Our entire travel team arrived in the USA yesterday and caught separate connecting flights from Washington DC to their hometowns and their waiting families. Saying goodbye was hard - but everyone is now home with their families reflecting on the last 10 days and beginning to recuperate from jet lag and an extremely busy week that drained everyone physically and emotionally - and yet left us feeling very fulfilled and blessed.
There are so many incredible experiences to reflect upon ... and so many individual stories to tell about the kids and the progress being made at our Children's HopeChest CarePoints in Ethiopia - "Kind Hearts" and "Trees of Glory". Please check back often over the next days, weeks and months for updates and guest blogs from those that were on the team this year.
Our team of 26 volunteers bonded quickly and worked together amazingly well right from the beginning. We had very little internet access, we were without running water when we first arrived in Ethiopia after 2-3 days of travel, we sometimes had to shower with cold water, and we were without power here and there as well. Despite these little adventures ("technical difficulties") God obviously had a plan for this team and how we were to impact the children we serve in Ethiopia!
We spent 3 days at Kind Hearts and 3 days at Trees of Glory, touching the lives of the children, as well as the staff that works with the children on a daily basis. Each child was given individual time and attention as we sat with them to deliver a care-package from their sponsor family, and to look through the photos and read their letter.
There are not enough words to adequately explain how much the children appreciate hearing from you and receiving your photos, letter and gift. I loved seeing the kids on the first day we arrived at the CarePoints as they pulled older photos of their sponsor family from their pockets asking if we knew you and wanting to know more about you. "This is MY family in America!" they proudly explained!
The kids shown above are holding photos they received from their sponsor family over the last year. We visited Kind Hearts for the first time on Monday (when these photos were taken) and did not deliver their new care-packages (with letters and photos) until Thursday.
~ We now have 140 kids attending Kind Hearts CarePoint and every child is sponsored! At Trees of Glory CarePoint, we now have just over 130 children attending. Just a few days before our trip, I received profiles for 30 new children that had just enrolled at TOG and I did not have a chance to match them with a sponsor family before the trip. We created a care-package and a blanket for each new child and we got to spend time with each of them. If you are interested in sponsoring a child at Trees of Glory, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will match you with a child!