Archive for ‘Ethiopia’

July 31, 2013

Calling all coffee-lovers!

Hi friends!  As many of you know, Adam & I are leading a team of 10 from our church, Movement NYC, to Ethiopia this October.  In an effort to supplement our fundraising efforts, we’ve set up an online store from with Just Love Coffee Roasters.  They offer several varieties and blends of coffee, as well as samplers, t-shirts and travel mugs.  A portion of all purchases made from our storefront will go towards offsetting our trip costs!

If you love coffee as much as I do (or even half, or a quarter, as much as I do… because my love for coffee is borderline idolatrous…), please consider making a purchase from our online store!

Movement NYC – Ethiopia 2013 – Just Love Coffee Roasters

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January 10, 2012

Sponsorship is more than just money.

The first time I sponsored a child, it was through World Vision.  Her name is Ruvimbo and she lives in Zimbabwe.  If I’m being entirely honest, my initial motivation was guilt.  I had been asked to sponsor a child and I felt bad saying no.  I have not always been the best sponsor to this young lady.  I have not written regulary, I have not prayed for her regularly, and there have been times I’ve forgotten to send in the activities World Vision sends me to forward to her.  I am far from being a perfect sponsor.

Last January, when I returned from Ethiopia for the second time, I decided to sponsor another child, this time through Compassion.  My motives were different this time.  I had met my friend Howie, and suddenly realized that sponsorship involved a real child.  I resolved to be a better sponsor (I’m still far from perfect), and knowing I’d return to Ethiopia again, I decided to sponsor a little girl in Ethiopia.  I chose Tigist for a few reasons: 1. She was 3 and I love the idea of being with her as a sponsor from such a young age through the time she graduates; and 2. she lives in the capital city of Addis Ababa, and I knew that would make it an even greater possibility for me to visit someday.

I knew the basics of sponsorship.  I sent pictures and letters.  I received the same in return.  My monthly contributions were automatically withdrawn from my bank account.  It was wonderful to sponsor two girls in Africa and I loved receiving letters from both of them.

Then, last week, I met Tigist and the reality of sponsorship deepened even more than when I’d gotten to know my friend Howie.  Standing in front of me was a sweet little 4-year-old girl who knew exactly who I was.  When we got to her house, my picture was hanging on the mud wall above her bed.  Her mom told us she hadn’t slept the night before, she was so excited.  She had gone around to her neighbors with my photo the day before, declaring that Brittany was coming to visit.

At first, this made me feel like kind of a rockstar.  But now, I’m humbled by the responsibility of sponsorship.  The responsibility I have to love and support and encourage this child that God has entrusted to me through sponsorship.  A responsibility to pray for her and her family, and to point her to Christ in the words that I write.

Can I encourage each of you to consider sponsorship?  There are kids all over the world living in poverty and you can be a part of changing their lives.  But before I romanticize it too much, let me also ask that you consider the weight of sponsorship.  As I told you, I didn’t in the beginning.  I entered in for the wrong reasons and I did not support Ruvimbo as I should have.  Sponsorship is much, much more than the money coming out of your bank account.  The child you sponsor is real, and you are so very real to them.  Sponsorship is a commitment– of your finances, your time, and your prayers.

Sponsorship is weighty, but it’s beautiful.  And it once again reminds me that it is truly better to give than receive.  Except I have to say, I often feel like I get so much more than I give.

I’ve learned that I’m not some distant figure through whom money is channeled.  I am real in Tigist’s life.  And she, more than ever, is real in mine.  Once again, I’m compelled to be a better sponsor.  To love, encourage, and pray for Tigist and Ruvimbo and share with them the love that God has lavished on me in Christ.  They are listening.

“Whoever receives one child like this in My name receives Me; and whoever receives Me does not receive Me, but Him who sent Me.”

Mark 9:37

Sponsor a Child in Jesus Name with Compassion

January 9, 2012

Answered Prayer.

Up until my trip to Ethiopia last year, I had resigned myself to the fact that the man I married may be supportive of my love for Ethiopia, but that he probably would not share the same passion for it.  It’s silly, now that I look back.  Thank God, He did not let me settle for that.  As I dated Adam, I saw God begin to put a love for Ethiopia in his heart.  It started out as a small seed, and I am overjoyed and so thankful because I have seen that love sprout into something beautiful.  This is an example of what answered prayer looks like:

 

Adam told me that he knew on our first day in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia that he wanted to visit again.  The love and compassion that God has placed in his heart through his faith in Jesus is awesome.  During our two weeks in Ethiopia, I watched my husband grieve over brokenness, rejoice in redemption, laugh and play with orphans, kick a soccer ball around with boys who used to live on the street.  I watched God continue to conform him to the image of Christ.  Adam encouraged me, prayed with me, and reminded me of the faithfulness of God.  Often I have heard people said (and said myself) that the goal of marriage is to be more effective for God’s Kingdom together than you would be on your own.  I can confidently say that God has united Adam and I for His purposes and His glory.  I can hardly imagine what He might have for us next!

I can’t wait to share more with you about what God is doing in Ethiopia, and I pray that the things I share would touch your heart and that God would call you to action.  We live in abundance and God’s word says that to whom much is given, much will be required.  Let’s seek Him together and live out the gospel in word and deed.

August 4, 2011

Hope for Addis

Head on over to the Mocha Club blog for a post I wrote upon returning from Ethiopia in January:

http://blog.themochaclub.org/articles/2011/08/04/ethiopia-2011-trip-blogger-brittany/

Women At Risk is bringing the hope of Jesus to women in Ethiopia.  Addis is a living, breathing testimony of grace, redemption, hope and healing.

 

July 12, 2011

Genet’s Gift

This morning I’m thinking about my friend Genet.  Truth be told, I don’t know much about her.  I don’t know how old she is, though my guess is she’s a few years younger than me.  I don’t know her story, though I know it led her to Women At Risk, and I know the pain and tears I saw in her eyes as I heard other women tell heartbreaking stories of abuse and violence and abandonment.  I don’t know where she is today, though I know the God who is pursuing her, the Savior that died and rose again to give her new life.

On our last day at Women At Risk in Nazret, Genet pulled me inside, sat me down, took my hand, and put on my wrist a small silver bracelet.  Then she looked at me, and in her broken English, said, “I love you.”

Genet’s gift to me was not extravagant, but it was heartfelt.  She can’t afford much, and yet she gave me that gift.  That is humbling to me.  Incredibly humbling.

It reminds me of the widow who gave next to nothing in the offering, but Jesus commended her above the rich men who gave an abundance.  Why?  Because it cost her everything.  The rich man’s offering didn’t require much sacrifice; he still left with wealth.  But the widow gave everything she had as an act of love and devotion. (Luke 21:1-4)

Genet’s gift is a beautiful reminder that the best things we receive are not those that are the most extravagant or that required the most money, but those which came at greatest cost to the giver.

And then I think about Jesus.  I think about salvation.  And I’m reminded that it came at an unspeakable cost to the ultimate Giver.  The Father gave His only Son.  Jesus gave up everything, including His life.

Will the love of Christ compel us to give until it hurts?  It is not something we must force, but rather something that flows from our understanding of how much Jesus sacrificed to give us life.  As we look to Him, as we get to know Him deeply and intimately, we are transformed.

I am thankful this morning for Genet’s gift because it points me to Jesus.  I am thankful for Genet because she is a living example of the power of Jesus to transform lives.

Will you join me in praying for Genet this morning?  Pray that as Jesus continues to transform her life, that she would continue to point others toward Him.  Pray that He would sustain her and provide for her.  Pray that she would know Him more deeply with each passing day and that her eyes would remain fixed upon Him.

I’m praying for you this morning, whoever may be reading this.  I’m praying that you would know Jesus and receive the gift He places before you– Himself.    All we could ever need is wrapped up in the person of Jesus Christ.  He is the Giver and the Gift.

Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!

2 Corinthians 9:15

May 17, 2011

A Quick Hello

To the few of you who faithfully read my blog (Hi mom!), I wanted to let you know that I am, indeed, alive.  My blog game has been pretty weak lately.  I’m still trying to figure out my niche, or if I even have one.  I haven’t done a post relating to cooking or baking in way too long.  Probably because I tend to bake the same things over and over again.  Perhaps it’s time to add some variety.  After all, variety is the spice of life, right?

In the meantime, check out this 5 minute documentary entitled “The City of Addis”.  It captures the city and its people so well, in my opinion.  The four ministries showcased are not ones I was previously familiar with, but I love what they’re doing and I hope to be able to connect with them on future trips.

The City of Addis – A short documentary from Session 7 Media on Vimeo.

April 3, 2011

My friend Kat.

For those of you who don’t know her already, please meet my friend Kat:

How do I know her, you ask?  Well, Kat and I met for the first time here in New York City, at the Manhattan Diner on the Upper West Side in the spring of 2009 to be exact.  She was in the city looking at apartments because she would be moving here that July for grad school.  But before that happened, she and I, along with a team of other guys and gals, would be traveling to Ethiopia.

To make a long story short[ish], Kat has become one of my dearest, closest friends.  Besides the fact that she is hilarious and a great home chef, Kat knows and understands and loves something very special to me: Ethiopia.  For as much as I knew I would return there (and did… and will again!), I’m inclined to say I felt even more strongly that Kat would be back there.  She loves and cares for the Ethiopian people and their beautiful country so deeply.  The desire of her heart is to serve them.

Well, God has opened the doors for Kat to return to our favorite place this summer… for the WHOLE summer!  I couldn’t be more thrilled for my friend.  I cannot wait to hear about every detail and all that God does while she is there.  Would you please join me in praying for Kat?

Read Kat’s blog post HERE to learn more about the trip and how best to be praying for her.  She’s also giving you and I the opportunity to partner with her in financially supporting some of the organizations she works with while there.

Kat, I am so, so happy [and, ahem, a little jealous] that you will be back in Ethiopia loving and serving those that are always on our minds and in our hearts.  I am praying for you and praising God for all He has done and will do through you!!!  You inspire me, lady.  And I know I’m not the only one.  Love you!

March 1, 2011

Prayer request.

As many of you know, I spent two weeks in Ethiopia a little less than two months ago.  I’ve blogged about it here, and I promised I’d post prayer points for you.  I have yet to do that, and I apologize.  I’m going to start here with one request, though I do ask that you pray for all those I’ve mentioned before.

Please be praying for the street boys in Ambo.  I don’t want to say too much here, but our time with them was very difficult both for our team and for the boys.  Please pray.  More than anything, please pray that those boys would come to know Jesus as their loving and merciful Savior.  Pray that they would believe, that their hearts would be transformed, and that they would share their hope with all of the street children they encounter.

My heart is heavy today.  Not just for these boys, but for all children who don’t know what it feels like to be loved and cherished.  May we seek to show them the unchanging, selfless, perfect love of Jesus, both in our words and in our actions.

We have a God with whom nothing is impossible.  We have a God who hears us when we cry out to Him.  Let’s intercede on behalf of the street boys and believe God for healing, redemption, hope and restoration.  He is able.

The righteous cry, and the LORD hears
And delivers them out of all their troubles.
The LORD is near to the  brokenhearted
And saves those who are crushed in spirit.

Psalm 34:17-18

PS – The prayer I posted HERE from John Piper’s Seeing and Savoring Jesus Christ expresses so much of my heart in this situation.

Your Turn:

What’s heavy on your heart today?  How can I be praying for you?  What are you believing God for right now?

February 23, 2011

The Cause: Meet Howie.

I want you to meet my friend Howie.

This beautiful little girl is 9 years old and lives in the village of Ambo in Ethiopia.  I don’t know much about Howie’s life, to be honest.  I know that she has a father and a little sister, Gifti, who is 7.  I don’t know what happened to Howie’s mother.  I know that Howie is quiet, somewhat shy, loyal and loving.  I know that she held my hand wherever we went and I could always count on her being by my side in Ambo.  I know that Howie is enrolled in Compassion sponsorship and that, through it, she is enrolled in school, is involved with the local church, is fed and clothed, and has hope for a future.

I know that there are children like Howie across the globe whose lives are full of difficulties and who need to know that there is hope for them, there is a future for them, that they are capable of more than their circumstances might allow.  Circumstances (in this case, poverty) should not prevent these children from having goals and dreams for their future.  Poverty lies to them and tells them that they do not matter, that they are not capable, and that their life is worthless.  Did you hear me?  That’s a lie.  The worst kind of lie.  It destroys the spirit of a small child who ought to believe that nothing is impossible.  Who ought to know the love of a great God who created them in His image.  Who ought to know of a Savior who fought for them, died for them, and now lives for them.

Our words have power.  The book of Proverbs says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue” (Proverbs 18:21).  We have the ability to speak life or death into the lives of others.  And whose hearts, minds and spirit are more sensitive and malleable than a child’s?  Child sponsorship gives us a chance to speak life into children who are surrounded by death, both literally and figuratively.  We can use powerful words to build them up, to encourage them, to dispell the lies of poverty and the lies of the enemy.  We can replace those lies with our words about a loving God, a gracious Father, an all-sufficient Savior.

Someone out there in the world sponsors Howie, the sweet girl who became my friend and later called me mother Someone else out there believes in Howie like I believe in Howie.  I believe God has plans and purposes for her life, and He is using the work of Compassion International to bring those things to fruition.  I look at Howie and I see one of the “little ones” Jesus spoke of.  I see a spirit that ought to be encouraged and talents that should be nurtured and cultivated.  I see a little girl who God can use for His glory.  And I see those possibilities become realities through the faithfulness of a sponsor.

What can YOU do?

The world is full of boys and girls just like Howie.  It’s overwhelming to consider how great the needs are in this world, but you can start with a single child.  A child looking not for handouts, but for opportunities and hope for their future.  You can pour into that child and build a relationship that will last a lifetime.  And remember: your words and your love will carry much more weight and meaning in the heart of a child than any amount of money you could give.

Sponsor a Child in Jesus Name with Compassion
Sponsor a Child

If you’d like to know more about Compassion International, visit their website.  I also highly recommend reading the book, “Too Small To Ignore” by Wess Stafford (President & CEO of Compassion International).

But when Jesus saw this, He was indignant and said to them, “Permit the children to come to Me; do not hinder them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.”
Mark 10:14

“And whoever in the name of a disciple gives to one of these little ones even a cup of cold water to drink, truly I say to you, he shall not lose his reward.”
Matthew 10:42

What about you?  Do you sponsor a child?  If so, tell me about him or her!
Where did you first learn about child sponsorship and how did you decide to commit to sponsoring?

February 19, 2011

In my element.

So much joy.

 

(Thanks to my awesome team leader, Missy, for the photo!)