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.


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


Posted: May 13, 2013 in Uncategorized


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!!!


It’s Easter morning in Ethiopia and I’m getting the eggs and cheese out to fix us a good breakfast. We have a new guest and I wanted to prepare a nice meal. As I was turning on the stove our son Belay runs into the kitchen and says,” WOW, amazing morning today.” I originally thought, “Belay I am busy trying to cook breakfast, so maybe you had a great run at the track; I’m busy.” Later I repented for these thoughts. He’s standing there with pictures in his hands and a yellow rope in the other. He begins to tell me of how he was on one of his morning runs through the forest, a place that I’ve trained with him many times. As he was running with is friend he saw a man in the distance but ran on by. Then he stopped and thought to himself; “Something isn’t right what is that man doing?” He told his friend we have to go over there and he friend said no lets’ keep going. Belay replied;” No we have to go over there!” They went over and the man had three pictures in his pocket, a note and a rope around his neck. The man told them to leave; they grabbed him down and talked to him until they calmed him down. They shared how Jesus died for him and has purpose for him. Then Belay knew what the next step should be, bring him to his family and see what to do next.

I must confess at first when Belay came in I was like, man I’m busy what is it? As Belay shared the above story my heart melted, especially as I looked at the rope that about took this man’s eternity. He is HIV positive, his wife is too, but his daughter in negative. His wife got really sick and went back to her country side to be with her family, he felt too much shame to go; hopelessness was sinking in. I told Belay bring him into his room and give me time to pray about what God would want to tell him. The Lord gave me this; but he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. Isaiah 53:5-6  In Ethiopia sheep are everywhere and I told him we’re all like that sheep that try  to get away, but Christ has brought us all back by His wounds, etc. etc. Then we went to For God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ, 20 and through him God reconciled everything to himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ’s blood on the cross. Colossians 1: 19-20. I told him God has brought him back to Himself through Jesus on the cross, making peace with him. I said,” You almost hung on a tree today, but it was finished when Jesus hung on a tree for you thousands of years ago.” I took him through Romans showing him how the wages of sin is death. But eternal life is a free gift. He had bought the rope for 4 birr (21 cents) to hang himself with. I laid the rope on the table and three nails in the shapes of a cross. I told him, “You just about paid your way to death for 4 birr (21 cents), but Jesus nailed you shame, guilt and sin to the cross and paid the price for your life. And this gift of life is free. I knew we couldn’t let this man just leave so we invited him to church with us and to our Easter lunch with our small group, friends and large family.

Church was amazing today, great worship, great message, but the greatest part was looking back and looking at this man clapping and smiling at me, praising the LORD! After church we went to eat and had great food. This man, Getachew, fixed the biggest plate ever and finished it all. He agreed to share his story to this large group of what God had done in his life today. Then we all gathered around him and prayed over him. A few of my close Ethiopian friends wanted to talk to him more about Jesus and so about six of them had 30 minute conversation about what it means to follow Jesus. He decided to follow Jesus.

So I was in the kitchen when I saw them take Getachew into a back room to  pray. My friend invited me in and when I came in he was on his knees and two other were praying over him. I thought this is amazing and just got on my knees and began to pray. He was praying the salvation prayer and confessing Jesus as Lord, then things got crazy. He became tense and went to the ground, and then I saw drops of blood hitting the floor. My first thought was of Jesus praying in the garden, but things changed quickly, he went into convulsions on the floor and screamed all kinds of words and sounds, all of us calling on the powerful name of JESUS. Blood was dripping from his nose and things were intense; then all of a sudden his body went straight and stiff as a board and then there was silence. He became peaceful and sat on a stool in his right mind; WOW what a day!

Here’s my take on the day;

1. I love the sensitivity of our son Belay’s heart to act in the Spirit of the Lord. So many of us hear this voice day by day and keep on going.  I’m guilty of this also. If Belay ignored this voice, Getachew would be hanging from a tree today, dead.

2. I LOVE that our son knows we’re a family that lives LOVE out loud and that he came  to us when a need like this arises.

3. As we were praying over him today the evil spirit said that he was going to kill him this morning and he will kill him. Our enemy wants to destroy us; but our Savior has victory!

4. When the blood came out of him while casting out the demon, the demon tried to scare us away, knowing that he is HIV positive. I also believe that the blood was symbolic that Jesus has healed him of his blood disease; I look forward to his next test, by faith.

5. My biggest take, JESUS IS LORD! He has victory over death and He has conquered our enemy. His ways are truly greater than our ways. He rose from the dead, so that we would rise with HIM.

Pray as we look to build Getachew up in the local church before we send him back to his wife and 4 year girl in the countryside. If the demon comes back and the house is empty, big trouble. Pray as we plug him into a church we’re partnered with to fill the house.

Closing: My Easter’s have always been filled with dinner with my family, a big meal that puts me in a coma, we dress extra nice for that special day at church, more people go to church than usual on this day and we sing different songs. Then we hide eggs, eat chocolate and have a fun day. I will never forget this Easter; it’s all about saving us from our mess, saving us all from hanging on the trees of our own lives and bringing us into peace with God and our pass, present and future circumstances. This is it, Jesus rose to life so that we could have life, and Jesus rose to life so that Getachew now has new life. I’ve written to the best of my human understanding of all this, I can’t explain God, He’s too great to be put into words; but I do know that today.





DSC_0042You sometimes get into this place where you listen to the words of untruth of the evil one. That is where I have been for the last week or so. Not sure how to feel, not sure how to react and not sure on what to believe.  I have wanted to write but not even sure of what the text would say. Today is the day that I will defeat the enemy and write about my deal for the past week.

We have had so much to celebrate that I have held on tight to those celebrations to keep me from collapsing into my sadness. Mikki started his wood working school and is doing incredible. Bereket is back home with his family after being on the streets for 6 years. So here we have 2 less street boys that God simply allowed us to be a part of getting them off the streets after 6 years. Man what an overwhelming amount of JOY that is felt by each of us that have been a part of HIS great plan. Inside deep I am hiding the pain for another.

Everyone seems to walk around as if it is ok or even normal.  I on the other hand struggle at moments to fight back the tears, the hurt and the struggle of what his decision has done to me.  Does he even realize how it has affected me in my inner being? My heart aches, my mind wonders, fears creep in and prayer is constantly flowing off the tip of my tongue for him.

It is now starting to rain here I envision my little man cold, shivering, curled up with his bottle of glue huffing away to create an illusion to what is really going on around him.  I imagine his shoes have been stolen or even sold to get some food or glue to get high.  His t-shirt by now is stretched out due to him trying to fit his whole body inside to keep the crisp air off his frail bones.  Bugs manifesting his long hair he was trying to grow out.

His future is in the hands of HIS FATHER and I am at moments having issues with remembering that my DADDY has him wrapped up even as he shivers. I am having a hard time remembering that HIS DADDY never leaves him.

I am missing my lil man incredibly and am questioning so many things.  God you brought him into my path, into my family and now he is gone for a while. Then the lies creep in about the things I should have done or could have done.  The adversary creeps these little voices in my ears and my mind laughing saying ha ha ha you thought you had him forever now he is gone what will you do to help him now. Then he continues to tell me about the roughness and darkness of the streets that my lil guy is facing each and every day.

Holding on the truths that I know is extremely hard and overwhelming when I do not have that loud obnoxious laugh that makes everyone in the room stare at him awkwardly then burst into laughter.  I miss having his little attitude around that goes into a corner and pouts like a 2 year old toddler when he doesn’t get his way.  I miss watching him, Gavin and Kiki ride their skateboards down the hill or Gavin and Kiki teaching him something new.  I would do anything right now to hear a little argument between him and Gavin as if they had been brothers forever. Although each of these drove me CRAZY at moments now that they are gone I would do anything to have them back.

Abraham has gone back to the streets.  He had an argument with one of our daughters one morning before I even awoke from that night’s sleep.  He didn’t go to school and we haven’t seen him since. My daughter Amilly and I went into the streets searching for him at every place we knew he once called home. He was nowhere. NOWHERE  to be found. None of our other friends on the streets have seen him.  Where is my boy??

Pray for Abraham pray that GOD radically engages death to Abraham; death to himself and what his life represents.  Abraham recognized that he needed Jesus and he accepted Jesus as his Lord and Savior about 2 months ago after he tried to kill himself. The battle is on for his life. The enemy is angry because he has lost this one but is trying steadily to keep him in this tangled web of confusion and distraction. I know that GOD has victory and I know that little Abraham does because he now has a relationship with Jesus but man when the spiritual battle is taking place inside I know how hard it is.

Abraham I love you and your family loves you. When you come home we will once again welcome you with hugs and kisses and TIBS!!!  I miss you every day that you are not here with us. Please stay strong out in this crazy world of darkness that is trying to capture your heart. No matter what the enemy whispers to you know that you are loved and cared for and that your CREATOR has so much purpose for your life.

Love your Mom

Night lights into darkness

Posted: March 17, 2013 in Uncategorized


This trip into the depths of darkness we split up into 3 different groups. We prayed and fasted the days leading up to our adventure and we’re ready to go.

My team consisted of Amilly,  Amsalu and myself.  Amilly and I are always on a team when we go anywhere for the Lord HE uses the 2 of us together for greatness; more than one could ever do alone. Normally as we go into the streets we know exactly where HE calls us to go. There isn’t much talking and we just begin to walk each of us praying and wondering where the night would lead.

After passing several prostitutes which is where HE normally stops us first we came upon a man in his 40’s dressed in dirty clothes, a hat having many holes covering his shattered hair sitting on a rock.  His darkened teeth showed as he smiled at us big and welcoming so we engaged in conversation with him.  Soon we realized that this conversation would be a while and our legs were under pressure from holding a squat for this long. We got more comfortable and sat closer to him on the rocks that were near.

His name is Getachew.  He has been on the streets for a while due to not having work.  Oh how often we hear this story. This is why so many here think America is heaven. It is the land of opportunity. If only he could find work over and over again we heard. As one of us talked to him the other 2 would sit quietly listening and pray for Gods wisdom and discernment.

We began to speak to him about Jesus he said he had heard of him before and had thought about going to church but the only problem is now if he went people would judge him and think that he is a thief because of his dirty clothes.

We shared the news about Jesus and how God loves him just the way he is. His eyes glistened as he realized this for the first time. That he doesn’t have to get all dressed up for Christ but Christ came in the flesh to meet him right where he is, in his despair and cares so much for him.  We told our new friend that we would be back tomorrow and confirmed a place to meet him.

Solomon & Getahoun

We got up and as we passed 2 older guys they called us over to them and asked us to share with them what we had just shared with Getachew.  They had been sitting watching us LOVE and wanted a little bit of that love I guess.

These 2 guys were chewing Chat a local drug that many here chew on.  It comes from a local tree and you eat the leaves off it.  It’s a stimulant that is compared to cocaine due to the way it keeps you awake. These 2 guys were sitting one with a jaw full of this chewed up plant the other had finished his and was just handling the stems.

I was able to share my testimony with these 2 men. I let them know that this little white girls face they see peeking out of a hooded sweatshirt could understand their drug use. We talked about the pain we try to cover up when we use drugs. We spoke of how the drugs make us feel stronger than we really are so that we can make it another minute in this horrific day.  I shared with them how the high only last for a little while and when it is gone you are left alone with all the feelings you had before sitting in your lap with nowhere to go.  This was the door to be able to share Jesus and how HE never leaves us alone feeling insecure or unworthy. The hope in Solomons eyes shone as Amilly and Amsalu continued to go deep with the Gospel.

Solomon has been on the streets for 20 years. He was once in the military here in Ethiopia and that is where he met his sidekick Getahoun who has been on the streets for 10 years.  As I looked into the eyes of each of these men it hit me hard in the heart. In a burst that brought tears to my eyes.  This is why we do what we do. So we can lessen the amount of street kids that 10-20 years from now can say they have been on the streets for such a long period.  Visions of each kid we have been a part of getting off the streets played in my mind and heart. THANK YOU GOD for choosing us is all I could whimper. With tears in my eyes I had to look away to get refocused.

Solomon says that he ask God everyday “What is my purpose, Why am I still here?”  He just wants to learn how to read. He has never been to school before. We told him we would love to meet him weekly and teach him how to read.  We shared with him how much Jesus loved him and had a great purpose for him.   We told them when and where we would meet them tomorrow morning.  Getahoun was quick to let us know that he would be sleeping until around 2 so he would not be ready to meet us but that once his friend Solomon hangs out with us some then maybe he would come to.

We continued walking just processing all that these men had shared with us and really still in awe that God had us loving on then men tonight, such a different direction than usual.


We walked by many prostitutes but still not feeling that was where we were supposed to stop that evening.  So we crossed over to the other side of the road where the last stop for the evening would be.  There was a group of street kids together all bundled closely together to keep each other warm.  They were all different ages 12-17.

There was one girl among them. She had only been on the streets for 2 weeks. She didn’t want to go home to her mom that lived just down the streets because to her the streets were still fun and free. I couldn’t help but notice how rough she looked compared to the boy that was sitting beside her that had been on the streets for 6 years. I immediately began to tell him how he looks so good to be on the streets for 6 years compared to the others.  Bereket said “I know God has taken care of me these 6 years. Nothing bad has ever happened to me when I have watched many bad things happen to those around me.”

As we sat on this mat I began to feel many bugs crawling on me. I was completely grossed out and I looked to the wall they are leaning on and watched as the bugs scattered around trying to get to where ever they were going dodging the street kids bodies.

I found myself in a place where I needed God to help me focus on him and not on the  many bugs that were moving like that of an animal which would attack me in seconds and kill me.

Bereket began to share his story with us.  The more he talked the more I began to realize how blessed this kid really was. He had only finished 5th grade was 17 and spoke English so well.  He came from the countryside 6 years previously. He said “I once knew Jesus but then I walked away from him.” The great news we shared was that Jesus has never left him. He comes from a Christian home and God has truly protected his son.

Then things took a dramatic exciting turn.  He mentioned where he was from and Amilly told me that it was where one of our youth would be returning to University in the next week or so.  I looked at Bereket and asked him would he want to go home. He got super excited and smiled so big that you could see every white tooth in his mouth and said “YES I have been wanting to go back to my family for a while now but had no way”

Only God would be able to put us in the path of this 17 year old boy knowing that we would have someone that could travel with him back to his home and be close by to encourage and become a friend to him.

I am now on this Jesus high that just doesn’t budge. We show up the next day in hopes to meet all 3 of the men we had encountered the night before.  Before we could even reach our destination Bereket calls us wanting to know where we were. We meet him and looked for Solomon, he was nowhere to be found then we walked with the sun blazing on our backs burning our skin to find Getachew. We were excited to see he was right where he said he would meet us.

We took them to grab some lunch and just sought out their hearts and what they wanted in life. Bereket is ready to be reunited with his family.   Getachew decides that he wants to follow Jesus Christ.  We take him to a local church nearby that he can engage with and walk to.  It is there that he bows on his knees raises his hands and invites Jesus into his heart.  We will meet with him weekly and follow up on what the church is teaching him.


Bereket left this morning to go and be reunited with his family after being on the streets for 6 years.  It is about 8 hours away from where we are in Addis. PRAY PRAY  PRAY ALL-OUT for him. Pray that his family welcomes him with open arms. Pray that GOD will open many doors for him for his future; education, work etc. Pray that God is preparing his heart to be back with his family and that he will not listen to the lies that the streets will whisper to him. Pray that he will lean on Sheriff our University student which is just a town away. Pray that GOD will use Bereket for greatness and dumbfound all that know him.

Getachew,  Soloman, & Getachoun

Getachew and Solomon have both given their lives to Jesus Christ. They are both still living on the streets but are going to the local church we took them to.  They are having discipleship classes 3 days a week and attend church on Sunday. Pray that God will continue to use HIS church to empower these men from the bondage they have been carrying for 40 something years. Pray that God will use these men to create a movement in this church to go into the community and love on the street people they see every day on their commutes.  Pray that Solomon will learn how to read and that Getachew can find work. Getahoun just this week has begun to go with his friend to church.

Thank you all for going along this journey with us and being prayer warriors.


Mikki went on the search for his mom in the countryside, his aunt was cold and was not giving him any contact information and even made up a lie that his mom had moved to another country.  After a week and a half of Mikki being alone beside some old friends he would meet along the way he was beginning to lose hope.

We decided our team needed to go and see what was going on, there had to be someone that knew his moms number even though she had moved. Amilly and Brooke went and spent 3 days there. Immediately upon arrival they went and visited the aunt she was not home so they went to a family friend and that is when they were told the truth that Mikki’s mom had died.

Mikki was extremely sad and shed many tears as the realization that his dream would never come true. He would never be reunited with his mom. We didn’t want to share this information yet until we talked to the aunt. The next evening the aunt was finally home after several trips prior to her home.  That Is when she confirmed that Mikki’s mom had died. She had been dishonest to protect Mikki in a way but at the same time was not welcoming to him because he had been on the streets for so long and she was scared that Mikki would steal what little she had. We asked if she could take Mikki in but she said she couldn’t because she is poor and has children of her own.

We sought out to see if there was any way that Mikki could survive there. The answer was no. There would be no way that he could find a job. We had to move quickly.  We had been praying for about a week constantly seeking Gods face for what HE would have us do with Mikki. He had to come home with Brooke and Amilly when they came back we couldn’t leave him there alone having no one after finding out that the one he had hoped to be reunited with, the one God had chosen to birth him was now dead.

With having him back in Addis we continued to pray and ask God please open a door please provide for you boy. We juggled school options he could go to night school maybe in September starting 5th grade as a young adult. What would we do with him until then and how could we keep this young boy occupied during the day.

We went and met with a school that offers woodwork training. We have a friend who has a connection there. We met with them and Mikki was accepted into the program.  He started school today and was super excited. He will do this school for one year. Then they will set him up to succeed with work.

We stand in awe of who our FATHER is and how HE has such a great plan and purpose for each one of his chosen ones. You must be willing to say YES to HIM. To get uncomfortable and MAKE YOUR MARK in this world so that others may be saved.

Continue to pray for Mikki as he is on a new journey. Pray that we are able to LOVE Mikki and be Jesus to him so that HE will accept his FATHERS love for him, for that is the most important decision that he can make. Pray that HE will see GODS perfect plan for his life and give HIM all the praise.

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THANK YOU for your support that EMPOWERS us to EMPOWER others!!


He is home!!!!!

He is home!!!!!



Man this week has been one of the toughest weeks I have had since being back home in Ethiopia for the last 3 months.  Our little one Abraham decided to run back to the streets.  He has done this before and we have went and got him after a day or so.  This time it was a different approach that HE whispered in our ears. HE told us to wait and trust that HE would be doing something in Abraham’s heart that hasn’t taken place before.  This is the first time Abraham has ran to the streets since he invited JESUS into his heart.

I wanted so badly to run and get him and bring him back home but as I cried rivers of tears not understanding why I had to wait; I would hear over and over again this whisper tell me “Carmen you know who I am and you know my promises. Let me have your son that I have chosen for you for just a little time.  He is mine now and I love him more than you do.”

My Father always amazes me with the situations HE uses to grow me and shape me. This would be one of those.  As I missed my son deeply I began to reminisce on who I was when I was his age.  I was just like this little boy that GOD had chosen for our family. I was broken, I was helpless, I was a runaway, I felt abandoned with no purpose.

As much as I love this boy he brings great challenge to me daily because he is so much like who I was at the age of 11.  When I look at Abraham I see myself, so much of myself that it hurts. All the things this little one is doing to me I too did them to my mom.  This brings up hurt and pain in my heart because I see tenfold what I did to my mom. Not only do I see it but I feel it to the deepest levels of my inner being. Not being Abraham’s biological mom allows the enemy to reside where our love stands just as it did with my adopted mom. I would yell at her and scream you are not my “REAL” mom when I would get mad. I would runaway and be gone for weeks or months at a time with her not knowing where I was. What a selfish and hurt kid I was.

I went to Trent who was lying in the bed and asked him what we should do and I shared all the pain of what I was feeling now having a teenage runaway of my own. I just cried and cried. He said “well Carmen what did your mom do for you?”  My heart longing to talk to my mom face to face and ask her “MOM WHAT DO I DO”; I realized I already knew the answer because my mom lived it out daily in my life.  She loved me unconditionally no matter the words I yelled at her with disgust, she believed in me when I never had an ounce of faith in myself and she never gave up on me.

Mom I thank you for loving me just as I was for rescuing from the craziness of my life and adopting me.   I thank you for paving a road of preparation for me as I now am a mother to many that are not biologically mine. You will never know mom the impact that you have made in my life. I hope that every time you think of me and this CRAZY journey that HE has us on that I am living it out loud because of you.

Today as Trent and the kids were about to leave the compound I noticed the car backing down the driveway. I wondered why they were coming back.  They got out of the car and yelled “we saw Abraham.”

I ran across the street with horns honking at me.  I didn’t care I just wanted to hug my little one. I could hear footsteps running behind me they were Kiki’s she was excited to see him too.  Belay had already ran up the other way to catch him. There he was dirty with no shoes and the smell of gas reeking as if he had gotten it spilt all over him.  (this was from him huffing gas forteh past week)

I grabbed him and held him in my arms and whispered BETAM EWDEHALEW (I LOVE YOU VERY MUCH). He whispered “ME TOO.”

The last conversation I had with Abraham was asking him if he knew that I loved him.  His answer was “I don’t know.” I then responded what can I do my son so that you will know this in your heart forever.  He didn’t have much t say.

Today as him, Belay and I sat talking he said that last night he couldn’t sleep and all he could think about was the question I had asked him about knowing that I love him.  He said in his heart in that moment that he knew that I loved him and he missed me and wanted to see my face.  He said he was just sitting waiting outside the gate kind of hiding so that he could see my face once again, then he would go back to the streets again. Grateful that Daddy had another plan.

Our sweet Abraham is home and we welcomed him with open arms just as we read about in the bible when the Prodigal Son. I thank you LORD for choosing us and I thank you that your word is as real today as the day it was written.

Please continue to pray for our sweet Abraham!!



Trent started washing his dirty clothes when he was in the shower. I think your dad loves you Abrham

Trent started washing his dirty clothes when he was in the shower. I think your dad loves you Abrham

WE LOVE YOU Abraham and are so HAPPY you are  home!!

WE LOVE YOU Abraham and are so HAPPY you are home!!

#onelessstreetkid update on Mikki

Posted: February 19, 2013 in Uncategorized

photo (3)



So Mikki is a street boy that we met about 6 months ago.  Weekly we go to the streets and build relationships with these precious kids.  From the first time I met Mikki he asked if we could help him get back to his region he is from in Ethiopia Dire Dawa.  What I always tell the kids is that I alone can do nothing for them but they must go to God and pray. God knows if there heart is true or if they are just wanting to a free ride of some sort.

Here we are 6 months later and he asks again. He tells me that he has been praying and asking this God to please help him get home to his mom.  He is tired of being on the streets. “When your a kid the streets are fun but now that I am older its time for me to get back in school or get some work so I can help my mom”.

We too have been praying that if it is Gods will for us to help Mikki that we would know. Not only Mikki do we pray this for but every street kid that we have relationships with.  One week after hearing his words we were in the process of HELPING MIKKI get off the streets. This is what we do, this is what we were created for. This is what Make Your Mark Ethiopia is all about.

We go and buy a bus ticket for him. You never give a street kid anything that they can go sale so we keep it. Yes this means clothes and shoes to even if they have bare feet on the filthy roads. That is enabling them instead of empowering them.  As hard as it is to not give give give because that is our American mentality.  We thank God for the street smarts HE has given us through many years of bad choices our selves. Now HE uses those choices for HIS glory.

Saturday we went and took Mikki to get a new outfit. He couldn’t show up to see his mom after 5 years looking like that.  We then brought him to our home to take a shower.  He spent the night with our 3 sons so that we could leave at 4:45 am to get him to the bus station.

Mikki was very happy and super excited to go find his mom and get off the streets.  We put him on the bus and stood outside the bus for two hours in the cold crisp morning air. For two reason we did this. One was just to be there to celebrate with him and let him know that we all loved him and cared for him. The second reason was because we wanted to make sure he didn’t get off that bus.  We all know how the enemy works in our minds when we are trying to the the right thing.

We over the past 6 months have planted the seed about Jesus and how much he cares for Mikki. Pleapray that HE would bring someone to grow and water that seed so that Mikki will know Jesus in his heart.

So I have anxiously been waiting for a phone call from Mikki. I must know has he found his mom???

We received a call this morning.  My heart jumped with excitement to know that he arrived safely.  With the money we gave him 100 birr a little over 5 usd he rented a bed for the evening. YES he didn’t sleep on the streets for 2 nights in a row. Woooooooo Hoooooo

The words he said next made my heart sad.  He hasn’t found his mom and has heard that she had moved away to Djibouti. Djibouti connects Somalia and Eritrea. It a port where things are shipped in and out from. There is no way at the moment that he can even get close to the border much less cross over the border.

He found his aunt and she said that his mom was sad and cried a ton while waiting many years for Mikki to return to her and he didn’t so she moved away, for work as house help.  His aunt is angry with him and is not sharing any information that she has on his mom with him. When we spoke he said she wouldn’t even give him injera to eat.

He found a friend from a long time ago and was with him yesterday. His friend lives with his family so Mikki can not stay with them. He was going to find another group of friends to spend some time with when we last talked.

PRAY THAT THERE IS SOMEONE THAT KNOWS MIKKI’S MOM’S NUMBER.  Imagine being a mom and not hearing from your son for 5 years then all of a sudden you hear his voice on the other end of the phone. Or being Mikki and craving to be back with his mom for many years but had no way and finally gets to hear the voice he has sketched out in his mind from the last time he heard her voice. That is how AMAZING GOD is expecting IMMEASURABLY MORE!!

A little background on Mikki: in 2005 there was a flood in Dire Dawa before this flood him and his family were doing well. His father owned his own business and could take care of him and his mom. The flood came and ruined their home and business. 150 people died during this flood. It happened at night while they were sleeping. After the flood they went and lived in a community shelter where many many families all lived together. Shortly afterwards his father died, leaving Mikki and his mom with nothing.

Mikki came to Addis Ababa Ethiopia for some hope. That is what many from the country side do. The city is like the land of opportunity for them where they can get work and take care of themselves.  The problem is that most come here thinking that then find their selves living on the streets, digging through trash dumps for food, stealing  and begging for anything they can get.

That is where Mikki has been for the past 5 years. In a place of darkness that would suck him in squeezing the life out of him. Mikki is around 19 years old.  His ebony round face is the only thing that looks of his age. He is skinny and malnourished and has stopped growing due to the lack of nutrition.  When I picked up the pants we had bought for him I told my daughter Amilly there is no way that he fits in these tiny pants. Then I saw them on him. That is when I really realized how malnourished he is really is. He is the size of my 10 year old daughter.

PLEASE continue to pray for Mikki and his journey ahead of him. Pray for him to know JESUS and pray that he gets his mothers phone number and that they are connected very soon. Pray that GOD will lead him in the exact direction that he needs to go. Pray that through the time of waiting that GOD surrounds Mikki with a group of people that will love him, feed him and care for him. Pray that he can find some work soon so he can take care of himself until he is reunited with his mom.


after being taken off the streets

after being taken off the streets

Amilly & Mikki

Amilly & Mikki

On the bus ready to find his mama

On the bus ready to find his mama



When you accept to follow HIM where HE leads you most of the time it is into places you would have never chosen for yourself. And once you get there you would never go back to life the way it was before. Although it seems so glamorous and glitzy because of the life HE has chosen us to live; we agree there is no other time that we feel as intimate with our FATHER than when we say YES to HIS plan. Well today it was hard, we had a scary day and that’s just all I can say.

Our latest addition is Abraham. He has been the most challenging yet. He comes straight from being on the streets for 6 years since he was around 5 years old. Today was a good day we went and passed out some pillowcase dresses that some ladies had made to a few girls in the ministry. We laughed and were having a great time UNTIL……..

It can happen at any given moment in this kid’s life. He doesn’t like to be told no. Sounds like someone else I know. When I was his age I ran away from my home for the first time and continued this pattern until I was a young adult. Anytime my mom said something I didn’t like I would run and do what I wanted to. Freedom was always calling my name just as the streets call my new son.

It was a silly comment one of our girls made to him about him needing to wash his clothes because she had already washed them before. We are trying to teach him responsibility around here. I guess her words were harsh and it turned into an hour of chaos.

In our hearts we know that he really doesn’t want to be on the streets he just doesn’t know any different or how to work through things without leaving. He went and layered his clothes to go on the streets so he could sale them of course when he needed some food or to get high from huffing. We immediately began to undress him and tell him he wasn’t going to the streets with all the clothes on. If he wanted to go he could go with nothing.

After about 30 minutes of trying to reason with him we asked him to go sit up in the tree house and think about it all and that we were not going to let him leave. At this point he just had on some shorts. We threw him a shirt up because we knew his little 50 pound self was getting cold in the shade.

He began to react like that of some type of animal up in the tree house as we all watched from below. He ripped his shirt I was just thinking he was doing it out of anger but his next move would show otherwise. He ripped a long skinny piece of his shirt off and began to say that he wanted to die. He climbed up in the tree and tied the piece of material around the tree then his neck. Frantically I grabbed a piece of the remaining limbs that the tree house had been made of trying to break the string.

Trent knowing that it was just a skinny piece of t-shirt material wasn’t freaking out like the rest. I can remember him saying it’s just a piece of t-shirt it will rip and he will fall as soon as he tries it. In my mind and heart I couldn’t watch no more. I screamed and screamed for Trent to get up there and get him. This little boy that God has brought into our family is so much like myself when I was his age. Wanting to die, feeling as if I didn’t matter. Just as the enemy lied to me he was lying to my newest son. We had to stop this.

As I continued to try to get this cloth that was around my sons neck and the tree broken with a long pole like limb Trent quickly climbs up into the tree house and grabs Abraham by the waste. He  then unties the cloth from around the tree. With the remainder of the cloth tied around his neck Trent grabs him down and unties it from around his neck.

Belay and I climbed up in the tree house joining Trent trying to calm this precious boy down. We sat him down, he was scared to death and bawling. We sat there holding him and speaking bold truth into his life. We told him that what he was doing came from the evil one. The enemy wants Abraham dead, the enemy wants Abraham back on the streets. We told him over and over again that we loved him and are willing to fight for his life.

What happened next was the most beautiful part of the day. As he said he wanted change to take place in his life but there was something that takes place each time he wants to run that is not him. We were able to share the gospel with him and tell him about JESUS. We told Abraham that he couldn’t bring this change into his own life but only Christ could. We prayed with Abraham today and he realized he needs Jesus to help him.

Sometimes when we realize our need for Christ in our lives it’s at the darkest and scariest time in our lives. He gets us to where we are weeping out loud not knowing what to do next. We are at the bottom of the bottom and there HE is waiting. And as soon as we realize we need him and say the words he sweeps us up and holds us forever.

This journey for Abraham has been quite that to say the least and I am sure it will get harder before it gets easier. Please pray for our boy as we fight for his life. Praising HIM who has already died for his life!!

Our promise to you Abraham: 2 Peter 1:12-14  So I will always remind you of these things, even though you know them and are firmly established in the truth you now have.  I think it is right to refresh your memory as long as I live in the tent of this body,  because I know that I will soon put it aside, as our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me.