a sponsor. $34 per month ensures that a desperately poor and hungry child will have two nutritious meals every day, along with other basic needs of clothing, medical care, education and Christian discipleship. Adey (one of the Hopechest staffers in Ethiopia) has completed the profiles and pictures of each of the children and we will hopefully have that information in our hands next week.

I will immediately contact each of the 32 families that have committed to sponsorship so far - to match you with your child!!! I am so excited to see the transformation at this care-point and among these children when they know they can regularly rely on basic needs being met. And that is only the beginning - as these kids learn what it is like to have the love, support and encouragement of a family (sponsor).

The photos above are just a few of the children at "Kind Hearts". Some of them are single orphans (they have lost one parent), some of them are double orphans (they have lost both parents). Adey, with Hopechest, talks with each child personally as well as their caretaker/teacher and any family members to find out as much as possible about each child, and that information is included in the "profile" along with a picture. Once you are matched with your sponsor child, you will register with Hopechest through their website and you can immediately send a letter and pictures to your sponsored child to introduce yourself and your family. They will absolutely treasure the letters and pictures you send.

If you are interested in sponsoring one of these precious kids, please email me at kjwistrom@yahoo.com. For those of you that have already committed to sponsoring a child (32 families as of tonight!!), I will contact you as soon as I have the profiles!! :)

Monday, December 21, 2009

What do they want for Christmas????

Because the kids at Kind Heart care-point in Ethiopia are always on my mind (especially right now as my own family is preparing to celebrate Christmas and my 4 kids are bursting with anticipation about what they will be getting for Christmas) I am re-posting this blog until after Christmas so they will be at the fore-front of my mind. Two years in a row now, within weeks of the holidays, we have been in Ethiopia, looking into the eyes of children who truly and desperately NEED.

I'm proud of my daughters, for how they have internalized what they experienced in Ethiopia last year - and who encouraged me with their sweet facebook emails while I was in Ethiopia without them this year. It's at the forefront of their minds too - yes, they are talking about the latest texting cell phones and wanting the trendy fashions from Aeropostale and Hollister ... but they also weigh everything against ... "how many kids in Ethiopia this would feed."

The Hopechest team in Ethiopia is still working to compile accurate information on each of the 56 children at Kind Hearts care-point, and we may not get the profiles until after Christmas. Right now we have 31 families that have committed to sponsoring 31 of these children - and we still need sponsors to step forward for 25 more kids. For $34 a month, YOU can ensure a child has food, clothing, medical care, education and Christian discipleship ... but what is most important to them is the ongoing relationship they will have with YOU.









Look closely at the photos above and you see broken shoes and clothing that is tattered, torn, stained and dirty. The street kids in the photo above, wore the same exact clothing every day that I saw them (3 days). I'm sure they don't have a change of clothes waiting for them somewhere. What they have - they wear.

And yet what these children consistently wanted the most was ... pencils and paper. Over and over, we were asked for pencils or notebooks ... the tools they need for school. Why? Because they know that school is a stepping-stone out of poverty.




Yes, there are other critical needs. And when we asked what the most desperate needs were, we got the same answer over and over. 100% of the time the answer was simply ... Food. And as one care-point director explained, "The children cannot learn, they cannot concentrate, when they are starving."

When you choose to sponsor a child ... you are ensuring that their basic needs are met. Food. Clothing. Medical care. And then the education they seek and long for, can truly be attained.

The other unspoken need was this ... FAMILY. Over and over, the kids would slowly warm-up to us, and then little hands would tug on mine, and kisses would shower my arms and wrists. Pretty soon, little bodies would slip into my lap, and they would take my arms and wrap them around them, as tight as possible.

And then they want you to know their name. They would run away for a second and then slip back and ask if you still know their name. They just want someone to ... know their name. Because their name is their identity .. and maybe, just maybe you won't forget about them. You'll think about them by name, and pray for them by name, and look at pictures of them and remember them by name, and love them ... by name.




This is Ababu. A street child who made sure that I knew his name. He entwined his fingers in mine and claimed me. And then when he saw a picture of my family ... with my two little Ethiopian sons, he pointed to them with surprise and I said "Yes, they are mine". And he smiled and hugged the picture to his chest and called me "mother".

And yes, I think he dared to dream about a family. I left him with that picture - and I think about him by name, and pray for him by name. And he has a family in Minnesota now because he adopted us. And I know that next year, when Jay is in Ethiopia, Ababu will recognize him from the picture and he will materialize from a crowd of people in the post office area and call him "father".

Adoption and sponsorship are two different things and yet they are similar. Because if a child knows he is loved and valued ... and known by name, even by a family on the other side of the world. Then he knows there is hope and love and opportunity in his future - but most importantly ... hope.

The 56 kids at "Kind Hearts" care-point are hopeful about their future right now too. Something is noticeably different than it was a week or two ago when they got one meal of rice on Wednesdays. We left them with enough nutritious and flavorful food for the next 30-45 days - enough to bridge the gap until each of them are sponsored, and can rely on food every day.


They also sense hope and excitement in their teachers and care-givers, as they look forward to the fulfillment of the promise we made to them. That we would come alongside them, and help them care for and love these kids through sponsorship. As of tonight, 31 of these kids have a committed sponsor - and as soon as we get the profile packets, I will contact each of those sponsors to match them with their child. We still have 25 precious children to match with a family. Is it YOU?!?!?!

Facebook me or email me at kjwistrom@yahoo.com

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Update - 30 Kids Sponsored So Far!!!!

Just a quick update ... since my last post, 4 more families have contacted me about sponsorship!!!! I am so excited for the kids at Kind Heart - they have no idea the blessings and opportunities they are about to receive, because of YOU!!!!

We now have committed sponsors for 30 kids, with 26 kids still needing sponsors. I will have profiles on each of the children, possibly sometime next week!!! And I will then immediately contact each of you that have committed to sponsorship, so we can review the information about each child and match you with your sponsor child!!!

I am out of town until Sunday (I'm in Florida completing a beautiful interior design project!), so if I am slow to respond to emails, know that I will get in touch with you as soon as I can.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

What do they want for Christmas????




Look closely at the photos above and you see broken shoes and clothing that is tattered, torn, stained and dirty. The street kids in the photo above, wore the same exact clothing every day that I saw them (3 days). I'm sure they don't have a change of clothes waiting for them somewhere. What they have - they wear.

And yet what these children consistently wanted the most was ... pencils and paper. Over and over, we were asked for pencils or notebooks ... the tools they need for school. Why? Because they know that school is a stepping-stone out of poverty.



Yes, there are other critical needs. And when we asked what the most desperate needs were, we got the same answer over and over. 100% of the time the answer was simply ... Food. And as one care-point director explained, "The children cannot learn, they cannot concentrate, when they are starving."

When you choose to sponsor a child ... you are ensuring that their basic needs are met. Food. Clothing. Medical care. And then the education they seek and long for, can truly be attained.

The other unspoken need was this ... FAMILY. Over and over, the kids would slowly warm-up to us, and then little hands would tug on mine, and kisses would shower my arms and wrists. Pretty soon, little bodies would slip into my lap, and they would take my arms and wrap them around them, as tight as possible.

And then they want you to know their name. They would run away for a second and then slip back and ask if you still know their name. They just want someone to ... know their name. Because their name is their identity .. and maybe, just maybe you won't forget about them. You'll think about them by name, and pray for them by name, and look at pictures of them and remember them by name, and love them ... by name.



This is Ababu. A street child who made sure that I knew his name. He entwined his fingers in mine and claimed me. And then when he saw a picture of my family ... with my two little Ethiopian sons, he pointed to them with surprise and I said "Yes, they are mine". And he smiled and hugged the picture to his chest and called me "mother".

And yes, I think he dared to dream about a family. I left him with that picture - and I think about him by name, and pray for him by name. And he has a family in Minnesota now because he adopted us. And I know that next year, when Jay is in Ethiopia, Ababu will recognize him from the picture and he will materialize from a crowd of people in the post office area and call him "father".

Adoption and sponsorship are two different things and yet they are similar. Because if a child knows he is loved and valued ... and known by name, even by a family on the other side of the world. Then he knows there is hope and love and opportunity in his future - but most importantly ... hope.

The 56 kids at "Kind Hearts" care-point are hopeful about their future right now too. Something is noticeably different than it was a week or two ago when they got one meal of rice on Wednesdays. We left them with enough nutritious and flavorful food for the next 30-45 days - enough to bridge the gap until each of them are sponsored, and can rely on food every day.

They also sense hope and excitement in their teachers and care-givers, as they look forward to the fulfillment of the promise we made to them. That we would come alongside them, and help them care for and love these kids through sponsorship. As of tonight, 26 of these kids have a committed sponsor - and as soon as we get the profile packets, I will contact each of those sponsors to match them with their child. We still have 30 precious children to match with a family. Is it YOU?!?!?!

Facebook me or email me at kjwistrom@yahoo.com







Monday, December 14, 2009

Child Profiles Coming Soon ....!

Children's Hopechest is finalizing the profiles on each of the children at "Kind Hearts" carepoint in Ethiopia. We should have profile information on each of the kids by the first week of January (if not sooner)! Everyone that has contacted me about child sponsorship - I will contact you as soon as I have the information. We left this care-point with enough food and funding for about 30-45 days - just enough to bridge the gap until sponsorship. 56 kids at "Kind Hearts" are hopeful about their future because of YOU!

I'd love to give you a quick tour of "Kind Hearts"! Below is the cinder-block building with 4 rooms. Three of them are used as classrooms and the fourth is an office. That container off to the left is potential additional space for a classroom.




Below is a view of the "kitchen". The open door on the left is where an open fire is made on the floor with a large pot for rice or beans. The door on the right is a storage room (empty except for a small bag of rice).


The grounds have a well-used and loved swing-set and teeter-totter. And look at the view!!! There is quite a bit of land that can be planted with small garden plots, used for cattle grazing, planted and harvested with large areas of wheat (tef), an area used for chicken coops, areas to plant seedlings that can be sold to area farmers, and a building with woodworking equipment that can be used to generate income as well as teach a trade to area students. So much potential at this single location if we can start by getting each child sponsored and then working together from there to form micro-businesses for women and older students so they have the opporunity for self-sufficiency.


Here are just a few of the precious kids at "Kind Hearts" awaiting sponsors and looking forward to regular meals (instead of one meal of rice on Wednesdays)!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Home sweet home!

I'm home and recovering from jet lag. Jay and I have spent several hours reviewing the details of each location we visited in Ethiopia, and the potential for sponsorship and other projects. We've also been pouring over the pictures.

Jay and I will be coordinating sponsors for Kind Heart children's home in Addis. There are 56 kids there that need sponsorship immediately so we can guarantee that these kids are getting nutritious meals every day. From there, we will be working directly with the team in Ethiopia to develop other micro-finance programs so that the destitute women in this community (and the mothers of some of the children at Kind Heart) have the opportunity to learn a trade and become more self-sufficient. They desperately want to be able to provide for their families but they just don't have the opportunity. We'll work with Kind Heart to develop those opportunities!!

To each of you who contacted me about sponsorship, I will be contacting you to verify your sponsorship plans and to discuss timing. Would you please talk with your friends, family, neighbors and co-workers about the kids at Kind Heart. We have about 35 families ready to sponsor, and we have 56 kids at Kind Heart. Please contact me today or tomorrow (at kjwistrom@yahoo.com or via facebook) to let me know of others who may be intersted in partnering with Kind Heart. It sounds like we may have profiles on each of the children as early as next week and I would love to be able to say we have all 56 kids sponsored and able to rely on a meal when they come to Kind Heart every day (along with access to health care, education, clothing and christian discipleship)!

I'll be posting more pictures and details from the trip in the coming days. Thank you so much for your prayers, encouragement and support!!!

Monday, December 7, 2009

more photos

If you have been considering sponsorship and you have not told me yet, please email me or facebook me right away.  Situation is desperate and we have 50 kids to feed, if not more.  I've seen them first hand, I've held them and played with them, and I know them by name.  Sponsorship means the difference between starvation ... or not, right now.  Email me at kjwistrom@yahoo.com or facebook me.  I'll get in touch with you when I get home.

The kids at Kind Heart that we fed today, barely had the energy to play.  Those children have a nutritious and tasteful meal in their little tummies tonight ... and for a few more days.  Let's move fast and help these kids .... Ezra and Tigist and Tomasken and the rest.


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more "kind heart" photos




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