Saturday, January 30, 2010

They are not alone ... and they are not forgotten!








Every child at Kind Hearts care-point in Ethiopia has now been matched with a sponsor!!!

These kids can now rely on two nutritious meals every day - along with clothing, medical care, education and Christian discipleship. Now that their basic needs are being met - these children will treasure the relationship they have with a family here in the U.S. that loves them, cares for them and prays for them. They will come to know that they are not alone - and they are not forgotten.

Now that the word is getting out that Kind Hearts is a safe place where food is abundant, and so is love ... more children will begin enrolling at Kind Hearts. The local government, called a "Kebele", keeps track of the neediest and most destitue children in the area, and will begin assigning more children to Kind Hearts.

Kind Hearts currently has capacity for 110 children - and as more children begin coming to Kind Hearts, I will be seeking more sponsors. If you are interested in sponsoring a child at Kind Hearts, please send me an email at kjwistrom@yahoo.com and I will contact you as soon as more children are available for sponsorship.


THANK YOU on behalf of the kids at Kind Hearts - to all the amazing sponsor families who have come alongside these children on the other side of the world! Your committment of $34 each month provides all the essentials ... and perhaps most importantly, you are providing HOPE!

Friday, January 29, 2010

2 Little Boys Need a Sponsor!!


Yesterday there were 5 children needing a sponsor ... and today there are 2.

66 children at Kind Hearts have now been matched with a sponsor and there are 2 little boys, named Besu and Erymias, still waiting for a sponsor family. Please contact me at kjwistrom@yahoo.com to sponsor one of these boys. Your $34/month ensures food, clothing, medical care, education and Christian discipleship for your sponsor child - and through your letters, your sponsor child learns that they are loved and valued and not forgotten.

If your heart has been tugging at you about these kids ... maybe there is a reason. Trust me, it will turn out to be just as much of a blessing for you as it is for the kids. Perhaps even more ...

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Only 5 More Children Need a Sponsor!!


Of the 68 children that come to Kind Hearts every day, 63 have been matched with a sponsor!!! We still have 5 kids that need to be matched with a sponsor!

If you have been considering sponsorship - please contact me. Take the step that will change the life of a child. Your commitment of $34/month ensures that your sponsor child gets 2 nutritious meals every day, as well as clothing, education, medical care and Christian discipleship. The Hopechest team in Ethiopia spends time with the kids every week - in both group settings and one-on-one.

We have been getting regular updates from Kind Hearts and the sponsorship program is already impacting the children. We've even had one sponsor already visit the Kind Hearts Kids in Ethiopia! And we now have BOTH teachers "sponsored", to ensure they get a monthly salary for the care and valuable education they provide for our kids. Contact me at kjwistrom@yahoo.com to be matched with one of the 5 kids that still need a sponsor.

(The photo above was taken last week at Kind Hearts, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.)


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

"Kind Hearts" Kids Can Count On Food EVERY DAY!!!

Tsehaynesh (above) is still waiting for a sponsor family.




These three boys (above) have all been matched with sponsor families!!



Of the 68 children that are now coming to "Kind Hearts" every day, we have 54 of them matched with sponsors and the children are already starting to feel the impact as nutritious meals are now available EVERY DAY!!! (14 children are still waiting for a sponsor!!) What a difference from one month ago when our team arrived and these kids were too hungry and lethargic to react.

As we noticed their blank looks and lack of excitement, we asked if they had eaten recently. "We are only able to feed the children on Wednesdays," we were told. Kind Hearts was able to provide a safe place and a basic education, but they could only provide a meal of rice one day each week. Other than that, the children came to school hungry, ate no lunch, and hoped to have a little something in their belly before they fell asleep at night.

I did find out that funds have been so short, that the two teachers/caregivers on staff have not been paid in the last 2 months - and of course, they have families to provide for as well. Hopechest stepped into the gap to pay the staff last month, but going forward, I'd like to find a few families that would be interested in "sponsoring" the teachers. We all know how important teachers are for these kids ... education is the difference between a life of opportunity or a life trapped in grinding poverty.

The teacher's salaries are only $57.50 each per month ($115/month for both). If anyone is interested in sponsoring one or both teachers - or if several people would like to "sponsor" a portion (for example, 6 people each contributing $20/month), please contact me at kjwistrom@yahoo.com. I would love to have teachers here, come alongside the teachers in Ethiopia - and I know the teachers would love to receive letters and suggestions from you. I will post pictures of the two teachers as soon as I have photos.

There are still 14 children at Kind Hearts waiting for a sponsor family - waiting for YOU. Contact me at kjwistrom@yahoo.com if you want to be matched with one of these sweet kids. Your $34/month contribution will ensure 2 nutritious meals every day, education, clothing, medical care and Christian discipleship. And your letters will teach them how much they are loved and valued!

We still have a lot of work to do at Kind Hearts as we begin to focus on some of the capital projects and improvements that will help Kind Hearts become more self-sufficient and be able to provide micro-business opportunities for destitute women (and some of the widowed mothers of the kids at Kind Hearts). With 10 acres of land, the Kind Hearts team is looking into opportunties for using the land to generate income through farming and gardening, chicken farming, and other small business opportunities. As these opportunities are developed, I will post about them here.

The other need is a bridge for a nearby river that many of the children have to cross in order to get to school. This river happens to be polluted by textile mills further upstream that dump chemicals directly into the water. I was there - and I have never been so choked by toxic fumes than when I stood at the edge of that river. (See satellite image below for a map of the property showing the grounds and the location of the river.)




We had to pull our shirts up over our noses and stumble backward, away from the river, in order to catch our breath. Most of the children need to cross that river in order to get to school - and they get sick or they get infected cuts and sores when they touch the water. In the dry season, its relatively easy to cross the river on the stones, but in the rainy season, they must wade through the water. (I would not let my children within 100 yards of that river - and yet our Kind Hearts kids have to cross it in order to get to school.)

We are currently getting bids and investigating permits in order to build a bridge over that river. The director of the school is also seeking assistance from the government to stop the pollution of the river, but that is a longer process.

I will continue to post updates about Kind Hearts - so please stop back often for an update on the kids and the progress at Kind Hearts in Ethiopia!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

"KIND HEARTS" KIDS ARE BEING MATCHED WITH SPONSORS!!!!



The children pictured above are just a few of the precious kids that have not yet been matched with a sponsor family.


Profiles on each of the kids at Kind Hearts care-point in Ethiopia are here and we are matching children with their sponsor families!!! I have contacted all committed sponsors by email (about 40 kids have already been matched with a family and sponsors have the information) - so if you are a committed sponsor, please check your email and contact me right away at kjwistrom@yahoo.com


If you are still considering sponsorship, please email me with any questions.


Just to give you a small glimpse of what has been happening today ...

The children pictured below have been matched with a sponsor family. Within the next month, the kids at Kind Hearts care-point in Ethiopia will no longer wonder if they will have a meal that day. They will no longer go to bed hungry. No longer linger with a cough that turns into pneumonia, with no doctor or medicine to help them recover. No longer dream about going to school so they can have a chance to get out of the poverty they were born into. No longer wonder if anyone in the world loves them or cares for them enough to reach out a hand and demonstrate it ....



Dokimes (above) has lost both parents, but he now has a sponsor family in America (sponsored by J & B).



Megertu (above) is also a double-orphan, meaning she has lost both parents, and now has a sponsor family (sponsored by J & G).



Mekdies (above) is a single-orphan (has lost one parent) and now has a sponsor family (sponsored by K & J).



Temesgen (above) is living with relatives in extreme poverty and now has a sponsor family (sponsored by A & V).


Habitamu (above) is living with relatives but because of extreme poverty, they are unable to provide for him. He now has a sponsor family in America (sponsored by K & B).



And this sweet child (above), who became my little shadow when I visited Kind Hearts last month, is being sponsored by my family. I thought Mulunesh was a little boy because of the closely cropped hair (due to lice) only to discover that SHE is a precious little girl. She has lost one of her parents, but now she has a family in America to come alongside her and her parent.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

TWO MORE KIDS HAVE SPONSORS!!!!



Great News!!! Two more kids have committed sponsors! We now have 43 children with sponsors - 13 KIDS STILL NEED SPONSORS!! I will have the biographical information and photos of each child TOMORROW and will begin contacting committed sponsors over the weekend and early next week to match you with a child.

YOU can make an amazing difference in the life of these kids!! If you would like to sponsor one of the kids at "Kind Hearts" care-point in Ethiopia, read through earlier blogposts for all the details and photos, and contact me at kjwistrom@yahoo.com.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

ONE more child sponsored!!!

Today - we have one more child that has a committed sponsor! And two other people have contacted me to inquire about sponsorship! 41 children with sponsors! 15 children at Kind Hearts care-point still needing sponsors!

I will have profile packets for each child on Friday and will be contacting all committed sponsors over the weekend to match you with your child! If you are interested in sponsorship - please read a few previous blog posts for information and contact me at kjwistrom@yahoo.com. THANK YOU on behalf of all the kids at Kind Hearts!!!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Meet the Hopechest Ethiopia team!!

Now that we are just a few days away from having the profile information on each of the children at "Kind Hearts", I want to introduce you to the Hopechest Ethiopia staff - some very special people with huge, loving hearts for the kids they work with in Ethiopia.

This is the group that travelled with us, translated for us, stayed up til the wee hours of the morning with us, worked hard with us, cried, laughed and prayed with us -and then saw us off at the airport with tears and hugs, looking forward to the day we see each other again in Ethiopia.

From left to right: Fikre, Adey, Zelalem, Eyerusalem, Peter.

Peter is the Ethiopia Program Director for Hopechest. Peter was a sponsor child with World Vision when he was young and he has grown into an educated, compassionate, intelligent, Godly man, dedicating his life to helping the orphaned and impoverished children in his country. He is soft-spoken and thoughtful and when he speaks, it is with wisdom and careful thought and you cannot help but listen attentively and be moved to action. How many children will he come into contact with that will now have the opportunity to grow up and become a leader like him?

Fikre and Eyerusalem are disciplers for Hopechest. This is the young man and woman that work with the kids at Kind Heart every week - loving them, encouraging them, setting an example for them, telling them Bible stories and demonstrating God's love for them.

Adey is the intelligent young woman who interviews each child in order to write their biography for the sponsor packets and profiles. She is also the translator for your letters and communications to the children.

Zelalem is the accountant and is responsible for making sure every sponsor dollar is accounted for and spent wisely and responsibly for the care of the children. He is also a solid man of integrity, who was an outstanding translator, and an amazing advocate for the children.

I count each of these men and women as close friends - as we spent an amazing, grueling, heart-wrenching and joyful 10 days together in Ethiopia - working hard, shoulder to shoulder, to develop sponsor programs for about a dozen different care-points.

Our specific care-point, "Kind Hearts", will be getting the sponsor packets at the end of this week - and I will be in touch immediately with each of the committed sponsors to match you with your child. Right now - we have 40 committed sponsors for the 56 kids at Kind Hearts (16 kids still needing a sponsor - please contact me at kjwistrom@yahoo.com if you are interested in sponsorship, $34/month ensures a child has food, clothing, medical care, education and Christian discipleship - and a hope-filled future). Kind Hearts has capacity for about 110 children, and I am sure that once the kids begin getting nutritious meals every day, we will begin to see an immediate increase in the number of children being served at Kind Hearts.

Friday, January 1, 2010

EIGHT more kids have sponsors!!!

*Edited: Upated January 5, pm: EIGHT more families have committed to sponsorship!!! We now have 40 families committed to the 56 kids at Kind Hearts care-point in Ethiopia. 16 precious kids still need a sponsor.

The profiles and pictures of each of the kids are complete, and I should have the packets in my hands later this week. As soon as I have the profile packets, I will be contacting each of the families who have committed to sponsoring a child.

For information about sponsorship - and to see photos of some of the sweet kids at Kind Hearts, see the blog post below. Contact me at
kjwistrom@yahoo.com if you would like to sponsor one of these kids!!!