Visiting Lalibela

Visiting Lalibela

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Our travelers landed in Billings Monday night. I was able to take a quick flight over to meet them and help them drive home on Tuesday. They are EXHAUSTED but loved their trip. Fortunately, only Elli caught anything over there and is recovering from a respiratory bug. The smiles on the kids at home were bigger than I have ever seen when we drove in Tuesday. As Leah said, "Big families are better, Mom." I have to agree. Having everyone home again is a huge blessing.

We continue to ask for prayers over the next few days as Mike has to go full speed ahead at work, even during jet lag and we resume normal life activities. Also, we would covet prayers for our child at the Ranch for Kids. I really feel that this week of Thanksgiving will be a turning point in the healing process. I am so thankful for my family.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Kind Hearts

The team spent the day at Kind Hearts again today. They handed out care packages to all of the kids there. Elli said there are lots of kids who need sponsors (I'll bet she'll be advocating for them all when she gets back). She was able to give our little Antennah his care package. Afterwards, he found her three more times, yelled her name and gave her a hug each time. She just loves him.

While Elli was handing out care packages, Mike and the kids worked on teaching the kids the songs they prepared. Mike said they had them down in about 15 minutes and then had 35 minutes to kill...

Tomorrow they have their last visit to Kind Hearts which will include a feast. Janika said they will be taking live goats strapped to the top of the van. Once they get to the carepoint, they will kill the goat for the feast.

It's so fun to hear of their adventures. They are all getting a bit tired, so prayers for energy are appreciated!

A couple more pictures

I thought this picture was hilarious. This is a coffee house in Lalibella...

This is the river right outside one of the carepoints. The water truly is black. I had heard about the kids walking across this river on their way to school and getting infections in their feet. To see it is another matter. Hoping to help find a solution to the river of sludge.

Our travelers have 3 more days of loving on kids, two at Kind Hearts and one at Trees of Glory, then they have one day to go to church and sightsee a bit in Addis before heading home. So far no one has gotten sick (Praise God!!) and are all getting a bit of rest. We can't wait to see the rest of the pictures and hear the stories....figuring out the very best ways for our family to help find solutions to some of the issues they have learned about.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Pix from Lalibela

One of the neatest thing that has come from our latest adoption, is the relationship these two young men have with each other.

Priests at one of the churches in Lalibela

View from the hotel where they stayed

My travelers- wow do we all miss them but are so glad they got to go on this trip!!

Short update from Lalibela

Everyone is doing well in Lalibela. They are enjoying the scenery, clean air and hotel room on a cliff. Elli has taken over 1000 pictures already. The girls' red hair keeps attracting crowds, which is so funny and again, their braces are captivating. As we sleep, they will fly back to Addis and visit Kechene, another carepoint managed by Childrens' Hopechest.

Monday, November 14, 2011

A few funnies from Addis

I'm assuming this is at Trees of Glory, I will have to check with Mike

Janika and her ukelele!!

Elli handing out the care package to Ashene, our good friends' sponsor child. She was able to tell him we know his "family" well.

The kids took 5 songs along to teach the kids. Here they are teaching, THE B-I-B-L-E. I've had the opportunity to see Elli's smile up close as she is holding kids in an orphanage--same look she has in this picture. Pure joy-

Just got off the phone with Mike and the kids. I wanted to share a few funny stories in addition to the pictures:
1. At one of the carepoints, the kids thought Micah was President Obama!!
2. At another place, kids came running up to Kael singing- apparently his long hair made them think that Justin Beiber was in the house and they knew his songs!
3. Many of the kids are initially terrified of Elli and Janika's braces. One child screamed and ran away when Jani smiled. Another child told the interpreter that they hadn't ever seen jewelry on teeth. A third saw them and yelled, "Dentures!!"

On a more serious note, they spent the day touring a carepoint that reaches out to street children and learned a lot about the problem of child trafficking in Ethiopia. Their eyes are open now to a problem that we knew very little about until today. This carepoint helps children reunite with their families, if they have been taken from their homes and trafficked. As Janika described the stories they heard, she was pretty emotional. God is really working on our kids's hearts over there...we are thankful for the exposure they have to the world.

Our team got to meet Antennah, the little buy we have sponsored for the past two years. Kael said he is really "energetic" until he comes around them and then is super shy. Sponsorship means so much to these children. Not only do they get a good meal everyday, they get school clothes, an education and they learn about Jesus. We love that we get the opportunity to personally know our sponsor child and let him know that yes, we do know his name and we pray for him often.

small update

Sorry I don't have pictures to post from Ethiopia. Mike said the internet is absolutely horrible. He is able to get some emails out occassionally . They have spent two days at Trees of Glory and one day at Kind Hearts. They should have met our sponsor child as I was sleeping last night. The kids are having a blast on this trip.

The team is splitting tomorrow for two days of sight seeing. Our family is joining Karen flying to Lalibela. We are super excited about this little side trip. Lalibela is known as the "eighth wonder of the world" and it's an area we have studied in school. A google search will show everything they are going to see up close. Ethiopia's Christian heritage is strong.

I will post more as I get more information. Please continue to pray for the team..I'm sure fatigue will start to set in anytime and they have one week left on the trip.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

They love the ukelele!!

Just got off the phone with Mike and the kids. They are just starting their day, as I am heading to bed. They had an excellent first day at Trees of Glory carepoint and have some funny stories to share. Unfortunatley, they have no power (welcome to Addis) so I don't have any pictures yet.

Janika and Elli sang "City on our Knees" to the ukelele (I would love to post a video- hope to soon). The song is one of their favorites to sing together- the kids loved it and loved Jani's ukelele- she was laughing as she shared the story of how every child wanted to touch it. She let them hold it one by one and took a picture of each child with it. One of the team members brought a printer, so if they get power, they can print the pictures for the kids to keep- pretty cool. Today, they are going to lead worship at the church they are attending!!! Again, amazing how much joy there is in using the gifts God has given us.

Kael told me the kids are fascinated by watches- one little boy was so fascinated that he had it off of Kael's wrist in about 3 seconds. Today it will stay in the backpack (smile). Micah is doing well being there with his family. I'm sure it's hard, as he was one of these same children a little over a year ago. It's amazing the transformation we've seen in him this past year. I hope the children on this trip feel loved on and a part of their sponsor family's family. Loving on kids is an amazing gift that God gives us.

Dale and Kristi- Mike hung out with Ashene for awhile yesterday. They will be delivering his care package today!! They will definitely love on him for you!

Please continue to lift up the team on this trip. They hope to be the true hands and feet of Jesus...

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Don't you love the feeling when you're doing what God calls you to do?

Here is Janika waiting in the airport for the long flight to Addis with her ukelele. She will be playing 4 songs that the Sweeneys will teach the children at each care point. We love watching her share her love of music with other kids.

The next picture, of Elli, shows how she feels about missions. Mike and I were talking this morning before they left for Addis and realized this young lady might be taking a trip to live in Africa instead of heading to college. She is ready to GO now! God has put a love of Africa and its people in her heart -it is so fun to watch. This will be her third trip to Ethiopia. I'm sure there will be many, many more.

I'll include pics of the boys the next time I post.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

they're off!

Our team left early this morning to catch their first leg of a long journey to Ethiopia. I am hoping to post lots of pictures from their trip. We would love prayer support as Mike and the kids minister to those kids they meet!!

Thursday, November 3, 2011


Orphan Sunday 2011 from Christian Alliance for Orphans on Vimeo.

This Sunday is Orphan Sunday. Show LOVE- Pray about how YOU can impact an orphan's life.