Archive | June, 2011

My Hubby Shares – Man Up & Protect


My Hubby Shares – Man Up & Protect

Posted on 30 June 2011 by Kari Gibson

Man Up & Protect.  My hubby’s story….

I’m with my two daughters picking up a few items at my least favorite store in the world to be at on a Saturday afternoon … Walmart Supercenter.  After spending time in the toy section with Zoie and then wondering over to the make up section to pick up a few items for Hannah, we finally make our way to the check out line.  Before I proceed any further, I need to share that we live in the Ozarks and whenever you make a trip to our local Walmart you just might see … real Hillbillies. Yes, I’m serious. I’m talking … overalls, sleeveless t-shirt, John Deere ball cap, missing a few front teeth, and a big Rebel flag tattoo on their bicep for everyone to see.

On this particular day, we just happened to get behind a particular big “hillbilly” as I described above at the check out line. I don’t know why I picked this line, but I did (It was probably the shortest). Anyways, whenever you go out with Zoie she is guaranteed to make a lot of noise and the case here was no different.  As Zoie was begging for her favorite candy – M&M’s, I noticed the man turned around and eyeballed back and forth between me and Zo as she was shouting “pretty, pretty please daddy. “  I could sense his brain trying to figure out the connection.  I’m sure I read more into it than what it really was, but in an instant, I felt a sudden rush of adrenaline kick in and I was in protective mode. Thankfully, nothing bizarre happened and life continued on peacefully.

Unfortunately, there are millions (YES! Millions!) of orphans without a Christ-centered Man Up kind of a dude in their lives. A man who will love BIG to guard their hearts, minds, and bodies from the kind of pain that takes advantage of their innocence or leave a child malnourished. I still think about the first six months of Zoie’s life when I was not there for her. I wonder if she ever had to endure the hardship of living on the streets like the baby twins that we met at Korah in Ethiopia, whose mother was so malnourished that she couldn’t produce enough milk for them to eat. What about that 14 year old girl in Moldova who just recently left her orphanage with dreams only to have a predator rob her of her freedom by turning her into a sex slave. What about the boy in Uganda who had to watch his father be murdered and his mother be beaten, raped repeatedly, and left to die.

There is a very special picture of Zoie I have that was taken in an orphanage of her before I even met her.  In the picture, there is a teenage boy holding Zoie.  I don’t even know his name, but I can see in the picture as he is looking down at Zoie with a playful laugh and Zoie with her big chocolate brown eyes looking straight up in his eyes with a smile from ear to ear.  As an adoptive dad, I treasure to know that my girl was being loved on by a man that I didn’t even know before I even met my daughter.  The loving touch of a man is huge for babies, children, and teenagers, but it all starts with us (men) creating a safe place for kids.  I love hearing about the men here in the States and overseas who are Manning Up to build and create a home of safety and food for orphans. I created the Man Up trip with Visiting Orphans for the sole purpose of men coming together to LOVE BIG on orphans., but prayerfully I’m hoping that God moves hearts of men to want to invest, wherever in this world, in the real lives of orphans to have a safe place to live , nourishment, clean water, and most importantly a man who will teach them to Go BIG & LOVE BIG by his example.   Thanks- Roger

2 Week Man Up Blitz

Purchase a new Man Up tee shirt (2 styles and 4 colors) and help us raise funds for Korah (where Zoie was born) Home Make-overs and projects the team will do in Uganda.  Click on the Store button- top right side.  Allow 2 weeks after purchase for shipping.  We only buy what we sell to save every penny for missions.  You can also make a monetary donation directly to Visiting Orphans designated to the “Man Up July 31-Aug. 14th” mission trip.


July 14- 28th 2012- Apply Now Visiting Orphans!!  The trip is filling up fast, so don’t miss out to Simply Love orphans in Ethiopia and Uganda!!!

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Big Faith Begins [Amazing Testimony]


Big Faith Begins [Amazing Testimony]

Posted on 28 June 2011 by Kari Gibson

Hi everyone, you don’t know me, but my name is Amanda Zerkle and im currently trying to raise the money to go on the Visiting Orphans August mission trip to Ethiopia and Rwanda. I have recently found my faith and decided to give my life to God on October 14th, 2010. It was the best and worst day of my life, but I wouldn’t change it for the world. Here is my testimonial, which I have never done, but am hoping that you can understand what I went through and how hard of a battle spiritually, physically, and psychologically it was for me.

A little about me….I had a very rough upbringing in that my mother was very abusive and a very bad drug addict/alcoholic. I have two brothers who also had to go through this with me which was a very difficult situation. My mother sold anything and everything we had(including food and clothing) for her drugs. She took us on all her drug runs and one time even almost killed us by almost driving drunk off a cliff. She constantly took her anger out on us and it was always a new item to hurt us with, whether it included: knives, bats, pots and pans, or just a plain belt. At one point I watched her stab my older brother in the leg after she had punched my little brother in the face. When I was five I was molested by one of my mothers friends boys, but because my mother was too drunk, when she walked in on it she walked right back out. I just never really knew her sober, which breaks my heart to this day. Cps finally came in and told us we had to live with the father or they would remove us completely. The last words I remember saying to my mom was, “I hate you.” When I was seven years old I was informed that my mother had died, but never honestly informed how. My oldest brother, Bo, went to live with my aunt and uncle in Washington state and my little brother, Bj, and I went to live with “our dad”. I say “our dad” because for eight years of my life that’s what I knew him as, but truth was he wasn’t my dad. After my mother died at the age of seven I began to act out. Getting kicked out of school after school after school. I was making myself throw up, hurting my pets, and starting fires in my house. At one point I was jumping on Bj’s stomach and while he was turning blue I just laughed. I was stuck in counseling and went through counselor after counselor and put on meds after meds.I was constantly questioning my mothers death as nobody ever really told me how she died just that she had died. My “dad” finally told me the truth which was more painful that any child could ever experience. After CPS came in and told us that we had to find other means of a living situation and we moved with “our dad”, mom went to live with a man she had met through AA. He explained to her she could live there and exchange for rent, do chores and take care of the farm, but no drugs or alcohol was allowed. My mother took that opportunity with open arms, but soon realized she couldn’t handle it. Trying to come off of drugs and alcohol and not being able to see her kids was too much for her to handle. The man came back and my mother was lying on the floor dead, gun next to her. My mother committed suicide on November 26, 1995, at the age of 32. Between what was going on and the questioning my “dad” decided he couldn’t take it anymore and there was no way I was his kid so he had a blood test done. After he found out that I wasn’t his real kid he handed me over to the State of California, I became award of the court. I bounced around from foster care, to shelter, to group home, one after the other. Constantly getting in trouble and continuously making myself sick. Not only had I just lost my mother and got separated from my older brother, I then found out the guy I had known for eight years of my life to be my dad wasn’t. Then, on top of that I was separated from my little brother, and not able to see any of my family. Bounced around and tossed around like a ping pong ball nobody cared about. It was the hardest years of my life and I wouldn’t go back for anything.

Finally, when I was 11 my aunt and uncle were down visiting and I got to see them!!!! I begged and pleaded, and cried for them to take me back and adopt me. So after a lot of paperwork and a lot of decisions, it was decided that I would be getting adopted and moving to Washington State with them!!!! I was so excited to get out of the system, but still so lost as I was still mourning over the loss of my mother. There were so many trials, tribulations, and button pushing going on it was absurd. I had never really had the chance to be a kid, so I didn’t know how to act or react to situations such as birthdays, Christmas, or even the 4th of July. School was going a little better, but once I started high school things just kind of went downhill. I began drinking at the age of 14, along with smoking weed. Since I had an older brother, I hung out with an older crowd. After all, my brother was my best friend and the only one that I knew I could really trust. I was good at school so my school work was always done and on time, but in my spare time all I wanted to do was drink. I ran away, got in fights, got in trouble with the law, and went through so many friends. Things at home weren’t going good at all as my parents weren’t getting along and the way they handled it was drinking, which made it that much harder on me. At the age of 15, i tried to commit suicide. I took a whole bottle of extra strength Tylenol and out of panic ran to tell my parents what I had just done. They didn’t believe me until I started foaming out of the mouth. From what I can remember, 911 was called and I was rushed to Southwest Hospital. They were trying to pump my stomach as well as getting me to drink charcoal, in hopes that I would throw up the vile. My liver was failing severely and acid was shooting up into my chest, so they then rushed me to Doernbecher’s children’s hospital and put me in ICU. I was not allowed to be alone at any point in time and was hooked up on so many machines and ivy’s than I could imagine. At one point I remember the doctor telling my parent’s I wasn’t going to make it. I was in ICU for 3 days and by what I as well as everyone else considers a miracle everything turned around. My vitals were looking up, the acid stopped, and my liver started to heal itself. I was then put in a psych ward for a week and told that I was not allowed to drink. After I got out and returned to school, nobody looked at me the same. Everyone was asking me if I was okay, if I needed anything, and what the could do. I WAS FINE!!!! Or so I thought. The rest of my High School was kind of a blur as it just zoomed on by and all I can truly remember is focusing on my school work and being depressed.

After I graduated, I moved in with a friend and began drinking and partying again. My family moved to Kansas and I bounced around from friend to friend to friend. Finally, I got a job at a fast food restaurant and got an apartment with one of my high school friends. Since i was drinking and partying all the time I began to get behind in my rent, my car payment, my insurance, and my utilities. All of the money I was making was going to gas, liquor, smokes, and weed. I realized that something needed to be done or I was gonna crash and crash hard. I decided to move to Kansas with my family and try to turn my life around. I moved to Kansas in May of 2008, I was 19. I started working for in the kitchen at a nursing home and got an government-funded apartment. I ended up getting my CNA license and working at the nursing home on the floor. I bought a truck and started working a lot of hours taking time away from being able to do anything else. Work started getting stressful, as dealing with the elderly is not only a physically but an emotionally job as well. All I was doing was working and working, so naturally I started to get back into the party scene. When I turned 21 it was easier for me to get alcohol since I could now buy it, and I cold go to the bars. I then moved from town to town to town as that’s where my “friends” were who all partied with me. I could out-drink almost all of the guys or girls I knew so I became the “ONE” to party with. Every night was a party nigh and in the mean time my family started falling apart horribly and there was nothing I could do to stop it. My parents started filing for a divorce and my siblings started acting out. One by one, each one of my siblings tried to commit suicide and I was the one trying to be the strong one. My parents were running to me for advice, my siblings were hurting, work was stressing me out to no return, and I was too hungover and stressed to deal with it. I was letting my “friends” move in with me because their lives were falling apart, but in reality so was mine.

On October 14, 2010 I decided to do something I had NEVER done before and that was turn to God. I never believed in him up until this point, but I had leaned on anything and everything and it hadn’t worked. So, I figured why not, what could hurt. I ran up to my pastor’s house and his wife answered the door. I starting bawling and telling her I didn’t know her, but something bad was about to happen and I needed her help. We talked for probably an hour and by the end of the conversation I had decided to give my life to God. The VERY next day I decided to go out to the bar with a “friend”. So many things went wrong from: forgetting my make-up to losing my keys to losing my wallet. All I remember was walking out of the bar. The next day I woke up in jail and was soaking wet from head to toe and not sure why. I flipped out and lit my ticket on fire screaming and fighting jailers for answers. I had no idea what I had done and wanted answers. I had no truck, no phone, no money, no family, and no friends there. Everything I knew and had was gone. I was with a bunch of strangers. I decided to bond myself out, call a friend, and find out what exactly had happened. According to the State Patrolman who had pulled me over. I was found at 2am driving down a main road on the wrong side of the road, on a curb and had stopped suddenly six inches from a telephone pole. I have no recollection of this at all as apparently I was in a blackout. When they checked my BAC level EIGHT HOURS after I had started drinking it was .199( over double the legal limit)!!!! I had went to 3 bars that night and drove clear across town not hitting anyone or anything. God saved my life AGAIN that night. That was the ONLY explanation I could come up with. I found my truck in impound, slowly but surely paid to get it out and it cost me over $500. Went to court and applied for a diversion (which was granted ) and had to pay about $1400 in fines. I had two classes to attend,got my license taken away for a year, and had to attend 10 AA classes. I then decided I was an alcoholic and needed to quit drinking. I went to God, my church, and my pastor’s wife. I knew if I was going to give my life to God, I had to give him EVERYTHING not just part of me. I started going to church, dropped all of my friends, stopped going out, and started focusing on God and I. I asked God to show me where he wanted me to go and what he wanted me to do and asked him to walk with me. After I made that decision I can honestly say it has been a HUGE spiritual battle as Satan is really REALLY trying to destroy what I have accomplished. Through prayer and lots of faith building conversations things slowly started looking up and up. In May of 2011 God lead me to Barclay College( a bible college) in Haviland, Kansas. It seemed the more and more I tried to run from it the more and more I ran into it. I continuously was having meetings with my pastor and his wife and praying praying praying about where God wanted me. When she told me about Africa I instantly felt called to it. I’m a nursing assistant and LOVE helping people, so when I get a chance to I go for it!!!

After lots of prayer and conversations with God, I decided to move in May of 2011. I moved to a Quaker town where I am surrounded by GOOD CHRISTIAN people and my COLLEGE!!!! I am currently enrolled and start school in August hoping to major in Missions and Nursing. I have two jobs and am NOT drinking OR SMOKING and my faith in God grows more and more each day. I still don’t have my license back, but am working on it and I just recently got back from Camp QuakerHaven(which was a blast)!!! I now know that NOTHING is impossible with God. God saved my life not once, not twice, but THREE times. I am more thankful for my life and appreciate it WAY MORE than I EVER have. I’m not saying things are peach pie, but I also know “Facing storms is never easy, but they are inevitable. They will come. However, God doesn’t allow storms in our lives just for the sake of them happening. He has a plan, He has a purpose, and through them all He is with us.” I am here for a reason and I cannot wait to see what that reason is!!!! GOD IS AMAZING!!!

The total cost for this trip to Ethiopia and Rwanda is $3400-$3600 and I have already raised $1400. I’m coming upon deadlines and although I know that God will never let me down, he does expect me to do my part. I’m working sixteen hour shifts and working as much as I can between two jobs that I can (It’s a struggle to get there since I don’t have a license, so I have to pay someone for rides). I am asking for your help PLEASE as a friend in Christ for either prayers or donations to my trip. My pastor and his wife (Randi) are the ones leading it and it is through Visiting Orphans. We will be visiting different orphanages and spreading God’s love to everyone, in hopes to make a difference. We leave August 7th and return on the 18th, so as you can see my deadlines are approaching fast and I’m already behind. If you would like to donate to me PLEASE either email me back for further information, or feel free to call me. Anything helps, and prayers are strongly encouraged and always welcome. God saved my life and made a difference in me, please help me to spread the word and make a difference in someone else’s life! Thank you!!!!

In his hands,
Amanda Lee Zerkle
512 N Kingman
Haviland, KS 67059

YOU CAN DONATE HERE AT VISITING ORPHANS (Designate the love gift to Amanda Zerkle account)

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God Doesn’t Use Puny

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God Doesn’t Use Puny

Posted on 27 June 2011 by Kari Gibson

First of all, thank you to all my crazy guest bloggers and their amazing stories they shared with readers during the month of June!!

I’m back from my mission trip… changed and ready to share some amazing stories with you from Uganda and my mini 2-day visit to Ethiopia!  The most exciting news, YOU filled up my next Visiting Orphans June 2012 trip “Simply Love Ethiopia & Uganda” in 48 hours! This is a world record- you did this!  We are at full capacity, but with a waiting list (we are working on expanding the team bigger) If you want to go, turn in your application online at Visiting Orphans and pray for a mighty miracle! I only have 10 spots left for the “Simply Love Haiti” trip in January- don’t miss this incredible opportunity to minister to orphans in Haiti (I’m bringing along Jack Bauer).

For the next two weeks, right here on My Crazy Adoption Blog- I’ll share my top 6 mission trip stories from the children and ministries that radically changed my life in Uganda.  I love this quote from Francis Chan’s Crazy Love … by standing in awed silence before a mighty, fearsome God, whose tremendous worth become even more apparent as we see our own puny selves in comparison.  I’m just a crazy mom, puny sized faith at times (not puny hips) constantly having to do His work afraid, but learning more and more each mission trip I go on.  God really healed my heart in Uganda and I can’t wait to share what He did for thousands of orphans living in Kampala and Jinja.  We serve a mighty God!

What things in your life is holding you back from doing what God wants you to do?

Thank you!!

You helped the Man Up trip raise over $2000 with the purchase of the new Man Up tees!!


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How To Start An Orphan Movement!

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How To Start An Orphan Movement!

Posted on 26 June 2011 by Kari Gibson

Have you ever thought, “I wish I could do something for orphans but I am just one person, the problem is so big, etc., etc., etc.,”  Since you are on Kari’s blog you should know that is not true!  One person can make an eternal difference!  Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, was just one person but He saved humanity from eternal destruction!  OK, well He was God, so He did have an advantage over us.  However, He has called us and will equip us to make a difference in the lives of orphans.  One way that you can make a difference this year is to get involved with Orphan Sunday 2011.  Orphan Sunday is November 6, 2011 and the time to plan is NOW!!!!!  The Christian Alliance for Orphans has everything you need to get involved.  If you go to, you will find all you will need to organize an Orphan Sunday event.

On Orphan Sunday, Christians stand for the orphan . We are a people called to defend the fatherless…to care for the child that has no family…to visit orphans in their distress.  Orphan Sunday is hundreds of events across America and beyond, all sharing a single goal: that God’s great love for the orphan will find echo in our lives as well.  Every person can get involved.  Events can be whatever the Lord calls you to do.  Some events in the past have included sermons, small groups, concerts, prayer gatherings, etc.—each rousing believers with God’s call to care for the orphan…and what we can do in response.  Orphan Sunday is your opportunity to rouse church, community and friends to God’s call to care for the orphan.

The seeds of this united Orphan Sunday come especially as a gift from the Church in Africa. While attending a church service in Zambia, an American visitor was struck by the pastor’s passionate call to care for orphans in the local community, which had been ravaged by AIDS and poverty. Members of the church faced deep need themselves. But as the service ended, one after another stepped forward with money, food and other goods-some even taking off their own shoes and placing them in the offering for orphans.  The visitor, Gary Schneider, was so impacted that he began to help Zambian leaders coordinate Orphan Sunday efforts across Zambia. These efforts spread to the U.S. in 2003 with help from Every Orphan’s Hope and other organizations.  The Christian Alliance for Orphans honors the church in Zambia for the gift of Orphan Sunday. We pray the Church in America may be as faithful to reflect God’s heart for the orphan, both near and far.

Your journey to Orphan Sunday can begin today!  You can join this world-wide movement in four easy steps.  First decide to hold an Orphan Sunday even and commit it to prayer.  Next check out the Partnership Packages and Resources links on  Third, you will want to choose the format for your event and begin to plan.  The last step is to register your event on the Orphan Sunday website.
I am the volunteer Orphan Sunday Deputy Director and I would love to help with any questions you may have regarding Orphan Sunday.  You can reach me at I am also looking for folks who would be interested in being Regional Coordinators.  I am here to help you each step of the way!
Janiece Wieschhaus
Volunteer Orphan Sunday Deputy Director

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Mom Blog: Shuffling For Stingrays


Mom Blog: Shuffling For Stingrays

Posted on 25 June 2011 by Kari Gibson

Shuffling for Stingrays
Not long ago, our family went to Florida for a week of playing in the waves and building sandcastles. Some very dear friends of ours have a family beach house and they invited us to join them on their annual trek to the beach. You know when you travel with friends, it either endears you to them more, or it makes you never want to see them again. In this case, it made us life long friends and we are so grateful.

As a part of their annual trip, they rent a pontoon boat and travel along the bay to a place called Shell Island. My friend has bragged and bragged about this place and the huge, beautiful shells you can find there. I am a sucker for finding a cool shell on the beach, so I was very excited to go. When Shell Island was in our distant sight, my friend, let’s call her, Jenn, pointed it out to me and said, it looks really weedy on this side, but once you get over that sand dune to the other side, it opens up to the most beautiful beach you have ever seen. This really got my heart beating fast. I am a sucker for a beautiful beach.

We anchored the boat, at what seemed to me, way too far out in the bay. As I sat on my comfortable seat in the boat, I surmised that to get to the most beautiful beach I have ever seen, I would have to walk a long way and through some nasty, murky ocean water. This did not excite me. I am not a sucker for walking in cloudy water, especially cloudy ocean water. There’s all sorts of things swimming around in there.

And as I continued sitting, wondering how I was going to get to the other side, Jenn said to me….Now, Dawn, when you are walking towards the shore, you have to kind of shuffle your feet and stir up the water. Don’t walk like normal, you have to shuffle. You have to shuffle for the stingrays.

The what?

The stingrays. You shuffle your feet so they know you are there. Apparently it scares them away so that you do not accidentally step on the stinger.


My first step off of the boat was gross. My flip flop stuck to the ocean floor and I had to pull it out of the thick murk in order to shuffle. And shuffle I did. I shuffled all the way to the shore. Once I got there, I had to walk through tall ocean grass and step on broken shells that crunched under the weight of my shoes. I walked over the dune and as I looked ahead, the most beautiful beach was before me. Water bluer than my mind has ever imagined. Sand so soft and white that my feet sank into it like a fleece blanket.

It really was the most beautiful ocean view I have ever seen. I had to walk through some pretty gross water to get there. I had to shuffle my feet so that a sting ray would not attack me. I had to change my attitude because I did not want to even walk over there.

Isn’t that how it is with life sometimes? We have to walk through some pretty tough stuff to get to the beauty that God has before us. Most of the time we are afraid to take the first step and we resist. We kick and scream, we throw a fit, we hold on to all that we know to be true, and all God is asking is for us to take one little step, a few shuffles here and a few shuffles there.

There is a beautiful beach awaiting.

Written by Dawn Funderburk (friend)

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Help With Your Adoption Costs


Help With Your Adoption Costs

Posted on 24 June 2011 by Kari Gibson

I am blessed to get to be part of this crazy blog while Kari is in Uganda.  We are one of those families that God has chosen and blessed to grow by adoption.  Our family is currently a family of four and is growing to become a family of six.  We have one homemade daughter, a son adopted from Russia, and are adopting twin girls from Uganda.  While in the adoption process we decided to everything we could do to adopt debt free.

Our family began to find ways to cut cost on household items.  One of the first things we started to do was make our own laundry detergent.  It takes roughly 30 minutes and the savings are great.
Most of you might think this is crazy and that’s okay.  I hope your opinion of that changes when you see the savings a family can have.  The average cost for one load of laundry detergent by leading brands is $0.40 to $0.50 a load.  The average family household does 400 loads a year.  That is a cost between $160 and $200 a year.  The recipe I use makes enough laundry detergent for 680 loads in a front loading washer.  It will last us approximately 18 months.  The best part about this detergent is that one batch of 680 loads cost a whole $2.00.  Most families spend around $240 to $300 for 18 months of laundry detergent; my family spends $2.00.  Store bought laundry detergent is mostly water so why pay so much for it.
I know you must be thinking does it really work?  Is that possible?  Yes, it does.  I hope most of my close family friends will vouch for me on this but we don’t smell and our clothes our clean.  It doesn’t take a degree in chemistry to make.  I bet if you can make jello you can make your own laundry detergent.

You will need a large 5 gallon bucket to make it in and store.  You will need a dispenser, I have a laundry detergent bottle from a leading brand that has a spout on it.  I keep this full in my laundry room for easy access.
The ingredients are:   1 bar of soap (preferably one without dyes or perfumes; I use Ivory)
1 cup of Arm and Hammer Super Washing Soda (don’t use any type of substitute, I find this at Kroger)
1/2 cup of Borax
You are going to grate the bar of soap.  I have been very successful using the grating plate on my food processor for this. Add this to a medium size sauce pan filled with water on medium heat, stirring continuously until all the soap is dissolved.  Fill the 5 gallon bucket approximately half full with hot tap water.  Add the melted soap, washing soda, and borax.  Stir until it is all dissolved.  Then fill the bucket to the top with more hot tap water.  Let this sit undisturbed for 24 hours.  During this time the process of saponification will occur; the process of soap making.  The mixture will turn into a slimy gel.  If you would like you can add essential oils to scent the detergent at this point, I use a scented fabric softener added to my washing machine.   Fill the dispenser in your laundry room with half water and half laundry soap. When you get ready to use the soap you will need to give it a good stir or shake before each use.  For front loading washers use 1/4 cup.  For top loading machines use 5/8 a cup.
Please follow our family on our adoption journey to learn other ways we have learned to save money in order to fund our adoptions.

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A Match Made In Heaven


A Match Made In Heaven

Posted on 22 June 2011 by Kari Gibson

With Mother’s Day quickly approaching, I thought the time was right to reflect on the perfect nature of our living God.  Last year for Mother’s Day, I celebrated with my husband and two wonderful boys.  Actually, my wonderful husband took care of our boisterous boys so that mama could have a few hours of peace and quiet. (Something my own mother said she wanted for nearly every occasion, but we insisted on perfume, earrings, or the like.  Now I know…all she really did want was peace and quiet!)

Last year, our Dossier was in Ethiopia and we were waiting for our referral.  Initially (before God’s nudging and us realizing the plan He had in store for our family), we had requested a little girl between 0-36 months.  On Mother’s Day, we would have been waiting approximately two months.  On Mother’s Day, our daughter was alive, most likely with her birth family and our son was waiting in the orphanage with older children, wondering who his new family would be and when they would arrive.  I remember praying hard for our children last year, children 8000 miles away whom we had never met.  I prayed that God would somehow unite us in spirit, in ways our eyes may never physically see, and give us peace and wisdom that only He could provide.  I also remember praying that our daughter was with her birth mother, being nursed, and was able to form a loving attachment.  (Because of the age range we were requesting, we felt we would be matched with a toddler, not an infant.)

How truly amazing God is and how perfectly he matches children with their forever families!

Behind the scenes, His plan was unfolding.  Someone on the other side of the earth was either sick and dying or planning to give up their daughter.  A grandmother caring for her grandson has died suddenly, leaving no one able to care for him.  In a perfect world, no one would ever have to decide whether or not to abandon their child.  In a perfect world, medication would have been accessible so that birth parents would not have died.  In a perfect world, God’s love would move people to care for one another and put others before self.  However, we live in a fallen world, a world fraught with injustice, social inequity, poverty, epidemics, and self-serving behavior.  How sad the state of our world; yet how our God continues to love us and work through the mess we create.

Last year, as we continued to wait for our referral, God opened our eyes to the countless older children waiting for homes.  While we never thought in a million years He would ask us (whose oldest child at the time was only three years of age) to adopt an older child, He insisted on waking me up every night around 3:00 a.m. until I got the message.  ”Ummm…do you know that boy you have been praying about for months?  Yes, it is you…you are his family.  Yes, you.  Why not you?  Just because you don’t know anything about parenting a pre-adolescent doesn’t mean you can’t learn.  Be willing.  Trust me.”  It was the voice of truth! The other voices I was hearing up until God quietly got His point across went something like this: “Surely you cannot do this. What do you know about older kids, anyway?  Don’t you have enough on your plate?  Three preschoolers and a non-English speaking eleven year old.  Good luck with that!  Be scared…be very, very scared.  Older kids could kill you…burn your house down, stab you in your sleep!  Come on, don’t you read the news.”  One thing I have learned over the years is anything that elicits fear as opposed to love does not come from God.  Period.  I told those voices to take a hike and the rest is history.

Well, not quite.  When I first told my husband that we, in fact, were supposed to be the family of ‘that boy we had been praying for daily’, he about fell over.  Then, to my amazement, he got up from the ground and said, “OK, let’s do it!”  Then…the rest is history.

We have now been home for three months with Sporty (11 years old) and Sassy (now 20 months old).  Let me just tell you how perfectly God matched us.  All of our children are strong-willed, independent, spunky, athletic, loud, and eager to learn.  I am amazed at how quickly (even though the days and nights have been very long, exhausting, and challenging) our family has created a ‘new normal’ and how quickly everyone has adjusted to their new roles.  How the children have formed new relationships with each sibling separately and also collectively as a new family unit.  How my husband and I have recreated our daily routines to account for the soccer practices, homework, and caring for four children.  Sporty, social yet shy, has jumped right into the mix at school, in our neighborhood, and on the soccer field.  He is neither a sociopath nor arson.  Yet, sensitive, caring, intuitive, and is full of life.  Sassy, our little princess, dons her helmet and gets right in the mix with boys.  (Like her mommy, she doesn’t realize how small she actually is!)  She mirrors my words, actions, and gestures and attempts to mother the rest of the house.  She is full of energy, curiosity, and spunk.  The three little ones are best friends and typical siblings.  While only 10% of the world’s population is left-handed, currently 50% of our household right-brained.  (I’m not sure what this means, but thought it was an interested fact.)

Oh, and just this morning Sassy did the (seemingly) strangest thing.  She pulled at my shirt and said, “Mommy, milk.”  She has never done this before but in the past week I have sensed that memories of her past life are blurring and will eventually fade. She looked at me, her mommy and blended together her old and new life.  I was not the mommy who nursed her, but in a nod from God spoken through two words from our daughter, He answered my prayer.  Sassy was indeed nursed and had formed a healthy attachment with her first mom.  God is faithful.

In adoption circles, we often speak of how perfectly God matches children and families.  While this used to be a statement conveying blind faith and trust, it is now something I have witnessed through faith and with my own eyes.  Proverbs 3:5-6 states, “Trust in the Lord God with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him and He will direct your paths.”  I only wished I could have embraced this truth so fully from the beginning, as it would have taken away so much of the stress that surrounds adoption.

Thank you, God for trusting us in our imperfect and flawed ways.  Thank you for teaching us to trust in you always and lean not on our own understanding.  Thank you for working out all of the countless details to bring together and unite our entire family.  Adoption truly is a match made in heaven.

Monica’s Blog.

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One Child At A Time [Mom Story]


One Child At A Time [Mom Story]

Posted on 21 June 2011 by Kari Gibson

If you are like me you often wonder if what you do on a daily basis ever makes a difference in the life of another. I may sound like a broken record but it is so important to me now that I am a bit older and raising four kiddos. I feel more than ever like being a Mom is the most important job on the planet and it is through the love and parenting of the children God has entrusted to me that I am being nudged to seek out other children in need. Today I had the honor of visiting my fifth grade son’s classroom and sharing our Ethiopia Mission Trip experience with 60 kids. It was so refreshing and felt like such and honor to have the attention of 10-11 year olds who will someday be grown-ups striving to make their difference and their mark on the world. Our kids attend a Spanish Immersion public school and we love the message that becoming bilingual sends. So far it has been such a gift to our three boys as they are being encouraged to become global thinkers and who knows, but by the time Ava reaches grade school we chuckle about having her attend the Chinese immersion so we can travel with our kids and have them be our tour guides reaching out to children all around the world. What a dream that would be huh?

I was able to provide the class with a bit of history into our family story of how adoption was placed on our hearts and that through the adoption of our daughter from Ethiopia we have been broken for the many children left behind. We have fallen in love with a culture and a people who smile from ear and ear and love anything you do to help and honor them. It was just so cool to speak to young people and provide them with first hand insight into what the lives of children are like in other parts of the world. It seems as important as math or science for our children to become aware of the plight of children who struggle for a meal, who do not always have the right to an education and who sometimes grow up without a parent due to disease and lack of medical care.  After sharing the photos of all that we experienced in Ethiopia I had time for questions. Let me just say that their questions were precious and so heartfelt. “Do they ever get to take showers?” “Why do girls have to walk to get water?” “Why is it that they do not have shoes?” I stood there answering questions and feeling like God was right there beside me in the room. You see God is calling me and perhaps calling you to do more. Take baby steps. Do whatever it is He has placed on your heart and as my friend and Ethiopia team leader, Kari Gibson says, “Do it Afraid.” I am no expert but I can tell you that God is nudging me to pass it on. He is calling me to share more, show more and go more. He is urging me to use the opportunity that I shared with my 10 year old son in Ethiopia to encourage and inspire other people and other families, even other children.

In addition, I was able to talk briefly about the children we sponsor and what sponsorship of a child means. It was so much fun to talk about my two sons in Ethiopia who have rocked our hearts. As the Momma to three bio boys, I can tell you that raising them up to follow Jesus with loving and compassionate hearts feels tough on a daily basis, but it is that challenge that imparts our family to want to reach out to other children, throughout the world. All children deserve the love and nurturing that it takes to grow up and becoming healthy thriving adults. All children deserve love, touch, education, sustenance and the opportunity to know that God loves them no matter what their circumstances. Sponsorship changes lives and has brought great awareness, joy and blessings to our family. Here are our two dear boys who live in Ethiopia:

Is your heart open to God’s calling? Is He nudging you? What is He saying and where is He directing you to dig in? Even if it sometimes feels crazy. Maybe your kids are still young. Maybe you do not feel like you have the time or the finances to make something happen. I know that feeling well. We all do, but I sit here typing with a giant smile on my face because sometimes when I have had the most angst and questions… well that is exactly when God is BEST at stepping in, grabbing the reigns and galloping you right to the very places He knows you are supposed to be. It could be a classroom of kids, an Orphan Care meeting. A foster care informational session, the streets of your own hometown, an orphanage in Haiti or to the trash dump area of Addis Ababa. Children need us and God needs us to work hard to change lives One Child at a time.

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What I Want To Teach My Children


What I Want To Teach My Children

Posted on 20 June 2011 by Kari Gibson

I am blessed to get to be part of this crazy blog while Kari is in Uganda.  We are one of those families that God has chosen and blessed to grow by adoption.  Our family is currently a family of four and is growing to become a family of six.  We have one homemade daughter, a son adopted from Russia, and are adopting twin girls from Uganda.  Over mother’s day I was asked what is the one thing I want to teach my beautiful children?      Initially that seems like a difficult question.  Right now I want them to learn their ABC’s in the correct order, to shut the door when they enter the house, I want them to say yes ma’am and no ma’am, learn how to drink out of a cup without spilling it, and I would love it if they could learn how to buckle themselves into their car seats.  Sounds silly, I know, but mothers of toddlers understand that these simple things have the potential to make my life a bit more pleasant.  But are any of these the one thing I want my children to learn? No.  When contemplating this question I remembered a piece of wall art hanging up in my grandmother’s bathroom.  It is one of those that someone has cross-stitched a Bible verse onto.  The verse is in 3 John 1:4, “I have no greater joy than to know that my children walk in truth.”

The one thing I want for my children to learn is to love the Lord.  I want them to know Him and experience how amazing His love is for us.  This makes the little things like not spilling your drink seem a bit insignificant.  I have been feeling this a lot lately.  The aspects of normal life have been seeming non-important or even more like distractions.  Have I been allowing these little distractions to keep me from showing my children to love the Lord?

I was also drawn to the great commission when looking into this topic.  Matthew 28:19  ”Go and make disciples of all nations. . .”  I am supposed to be teaching my children to be disciples.  The one thing I want my children to become are disciples.  God has been teaching me that the most important thing I can do for my children is to show them how to be disciples of Him.  How can I teach them this when I am still working on learning it myself?  This is not something I can teach them through words I must show them.  My family and I are taking our children to Uganda with us to complete the adoption of our daughters.  My prayer is that this serves as an example of discipleship to them.  Now I just need to work on incorporating this into our crazy daily life.  You can follow us on this journey at

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Beautiful Princesses In Uganda 2011

Posted on 19 June 2011 by Kari Gibson

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Inner Beauty Series – Growing Beautiful With Age


Inner Beauty Series – Growing Beautiful With Age

Posted on 17 June 2011 by Kari Gibson

Growing Beautiful with Age, by Kit Hoeck

My family and I went out for breakfast one morning together after our son’s graduation and before Grandparents left town.  While enjoying my scrabbled eggs and toast, I couldn’t help but notice four “elderly” women sitting at a table nearby.  I use that term VERY loosely as they were four beautiful, energetic, lovely women!  I noticed they were all casually, comfortably, and tastefully dressed.  They all had beautiful heads of hair – two – gorgeously white.  They laughed, visited, and obviously enjoyed each other’s company as they sipped their coffee.

Life has been difficult for two of the most important women in my life and juxtaposed next to these vibrant women, my heart ached for the pain they bear.  Their lives have been riddled with abuse, misunderstandings, tolerating cruelty – and more importantly – separation from a relationship with Jesus Christ.  I’ve watched as they have often endured suffocating emptiness and loneliness and it truly breaks my heart.  As a woman saved by God’s grace, I’ve tried to encourage and direct them to His mercy; regrettably, without much success.  It’s all too easy to live in the past with painful memories, and allow Satan to circumvent the freedom we have in Christ’s shed blood.  I know this – because I have done it over and over again.

In this world, there will always be sin, pain, and hardship, but I have learned that when I suffered abuse at the hands of evil men, my heavenly Father was the first to shed tears and that He keeps track of ALL my tears.  “You keep track of all my sorrows.  You have collected all my tears in your bottle.  You have recorded each one in your book” (Psalms 56:8).   This brings a great deal of comfort to me; however, I realize, that concept may not make sense to many people.  Bitterness and unforgiveness rob us of vitality.  They rob us of enjoying our children and grandchildren.  Bitterness keeps us entangled in events far removed from the opportunities of present joys.  Unforgiveness keeps us bound to the ones who committed acts of violence, betrayal, and pain against us.  In this journey of healing, for me, finding comfort in the sweetness of the Lord is the beginning to letting go of bitterness and unforgiveness.  Have I arrived?  No, not quite!  But with my focus on Him, my vision is set on being a woman full of compassion, joy, humor, and contentment.

… and one day, with a head full of white hair, I hope and pray that my life will radiate the sweetness of Christ far more than painful childhood events.

This is my prayer for all my sisters in whatever season or whatever journey you are on.  That with your feet firmly planted in His truth and promises, bitterness and unforgiveness will not rob you of the vitality of life He has for you on this earth.

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What Can I Do With All This Love?


What Can I Do With All This Love?

Posted on 16 June 2011 by Kari Gibson

What Can I Do With All This Love?

My husband and I began sponsoring ten year old ‘K’ through Children’s Hopechest in the Spring of 2009. When we travelled to Ethiopia to bring home our two children the following year, meeting him was a definite pit stop on my tourist schedule of Ethiopia. We spent several days visiting K’s school, care center and seeing an entirely different side to the city of Addis Ababa and the unique challenges faced by children who are in abject poverty. It was the most rewarding and heart twisting weeks of my life. I looked down and my heart was gone. It was know being carried by a tiny stature of a boy who was suddenly latched to my hand and calling me “mama.” It was second nature for me to call him “son.”

K didn’t steal my heart; I gave it the first day I threw my arms around him. I cried from the minute we got in the cab to head home. How could I have been so arrogant to believe that I would travel across the world, meet a child I only knew in letters and not be forever changed by that? Being home with a two and six year old proved distracting enough, but I couldn’t shake my time with K. I knew that our lives intersected for a special purpose and I wanted to know what more I could do to use that love and engage further in advocacy, orphan care and adoption.

As my husband and I discussed our options, we contacted our agency about adopting K. Adoption was the only language I was speaking in response to what I had seen in Ethiopia. When our adoption agency called us back and advised that K was unadoptable because he was living with his grandmother, I was actually crushed. My mama instinct kicked in and I kept arguing with myself that while he was still in his home country and surrounded by his culture, he didn’t have a mother. And I felt I was the only person who could fill that role for him. Selfishly, I wanted K here, in our home, in my reality of every day life, but God began convicting my heart and asking me to question if I wanted K here for my glory or if I wanted God to be glorified. OUCH!

With prayerful consideration and laying down my dreams, I asked what would most glorify God and continue to share my love for orphans, adoption and missions. I wrote a children’s book about a little boy who walks each day for water in Africa and when I went to meet the illustrator, he asked me if I had suggestions for the look of the main character. I laughed. No. I didn’t have suggestions; I only saw one face when I wrote the book; K’s. The book, “I Walk for Water”, will be released on June 12th, 2011, which not coincidently, is K’s 12th birthday. This fall, I will travel to Ethiopia to read the book to K in person and in public for the first time. He has no idea. We’ll be taking a documentary crew along to film the event and hopefully within the next year, K and I’s story will become a video journey of how one love can inspire another, and perhaps change the world.

The project has been such an amazing collaboration of love and fun, we’ve started our own publishing company. Hilarity Waters Press is a collaboration of artisans who refine education through stories and see those stories to life through art, illustration and imagination in order to bring about social and global change. A portion of the proceeds from “I Walk for Water” will be donated to Water Is Life, a non-profit known internationally for its ability to provide life giving water solutions. We will also offer wholesale pricing for individuals and organizations who want to use the book as fundraising for adoption, orphan care and/or missions.

Our journey with K is definitely ANYTHING but over. I would have never thought that God would have used a picture that sat on my desk to completely change my views on adoption, orphan care, and mothering from across the globe. His ways are so much more beautiful than we would know and while I am still standing ready to bring that little boy if it is His will; I am resolute that it must be HIS will and not mine, my family’s or K’s.

So while you are searching your heart for “what can I do with all this love?”, use the talents God has already given you and give it back to Him.

Hugs and Love,

Lindsey Andrews



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Join Me in Ethiopia/Uganda or Haiti in 2012 (!!)

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Join Me in Ethiopia/Uganda or Haiti in 2012 (!!)

Posted on 15 June 2011 by Kari Gibson

My crazy readers- are you ready for an adventure?  I have TWO new trips to share with you… join me in 2012 making a difference in the life of an orphan.  Are you longing to visit orphans in Haiti or Ethiopia and Uganda?

I want to know what you love most about missions or what is holding you back from going on a mission trip.  Help me learn more about how to encourage YOU to go on a missions trip.  Leave me a comment today (don’t be shy) and let’s chat!  If you have questions- email me!

Follow me on Facebook- just click “like” on the sidebar.

Trip 1:

I love Haiti!!  I’m so thrilled to lead a trip with Visiting Orphans in 2012 to Port-au-Prince and Pignon, Haiti!!  This trip will be an adventure for 10 days with my dear friend, Steve Ijames aka Jack Bauer! Wait till you hear more about my new co-leader!!  His expertise and connections in PAP are like rock star status – God has used this man in a mighty way in Haiti.  Together, we will lead our team safely through this incredible country to minister and visit orphans!  Steve and I have traveled 2 times together to Haiti, but he has lead trips for years all over Haiti.  Let’s max out this trip and give hope in Haiti 2012!  FYI- you can apply now!

Apply Now!

“Hope in Haiti” 10 Day Trip
January 20-30, 2012
Leader: Kari Gibson & Steve Ijames
Location: Port-au-Prince & Pignon, Haiti
Team Size: 20 persons max
Cost: $2400-$2700 (trip total varies depending on flight and travel insurance costs) Details:

Join My Crazy Adoption blogger, Kari Gibson celebrating her 45th birthday on a 10 day missions adventure to Haiti. I’m thrilled to have Steve Ijames (aka Jack Bauer) co-leading with me to Haiti.

Port-Au-Prince portion:

This team will spend the first few days visiting 2 orphanage partners in PAP. Children Household of Tomorrow Orphanage is located right in the heart of PAP and is home to 44 children. This orphanage more than doubled in size after the earthquake and is in desperate need of assistance. Well Being Orphanage is located just outside the city in an area called Croix de Bouquette and is home to 30 children. These children are currently living in large tent on the property that is owned by the family members of the woman who cares for these kids – they have been living there since the earthquake destroyed the original orphanage.  We will also minister to the children, as well as bring supplies needed to care for them.

Orphanage Haiti Home of Hope portion:

We will venture out of the city, up to the mountainous village of Pignon where we will live and minister for five days with Kari’s good friends, Bill and Jennifer Campbell at their orphanage, Haiti Home of Hope (HHH) The children range in age from 2 to 17 years old with special needs, children who were former slaves, those who were abused, one who is terminal, and those that almost died from simple starvation. They are all beautiful and loving princesses and princes!  They enjoy crafts, games, and being loved on. We have a projector, and can have a big movie night, under the stars, with popcorn and the works! Our goal at HHH is to bring up children in a Godly manner, and stop the cycle of ignorance, abuse, and poverty.

Clinic of Pignon portion:

The team will also serve at the clinic with Family VBS- devotions, prayer, and singing. “We have had a number of voodoo practicing families come to know Christ, after hearing the Word in clinic, and the change in their lives is amazing- HHH” We will prepare a big meal for all the clinic families, and serve them and minister to them… providing seed packets, formula, and diapers!

Village of Pignon portion:

We will have the opportunity to minister to the village of Pignon! Home visits are a great way to find out specific needs and specific ways to help individuals. The Campbells have finished building houses for widows, put roofs homes to keep the rain out, passed out medicines, saved children from slavery, prevented children from becoming slaves, found sick and injured and taken them to hospitals. Making home visits is vital for HHH.

(Johnny Fig and me in Haiti- he was injured in the earthquake!)

Trip 2:

Julie and I have dreamed of leading a trip together to Ethiopia!  We have been friends for over 13 years and both have adopted children from Addis Ababa!  We can’t wait to visit orphans all over this beautiful country with a Visiting Orphans team ready to man up 4 the fatherless!  You can apply now for this amazing trip!

Apply Now!

“Simply Love Ethiopia and Uganda” 14 Day Trip
Dates: June 7-20, 2012
Leaders: Kari Gibson & Julie Neal
Location: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Jijna and Kampala, Uganda
Team Size: 30 persons max
Cost: $3200 – $3400 (trip total varies depending on flight and travel insurance costs)


Join My Crazy Adoption blogger, Kari Gibson and her best friend, Julie Neal on a 12 day missions adventure to Africa.  Together, they are leading a team to minister in Ethiopia and will make sure your time is both powerful for the orphans and immeasurably life-changing for you!

The team will be working for several days in Addis Ababa with Project 61 for extreme needy children living in the Korah city dump… VBS, community BBQ, Home Makeovers, Leper Hospital, and more.  We will have a special outreach at Baer Essentials (rural Dahley) outside the city, as well as an excursion to Negash Lodge to see the beauty of rural Ethiopia. We will have the incredible opportunity to celebrate the inauguration of the Dig Deep Well in Chucko Weyama (Neal Family Project) with A Glimmer of Hope. We will visit the community and share in their joy of living with clean water!  The team will also minister at two Govt Orphanages [ages infants to teens] as well as visit Fistula Hospital for an exclusive tour of the center and the courageous women featured in the movie “A Walk To Beautiful.”  Just for fun- donkey races and bowling! [Itinerary subject to change]


We will work with Sixty Feet ministry and live at Canaan’s Children’s Home.  The relationships and ministry opportunities will be life-changing!!  More details to come!

We are looking for men, women, and teens who want to Man Up 4 orphans!
Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is LOVE. (1 Cor. 13:13)

Videos to View:

Dig Deep Project

Village of Korah

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[Sammy] A Boy Who Grew Up In Korah

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[Sammy] A Boy Who Grew Up In Korah

Posted on 15 June 2011 by Kari Gibson

I’m so excited to introduce my brother, Samuel Liben.  This is his story.


History of Korah

75 years ago the village was established because of leprosy. The people came from the countryside to seek treatment for their illness. They came to Alert Hospital, which was established by Dr. Ross, from the U.S. and a Dutch doctor named Chris Dorman. When they heard of the spread of leprosy, these two men approached King Hale Selase to request land to establish a hospital specifically for the treatment of leprosy. King Hale Selase was willing to give land, but only land that was far from the town and in the forest as to keep the people with leprosy separate from everyone else. The two doctors started the hospital and began treating these patients who had immigrated from the countryside.

These infected people came to the city because their family members believed they were cursed when they contracted leprosy. Some of these individuals were put into a separate hut when their disease was discovered and later their family tried to light their hut on fire. The family members were so convinced that the leprosy was a curse that they were willing to kill their own children. Some escaped from these hostile family members and came to Addis for treatment.

The History of Liben

Liben was born into a big family in the countryside. He was the youngest of 7 brothers, so he was in charge of taking care of the cattle as a Shepard. He made sure they ate, stayed safe, and went to the river for water. Liben did not have shoes, like many children in the countryside, so he picked up the bacteria that causes leprosy. This is how leprosy spread throughout the countryside, basically because of a lack of shoes.

Although he kept the illness a secret, his parents eventually found out that he had leprosy. In response, his father ordered 4 of his brothers to take Liben into the forest and kill him. One day they took him out into the forest and he did not know where he was going. When they reached a hidden place, they began to beat him, and then shot him in the face. Thinking he was dead, they threw his body off of a cliff to hide what they had done. Amazingly, Liben was not dead. Thankfully, he was found by someone who knew of the Alert Hospital in Addis Ababa, who then sent him there for treatment.

When Liben came to Addis, he went to the hospital for treatment and met Tsahi, who had also fled the countryside and came to Addis for treatment of leprosy. He came 400 kilometers and she traveled 600 kilometers to come to Addis, the only place where treatment was available. Many people who came from such far off places walked, which only intensified their conditions.

Liben and Tsahi were married shortly after they received treatment. To their great joy, they gave birth to a healthy son, Samuel and then 2 years later to a healthy girl, Tsega. They took up residence in the place where the hospital was established, which was called Korah. They, along with many others who received treatment at the hospital, chose Korah as their home, because they feared the rejection they had faced outside of this safe haven. Therefore, Korah became Ethiopia’s leprosy colony.

Doctors Ross and Dorman continued to serve this community that grew year by year as more people heard of the Alert Hospital. People are still coming to Alert Hospital today to receive treatment for their leprosy. When they come, they find a community who they can relate with and therefore Korah continues to grow. Together, this community faces much rejection from outsiders who refuse to truly understand their condition or former conditions. They face great challenges to find work because of stigma, and therefore the community is consumed with poverty. The village also lacked consistent water and power supply because it was seen as unimportant by those in control of such resources.

Doctors Ross and Dorman also built an elementary school for the children of the Korah community, because although they did not have leprosy, they were prohibited from attending school in the city. For those who never had the chance to receive an education, the two doctors began a handy craft project that trained the people of Korah to make crafts that could be sold for a profit.

After King Hale Selase lost power to the Communist Dirge Regime took power and the lives of the people of Korah only worsened. The regime wanted those with leprosy to be eliminated. Therefore, the military base close to the colony would often send out soldiers to beat and even slaughter residents of Korah. They thought it was better if these “lepers” were dead.

Years ago, the impoverished people of Korah began sending their children to the nearby landfill (the king also put this far away from the city just like these people) to collect anything that seemed edible. To survive, these families consumed food that others had thrown away. This became their lives – waking every morning, running to the trash yard, and then fighting to salvage the best that could be found there for food. This is still happening today. After the communists had power for 17 years the revolutionaries took back control. With this change there came a new, yet disgraceful opportunity – this new government would actually let the “lepers” beg in the city.

The statistics now show that there are approximately 130.000 people living in the Korah area. This community is made up of people with different backgrounds, but one thing in common – poverty. The area is becoming a breeding ground for HIV as prostitution has become ramped in the community – a popular response to the poverty trap. Small moonshine houses are also a common business here as many men choose to drink as an escape from the realities of their lives.

The name Korah came from the idea that the people in the community were cursed. For years people referred to the leprosy colony and those in it as the sons of Korah who were swallowed up by the earth in the old testament because of their sinfulness. Eventually this became the official name of the community, only exasperating their shame and rejection.

The history of Korah is hard to read for many, because of the many injustices that the community has faced. Today, these injustices have resulted in a community that needs the understanding, guidance, and help of the church. There is much potential for this community of “rejects” and that is why this website and the ministries described herein exists.

Young Life

A man named Chuck Rinehold founded Young Life in Ethiopia. When he first came to Addis Ababa with his group of ministers there was a guesthouse in the middle of the city he was booked to stay at. The plan was for him to start to work with a high school close to this guesthouse. When he got there, the guesthouse was full, so he went to stay instead at the Baptist Mission Compound next to the Korah Community. One day he went with his group to check out what was near their compound and he noticed the smoke of the garbage dump. They wondered what was happening and decided to go and find out. When they reached the garbage dump, they were utterly shocked to see the people fighting for the food that had been dumped there. The kids who were fighting were also shocked to see these foreigners in the garbage dump – why would they come to such a place a Korah?

Chuck approached these kids and introduced himself. After spending some time with them, he and his team returned to their compound at which time Chuck decided his work in Ethiopia should be with these kids in Korah. He knew Young Life only worked with kids in high school, but his heart had been so touched that he decided he would do things differently and work with these kids who had no school. He worked with Young Life in Korah from 1999 until 2001, offering the youth of Korah much hope through the message of Jesus, opportunities for school, and other means to develop into ministers themselves. One of these youth was the son of Liben, Samuel.

Samuel’s Story

Samuel spent the majority of his childhood struggling to get the food he and his family needed from the garbage dump. When he was 12 years old, he and some of his friends decided to go and join the war between Ethiopia and Eritrea. They wanted to get their food from the military, which was their motivation for joining the army. They were sick and tired of always fighting for the leftovers that could sometimes be found in the garbage dump.

On the way to register for the army, they crossed the compound where Young Life started the ministry. They saw a lot of the U.S. Young Life Leaders hanging out with the kids from the Korah community. Samuel had never seen American people with the kids of his community – kids of lepers. He and his friends stopped to watch what was going on. While Samuel was watching, one of the Americans named Ross Bebbe waved at him, so Samuel looked back to make sure he was indeed waving at him. Samuel had grown up waving at the previous missionaries who had lived at this compound only to receive no response back, so when this American waved at him, Samuel was very intrigued. As he wondered, Ross crossed the street and came close to Samuel and his friends. He then shook Samuel’s hand and introduced himself. At that moment Samuel became overwhelmed with excitement because of this attention that Ross was showing him. Ross invited Samuel to play Frisbee with him, so he stayed at the compound to have fun with his new friend. After some time, Ross invited Samuel to come to the Young Life Club to have more fun. When Samuel went home he told his mom everything that had happened.

The next day Samuel went to the first Young Life Club meeting held in Korah, and became even more excited to be a part of this amazing group of people. While there, Chuck Rinehold gave a speech that contained scripture that touched Samuel’s heart. It was Matthew 8, when Jesus hugged and healed the leper. For Samuel, this portrayel of Jesus and his compassion for a leper was amazing, because he had never heard of or seen anyone who cared for those with leprosy. At that moment Samuel began to weep. He went home and told his mom the whole story about Jesus and they cried together.

Samuel decided to stay and be a part of the Young Life Club and Ross Bebbe began to disciple him, help him, and teach him English. After this time, Samuel became a Young Life Leader himself and began reaching out to his own community of Korah. Now Samuel is continuing his ministry in Korah through his work with The Great Hope Church. He visits HIV and leprosy infected people, the kids who are collecting food from the garbage dump, and other desperate people in Korah. He only brings with him the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the hope that only Jesus can bring.

Great Hope Ministry History

The Great Hope Ministry was established in Korah almost  3 years ago. The idea of the Ministry came out of the burden a young man named Samuel had for the desperate community of Korah. Samuel, having come out of a past of rejection himself, felt lead to minister within this community. He was born in Korah by both leper families. Raised up straggling Samuel knew everything about Korah, but he did not know Jesus. One day he met this strangers who shared the Gospel message of Jesus Christ with him. Samuel immediately accepted Jesus as his Savior and eventually began evangelizing his community. Due to his zealous behavior, Samuel was recruiting  more young Christian leaders to work with to reach his need community people.

Samuels past hurts were what motivated him to begin evangelizing and discipling the hurting youth in the Korah community. For years Samuel would visit with these kids as a Young Life Leader, all the while demonstrating the love of Christ. After some time, this group grew and the vision of The Great Hope Ministry immerged. Today, the Ministry is in the middle of the Korah community where it has a thriving body of believers who want to serve God and transform their community.




  • · To provide schooling for the kids who live in the trash dump, so they can be rescued.
  • · To provide schooling for those in the Korah Community
  • · A new way of life.
  • · A hope of Eternal Life for those who have been rejected and segregated from their own nation.
  • · To encourage them to Rise Up and have confidence in themselves for those who have very low self-esteem
  • · Food for those who live in starvation
  • · Reaching the outcasts (Lepers, HIV, Prostitutes, widows, and orphans.)
  • · To empower the community with the Gospel


  • · Where people in the community can come under one roof as a family and worship the Lord.
  • · To provide a daycare with a safe environment that will enhance their knowledge and actions of good hygiene.
  • · To have tutors that will help the children who lack the opportunity to go to school, learn and have a better knowledge of skills for their future lives.
  • · To provide a loving place for orphans to come and feel wanted.
  • · Where the people of the community can come and be fed. (Which could possibly be their only meal of the day)
  • · A place where the community can see movies about Jesus. Example: Passion of Christ

Orphan Adoptions:

  • · Help orphans get adopted into trustworthy homes and families.
  • · Help the people in the United States to be able to afford adoptions, by serving them and lowering the cost of money. (It is more important for the Children to be provided with better homes and a family)


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