Archive | August, 2012

Tags: , , , , , , ,

We. Are. Family.

Posted on 22 August 2012 by Kari Gibson

I honestly thought I would blog every single day in Africa. I promise there has been action packed mission adventure and miracles every day, but not enough free time to write. I spent the first 2 weeks with an incredible Visiting Orphans Simply Love team in Uganda and Ethiopia … the rest of our days have been full of activity in Korah, Fistula Hospital, exploring Addis Ababa’s delicious restaurants, and spending time relaxing at our wonderful guest house (EGH) The other day, one of the staff asked us if we ever sit down. Honestly, we have enjoyed every single second here loving and serving in Ethiopia. I’m sure you want a honest reflection of our time and that is the whole truth and nothing but the truth. We. Love. Ethiopia.

We love the ministries who have graciously allowed us to show up every day and be happy helpers. Thank you Ethiopia Guest Home and Mission Ethiopia and Project 61 and Great Hope Ministry and and Fistula Hospital. You have welcomed our family as part of your big family. Can you imagine the joy in my heart when we drive down the streets of Korah and kids scream out my name … “Mama Kiki!!!!!!!!” They have no idea what they do to my heart! They have trusted and loved our family unconditionally. Most of the kids have stopped asking me for, “Kiki Candy?” because I ran out of yummy candy a long time ago. We have the honor of handing out hugs and kisses to the community children and most of all, spending quality time with our “adopted-from-the-heart” P61 kids. Today, I took a van full of 8 teens, Zoie, a new friend, Eric from EGH, and our driver, Dougu to the Fistula Hopsital. I had a meeting with social worker, Hannah about Senait and baby Benaiah… who were former patients at Fistula. One of the staff looked at all the boys and looked back at me with a big question mark in her eyes. I introduced them and told her they had all adopted ME… I was their mom. I loved the big smile and understanding she gave back to us.

One of the sweetest blessings the past 3 months has been the daily fellowship with our dear friend, Wynne Elder. She is an adoptive mom who has been courageous and fearless living here solo in Addis Ababa waiting fervently for their US Embassy appointment… loving and bonding with her babies. She and her hubby, Stephen are adopting 2 beautiful children and due to some paperwork issues, will be leaving us on Tuesday to return back to the states to wait a little longer for a new appointment. She has taught me soooo many amazing things like: photography tips, wonder-woman patience, wearing cool headbands, mission-fashion-layering-hair-nail-southern-talking-magic. She’s 28 and I’m 40 ish … she makes me feel so young just hanging around her. She loved our super-nanny and adopted my 2 daughters … loving us all like family. Tonight when she told me the news that she would be leaving, we both put our heads on poor Sentayehu’s shoulder and bawled. He had to hug 2 really sad friends stuck in the middle, but what a sweetheart. Wynne-Baby, you have been a JOY to our family and we will miss being with you every single day. You have not only grown as a new mommy, but you rocked as a missionary too! (Wynne took the stunning pic of Zoie & me with my best friend)

We have been in Africa for 80 days and leave for the states to take care of Mercy’s medical needs in 11 days. It will be a bittersweet journey until we can come back to our beloved Ethiopia… prayerfully, returning in February, living in Addis Ababa through summer 2013. We are VERY excited about our 2 month mission adventure in Haiti starting in November. But today, I’m holding on to the promise that God will take care of all the family we love in Korah and take care of all their needs… after we are gone. I have to entrust my loved ones to Jesus, releasing them into His protective care. They are much safer with Him than in my clinging hands. (Jesus Calling)

We. Are. Family.

Comments (2)

Tags: , ,

God Always Keeps His Promises

Posted on 14 August 2012 by Kari Gibson

The best day …

I held Sentayehu’s hand as he helped guide me to the trash dump in Kore (Korah.) As we walked, he pointed shyly where he lived for 6 years before Project 61. I looked at him with tears in my eyes and held his hand tighter. How can I describe in words to you what it would be like to live on a trash dump? It would be an impossible task. How would I explain to you the smell, the unsafe environment, the danger, the nightmare… I don’t want to accept this kind of living for any human being. I wish I could take his pain and wave a wand (like in a Disney movie) and wipe away all the bad memories. Instead, I will fast forward and share with you what God has taught our sons, the Man Up teens, about courage, faith, and prayer.

I want to honor the village of Korah, the birthplace of our daughter, Zoie Senait … who have lived their lives with reckless abandon. Today, we walked to the trash dump with 7 of our boys, and our dear friend, Fekadu who lived 20 years on the dump. The walk through the village winds through the rocky, muddy streets until you reach the bridge. That is the moment you know you are walking into a different world. It is no longer possible to bring teams there, due to government control, but our family of 5 was easy to conceal. The boys walked and they shared their stories. It’s not possible to understand the magnitude of what it means to live, eat, and exist on a trash dump. Living here in Africa long term has allowed us to build deeper relationships with the community.. the real life heroes who wake up every single day and claim victory in Jesus.

I will never be able to wrap my heart around anyone [I love] living in these horrific conditions, but what I focus on is the promise God made each and every child and family He has rescued, each one with a different miracle. God always keeps His promises! The boys were all eager to share their stories. I believe it’s healing to the soul to tell someone your history. My girls have no idea what it means to live without food or shelter, but they honored our friends and walked hand in hand. When we reached the entrance, they didn’t stop but instead helped us “climb” the massive mountain of trash. I was so proud of the girls… they didn’t miss a single step. Roger was at the dump with a few of the Man Up team members a few days ago, so he stayed below with Zoie, but the girls (and mom) climbed until we reached the top.

The view on top is both spectacular and horrific. A few of the workers approached us and asked me to take their photos. It felt strange posing in the trash, but it brought them so much joy. It was the first time I’ve ever witnessed the back side entrance of the dump. There was activity everywhere we looked. In fact, one of our boys ran off to find his mother so he could introduce us. As we held the boys hands, I felt relief knowing they would never have to live here again. But, praying God will continue to pour His mercy and grace and restoring hope to the community … continuing His rescue mission.

For the past 2 ½ months, my husband has been ministering daily to 12 young men (teens) who are part of the Project 61 ministry in Korah. The children formerly living on the trash dump or streets are now fully sponsored with food, shelter and education. Hope. Healing. Restoration. The boys have been adopted by our family this summer (and forever) and we enjoy taking them to church on Sundays, as well as fun activities during the week. They help us throughout the day with our ministry in Korah and never leave our side. They adore their sisters, Zoie, Hannah and Dovie. We love when they call us mom “Enatay” and dad “Abatay” … adoption of the heart. Most of the boys are true orphans or have been abandoned. Roger is teaching the life of Daniel and they are learning what it means to live a life of courage and faith and prayer. In fact, we renamed the “shelter” where the boys sleep to the Man Up Cave. We are grateful for the Visiting Orphans team who helped us paint their door with the new super-cool name.

Isaiah 61:10- “I will sing for joy in God, explode in praise from deep in my soul! He dressed me up in a suit of salvation, he outfitted me in a robe of righteousness, As a bridegroom who puts on a tuxedo and a bride a jeweled tiara. For as the earth bursts with spring wildflowers, and as a garden cascades with blossoms, So the Master, God, brings righteousness into full bloom and puts praise on display before the nations.” This verse means so much to me. The people living or working on the trash dump that have been restored by Jesus Christ now wear the garments of salvation and the robes of righteousness… stunning like a bride who adorns herself with jewels and the bridegroom who adorns his head like a priest. He covers our filth and sin with beauty from the ashes.

I want you to trust Me enough to realize your privileged position in My kingdom. Relax in the luxuriant folds of your magnificent robe. (Jesus Calling)


Comments (3)


Mama Kiki’s Clinic Is Open

Posted on 03 August 2012 by Kari Gibson

“God doesn’t call the qualified, God qualifies the called.” (The Circle Maker) I have never in my life ever thought about working in a medical clinic. I honestly don’t like seeing gushing blood and have no clue what most of the medical terms like acetaminophen or clotrimazole mean. It’s not really English. I love teaching. I can come up with a lesson about almost anything in seconds if I’m put on the spot and have to teach. I was an elementary teacher in the inner-city of Phoenix, Arizona for 5 years. I’m comfortable in front of large crowds of children … it’s my passion and my gift and my talent.

When my good friend and nurse, Emily Cornish left for the states last month, she gave me 2 keys. One to open the Hope For Korah basket shop and one to open the clinic. I am the key master. The only instructions she left me, “Don’t lose the keys!!” The Great Hope staff just completed building the new clinic the day before she left the country. I told her … no worries, we would organize and keep the clinic running smoothly. I told her the only two cases I would refuse, stitching up a wound or delivering a baby. I have to draw the line somewhere.

The first day I opened up the clinic, I was nervous. A little girl from Korah came in with a horrible burn on her leg from boiling tea water. It was really disgusting and I had a moment of panic. I hugged her and looked around for the plastic bins for “burns.” Emily actually had one labeled “wound care.” I cleaned the burn carefully and covered it with sterilized bandage. I think what meant the most to my patient was the attention and love I was able to give her. We did the owie dance and she bounced out of the clinic happy. Several more “patients” came to the clinic with minor injuries like a sore tooth, ringworm, lice, torn fingernail, cramps, and itchy eyes. I’m a mom and teacher and have treated all these symptoms over the past 18 years. I even had the opportunity today to teach a few young children how to brush their teeth. I had no idea I could use my love of teaching in the clinic.

I’m grateful for all the translators, nurses, veterinarians, pharmacists, social workers, and parents who have volunteered time in the clinic the past several weeks. Your care and love and guidance have made such a big difference for the village of Korah. Thank you for labeling the bins with “easy to understand” terms for me to care for patients when you’re not here. P61 (Jack’s team) I am VERY thankful for the time you spent organizing the new clinic shelves!! Everything has a spot and labels!! Your donations have filled the bins to overflowing! Most of all, what a blessing to love BIG on the young and old who just need a little tender loving care from a non-nurse.

Emily, thank you for trusting me with the clinic key … I hope we make you proud!!

Comments (1)

Operation: Haiti

Help us fund our new documentary film!

Learn more about it here »
Advertise Here

Photos from our Flickr stream

See all photos

Advertise Here

Support Our Family

Crazy Links

Adoption Loans

Lifesong for Orphans

Simply Love.

First Love.

H Love.

Z Love.

Daddy Love.