Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

The Day Has Come

Posted: August 23, 2016 in Uncategorized

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I had prayed for this day to come for 5 years. Once it came and I sat in it, I wasn’t sure how I felt. Emotions dwelling my being with a sense of confusion. Excitement for the stories that would come after the day was coming to an end. Sadness because the sounds had changed. It was quieter, this certain laughter and silliness was missing.

Five years ago God called me way out of my comfort zone and actually  into something I would have never been courageous enough to do on my own. My lack of confidence in myself, my own selfish desires and the many fears of just messing it all up would have never empowered me to do such a thing.

Sometimes in life God knows, wait let me change that, all the time in life God knows what is best for us. He knows what we are capable of. That is why He takes us to these crazy places and journeys we would never step into ourselves.

Many of you today may be like me 5 years ago stepping into an unknown journey. A journey set before you that quite frankly, fear has crept in waiting to cripple you from ever beginning. Doubt has began to steal your joy. Anger turned to bitterness that affects those around you because, well, this wasn’t your plan. I want to encourage you today in it all, that 5 years from now you will be quite amazed at the person you really are. There is a person inside of all of you that is waiting to be exposed. There is a person you never knew existed just waiting for the big reveal. There is so much more to you, to your person, than you can even imagine. Although many lies are whispering, be like a roaring lion protecting your cubs and jump into the battle claiming the victory within your mission. There is more to you. There is more in you.

Others of you are right where I am today. The day I have prayed for 5 years and are like, now what? I thought I wanted this. But when I began to pray for this 5 years ago I were a different person. Today I am changed because I not only accomplished but excelled along my journey and even came to love it day by day. You do not know what the next hour brings because things are so different. Change has injected your territory and again you may find yourself at a place of wonder. Be encouraged that although one journey has come to an end another one awaits to begin. Remember the past journey and leap into this next season with the confidence you were created to carry each day.

Kiki Post I have been changed forever through our last 5 years together as your mommy but even more so as your teacher. I was given the blessing of being in your presence learning from you daily for the past 1,825 days. Laughing together because neither one of us knew how to answer the problem, praying together for each other, praying for people we knew who were hurting or even friends that would be standing by your side on this very first day, today, having some really tough days and some really great ones as well, celebrating when it finally clicked and you learned the very same thing about yourself that God was teaching me (you can do this, there is more in you), days where we would need to show Grace over and over again. Realizing that we have spent 43,800 hours in these moments leaves me in awe. In awe I stand that HE chose us baby girl for that amazing journey together.

Today as you begin a new journey going to school for the first time in 5 years, since moving to  Ethiopia, I have so many mixed emotions. I am happy that God finally answered our prayers, as we waited not understanding why it was a no again,to getting into school although we had fasted. In that happiness comes a bit of sadness because I am going to miss absolutely everything about you. Yes, even the little messes you leave behind, my little messy princess. I know there will be days when I just wish I had to yell at you to remind you to do something you had quickly forgotten to do. Baby girl I have such a peace on this day knowing that this is exactly where you are supposed to be. I sit here thinking about what you are doing, what have you already lost, who you are laughing with, if you are brave enough to jump into conversations or if you are sitting on the sideline quietly waiting for someone to speak to you first, have you had the chance to go and love on the underdog today, the one that you noticed was made fun of or the one who is carrying a burden you can see? I can not wait for you to get home and just sit and listen to it all.

May our Heavenly Father look down and be pleased with your walk daily as you my brave warrior embrace this new adventure. May The Holy Spirit that dwells inside of you reveal to you so much more about yourself through this opportunity. May our sweet Jesus look down and say Good job my little brave one, good job.

I believe in you. Believe in yourself.

PS the very first thing I did when I got home was just go sit in your bed. Looking at your room, your things, your mess. Theory came in and we played on your bed. It just felt like that was the place we needed to begin our first day without you.

love,

Mommy

EYES, WIDE OPEN

Posted: June 10, 2015 in Uncategorized
MAKE YOUR MARK

mymministries.org

Imagine a Kit Kat bar with only three bars. These bars are closely and tightly together and it takes you breaking them for them to come apart.

A normal street kid scene of theft would have been a bit louder, and silly to watch. You would have seen the street kid running around with a big grin on their face even in the midst of trouble. You would have seen others chasing him or even police around. Street kids would fight back. This kid was frozen with big brown eyes, stunned, like that of a deer in headlights. This situation was just way to serious.

Back to the Kit Kat, the men in their early 40’s dressed hip, and high off of some type of drug. They were on the outside and this young 13-year-old boy was in between them. In between them tightly knit, as a kit Kat bar. Each man had a hold of the little boys arms. There was no space in between from top to bottom. They were escorting him somewhere while threatening him with their words with each breath.

We had just gotten finished talking to a guard, an older guy that was outside one of the bars. He had seen Danny with us and just could not believe the person he was looking at. He kept grabbing him and drawing him close with great happiness of the new kid he was seeing.

You may wonder how Danny one of our street boys from the Day Center fits in the picture. Well Danny had left the MYM day center a day before to go see his friends on the streets. Danny has been off the streets now for about a month. We met Danny face to face and welcomed him with open arms. His words over and over again were I am sorry, I am sorry. He even wanted to call Trent and hear his voice. The most amazing thing we noticed about Danny was that he was not high. Typically a kid that we would see on the streets day in and day out, high as a kite was not high. God is changing him friends.

Did God possibly allow Danny to venture into the streets for about 18 hours so that we would be right there with Danny at that very specific moment so that the guard would be mesmerized by the new kid he was looking at just so that we would we see these two guys sandwiching in a 13 year old boy? I believe so. Even more magnificent there were a couple other events that kept us from going to do our night light ministry earlier that evening. Our daughter Amilly was late coming home by about 30 minutes and we didn’t want to leave without her. What about the very fact that we were leaving and I had our old Land Rover in reverse, our daughter had the gate open and I was ready to put the car in drive after backing it up and it wouldn’t go. I had to call my husband outside to work on the car so I would be able to put it in drive so we could go along our evening journey of outreach.

God is so into our minute’s friends. He is so into our seconds of every single day. Had we been a few minutes earlier we would not have seen the Kit Kat bar. Had we been seconds late this little boy would have been in a situation where he would have been raped and had his innocence robbed from him.

Each day you are given a breath and are disturbed or aggravated that things didn’t go perfect to your timing, remember that God may very well be intervening to protect you or someone else. Keep them EYES, WIDE OPEN.

His name is Abi and he is 13 years old. That morning Abi had left his mothers home for school. Started off as a normal day until he came home and his mom asked where his schoolbooks were, 2 of them to be exact. Out of fear he lied to his mom and said that his friend had them. Well she sent him off to his friend’s house to get the books. What really had happened is someone at school had stolen his books but he didn’t want his mom to worry. See they are a family living in poverty here in Addis. In standards of such that you would feel a bit uncomfortable even stepping foot into, what they call home, a room probably about the size of your smallest bathroom, if that. I am speaking of a state of poverty that makes American poverty look like a golden ticket. I mean this family would do anything to just be in the midst of your worst day, with all its problems. How could Abi possibly tell his mom that someone had stolen the books that she would have to pay for to replace that would mean that they wouldn’t eat for days, weeks, taking months to ever catch back up on the rent. So he lied and couldn’t go back now.

Seeing this frightened boy, the Spirit that lives within us told us to approach with boldness. We entered the personal space of this Kit Kat with power. Asking questions about the scene we were, now, involved in. These guys were saying something about they were walking and someone told them that he had stolen some cigarettes or something. We knew this would be a radically different scene if this were true. I went up to the young boy and tried to remove him from one of his predators. He willingly let go. The other guy held his right arm firmly. It wasn’t until this point that I really realized what was about to happen to this boy had we not been attentive and willing to act. I literally had to come in between his grip on this boys arm like a dentist in his patient’s mouth with pliers trying to remove a tooth that is just unwilling to budge.

When he was free I rushed him over to the steps and sat down with him just beginning conversation about what was going on. My team and I have looks that we give where The Spirit just speaks when we are unable to say any words and we act. My daughter Amilly and I sat on the steps with this boy and Danny and engaged to get the truth of the matter while Amy and Lydia pursued generic conversation with the guys and all the now civilian’s that are causing a crowd to see what was going on.

It was time to evacuate the scene. We have to do this quite often because, well, I am a foreigner, in a foreign land, with skin that is colored noticeably different than absolutely everyone around so, I get noticed, quite quickly, evern if I am covered from head to toe, hoody and all with nothing showing but my face. I was observing the guys behaviors and The Spirit confirmed to me that their story was a flat out lie. There was no one around trying to get anything from this lil guy of which he stole, NO ONE. These guys were in the streets looking for a child to take and rape. Abi would have been their victim on that night had we not intervened.

These are the stories that we have heard from time to time from our boys. Rich men coming into the streets or driving by with their cars promising you things to come with them. This case was just a forceful act.

We took Abi safely home to his moms house that night. She was so happy to see her son that she had previously been in the neighborhood and close by streets looking for hours and hours for her son. With tear filled eyes she held him. We described the scenario of what had happened that night to her so that she would understand the magnitude of what situation her son was rescued from. It was beautiful because Danny was able to share his story and his life on the streets for the past 8 years to the newbie. He is still at home with his mom and we are in continued contact with her to check on him.

Lets explore this word fear a bit. FEAR: an unpleasant emotion caused by the threat of danger, pain, or harm. It was Fear that caused Abi to run away from home so that he could protect his mom from the pain of having to pay for something that she didn’t have the money to pay for. It was fear that crippled him into going into an even darker place, the streets. He didn’t even realize where he was when we found him, for he had been wandering the streets for hours. It was fear that took him from a place of truth to a place of deceit.

What is it friends that you are allowing fear to do to you? God has not given us a Spirit of Fear but of POWER, LOVE, & SELF CONTROL. 2 Timothy 1:7 May we as children of the living GOD live our lives fearless.

~carmen post~

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Have you ever been in the midst of God and he just does something you never even thought of, something immeasurably more than you can ask or imagine. That is where I found myself today with Abdul and his mom.

 

We all ventured off to meet the Doctors to see if they would be able to do surgery on Abdul’s face. This has been a request of his for the past 4 years. This has been a prayer I have prayed for the past 4 years. This is a prayer that many of you have prayed with us along this AllOut journey.

 

Waiting for hours and hours, five to be exact, to see the doctors could have been the most precious time that Abdul and his mom experienced. We arrived to the center where patients who had surgery previously awaited to be checked out from the Doctors and prospect patients like us that sat in wonder of what the answer would be.

 

I watched Abdul react to the others and was so curious to all that he was thinking in that brain of his. His head shook, his mouthed moved as he spoke to himself in disbelief of what he was seeing. Abdul hid his face but this time it wasn’t to hide his face because of fear of what someone thought of him, instead he hid his face to hide his reaction to the many that walked by him looking unlike anything he had seen before. Much more different than his very own disfigured face that he wishes was normal like everyone else’s.

 

We saw faces that were missing noses, teeth that went on the outside of your face structure instead of behind the closed doors of our lips and mouth. Faces that were missing half of itself, faces that had dropped square structures that went down to the chest, faces, faces that were swollen and elongated looking as if it had been at war with thousands of wasps. Faces that were missing chins, faces that had to be what looked like a third eye that was growing dimensionally, faces that had been restructured so that the they could chew, swallow and speak, faces hidden behind scarves scared to reveal what the world would view as frightening.

 

Abdul went to meet with the team of different surgeons. We prayed, we shook, and we waited with anticipation of what the answer would be. One thing we knew was that we trusted that God’s will would be done above all else. He came out and the first thing he mentioned was that he didn’t have fat on his belly lifting up his shirt to show us his shallow stomach. We were a bit confused so we waited to speak with the surgeons directly.

 

Due to each having a specialty we got a few different answers. The fat Abdul was referring to was: that one option would be that they could take fat and put it into his cheeks to raise them. Another’s opinion was that it wouldn’t be permanent and would go back to normal. The cranium surgeon that would be bale to take the bone from either his skull or ribs to put into his face had an emergency surgery two days before the trip and was unable to make it. After hearing all this we talked with Abdul and told him all the above and that the surgery wasn’t going to be able to take place this time and we would come back again in January. Then I connected eyes with the surgeon behind the person I was speaking with. I watched his lips say do not give false hope. That was al I needed to hear. All of the confusion had been nipped in the bud. I went to him and begin to ask for bold answers from him.

 

By his response I told Abdul that surgery just wasn’t the best option for him period at this time. With shaking hands, great disappointment and tears slowly creeping down his missing cheeks, we all felt his pain within our veins trembling through our bodies. We sat for a while before leaving and processed all that we had saw and what took place inside of us that would change us forever.

 

It wasn’t Abduls face that god changed it was something much more precious and world changing, his heart. He shared with us about how he looked at all the people that were there with us realizing that they had it worse off than he did. Then he said it……….”I am the normal one. “ All this lil guy has wanted in his whole entire life was to be normal and today he felt that for the very first time in the deepest most inner parts of his soul.

 

Today we ended our long emotional day all praising God. We went back to the original truth we spoke to Abdul 4 years ago when he gave his heart to Jesus.

 

Psalms 139 13You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body

and knit me together in my mother’s womb.

14Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!

Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.

15You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion,

as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.

16You saw me before I was born.

Every day of my life was recorded in your book.

Every moment was laid out

before a single day had passed.

17How precious are your thoughts about me,O God.

They cannot be numbered!

18I can’t even count them;

they outnumber the grains of sand!

And when I wake up, you are still with me!

 

God is into changing hearts more than He is faces. Thank you for all who have prayed for this special moment. It was more than perfect and left an indention in this families heart that empowers them to be courageous and fearless. A mom who abandoned her son at birth because of his deformity was called to the simplest form with her child today and is so proud to say he is beautiful. A son who has always wanted to have a normal face realizing for the first time that THIS IS HIS NORMAL.

Pray for Abdul

Posted: October 2, 2014 in Uncategorized

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Many of you have been following our journey with this precious guy for the past four years. For those who are new to his story here is a quick overview.  Abdul was born to a Muslim family. Due to his disfigurement he was given away for his grandmother to raise. He grew up thinking his grandmother was his mom. When Abdul was 12 his grandmother died revealing a whole new secret, he had a family and the mother that had nurtured him, loved him and cared for him although the rest of his community looked down upon was really his grandmother. Abdul moved up from the countryside to live with his family. A mother, a father, and 5 siblings. His heart was confused and hurt and now living in the city he would come in contact with many new people that would look, stare, point and avoid. Soon his father would die leaving his mother a widow with 6 children.

Fours years ago is when God crossed our paths with this guy. As soon as I saw him tucking his head in between his shoulders, wishing to vanish at the pure existence of his being, I was drawn to HIM. The Holy Spirit called me to go and love on him. It was rainy season and my boots were muddy so they could use a good cleaning by this bashful shoe shiner. The moment I sat down you could tell he was uncomfortable. I just sat and smiled at his beauty for what seemed a lifetime. Beginning to ask questions I learned a bit about my new friend. I went into his world and began to build a relationship with him.

Abdul began to come to our house to get a basic need met, hunger.  His trips became more often, leading up to this Muslim boy coming to our bible studies. Always always hiding behind his hands I recognized my new friends shame. We began to share Gods truth with him about how he is perfectly and wonderfully made. It was beautiful to watch the glimmers of hope  become real inside the twinkle of his eye. His hands began to slither down to his sides revealing he was comfortable and trusted us to love him just the way he was. He soon would give his life to Jesus. Normally this would be an exciting time for the individual but for Abdul it was very scary because the rest of his family followed Alla.  Never did we expect this timid one to go home and immediately share that he gave his life to Jesus. The result of him sharing became a threat to being a part of his family. His mother threatened to kick him out and said that he could not follow Jesus. Since then it has been a peaceful roller coaster so to speak. His mom later changed her mind saying it was ok to follow Jesus but not to influence the family in that way. Mom has allowed us share the bible to her littles. We assured her we would only focus on the common ground of what was common in the bible and Koran.

Over the years the pressure from the Muslim community watching this young boy walk into a church began to stir up some concerns. So Abdul began to be a pleaser for the sake of his family and theirs and his safety. He began going back to the Mosk, meeting for prayer times only this time something ha changed, his heart. He is secretly doing all these things worshipping his sweet Jesus. He often goes through time of fear, doubt, and the unknown like any baby believer. through all of this God gave us vision early in our time with our friend. That we should pursue seeking a Doctor that could do surgery on his face. SO for the past 4 years we have prayed and sought as much as we could from 8,000 miles away from American territory. We have had a couple friends give suggestions and even did some footwork but it was always a no to the capacity of what we could do being so far away.

So the purpose of this blog is to share some exciting news that we need covered in full prayer: So God does crazy things right?  We have prayed for 4 years for God to open a door for Abdul to get surgery. Do you hear me??? 4 years we have prayed and taught Abdul to pray and keep asking for Jesus to do this for him. I had posted in an fb group here in Addis seeking a private clinic for one of our girls because the care we had been receiving over the past 2 years was pathetic and I was at my wits end. A man that saw my post sent me a message to my inbox on facebook. Due to the fact we were not friends it went to my outbox and I didn’t get it for a month. Once I saw it we began to communicate about our love  for Ethiopia and what we each did in this country. Well he is the founder of an organization called Facing Africa http://www.facingafrica.org/ that comes to Ethiopia twice a year to do surgery on kids faces with Noma.

Noma (cancrum oris) is an acute and ravaging gangrenous infection affecting the face. The victims of Noma are mainly children under the age of 6, caught in a vicious circle of extreme poverty and chronic malnutrition.

 

So I mentioned Abdul to him. I sent hime pictures and he sent them to his cranium surgeon who identified Abduls disease as Treacher Collins Syndrome.

Treacher Collins syndrome (TCS), also known as Treacher Collins–Franceschetti syndrome,[1] or mandibulofacial dysostosis,[2] is a rareautosomal dominant congenital disorder characterized by craniofacial deformities, such as absent cheekbones.[3]:577 Treacher Collins syndrome is found in about 1 in 50,000[4] births. The typical physical features include downward-slanting eyes, micrognathia (a small lower jaw), conductive hearing loss, underdeveloped zygoma, drooping part of the lateral lower eyelids, and malformed or absent ears.

And guess what, at the time the team of surgeons, dr’s, and nurses would be arriving in Addis in 2 weeks. Well today we are just 2 days away from our meeting time with them. On Saturday we along with Abdul’s mom will take him to meet the surgeons face to face and see if they will be able to do the surgery here in Addis Ababa. It would be a very complex surgery and could be 6-8 hours possibly. If they are able to do the surgery they would take bone from his skull, or his ribs and put them into his face for cheek bones.

From the beginning when we met Abdul we had a vision of him getting surgery, his family recognizing Jesus as the source of making this happen and turning straight to Him giving Him all the praise. We also saw a Muslim community that knew Abdul in his disfigurement and standing in awe of what was now before them. In time we saw Abdul being brave enough to tell all who opened this great door of opportunity.

We do not know what will happen when we go to meet the doctors on Saturday. It could be a yes or it could be a no. But what i do know is that God is the only one who could write a story of this magnitude. If they say yes Abdul will have one day to return and get operated on. He would stay at the facility until he was free from infection and healing was in process. So pray with us friends. We are walking through this open door with so much excitement at what could happen. If its Gods will pray that it happens. If it is not the will of God pray that He closes this door as soon as we step foot in. We are freaking out in so many exciting and nervous ways. We can’t wait to share with you what happens.

~carmen~

 

 

iDefend uDefend weDefend

Posted: June 1, 2014 in Uncategorized

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As my team and I prepared to go on our Night Light visits my soul began to creep into the reality of what these visits do to me. They shake me, they break me and the empower me to be a voice for the forgotten ones of the world. I had a friend once say “Carmen you guys are always asking for money.” After nights like the one I experienced last night, the ones before that and the ones to come, I will always ask for money to help them.  After each day I know that some of our boys at the center are ready to be placed in our next step which is a transition home and we have to send them back to the streets because we have no place for them to go because of money I will always ask for them.

Covered as much as I could be besides covering my face I was clothed in disguise. My hooded sweatshirt hiding my locks and my hands in my pockets trying to make that I was a white girl not as obvious to those who would be looking wondering why we have stopped to talk to “those kids.” Every single time I stop and talk to a street kid it attracts attention even to the one who is looking from behind and can’t tell the color of my skin. There is something mysterious about these children to the locals yet something frightening as well that keeps them from being the ones to stop and getting to know their names, their stories and why they call the streets home.

It never fails we always get some drunk guy that just loves to shout and scream drawing more attention to us. Last night there was a group of 6 of us. The one guy just kept on and on. While I was squatting down talking to these two boys my team was radically engaging in conversation with this drunk man trying to occupy his mind while we were learning who these two precious kids were.  As the conversations above me continued to get heated and louder I decided to remove myself from this group and let our son Belay take over in conversation with these boys.

I walked away with our daughter Amilly and it wasn’t long and a little about 7-8 year old boy came running saying “Carmen, Carmen.” I recognized him from the time I spend in the streets getting to know them, feeding them, praying with them and encouraging them. A lot of the kids have wondered where I have been because they have not seen me in a while. Once I got pregnant I was extremely sick and obviously couldn’t hide my hippopotamus belly so it has been a long while since I have been to see my friends, HIS children, THE ONES He loves and has so much purpose for.

It felt good to be back in the streets using my God given gifts to LOVE All-OUT. Please do not confuse the feeling of good as easy or accepted. It wouldn’t take long and the comments would be yelled from the windows “You white girl, why are you here?” “You can’t help these kids you are wasting your time.”  My response to them is always the same I stand and boldly ask “Would you like to help us help them?” The answer is always the same “NO.”

These were just a couple of the comments that I could understand because they were in English. I can’t even imagine the things that were being yelled at me that were in Amharic. The very thing that God has called you to just because you love it does not mean that you will not hurt; it does not mean that it will not be painful and wreck you every single time. However what it does mean is that He will do a great work through you if you are willing. Thank you God for making me, well me for your purpose and plan for the street kids of the world specifically in this moment Addis Ababa Ethiopia, thank you for always being my strength in my very weakness that strengthens me stronger than ever before in moments where I want to just cave in and crumble to pieces.

I heard my daughter Amilly’s voice “Carmen do you see him, it is him, it is Abraham.” I turned around and here was our boy walking up the street I could not believe it. Even with my glasses on I still could not believe this was him. He had grown so much since our last encounter. He stood at least 5”5 now, that same BIG beautiful smile, no shoes, and a very over sized faded green sweatshirt that was stretched badly probably from a fight or a getaway of some sort. His clothes were filthy and you could hardly recognize that they once were a color. He had a long cape like material draped over himself that reminds me so much of the mentally ill street adults that walk around the streets helpless with no clue of anything that is going on around them. We ran towards each other and just held each other for what seemed like minutes in my heart. ( There is so much history here, To read about our journey with Abraham please read previous written blogs) Our boy has chosen to live a life on the streets and ran away from home for the last time almost a year ago. Although it hurts like crazy I love when God specifically crosses our paths. I know He is not yet done with Abraham.  We are praying that when we are able to bring in our next cycle of street boys that he is ready to be one of them.

During the time in this specific area that probably makes hell look a little more warming I had to defend the street kids we were with. Each cop that would walk by would have their billy stick ready to hit and attack the kids. Not knowing who I was I would turn around and step in front of the kids. Pleading to the cops that there was no problem with them and thanking them for not hurting them. This happened at least three times had I not stepped in front the kids would have gotten beaten right there out in front of everyone. This is why we have to defend them.  iDefend.

We continued to move on because you really can’t stay in one place for long or some very powerful forces from the dark side will join in and try to take over. They are really scary situations that by the power and protection of Jesus we seem to make it through safely each time. You feel the Holy Spirit nudge you when it is time to move. This is why we have follow up visits and begin building relationships. Our Night Light visits are simply to be a light in the darkness to his chosen ones. We had a follow up visit today from one of the boys we met last night. His name is Roba please begin to pray for him by name.

As we are walking we see this huge fire in the middle of the roundabout. It wouldn’t be long before we realized why it was there. The next group of street kids we stopped to talk to let us know that the police had just taken all their belongings and burnt them. Not that they had much but a dirty smelly bug infested blanket at night to keep you somewhat warm in the cold rainy night is worth gold to them. And now they had nothing it was gone all because of what?

We had two of our Make Your Mark  street boys with us Abi and Santayo. It was beautiful to see Santayo talking to some of the street kids and explaining what it was that was different in his life. Even though these boys still live in the streets there is something different in them and it is visible to the others. Since coming to the day center one of them has given his life to Jesus and the other is not far from it. Change is taking place and we are in awe of our Father in heaven for who He is and what He is doing.

The absolute hardest part of this night was when it was time to leave. We were now at another location with about 20 boys huddled up together under the bus stop. We had to leave Abi and Santayo behind. When I met these boys 2-2/12 years ago they were just like the ones we had seen throughout the night, all of them. But not tonight, tonight they were different. They do not belong on the streets anymore. After being with us at the day center these boys are ready to be taken off the streets and yet I had to drive away holding back tears as I waved and blew them kisses goodbye.

The reason why they are still on the streets is because we are waiting for funding for our first transition home. This will be a home where the boys who we feel are ready for the next step and truly desire change in their lives will come off the streets and live with an Ethiopian husband and wife. This couple will be mom and dad to these boys. Each boy will have a special need that we will meet uniquely. Some boys will be going to school in the fall, some will learn a trait that they can begin working and save money to get their own place to live, some will be receiving counseling and being prepared to be reunified with their families. Ones that are truly orphans will be prepared to become part of a family learning through our transition home how a family functions then prayerfully will be adopted.

The monthly amount needed for our transition home is $772.00 This will include the rent of the home, food, water , electric, all school fees for kids and uniforms,  medical care for the kids, salary for one of the parents while the other continues to go to their job, any outings, hygiene materials, counseling and training. This is for about 8 boys and house parents. There will also be a one-time set up cost to get the things needed for the home that will be around $3,158.62.

So here I am again you know the one who is always asking for money asking YES again. These boys have needs and deserve and have shown us and our staff that they are ready to come off the streets. Will it be perfect absolutely not but we know it will be good, His plan with these children to love them, teach them who He is to them and build them up for great purposes and use them to change their country and possibly the world if they are willing. As long as my Heavenly Father has me in a position to be an advocate for the orphaned and street kids of the world I will always ask. Please do not get tired of me asking but yet grateful to be a part of what DADDY is doing in and through your sacrificial giving.

iDefend

uDefend

Together weDefend

~carmen~

 

Both Abi & Santayo are being sent to the streets every night until we can open our transition home.

Help us get these boys off the streets. They are ready.

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While the international adoption world here in Ethiopia has become unstable, uncertain and its future unclear. There are many families left waiting, worrying, trusting and hoping for God speed that the walls would come down. During these times we tend to lean towards blaming governments, systems, big name organizations and much more; but let me bring another view from the dark side of adoption.

Before I begin let me say I highly support international adoption as it is a small part of the solution for the worldwide orphan crisis. I am a forever dad to a beautiful 11 yr. old Ethiopian princess. I live in Ethiopia rehabilitating street children and training local families for domestic adoption. Adoption gives the watching world the clearest real life picture of what Christ did on the cross for us and that is why our enemy attacks it so.

We have an enemy that cannot create, that is God’s job; he can only distort what has already been written into place. Let us remember that he does disguise himself as an angel of light, good and pure at the beginning. And that is just what he’s done to many mothers, fathers and families here in Ethiopia and all over the world. Let me share my experiences over the last couple of days to bring light into the darkness and hopefully more peace and patience into your adoption process.

Make Your Mark Ethiopia works toward rehabilitating street children and then reunifying them with bio-family or into a local Ethiopian family. We also have a preventative action plan which is “Keeping Kids Home”, where we come alongside the poorest of the poor families to provide what is needed for their children to stay home and not be on the streets begging. I’ve sat in some of the most distressed homes during our home visits, in which we evaluate each families need. While they are living in some of the poorest conditions in the world, they highly value family and life.

This week we met 12 of our families to gather information and take photos of the children for office purposes. When it came time for one of the mothers to sign the paper that was  just stating the information she gave was true, she stopped and lifted her pen from the paper. Her next statement pierced my heart and opened my eyes, she said; “I’m not giving my son away, he’s not going to be taken from me!”…………………………………………………. We assured her this wasn’t the case, but this messed me up for the next couple of days.

Then two days later came the time to show our first expression of God’s love towards them by providing them with about half of their monthly food needs. As they walked in they all had this distressed look upon their faces, but I thought it’s just normal for this culture and poverty environment. As we informed them of what all the bags of food and oil were for, they all praised God and gave blessing and thanks to us. It was an encouraging & joyful moment for us until the next response came out. These 6 mothers express their relief as they thought our end goal was to take their children from them to a faraway place. My tears of joy turned quickly to tears of pain, hurt and anger as I realized what millions of moms all over the world have lost. Once again we reassured them that the best place for their children is with them and the best love for the children is their LOVE not some else.

While adoption/orphan care is powerful and biblical, there is an evil lurking to kill and destroy. There are those who intentionally prey on these vulnerable children and families. They feed upon innocents, weakness, the uneducated and the desperate; they convince, bride, lie, cheat and steal to make a dollar off these children, actually millions of dollars.   There is also those who unintentionally feed this monster, as they push and demand for their children to come home or for faster placements because the wait is just killing them. The latter of these two has good intentions and does this with a heart of love, but unknowingly motivates more activity from the first.

I’ll close with this, while I know it’s tremendously hard to wait for your forever child or even waiting months upon months into years just to get a placement. Know that measures are being taken to make sure mothers don’t lose the ones they love. There are so many mothers and families in this world who never wanted their baby’s to leave. Just this morning I laid in the bed holding my new gift from God, a precious 1 month old boy. I thought about how what if he was taken from me and I never saw him again. My heart hurts for the ones who had them slyly slipped out of their arms and into a pool of profit and gain. So, as you wait, please don’t rant, rave and demand from your agency as this only throws fuel on the fire of evil profiteers looking to meet the demand. Turn your waiting into prayer for the moms who unwilling miss pieces of their hearts and pray for effective systems to be put into place that guards against such evil acts. And through it all, just WAIT………………………………………..

DSC_0040A picture speaks 1,000 words….. This was taken right at the beginning, before we informed them of what we were doing.

And then after…..

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Wait, Pray and Trust!

A Grateful Father of 3 + 9

Remembering the very first moment I heard that I was adopted and that the one I thought was my “real mom” wasn’t left me devastated. I was just a little 8 year old that had just had her world turned upside down due to the events that had taken place the week before and now these words would change my life forever.

What you are about to read is from our unfinished yet overdue book of our lives.

It was late at night and everyone was asleep.  Mom and my brother were in the bed and I was just down the hall; I had fallen asleep on the couch in the living room.  The intruder crept around quietly knowing all details of our home.  Every night I would usually get up and get some water from the faucet in the kitchen sink.  My mom must have heard a noise because she began to say my name “Carmen is that you”?   Not a sound came from the kitchen.  Again in a very sleepy voice she said “Carmen honey, are you getting water”?   Still nothing she must have just had a feeling that someone was in there.

Having that gut wrenching feeling that moms always have when they know that something is going on that shouldn’t be; she got out of bed and walked quietly and slowly in the kitchen.  It was so quiet that she could actually hear her own heart beating as if it would pop out of her chest at any moment.  What she saw next sent her into a deep desperate fear.

There he stood standing in our kitchen.  My dad had broken into our home through the window in my little brother’s room.  We had changed the locks earlier so we knew he did not have a key.  I had been oblivious to what was going on while my little mind was fast asleep.  Due to the fears that had been imbedded in my heart as a child I was a very light sleeper.  I woke up slightly with my eyes squinting not wanting to look like I was awake.  I watched as my dad carried my mother over his shoulders out of the house.  Was I dreaming, how could this be?? I began shaking as if I were outside naked in the North Pole.

I began to hear my mom’s precious voice pleading with him.  His voice began to get loud and I could hear the tears dripping down my mom’s face through the sadness in her voice.  I got up from the couch and walked into the small little sunroom that you had to walk through to exit our home.  To the right it was lined with beautiful flowers.  At the time there was nothing beautiful about the place I found myself standing.   My heart began racing as I got up enough courage to open the screen door that separated just inches between me, my mom and my dad.

As I carefully cracked the door opened not wanting anyone to know I was there I saw my mom lying on her back in the flower bed.  My dad’s gorilla sized body over top of her with a knife cutting her throat.  My sweet innocent mom must have heard me and looked my way with weak desperate eyes.  Saying in a low courageous voice “Carmen go inside please everything will be okay”.

Not knowing what to do I listened to my mom.  I cautiously allowed the screen door to close.  I ran up the hall as fast as I possibly could grabbing the phone off the wall.  Breathing heavily and crying I called 911.   All I could do was scream out “My dad just killed my mom please help” I remember the operator asking me my address. In that moment time froze.  My mom had been teaching me my address since I could talk now all of the sudden nothing would come out of my mouth. I began to mumble numbers but they just weren’t making since.   I could not remember my address from my zip code.   I was getting them mixed up.  This was a time before your information instantly popped up on a screen.  Panicking I hung up the phone; I had a thought I could call my mom’s best friend down the street.  I could definitely remember her number.  I dialed the number, the phone began to ring and then I heard him coming.

My heart literally stopped beating.  I was frightened, I was trembling and I was just a little girl that had no idea what to do next.  I hung up the phone and ran directly into my mom’s bed and hid under the covers.  Scared that he would see me moving I remember vividly trying not to breath.  He was standing in the same room as I was.  I heard him get something and pick up the phone.  He had called my uncle Kenny and said “I just killed Luray, I am going to take her to a dump yard and then I am going to kill the kids and myself”.

He hung up the phone leaving my uncle no time to convince him otherwise.  As he walked down the hall I woke up my little brother and said “I think daddy just killed mommy be still”.  I remember holding him tightly and just crying trying to be the brave big 8 year old sister.  He was 5 at this time so I am not sure how much of what I was saying that he understood.  His small tiny little voice would often say “can we go get mommy”?  “No not yet just wait a little while longer and we will get her” I promised.

What my dad had done was slit my mom’s throat from her left ear to the middle of her neck.  Throwing her in the back of his blazer then running in the house to make the call would be the last time he would be able to ever hurt my mom again.  While he was in house my mom got out of the back blazer that had big ole red neck tires on it.  With her neck dangling to right she somehow crawled up our very steep driveway and to the front door of our neighbors house.  Knocking on the door desperately for help my mom never gave up.

Most people would have been defeated through this all but not my mom.  I think it is very possible that GOD sent HIS angels and they lifted her to a place of safety until the ambulance and police could get to her.  There is no way physically possible that she could have lifted her body up out of that oversized blazer.  How does a woman with her neck dangling off her body crawl up a steep hill after losing all that blood.  How does she do it in a perfect amount of time that just saves her from death?

While mom was in the hospital fighting for her life; I remember living with my grandparents.  They went ALL-OUT to make sure that life was somewhat normal for my brother and I.  We weren’t able to visit my mom for what seemed eternity.  She wasn’t in good shape and I guess they thought it was better if we did not see her this way.  My paw-paw would bring home notes that mom had written.  She was unable to speak for a while.  I would get so excited to see that notes where she had asked how I was doing and that she loved me.  I love hearing anything about my mom but more than anything in the whole world I just wanted to be with her.

Just when you think things couldn’t get any worse; I was down the street playing with one of my childhood friends when she spoke words to me that would radically change my feelings towards anyone I was suppose to trust; forever.  “Carmen you are adopted, your mom is not your real mother”.  She was just a couple of years older than me and was just repeating a conversation that she must have overheard her mom talking about.

I wanted so badly for this not to be true.  With tears streaming down my face I ran from her swing set up a small hill leading to the road.  With no shoes on I ran down this long gravel road until I reached my Granny’s house.  Out of breath from my mind being overwhelmed at the very words that had just been spoken to me I jumped into her arms and wailed.  Her soft touch comforted me enough that I was able to speak.  “Shannon told me I was adopted and that my mom was not my real mom” I softly spoke looking into her eyes with mine just begging her to say that this was not true.  Instead she said the exact opposite.  “Carmen you are adopted but that doesn’t mean that Luray is not your real mom” she said.

Life in a matter of weeks had rapidly turned into something I was not sure that I liked too much.  I watched my dad slit my mother’s throat, I had been sexually abused and now my mom wasn’t my real mom.  My whole life had become a lie in just a matter of seconds.

Fast forward to today in this very moment where I am right now. Have you ever as a child wanted something so badly then when you get it, its like way different than you expected? I waited 26 years for this and it happened today, I saw her face.

 I had a message in my inbox from a name I did not know. Her name is Molly. As I read her message I began to get chills. She is my cousin. She is the daughter of one of my biological mother’s sisters. Could this really be happening?? I have waited for so long to be connected to my biological family in some tiny way. I have always wondered what my biological mom looked like. Did I look like her were we in any way shape or form similar?

As I messaged my cousin back surprisingly she was still up. We are 8 hours ahead of where she lives. We began to talk and share a little bit of information with each other. Then they started to come, pictures. Oh my gosh she had pictures of the people I had heard about. She had pictures of the ones MY MOM tried to connect me back with to bring comfort and belonging to her teenage adopted daughter’s heart so many years ago. 

Then came the picture I had wondered about my whole life since learning I was adopted. It was her, the one God had chosen to give birth to me but yet I had no connection with her. WOW there she was a picture of this woman who I had always been so curious about. A woman whom had abandoned me and left this emptiness in my heart, a woman that I thought I would recognize but didn’t. I had envisioned seeing her the first time and having these overwhelming streams of attaching emotions but there were none. In this moment when I see her face the emotions that the enemy had lead to ruin my life were really of unimportance. She was human just like me.

My heart aches for her. I know only a few small parts of her story. Parts that are similar to those of my very own. Her mother abandoned her when she was a small child but not by choice. She died in her thirties of breast cancer. Her and her siblings had to go to an orphanage. The lies the enemy whispers to us as children to destroy any hope in our future,  I can’t imagine what she felt like.  I know that she was married to my biological dad and from reading above you know he had issues of his own that he needed to deal with.

Then marrying a man and having his children and starting this whole new life. A life that would have many secrets, one of them being my existence and what about the brother before me that you also abandoned and left behind. I have yet to meet him but I know he exist. The man she created this life with has just recently died of cancer and never knew about her other children.

My heart aches not at the fact that he did not know me but my heart is in deep pain for my biological mother that she has been living a lie for so many years. I know the enemy and I know his schemes and I hurt physically within the depths of my being creating such sadness that I just can’t shake. The enemy is a liar and wants to keep us in bondage. I want this woman to be free. I want her to experience a peace in her heart. I want her to know that she is loved and she is forgiven for everything and that Jesus Christ is the only one who can give her this.

I can’t even begin to say that I know what she has been through because I have no idea. I only have a few stories that I have held onto since I was a child. All I can express right now is the sadness I have in my heart for her.

Lord this isn’t the way I thought it would be at all but I know that your plans and experiences are far greater than anything I can put together. Please Lord seek my heart expose to her the truths of your love for her. I may never meet her and I may never speak to her  but I know you will Lord . I know you can. Reach her Father, love her, care for her and fill her being with the very hope you have given me. Teach her who you are as a Father since she grew up knowing no such thing. Teach her your forgiveness and expose her to her very own ability to forgive herself. Teach her to trust you like she has never trusted anyone before. Change her Lord from the inside out. You know her and I don’t; do all that needs to take place so that she may know you sweet Jesus and have eternity in Heaven and peace here on earth.

God I thank you for this connection with my biological family. I look forward to building relationships with my cousins and my aunts Lord and if it’s your will one day meeting her face to face. If not I am grateful that on this very day you have given me a visual of the one you chose to create me.

 

Heavy heart says a mother of a 10 year old precious Ethiopian little girl. She says this because she is scared, she says this because she is sad, she said this because she is hurt and know she says this with emotions from being 30 weeks pregnant too.

I am sharing my heart today not to be little my child or even to put her business out here as some of you might think but I am sharing this situation because its real, its raw and it hurts. To some you may think REALLY?? Is this such a big deal and the answer from my heart is YES it is to me and my family.

Or perhaps maybe just maybe there is another mother who is going through or has gone through this similar experience that can relate with me, encourage me, pray for me and my beautiful child. And then there might be someone out there who is very private that would never share this type of information to another in fear of their child being judged and this just may be an encouragement to them that they are not alone.

I am a home school mom not by my choice at first but of that of our Creator when HE called us to move to Ethiopia. My daughter is in 6th grade this year. As we are currently in the states for a few more weeks before returning home to Addis Ababa Ethiopia I recall a comment I had with my husband. We were discussing how if we lived in the states how could we possibly be sending our lil girl to a middle school here in the states. Scary thought for us that live over seas and are able to protect our kids from many things of this world.

Today was a day where I realized that you can not protect your children from making their own choices no matter where in the world you live, where you decide to send your children to school, or what method of parenting you use to instill the promises of the purpose our Heavenly Father has for them.

As my husband and I parent sometimes we want to control our little beings that HE has given us. We want them to not make the mistakes that we made when were growing up. We want to protect them from all the evil that is out there but guess what…. HE gives us all a choice, a freedom to do what we want to do.

I began to check my child’s work for the week and it hit me that she had been cheating. Oh how my heart dropped. My little Kiki how could she have possibly let this happen? I continued to check her work and it was all done to perfection word from word out of the back of the book that has the answers. I began to get upset when realizing what had taken place in my little girls heart. She had chosen to cheat on her work instead of doing what she knew was the right thing to do. It was her choice.

Know that the past few months we have been struggling with our sweet little Kiki with simple things such as being honest. Its with the little things. She is the type that when she is scared that she gets in trouble that she will lie out of fear. What we have been teaching her is that she gets in more trouble when she lies and that no matter what she thinks the outcome will be she should always be honest.

We have also struggled with simple obedience. Little things like asking her to do something and she says “Yes mam” to only later not do what was asked of her.

Today in my heart I realized that now it is obvious that she has added cheating on her school work to the list of little sins that she has let into her life that are having a negative influence in her day to day life.

Okay so to you may be thinking oh well she is a 10 year old this is what they do, or you may say this is no big deal she will out grow this, but for me this is my little girl and it matters to deep magnitudes.

When we look at this from a spiritual aspect we see the sin that is obvious present. As parents we are frightened at what could be ahead if her heart does not change. Its not a healthy family when you can’t believe the words that are coming out of the other family members mouth.

Oh how my heart is burdened. Could it be the stress of what she is holding in with leaving to go back to Ethiopia in just 2 weeks. Or was it because we were coming to the states to visit that her lies became more intense. Does it have anything to do with the fact that she is adopted, or that her hormones are changing. Yes all of these are very practical reasons but through it all we know that one thing is true. We have 3 sins that are taking place in our daughters life that are present and without making excuses to make them seem okay, more than anything I want my daughters heart to be pure. For her to realize what she is choosing to do because YES she has the choice.

We as adults tend to do this when we have a sin in our life. We will make excuses that make it seem right. We will manipulate situations that allow the sin to well not be looked at as sin but instead be accepted. Or we will go as far as to have people in our lives that will enable us to continue sinning while pushing those that will hold us accountable far, far away. There was a period of my life where this was true and it lead to deep darkness. I want with all my heart to protect my daughter from this.

Yes its lying, cheating and disobedience. Yes its things that kids so call do. Yes there are many reasons why this could be happening BUT one thing this mom knows is that it will lead to many more bad choices that will lead to hurt, deception, separation and loneliness. Its something that we will not sit back and watch steal our sweetness from our little girl yet it is something where we don’t know what to do but pray.

If you are going through something as many may say silly as this do not blame yourself for this but see it as a spiritual attack and fight through this with your little one. Together lets pray for each other and our children so that we may have victory in the tiniest of things so that our children may be free from that crazy thing called sin that we were all born into. Instead of falling into the excuses for our sins lets see them for what they are so that we can defeat them.

To me it’s a BIG deal that has

My beauty and I

My beauty and I

. Just thought I would share my struggle today.

~carmen~

Belay doing what he was created to do......RUN

Belay doing what he was created to do……RUN

When we pray and ask for things we must be willing to accept HIS answer. Gods answer is always the best because HE is all knowing. HE sees things that we cannot.

Our response to HIS answer shows HIM who we believe HE is in our life. How do you respond? Do you accept HIS answer although it is quite opposite of what you thought would be best and trust HIM with every ounce of your being that this is well….the way it is supposed to be for now?

Or are you the type of person that by your actions you are yelling at HIM without even saying a word. Determined to be in control and make things happen the way you think they should, fretting and stressing during a time where He just wants you to recognize HIM for who HE really is in your life.

When we try to take control of situations we are looking our Creator in the eyes and telling HIM no God I do not trust you, I know way better than you ever could, I will take care of me and I don’t need your help.

Whatever the situation in your life right now where HE answered “not yet in my perfect timing or no this is not what is best, I have something even more marvelous I want to reveal to you” Trust HIM and do so with your actions. Then you will feel the deepness of his plan, love and purpose for you.

P.S. We are choosing to trust God with the path HE has chosen for our son Belay. It doesn’t line up with what we have been dreaming and praying for but maybe just maybe HE has a more perfect plan for HIM that we simply cannot see. Going to America and going to university was never our plan or our sons. It was an opportunity that came our way when someone asked to see his scores. They took the scores to the University and they flipped out at the times wanting our son to run for their team because his times were game changers. As the door opened we walked through it each step of the way praying and trusting that HIS will above all would be. Our son Belay did everything in his own power that he could to prepare in 3 month what many prepare for in 4 years. The results of all three test that he has taken ( the SAT 2x and the Tofel) simply reveals that our sons comprehension isn’t where it needs to be for him to fully understand what is going on in an all English speaking University classroom.

This makes us very sad for our son. When we sat him down and told him the results to his “last chance” there was this awkward silence that no word could bring peace to. He is hurting and we are hurting for him. But the truth is we have covered this situation in prayer and many of you have as well. This is simply HIS answer. Is God capable of doing anything YES he is!! There is always an 11:59. For now this is where we are and we are choosing to find rest and peace in HIS answer. We are not trying to find ways to “make it happen”. If those doors open we will again walk through them. As hard as it is we are trusting: that Maybe just Maybe His plans are best and HE knows way more than we ever will.

For now Belay is still focused on his training and he will go for an interview next week to get a job. We will continue to support his dream of winning gold for Ethiopia in 2016. Continue to pray for our son that he will trust in the one who created HIM to lay the perfect path before him. Pray that God will continue to open doors for our son to be recognized in his God given gift of running. Pray that at just the right time the paths would be crossed of Belay and that one person that is the chosen one to help get Belay on that team to run for his country.

Whatever it is in your life where you feel your dream has been crushed or you feel as if you are at the end. Look at it from a Heavenly perspective. That HE knows what is best and wants that for you. Keep pursuing your dreams, goals and even the mission you know that HE has called you to. Do not stop, do not give up, just be willing to except that at the present time the answer may be no or just wait on my perfect timing.

 

Belay's run Nov 013

YOU ARE AN AMAZING MOM

Posted: May 13, 2013 in Uncategorized

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Being a mom is one of the hardest jobs I have ever had.  This Mothers’ Day started off so beautifully as Gavin and Kiki made me a “special breakfast” cheese omelet and french toast.  The reason it was so special is because cheese is so expensive here in Addis and our family is so big so we can’t really afford cheese. And guess what I LOVE CHEESE. So this mom was happy. They made me a homemade card and bought me a box of oreos too. I think they bought these so they too could share in on the indulgence. We don t buy cookies of the sort well because they too are expensive. I got a gift card to go get a mani and pedi and I can’t wait to pamper myself.

At church this morning I cried over and over again sitting in my seat looking like a raccoon from my mascara. I kept rubbing in hopes that I had gotten it all off.  It started when they asked all moms to stand up. They began to talk about how special we were as moms and how hard it is to do what we do. I began to weep like a child lost in the mall searching for their very own mom. Why did they have me standing up? Why would they say these nice things about me? It was in fact very hard to stand in front of all these people as they said very truthful things about all of us moms.

I continued to sob and make eye contact with no one because if I didn’t maybe they wouldn’t notice what was taking place in my heart. Standing in the presence of my Father caused me to completely humble myself and my struggles. It’s really hard for me to except when people say nice things to me or about me because I know who I really am. I am but a mess that has been made Holy by my Heavenly Father.  He has chosen me for greatness that I simply can’t do without HIS Spirit to lead and guide me. HE has given me the blessing of being a mom to 9 children oh what was HE thinking.

I now have all of these teenagers that I along with my husband am responsible by the power of Christ to teach and love and encourage them in ways like they have never experienced before so that they may know they are loved by their DADDY and that HE created them with much purpose. Along with those things I must not forget to mention discipline and consequences to our actions.

I find myself on this very Mothers Day being put in two really hard situations that we as parents must stand our ground to teach our BIG kids lessons that will prayerfully radically transform their being into whom HE created them to be. It would be so much easier to give in and just try to be their friend but that will do nothing more but damage them.

Our little Abraham about 2 month ago, after his last time of running away we had a serious conversation with him. Trent and I decided that we would tell him that if he ran away again that he could not come back.  We wanted to do this the time before when he ran but our hearts couldn’t bear to say it. So this time it was a must.

I sent my mom a message and said mom you never gave up on me and always let me back home when I would run, this is what Trent and I are going to tell Abraham for the sake of our family and most importantly his very own sake. “Carmen all I could ever do with you was hope for the best” was her response. Ughhhh that’s a tough one to swallow here we are in this tough situation and all I can do is hope for the best. I believe who God is and what HE is capable of doing in Abraham but Abraham must want it for himself. So this worried me because I remember how long it took for me to get it as a child. Well it took until I was a grown woman and I didn’t want this to be the case for our son that has been alone on the streets for 6 years.

We followed through with what we felt would be best for our whole family and Abraham. Abraham did great for about a month then it happened. He didn’t come home from school and we found out that he had not been going to school for about a week. He would go drop his bag off in his classroom and leave the campus. The streets and the lies it tells had sucked our 11 year old back to darkness. He has an addiction to huffing gas to get high and cover up all his pain, he likes to smoke cigarettes and he went straight to it all.

Well Happy Mothers Day to me I get a call from our son Belay that Abraham was at our gate. We were away celebrating our friend’s baby girl’s birthday. My heart jumped with excitement that on this day I would get to see him after a month.  When we arrived at home we went outside and gave our dirty filthy stinky boy lots of love. It was the usual scene that we found ourselves in he was shoeless with indescribably dirty feet. He had his school uniform on which is what he left the house in last. Holes were present where they weren’t before. His shirt looked as if it had been drug through the mud 10 times.  He had an oversized jacket on that someone had obviously given him to stay warm.

Even in his filth he is still my son the one HE chose me to love and actively teach of his importance in this world even though he struggles with this belief.  We laughed and joked and I sat watching my son squat in his normal position that he has when in the streets curled up as small as he can as he squats to the ground. I asked him “why are you here Abraham?” He wanted to apologize for leaving again and began to say how he knew he didn’t want to be on the streets. Here we were in the same place we had been before. It was all too familiar to us all.

Abraham asked if he could come back home. Oh how my heart sank deep into the pits of the earth. This is it; this is where parenting gets hard. I knew the answer to his question even though it’s the opposite of what I would have liked to tell him. Daddies are sometimes so much stronger at holding their ground so this is where my amazing husband had to come in and reinforce what our last conversation with him was. We told Abraham no, that at this time he couldn’t come home because of what we had all agreed on the last time he ran away. We told him that we would pray and that he too needed to have some intense conversations and dependency on his Creator. Trent packed him up some juice, chips, sandwich and cookies and we said our goodbyes.

WOW how hard this was to us. We know that is was without a doubt the best thing we could do for Abraham at this point. If our word means nothing how could this little one ever trust us with his life. Please join us in prayer for Abraham. Pray that Abraham would listen to what God is whispering to his heart because it is only through HIM that Abraham can be strong enough to say NO to the streets, to say NO to the gas that he huffs and to have the courage to say YES to the new life that awaits him. We believe that Abraham will be back with us in Gods perfect timing but it still doesn’t make it easy.

We had another hard decision to make as parents on this Mothers Day. One of our teenage girls has been making bad choices. She doesn’t abide by curfew and is constantly inconsiderate to our family in this way. We showed GRACE GRACE GRACE over and over again and then it came time to let her experience how her actions had consequences. About a week ago we decided to ground her for a week. She cried, she said that we hated her; she said she couldn’t live with us anymore and it went on and on and on. Eventually she came around and was good. Then it came Sunday when she would be off restriction and she wanted to go meet a friend. We said of course, have fun but be home by 6:30. Well guess what she arrived at 7:00. 7:00 is not 6:30 so again we had to punish her for another week. She took it well this time and took complete ownership of how it was her decision that got her here and not our dislike of her.

She is growing so much in so many ways. It’s hard to take a teenage girl in who has never experienced LOVE on this level and completely expose her. We are trying so hard to teach them things that kids that grow up in families learn at an early age. Pray for our daughter that she would acknowledge what it is that is causing her to make these choices so that she can freely choose to do it differently.

I tell you these stories of the events on my Mothers Day to remind all of us moms of what being a mom is about. It’s about LOVING unconditionally, making the hardest choices of our lives for our kids to set them up to be strong, its about being courageous when we are scared to death, its about trusting HIM when we have all of our what if moments. Being a mother is about so much more than one day a year, it is about being a mother 365 days a year 24 hours a day.

Although times are tough as I am sure you are experiencing just as I, Please be encouraged and know that I have prayed for your ever changing, not knowing what tomorrow will bring journey. YOU ARE AN AMAZING MOM!!!