Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A gift that will SHINE!

What a week it has been and now we roll into an even bigger week of celebration and Christmas cheer. With only four days until Christmas I have to chuckle that my cards have been in transit for five days now. I hit the wrong shipping option and here I sit with envelopes all addressed and no cards yet. This year our priorities have changed a bit :) Last week was full of hoopla and excitement as school was winding down for the two week break, I had a birthday and Ava is now eight months old. There was much to celebrate.

Last week the most special gift was delivered my way. I can only share a few details but needless to say it made my birthday the very best ever!  Here is the story... 
I have a friend who has an amazing job and one of her tasks is to help her company determine where donations should be made and why. She was chosen to pay it forward and invest in something that gives back, makes a difference, changes a life. Such a cool concept and so much fun for me to hear her grapple with where the monies should go. This friend and her family have been right there alongside us in our journey to Ava and have been moved by the miracle in the plan God has shown through Ava. So in looking at where funds should be donated this year, my friend thought of our family and our passion for those left behind in Ethiopia, the struggle of those in orphanages who will have nobody to call their own this Christmas. She and I spent a great deal of time last week looking carefully at a few organizations that are doing what they can to bring light and hope to the least and the lost in Ethiopia. Here is the part you will love... After much consideration and prayer we decided the donation should go to our outstanding adoption agency, All God's Children International. AGCI has an excellent reputation as an adoption agency and has for many years. What many may not know is that AGCI is hoping to increase their impact in the world through their Embrace Missions work this year. Take a look:

The best part about the donation to AGCI is that the funds will be designated to go directly to the renovation of several Bethzatha Government Orphanage locations that AGCI partners with and where babies and children must be placed may be placed before being place at Hannah's Hope, a transitional home before adoption. Bethzatha locations are very well run but they are teaming with babies and the facilities need updating and repairs. These funds will be used this year by the AGCI mission's teams (yes, there are still opportunities to join them) to make the living conditions for orphans better.

There are rules as to what I can do to help fund raise for AGCI so soon after completing our own adoption, but I will say this... I know many of you reading this are praising God this Christmas for the beautiful gift we have been given in our new child(ren) home from Ethiopia. They were so well loved with so much attention and nurturing, and for those yet to visit HH to meet your babies, there is nothing quite like the HH environment on the planet- let alone Ethiopia. So I ask you as one proud AGCI adoptive momma... How can we support all that AGCI hopes to do this year to be the hands and feet of Jesus to those who are orphaned and alone? Perhaps we could all give, adding to the funds given this week for the renovations at Bethzatha, or maybe you, like me, are being nudged in the direction of going back to Ethiopia to work and love on orphans. Maybe you could be the answer to even one orphan's prayer in 2011...

Donate to our Orphan Care Projects: Your financial support will provide clean water, essential medical care, and a safe place to sleep for children who dream of a place to call home.

Participate in an Embrace Missions Trip: There is no greater way to embrace the needs of a child than by extending your own hands. Join one of our Embrace Missions trips in 2011.

Become a Church Partner: Invite your congregation to put their faith into action by sponsoring our orphan care programs or by joining a mission trip.

Explore the links to each country to learn more about the Orphan Care 2011 projects. Find a ministry that touches your heart, then use the 'Donate Now' button to help fund the project. God uses your gifts to transform an orphan's helpless moments into miraculous moments of hope.

Please join our outreach efforts to make a difference in children's lives in 2011.
Our prayer is that you will be the answer to an orphan's prayer today. Visit www.allgodschildren.org to learn more.
Peace and may your light shine bright!

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Into Our Arms Forever!

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welcome home ava! from melanie Strobel on Vimeo.

Meeting Ava during our first trip to Ethiopia

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Meeting Ava Ethiopia Trip July 2010 from melanie Strobel on Vimeo.

Korah- Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

During our recent visit to Ethiopia I felt very called to the village of Korah in Addis Ababa Ethiopia. There have been numerous rumblings lately about the tremendous need to help the children of Korah who are growing up in and around the local trash dump. The village was established 75 years ago as a place to send people with leprosy who were said to be cursed. Now there is a 3rd generation of people living in Korah with nearly 100,000 suffering from such things as leprosy, HIV, misc disease and of course malnutrition. There are many children of Korah who have been forced to live and work at the trash dump in hopes of finding food and possible items to sell in Korah's center of town. With the start of the Great Hope Church in Korah and the building of a shelter, along with the ministry of local Sammy Liben and Sumer Yates, there is now a feeding program and a sponsorship program in place to rescue the forgotten children of Korah and send them to boarding school where they can escape the horror of the conditions of living and working in a large trash dump. For more information please visit: www.help4korah.blogspot.com or www.p61.org where you can learn more about how you or your organization can help the people and the children of Korah. Please send me a message or email Erin Allen at erin@p61.org to request sponsorship information. I will soon be posting the photos of my day recently spent in Korah. I must tell you it was life changing and beyond anything I have ever done to stretch, change and rearrange myself. God helped me to help the people who I met. Much of what I could offer was nothing more than the snap of my camera or a warm touch or an inviting smile. The needs in Korah are beyond our wildest imagination yet God is over Korah and there is already amazing work being done. I invite you to view the following videos to learn more about the beauty and the needs of Korah's people.


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Hannah's Hope Orphanage- Ethiopia

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