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Friday, June 29, 2012

Alternative fishing ...

While Wesley fishes in the traditional manner ... with rod, reel and bait.

Jayden concocts all kinds of alternative methods of fishing.

This one was actually successful.

He rigged up a line to his remote control boat and baited it.

It's hard to see in the picture, but he then carefully wrapped the line around the boat's antenna so when the antenna would bend, he would know he caught a fish.

The antenna bent.

He steered the boat back to the dock.

And triumphantly showed us the fish he had caught!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Teeth belts are fastened. Ready for take off!

Tuesday was an eventful morning for both girls - as we spent all morning at the orthodontist for braces. 

After the initial consultation where the doctor reviewed the options with me and informed me of the various scenarios we could try and the possible outcomes, I told Jay "It's like mouth architecture - all suspension bridges and scaffolding!"

I didn't realize I would get to sit right next to the orthodontic chair and watch all three hours of it!  The process was quite fascinating.

I kept looking at Maea's hands to see how she was handling it.  Whenever her hands would clench, I could tell she was uncomfortable but she weathered the entire procedure like a trooper!

When they put the lip retractors in (to hold back the lips while the the braces are secured to the teeth), Emme started giggling which caused Maea to laugh which made her lips keep popping over the retractor.  It took us a long time to stop giggling.

Curing the adhesive to secure the braces.

Well??  How do they feel?  Let's see your new smile.

Her teeth are now safely strapped in and she's ready for take off!

Everything was fairly light-hearted, with lots of conversation, questions and laughter until it was Emme's turn. 

This is the mold of her upper teeth with the "expander" that fits up into the roof of her mouth to "expand" the curve of her teeth. There is a little "key" that fits into the center ratchet that I need to tighten every night, which pushes from the inside to expand the curve of her jawline.

Once it was fitted and secured, there wasn't any more laughter.

Emme declined the "after" picture.  (She was in a much better mood the next day :)

When I dropped the girls off at home so I could go to work, Em started crying in frustration telling me, "I can't eat, I can't even swallow with this thing in my mouth." 

She's already doing better with it today and getting used to it - which is good since it needs to stay in place for 4-6 months.  We are hoping it can be taken off before we leave for Ethiopia in November.

Below is the grocery list Maea gave me when I got home from work (made me laugh).

Pudding - lots!
Ice cream
More pudding

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

There was not a sense of desperation ...

It's been 2 1/2 years since the first time I visited Kind Hearts and met the 68 kids attending the CarePoint.  It was quite a different experience then, compared to now. 

My first impression as I stepped to the front of the tiny classroom was that the kids were tired and uninterested.  They seemed wilted over their desks and their hollow eyes stared back with little emotion. 

The emotion showed up a little later when we spoke to the staff and asked, "Are the kids hungry?"  We had not learned the entire story yet ... that the CarePoint was on the verge of closing due to a lack of funding and it was functioning more like a daycare that could supervise the kids while their caregivers labored for pennies a day. 

The CarePoint was able to provide a cup of rice for all the kids on Wednesdays.  We were there on a Monday.  The kids were too malnourished to learn - they could not concentrate. 

That's when we got emotional - and the kids did too (when food arrived!).  We immediately sent part of the team to the market for rice, bread, spices, fruits and vegetables - in bulk supply.  And we left enough funds to feed the kids for 30 days - hoping and praying that I would be able to find sponsors for all the kids within that timeframe so we could start a feeding program.

The kids were sponsored in 22 days!!!  And today 150 healthy kids are enrolled at Kind Hearts, advancing through the grade levels - loving to learn!

We have had several volunteer teams visit Kind Hearts this summer.  The kids LOVE to have visitors and the visiting team members love seeing a fully funded and supported CarePoint and how it transforms lives!!!

Lyra Lee visited Kind Hearts with a Children's HopeChest vision team in May.  Her team was in Ethiopia to begin working with a new CarePoint and they visited Kind Hearts to experience an established CarePoint.

From Lyra: 
Our team visited Kind Hearts after spending a couple of days meeting with sites that are looking for a partner. We found ourselves talking about how it is so hard to compare the levels of need. They are all in such need. But, there were differing levels of desperation at each site we visited.

When we pulled up to Kind Hearts, the kids were all assembled in the front of the school near the flag pole. They held a banner that said, “Welcome Dear Guests”, and began singing to us. “This is how we brush our teeth, brush our teeth, brush our teeth. This is how we brush our teeth, early in the morning.......This is how we wash our hands, wash our hands, wash our hands.....”

Our team immediately began noticing the difference between Kind Hearts and the sites we had visited without partners. Wow! It was pretty amazing. There was not a sense of desperation in the children. They were content.

After the singing, we played with the kids, and Claudette and I painted nails for the girls. They lined up and waited patiently and were so excited to see color on their nails and then picked out a sticker. Most of them picked the princess stickers and placed them proudly on their hands.

After playing with the kids, we went for a tour of the site and walked around the perimeter of the property. Fikre showed us the well and explained to us what a difference this clean water is going to make for the community surrounding Kind Hearts. So amazing to see and hear of this!

As we walked around the perimeter of the property, we saw the polluted stream that flows through and were told that the water is not even suitable for the animals. This is where we discovered a few animal bones and skulls. What a staggering contradiction we saw between death by the stream and life restored just up the hill at Kind Hearts School. A beautiful picture of the Gospel, working to make all things new and right.

As we visited the non-partnered sites prior to Kind Hearts, I noticed that the younger children had a glazed-over look in their eyes. They were non-communicative and carried a blank stare, rarely participating in the fun going on around them as the team played with the kids. I came to the conclusion that this was due to malnutrition. I did not see this in the children at Kind Hearts. Even the younger kids played enthusiastically and the sound of laughter was just amazing.

It was such a neat thing to watch the kids gather under the big, beautiful tree on the property and eat their lunch. It soothed my heart and gave our whole team inspiration for what we hope and pray to do for another community in Addis.
Thank you for showing us what is possible. What an amazing difference we can make in a community when we work as a team and ask the Creator and Sustainer of all things to use us for His glory!
He truly is restoring His creation, and we saw this so beautifully at Kind Hearts.

I so appreciated hearing from Lyra and her husband Jared when they returned from Ethiopia and Kind Hearts.  As you can see by the photos, Lyra is a photographer, and she has a photo site with photos from Ethiopia that she is selling to raise funds for the CarePoint they are working with.  Click here to see her beautiful photography and support their work in Ethiopia!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Is THIS the year YOU go to Ethiopia?!?!?

We have a team of volunteers from all over the USA getting ready for a trip to Ethiopia, November 9-19, to work with the kids at "Kind Hearts" and "Trees of Glory" and CarePoints. 

Right now - there are about 150 children attending each of these Children's HopeChest CarePoints - a total of 300 kids who no longer ...
  • go to bed with hunger gnawing in their bellies
  • feel sick from the water they drink
  • yearn to go to school (knowing that education is the key to breaking the chains of poverty!)
  • suffer with a lingering illness or infection that a simple antibiotic would cure
  • lack hope for their future
Each year - our team of volunteers spends 10 days in Ethiopia working one-on-one with these precious kids, who have already come to know the love and provision of a sponsor family.  Teaching and mentoring, hugging and touching, encouraging families, checking on projects (like the deep water wells, kitchens and poultry farms). 

For most of these kids - just getting the chance to feel the loving arms of a mommy or daddy wrapped around them while they nestle into your lap to have a book read to them, is one of many reasons they look forward to our visit!

There are just a few spots left for our trip in November - Contact me at if you are interested in joining the team this year or if you want more information!  Total trip cost is approximately $2,600-$2,900 depending on airfare from your nearest airport. 

Registration is open now!  The last few spots will fill fast, contact me at  

We'd LOVE to have YOU on the team this year - and so would ALL the kids!!