Saturday, October 29, 2011

Final Preparations for Ethiopia!

Our team of 26 volunteers will be leaving for Ethiopia in less than 2 weeks!!  And the entire team has been very busy planning lessons for the kids and preparing for the trip. 

At my house, laundry baskets have been filling as the mailman stopped by every day with loads and loads of care-packages that each sponsor family has mailed for their sponsor child!  Over 250 care-packages have arrived at my door in the past 4 weeks and each one has been checked off my list so we can be sure that EVERY child receives a package.

The interesting thing with these packages (I noticed this last year) is that each child LOVES the gifts that are carefully picked out for them by their sponsor family - and for many children, the shirt they receive is a very necessary replacement to the tattered and torn shirt they are wearing - but the things that the kids treasured the most were the letter and the photos.  I watched as each child admired their gifts and quickly took off their old shirt to put on their new shirt - but the things they kept looking at and sharing with their friends  - were the photos.  To them, the photos of their sponsor family were they very things they treasured the most!

In addition to the care-packages, our team is also bringing a care-package for every child at Kechen care-point.  My college classmate, Greta Byers, who was part of our volunteer team last year, is a sponsor coordinator for Kechene.  Since she is not able to go with us this year - we are going as her representative and delivering an additional 130 care-package for her kids too!!

And if that wasn't enough to bite off ... Apryl Harbaugh who is part of our volunteer team this year and last year, started a blanket drive and has collected over 400 hand-made, fleece tied blankets that we will be gifting to each and every child!!  Although the temperatures in Ethiopia are warm during the day, the nights can be cold and a warm blanket will be immensely appreciated!

Today, we received a newsletter update from the CarePoints and the Trees of Glory newsletter featured one specific child as an example of the life-changing impact sponsorship can make for a child.  We spent time with Birtukan last year, and I could hardly believe my eyes at the transformation I could see in this child after only a few months at Trees of Glory CarePoint.  Here is the excerpt from the newsletter along with photos I took of her last year.

This is Birtukan when she first enrolled at the CarePoint about 1 1/2 years ago. 

 This is Birtukan last year after being at the CarePoint for about 7 months. 
She is looking at photos of her sponsor family.



Birtukan is six years old, approximately one year ago she joined the Children's HopeChest program at Trees of Glory. She does not know her father, and her mother suffers mentally. She was psychologically depressed and physically weak, and was unable to even wash her face or hands when she first arrived. After one week of her coming to the CarePoint she reached out to both Girma and Simret (leaders at TOG) and asked them to be her guardians. Immediately they embraced her and promised to care for her. Girma introduced his daughter to Birtukan, and the two girls have become close like sisters. Birtukan now shows a very healthy composure, she has undergone a psychological, physical, and emotional transformation. Whenever given the opportunity to pray, she prays for an extended period of time for everyone in her life. Because of your support, Birtukan has become one of the most outstanding students at Trees of Glory.


22 new children have just enrolled at Trees of Glory and will be needing a sponsor family.  If you are interested in sponsoring a child ($34 per month provides food, clean water, clothing, medical care, education and Christian discipleship,) please email me at kjwistrom@yahoo.com.  I will be spending time with the kids in 2 weeks and will be able to match you with a child once I return from Ethiopia.  Email me and I will contact you as soon as I have a profile for each child.

1 comment:

D'Elle said...

Love, Love, Love this!! It's wonderful that they were able to become her guardians!