Tag Archive | "Ethiopia"

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You Are Worth More Than Gold

Posted on 04 October 2012 by Kari Gibson

The theme this summer on our Simply Love mission trip was Gold. I love this upbeat song by Britt Nicole, my daughter Hannah shared with me as we prepared to leave for our mission adventure. The team taught lessons to the girls and boys in Uganda and Ethiopia that they are worth more than gold. We played the song so many times at the different ministries we served… we had it memorized! We sang, danced, and cheered with the Kings and Queens of Africa. Team members made hundreds of stars with the song laminated on them. There’s even one hanging in the Man Up Cave … we don’t want them to ever forget how valuable they are day and night.

I learned from the children we served, that sticks and stones hurt, but words can break your heart when you’ve been told you are NOT worth anything. I grew up in a home that daily renewed my value as a daughter and that I was beautiful inside and out. There are millions of boys and girls all over the world who have never heard the words … you are beautiful, you are valuable, you are loved. When people ask me why going on a mission trip is so important, I always keep it simple, “Every child deserves to be loved.” You can have the honor of telling a child for the first time in their life, you are worth more than gold. That is a priceless gift.

whatever you’ve been told, you’re worth more than gold
so hold your head up high, it’s your time to shine
from the inside it shows, you’re worth more than gold so don’t be ashamed to wear your crown
you’re a king you’re a queen inside and out!!!!!!!

One of the craziest stories happened on our last week in Addis Ababa. Hannah bonded with a precious little girl named Beza and asked Sumer Yates if she could sponsor her so she could go to school and be a part of the Project 61 program. Beza lost her mother in a tragic way, and in one night lost her entire world. Beza turned 13 years old and Hannah brought her home for a 2-day birthday sleepover at our guest home. Beza was in heaven, she played with Zoie and watched movies and baked cookies. It was a birthday to remember. Every day she would stalk watch our van pull up at Great Hope Church in Korah and was visibly upset when Hannah wasn’t with us. One day, Roger and I had to stay late in Korah and worked on finishing up a project with a mission team. We pulled up to the guest home at around 6pm and when we opened the door we were VERY surprised to see Beza standing on the stairs looking down at us with a nervous expression. We were confused, how in the world did she get here? Did she sneak in our van and we didn’t see her get out? The mystery of Beza was solved when Hannah told us she had walked from Korah to Lafto in her bare feet and had arrived an hour earlier. WHATTTT? She had walked over 10 miles to our guest home??!!!! “I missed Hannah,” was all she said to her defense. She even got a thorn in her foot that Hannah had to pull out with tweezers, praying hard not to pass out. It would have been a funny story, minus of course, the danger and thorns of a 13 year old walking alone at dusk. Mama Kiki (me) had to sit down with the help of our staff and have a firm discussion in English and Amharic why we don’t make surprise visits without permission. In the end, we decided to let her stay with a big hug and kiss … she learned, even through our correction, she was valuable and worthy and loved.

We have an opportunity every day to teach value and worth in our own homes, on a mission trip… literally all over the world, that you are worth more than gold. Please feel free to “borrow” our theme and use this amazing song to remind YOUR kids today, how much you love them. I hope none of us feel ashamed to wear our crowns … we are daughters and sons of royalty!

I made this video with personal photos of beautiful Kings and Queens in Ethiopia … enjoy and share!

You were walking on the moon, now you’re feeling low
What they said wasn’t true, you’re beautiful
Sticks and stones break your bones, I know what you’re feeling
words like those won’t steal your glow, you’re one in a million

this, this is for all the girls, and boys all over the world
whatever you’ve been told, you’re worth more than gold
so hold your head up high, it’s your time to shine
from the inside it shows, you’re worth more than gold
You’re worth more than gold

well everybody keeps score, afraid you’re gonna lose
just ignore they don’t know the real you
all the rain in the sky can’t put out your fire
of all the stars out tonight, you shine brighter

this, this is for all the girls, and boys all over the world
whatever you’ve been told, you’re worth more than gold
so hold your head up high, it’s your time to shine
from the inside it shows, you’re worth more than gold
You’re worth more than gold

so don’t let anybody tell you that you’re not loved
and don’t let anybody tell you that you’re not enough
yeah there are days that we all feel like we are messed up
but the truth is that we’re all diamonds in the rough
so don’t be ashamed to wear your crown
you’re a king you’re a queen inside and out
you glow like the moon, you shine like the stars
this is for you, wherever you are

this, this is for all the girls, and boys all over the world
whatever you’ve been told, you’re worth more than gold
(so hold your head up high) so hold your head up high,
it’s your time to shine
from the inside it shows, you’re worth more than gold
You’re worth more than gold

so don’t be ashamed to wear your crown
you’re a king you’re a queen inside and out


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Home Sweet Addis Ababa!!

Posted on 21 June 2012 by Kari Gibson

Today I said goodbye again. I just ended the 14 day Visiting Orphans mission trip with the most amazing 23 mission-hearted people who rocked Ethiopia and Uganda loving big and serving even bigger!! Hannah and I left the team last night and at the last second realized we missed the opportunity to say goodbye to our friends due to flight attendants splitting us up in 2 buses when we landed in Addis Ababa. I started bawling, so we grabbed the few remaining on the last bus and hugged like crazy! I think the one of the best parts of a mission trip is bonding and sharing life changing experiences with complete strangers from all over the world. If you have never gone on a mission trip … I promise if you’re willing to open your heart wide and set aside your fears and comfort and conveniences, God will use you in a mighty way to share the love of Jesus Christ to the unreached people groups around the world. I can’t wait to share the miraculous stories from the mission trip with you. I watched with my own eyes God healing widows in Uganda, and orphan’s spirits open again through the loving touch of the team.

I want to commit to writing everyday here on my blog during on our family missions adventure in Ethiopia and Haiti. I want to be real with you and expose my heart with the joys and challenges and ministry opportunities we will face and tackle. I want you to challenge ME with thought provoking questions and committing to praying for us when the days get tough. We have left our comfort zone for the purpose of serving the Lord. We will stay in Addis until September 5th and can’t wait to see what He has planned for us.

A friend gave Hannah a special verse to claim during our time here in Ethiopia. Joshua 1:9 (MSG) Haven’t I commanded you? Strength! Courage! Don’t be timid; don’t get discouraged. God, your God, is with you every step you take. This is flat out the scariest thing we’ve ever done as a family. We are here. We are happy. We are being challenged. We are open to serving Him every single day.

A few of you have emailed and asked a few questions. Also, you have asked how you can pray for our family. Thank you so much! I hope this helps … Continue Reading

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The Gibson’s Biggest Adventure!!!!!!!!!

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The Gibson’s Biggest Adventure!!!!!!!!!

Posted on 09 May 2012 by Kari Gibson

I started writing this post and started crying. I hope I can get through this without making a fool out of myself sitting at Panera. This is the biggest blog announcement I’ve ever made and I’m crazy nervous to share with you. It’s not that I don’t think you’ll fall out of your chair when you read it, but that I won’t do a good job sharing my heart.

We are moving as a family to Haiti starting November 20, 2012!!!!!!!

We thought we had it all planned out. For the past two years, we’ve desired to go on the mission field in Ethiopia. We never wavered asking Him to open the door for us to serve with our brothers and sisters who sacrifice so much in Zoie’s birthplace. We wanted to give back. I even had a dream of our home and outdoor kitchen complete with a wood burning fire. I woke up thinking, “Seriously Jesus, I could totally cook on that.” We definitely had peace about the mission plan, but we didn’t know that God had mapped out a different route on the way to Africa. Our first stop is Haiti!!!!!!!!! Roger has never even been to Haiti, but he fell in love with the bonus gift God placed in our path. It was a blessing we couldn’t resist, it was THE key to the miracle God had already set in motion.


We are deeply humbled that the most incredible missionaries, Bill and Campbell have opened their hearts and their home in Pignon to allow us to come and serve as “happy helpers” at Haiti Home of Hope. As you know, I took a Visiting Orphans team to Pignon in January and God broke my heart- literally. I was overwhelmed with the ministry who cares for a community that works 24 hours a day just to live, eat, and survive. I will re-post my stories from Haiti and hopefully (you too) will fall in love with this beautiful little village called Pignon. Hannah and Zoie will spend 2 months with us in Haiti and our son, Michael will join us there for Christmas. Upon graduation he will attend Missouri State University and study broadcast journalism. He’s starting his new adventure.

Reading the Live Dead Journal, one statement jumped out for both, Roger and me. Continue Reading

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A Filmakers Journey To Korah

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A Filmakers Journey To Korah

Posted on 02 June 2011 by Kari Gibson

You think you understand poverty, struggle, oppression, thirst, hunger, sorrow, joy, passion. Then you visit one of the poorer villages of Ethiopia; these words represent the rule, not the exception. My visits to Ethiopia, once in 2010 and again in 2011, were an awakening for me. I have been to developing nations before and witnessed poverty-stricken places first-hand, but somehow Ethiopia seems different. The needs of the people there are so great, yet their resilience seems undying and unstoppable.

So what can I do to help, to make a difference? What can one person do? And then I meet the people working there to make a difference, people like Summer Yates, Dave McIlrath, Jerry Shannon, Kari Gibson, Ephrem Hagos, Sammy Liben, the list goes on. What can one person do? It turns out, a whole lot!
As a filmmaker, I have the opportunity to capture life in moving pictures and sound. In our world, multimedia such as movies, online videos, television, reaches people in a profound way. It is no surprise that more than ninety percent of most large corporations’ marketing budgets are spent on television advertising – it reaches people, it gets attention, it works. But creating quality multimedia is expensive and too often, only the organizations that have money can afford to create the media that in turn generates more money for the organization.

So what can one person do? Well, I know what I can do – I can create media that organizations like Visiting Orphans, Project 61, Mission Ethiopia, Ethiopian Youth Soccer could otherwise not afford to create at no cost to them. They can in turn use that media to generate the awareness and ultimately the funds they need to continue their work in Ethiopia.

So if creating media is too expensive for most of these organizations to afford, how can a small-time indie filmmaker such as myself afford to create it? That is what I kept asking myself over and over as I witnessed this need firsthand and looked down at the camera I held in my hands. I have the energy, I have the tools, all I need is a few dollars to get it done. My good friend Dave McIlrath from Ethiopia Guest Homes offered me a solution – if he funded a trip to get me over to Ethiopia, perhaps I could get the footage I need for the projects and I could figure out the funding for the project completion later.

Which brings us to present day. The footage has been shot and is ready for the three months it will take to turn that footage into finished films. I am ready and excited to finish the work, but one thing remains – the funding part. I need to raise a minimum of $15,000 to get these films completed and every dollar will help. I am using a service called Kickstarter to accomplish this fundraising and it allows people to donate any amount of money to the project using a credit card. The challenge to using this service is that not one penny of the funds will be awarded unless the full amount of $15,000 is reached, so it is essential that I reach this goal. Please check out my Kickstarter page (http://kck.st/iZrKeY), pledge what you can, help me get these films out there for people to see.

What can one person do? They can do a lot, but only with the support of many caring individuals such as yourself. Our individual actions are catalysts for the actions of many. It starts with the power of one and ends with the power of everyone working together to make our world a better place for everyone in it.

Your friend,
Sam Nuttmann
The Ethiopia Projects: http://kck.st/iZrKeY

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My 3 Adopted Brothers (they are crazy, too)

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My 3 Adopted Brothers (they are crazy, too)

Posted on 23 May 2011 by Kari Gibson

I love my two brothers, Greg and Mike Smalley- they have been a constant joy in my life.  I’m their older big sister and was very bossy growing up.  I’m sure they loved having two moms telling them what to do all day long.  It’s wonderful now that we’re all grown-up, to support and encourage each others passions, gifts, and talents in life!!  My brother, Greg is moving soon to CO to work with Focus on the Family and my brother, Michael lives in TX with a growing ministry in marriage and family counseling.

I had no idea God would open the door for three more brothers in my life, but He has allowed me to embrace sisterhood again!  I met all three men on my first mission trip to Ethiopia and feel so honored to have them adopt me as their sister.  It’s my duty as big sister, to make sure they are being taken care of, prayed for, supported, and encouraged as my brothers!  I’m equally as honored to embrace their band of brothers (all eleven) living in Korah and supporting the entire team!!  We are family.

If you would like to join me next year Visiting Orphans in Ethiopia, I can guarantee you will get a hug from each one of my brothers!

I met Bisrat (Bissy) in June 2010 with my Visiting Orphans team in Ethiopia.  He has an incredible big heart and biblical wisdom.  His testimony is both heartbreaking and inspirational.  Bissy told me once that he will never stop telling others about Jesus- he lives and breathes this commitment with all his heart!  I’m grateful that my brother has helped us locate missing pieces with our adoption.  He was the one who introduced us to the police officer who helped with the relinquishment of birthmother- Zoie’s Crossroad Miracle. If you would like to meet Bisrat and follow his adventures in Addis Ababa, please “friend” him on facebook. (click on his full name above)

I met Maste last year, but it was on my trip in February that we really bonded.  I watched this young man grow in wisdom and kindess for orphans… helping lead my big crazy team with joy. (just look at that smile)  I love that he became such close friends with my hubby, Roger and worked together to bless the community of Korah.  Here’s what Maste wrote to me when I came home- he has no idea how much I cherish his letter…

It was a blessing to know you. you are energetic and devoted GODly women.
James 1:27 GOD care for orphan
GOD use peoples to care others.
You have an amazing husband that he thought me about giving. Roger told me that the secret of life is giving to needy. it was practical lesson for me. he was feeding street kid at the post Office. Tell to Roger am glad to know him.
The gift that I gave to you is I never gave for anybody in my life. Flag shows one country. I gave to you my country Ethiopia for you. hopefully your support will be frutiful and change Ethiopia.
May peace of the lord be with you and your family always

Sammy is one of the dearest people I have ever known in my life.  The instant I met him, I fell in love with his spirit for the Lord, community, orphans and Korah.  In June, I will share his personal testimony and it will blow you away!  How can someone go through so much persecution and still worship the Lord and obey His will.  Sammy and I bonded last year, but our friendship bloomed this past February working again with Project 61.  I tell him he is the Brad Pitt of Korah!  Sammy understands the true meaning of Man Up. Protect and Love the fatherless.  I’m grateful everyday knowing he is there taking care of his neighbors.  God gave him the incredible gift of tenderness and strength.  One of the last things we talked about… his band of brothers working in Korah- that NO ONE is left behind.  I want to continue to make a difference in the life of children and the needy side by side with my brothers!

If you have a special message of encouragement for my three [adopted] brothers, please leave a comment today and spread some crazy love.

(thank you Cherrie Cornish for the beautiful photos!)





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Leaving today for Ethiopia with VO 30!

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Leaving today for Ethiopia with VO 30!

Posted on 15 February 2011 by Kari Gibson

My crazy readers, will you join me on my Visiting Orphans mission trip and pray for our extraordinary team for the next 12 days as we travel to Ethiopia and minister to orphans.  You support, prayers, and cheers have meant the world to me.  You sent me over 600 headbands and bows for the Princesses in Korah, twin sheet sets for new bedding at the orphanage in Holeta, and monetary donations to spread some crazy love in Ethiopia!!  I’m grateful for you!

I have the most amazing guest bloggers scheduled for the next 12 days.  Please stop by and read their stories- laugh, cry, cheer, and share your thoughts.  Thank you for your continued support growing My Crazy Adoption Blog to empower moms and caring for the Fatherless.  Together, we are the voice for those who cannot speak for themselves. (prov. 31:8-9)

I will not be able to update you on my blog in Africa, but I will share daily journal notes and photos on my Facebook starting February 15th- 27th.  I hope you will join me on my God adventure to Addis Ababa.  I will share my incredible mission trip here starting in March- Missions Sweeps Week!!

Would you pray a special blessing over my team today!!  We need strong prayer warriors to cover us the next 12 days!

Here are a few prayer requests:

1. Safety
2. The Lord’s favor as we minister to orphanages and complete various tasks.
3. The “Man Up” project at the Korah dump. We will have a barbecue and be targeting the men to become strong in the Lord and leaders in their families and community.
Praying for God’s protection as we put on His whole armor for sharing love to the lost.

The JRA team of 30 will be ministering for 12 days in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia with Project 61 for extreme needy children living in the Korah city dump, two TOMS Shoe Drops, as well as ministering in rural villages sharing God’s love.  We will also visit Fistula Hospital and our very own, Trevor Birch will perform music for the courageous women featured in the movie “A Walk to Beautiful”.

Ethiopia Gibson Itinerary pdf

Wednesday- 02/16/2012 Day 1
You will travel to Washington DC where you will meet up with
the rest of your team and travel on to Addis from there.

Thursday- 02/17/2012 Day 2
Arrive in Addis Ababa around 8 am. Check in at the Ethiopian
Guest House. Rest, unpack, and afternoon shopping at Post Office (optional) Dinner out.

Friday- 02/18/2012 Day 3
Visit *** Orphanage. Lunch at the EGH and afternoon visit to Fistula Hospital.  Pack your day bags for overnight Ambo and Holeta.

Saturday- 02/19/2012 Day 4
1 hour drive to Holeta to visit children there and to minister in
community. Spend the night in Ambo.

Sunday- 02/20/2012 Day 5
Orphanage and home visits in Ambo.  Outing with the children. Return to Addis for
afternoon shopping and dinner at EGH. 8 pm team meeting with Sally Baer.

Mon & Tues- 02/21-22/12 Day 6 & 7 TOMS shoe distribution- 8am to 5pm. Lunch on the field and dinner at EGH.

Wednesday- 02/23/2012 Day 8
Ministry at the Korah Dump and Project 61. Dinner out as a

Thursday- 02/24/2012 Day 9 Ministry at the Korah Dump and Project 61. Dinner at EGH.

Friday- 02/25/2012 Day 10
Ministry at the Korah Dump and Project 61. Visit to sponsored
children. Dinner at a traditional restaurant.

Saturday- 02/26/2012 Day 11
Check out of the EGH. The team will split to visit Drawn From
Water and Kidane Mihret orphanages. Farewell lunch at the
Hilton & last minute shopping. Leave for airport and depart for
US at 10:15 pm. Arrive in DC at 7:40 am on the 27th.

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My Korah Sleepover at P61 Shelter

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My Korah Sleepover at P61 Shelter

Posted on 01 November 2010 by Kari Gibson

Do you remember your favorite sleepover?  I have never been a big fan of sleepovers- I like sleeping in my own bed.  Well, I have changed my mind and can’t wait to have another sleepover party at Korah in February 2011.  This was an out of the box adventure that all started when I heard Sumer share about the amazing shelter for children in Kore that need a safe place to sleep at night.  This is a little house of love made for children who used to sleep on the dump.  I casually asked Sumer if my team could sleep there for the night too.  She was thrilled to help us plan a crazy sleepover party at Korah.  The only problem- due to space issues, we had to pick 6 out of our team of 30.  The extraordinary team was amazing and soon had 6 packed up to go.

I had nooo intention of sleeping over, but wanted to go for the party.  I told my team I would tuck them in bed and head back to the Guest House with Sumer.  It was dark when we arrived and the kids were ecstatic to have us all there.  We had 4 mattresses and our over night bags.  They popped popcorn and had delicious hand ground coffee waiting for us.  They added little chocolate cookies on top of the popcorn as decoration.  I was a mess!!!  I was overwhelmed with love for Project 61 and the 14 precious kids who slept at the shelter.  Their stories were heart wrenching to hear.  The abuse and horrors they had to deal with sleeping on the dump broke my heart.  I asked my two boys- What is the scariest thing about sleeping out on the dump?  They both told me it was the hyenas that hunted at night.  How can I possibly wrap my brain around that kind of fear.  I held the boys close to me- to protect them and knew I would be spending the night at the Korah Shelter!!

I snuggled up with my new friends and watched a movie, munching on popcorn.  It was surreal.

I will never forget the time I spent with my team and friends from Korah.  Alicia, Sammy and the rest of the P61 staff that took the time to make us feel so welcomed and special!!  It was the best cookies, popcorn and coffee I have ever had!!  I fell asleep watching The Lion King with 3 kids wrapped in my arms.  I kept praying that they would feel a mother’s love.  I knew they did not have that in their lives, so for the next few hours I was determined to love them like my own children.  I held their hands and gently stroked their hair and prayed for each child for special blessings.

When we finally tucked the children in bed, we headed to our tiny room with 2 mattresses to share- four of us girls:)  It was dark and no electricity.  I will be very honest- I was afraid.  I had no idea how I talked my team into this and how I ended up there too.  There was no lock on the door, but we had a broom stick jammed under the knob.  I started to feel nervous and that brought on the giggles.  The four of us giggled and laughed and spooned (well, I was the big chicken spooner with BF Randi)  We had layers of clothes on just in case we needed to bolt out of there in a flash.  The only thing I remember that made me stop laughing was the thought of having to go to the bathroom in the outhouse in the dark.  I prayed for a bladder miracle that night!!!  I fell asleep listening to the eery sounds at night and could hear a faint bark of a hyena.  I knew with all my heart that we were safe in His Korah.

We woke up to the sound of roosters and the hustle and bustle of Kore neighbors.  It was very difficult for me to say goodbye to Dawit and Beleling B… they were my Kore sons.  I told them I was so proud that my daughter, Zoie was born here in Kore and asked them to be her adopted brothers.  They hugged me tight and agreed to pray for their new sister.  I will NEVER forget my favorite sleepover.  I can’t wait to go back in February with my new team – the invitation is open for anyone that wants to have the best night of their life!!

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A Walk [With Me] To Beautiful in Ethiopia

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A Walk [With Me] To Beautiful in Ethiopia

Posted on 26 October 2010 by Kari Gibson

I can’t believe what God has done with the Missions Trip Project!!  He is tugging and stirring hearts to travel to Ethiopia and minister to his precious children.  God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your WILDEST dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us. (Eph. 3:20)

Here’s what blogger, Lori shared-
My 20 yo purchased her t-shirt today! Our neighbors are going to think we bought stock in something by the name of SIMPLY LOVE…but, that’s fine with me!  I love how you said early on that God knows who is going and how this amazing opportunity is going to impact their lives…and the lives of others. Let’s daydream about the lifelong RIPPLE EFFECT that your step of faith is putting into motion!!!

One of the special things we will do on the Ethiopia Missions Trip in February 2011 is visit Fistula Hospital in Addis Ababa.  We are praying for our return trip a real ministry opportunity to share God’s love when our team spends time with the women healing at Fistula Hospital.  In July, we received special permission to take photos inside the Hospital showing the beauty of Fistula.  This was a rare chance to do something like this- photography is not allowed. (Thank you Feven) We asked team member, Carrie Chlebanowski to tackle the job- she took beautiful photos of the precious women!!

What I loved so much about visiting Fistula Hospital was the beauty of the women, literally from all over Africa.  It’s hard to describe a place so full of hope.  You could see the hope pouring from their smiles.  We met a precious woman, about 18 years old, who had lived in a small room like a prisoner.  Her family abandoned her and she lost all ability to walk or function normally… she was physically deformed.  Her back was so bent, I thought she was very old.  The staff told us that she was their miracle girl!!  She was in therapy when we met her, she gave everything she had to walk across the floor with the help of special equipment.  We cheered and clapped when she made it to the end of the bars.  Hope. Healing. Love.  Fistula Hospital.

A documentary film was made of Fistula Hospital and it follows the life of five women in Ethiopia who take the long difficult walk to beautiful.  It’s stunning, and heart breaking, and full of hope, and new beginnings.  I highly encourage you to take the time to watch the film. [watch the film here]

Trailer- A Walk To Beautiful

My BF Juju traveled to Ethiopia a few months before I was there in July and visited Fistula Hospital.  It was so exciting that one of my favorite bloggy photographers, Kristin J was also able to take photos and made this incredible slideshow.  She invited me to share it with you.  Click here to view. Kristin also now offers Adoption Photography Packages to travel with families to document their adoption!

I want to know what you think about the hospital and the treatment of women in Africa with Fistula.  Leave me your thoughts in the comments.


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3 Crazy Reasons to come with me on my Mission Trip.

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3 Crazy Reasons to come with me on my Mission Trip.

Posted on 26 August 2010 by Kari Gibson

Check it out… Big Nanny goes on Visiting Orphans Mission trip- she’s officially part of the crazies!

BIG CRAZY NEWS- We have 2 more slots open to fill! If you are feeling a passion about this trip, please continue to pray and fill out the application when the time is right!!! Spots are filling up fast!!!!  Africa in July Blog.

My personal journey to missions-

I want to challenge you to come with me on this mission trip!  I waited 42 years before I went on my first mission trip.  I had yearned, and dreamed, and prayed for years, but never had the courage to really go!  I love kids and love traveling… why did it take me so long to go on missions.  I hate to admit this, but I was intimidated and it was never convenient for me to go.  I’m a stay at home mom and the timing just never seemed right for me.
My hubby was supportive, but not in a “do it now” kind of way.  I always had an excuse.  The money was usually my down fall.  I had no idea you could fundraise for a mission trip.  I assumed I needed to do it all on my own.  I felt responsible to raise the money or not go.  Why would anyone want to help me go on a “vacation.”  I never dreamed my family and friends would rally together and help me make my mission trip dreams come true.  Last summer, I was asked to go to Haiti with my church family.  I begged asked Roger to let me go.  This was it… I was determined to make it work.  Zoie was only 1 years old and my kids were starting school several days after the trip started.  I could feel the guilt seeping up in my heart, but I moved forward.  I knew I needed to go, but I had to raise $1,500 in two weeks.  I prayed and prayed that God would give me a creative idea.  I pushed my old fears down and moved forward with a plan.

Family and friends embraced my project and I raised $2,200 for Haiti!  I was able to purchase donations with the overflow and hand deliver the items personally.  It was a lot of work organizing the fundraiser, but once things got rolling, it was so much fun!  Please don’t make the same excuses I made for so many years…. pray, move forward and allow God to do the rest.  If the door is slammed shut in your face, well that’s OK.  Stand in line again, and move forward in a different direction.  I challenge you to call or email Visiting Orphans today and request an application. If your heart is stirring, don’t wait – start the ball rolling, especially if you feel excitement and joy and yearning when you read our itinerary.

Here’s 3 Crazy Reasons why you should come with me to Ethiopia & Uganda:
  1. Orphans desperately need you to come and simply love them- BASICALLY Haiti is happening to children all over this world….the media is just not covering it.  They lose their parents suddenly to HIV, malaria, malnutrition, starvation and other horrific ends to a life.  Or, they are traumatized as they are just abandoned and left with a feeling of worthlessness, feeling forgotten and not knowing the consistent love of a parent or anyone else.  Some orphans never even get to see outside of the building of their orphanage.  Orphans in this world, unless visited by God’s people, will not know their Savior as their Abba Daddy.  He is their Father and He is the only one who in our absence can give them the consistent love they were created to receive.  If we don’t go…who will go for us?  (thank you Amanda)
  2. Lose some weight with me- Are you loaded down with the weight of mommyhood?  The busyness of your life as a mom- the comfortable, conveniences of structure, playdates, Target runs, carpools, sports events… well, mission trips do a great job at shaking things up and forcing you to let go and serve out of your comfort zone.  Traveling to a foreign country can be really scary, but being immersed in a different culture allows you to see and smell and touch and taste and hear things that will literally change your life.  Leave your busyness at home (it will be there when you return) and open your hearts wide to crazy love orphans. 
  3. Be part of a God-Adventure- this means doing something radical, out of the normal, daily routine we get stuck in as moms.  You get to see God work in others lives and in your own life on a mission trip.  Plan on something going really crazy- this is all part of the adventure.  I encourage you to super-size your joy and patience and understanding and compassion and affection on a mission trip.  If you have set expectations, I guarantee you will be turned upside down.  Leave your expectations at home and allow God to guide your steps through Uganda and Ethiopia.

Here’s what one mom shared- “as an adopting Mom I first thought, I’m already doing my part, I’m adopting an orphan! While talking to my husband, I couldn’t stop crying because I was thinking about our baby. I kept asking, what if an American Mom was able to be in the orphanages everyday? What if we knew there were always volunteers through Visiting Orphans there to hold, feed and love our baby E? I know that my 14 days in Uganda and Ethiopia isn’t going to change the world BUT if Mom’s across our country would go and be present 365 days a year, it would change the lives of all the orphaned children.
July 19th isn’t really a “good time” for me to go on a Mission Trip. Who knows where we will be in the adoption, if we will have the money, or if I can emotionally handle it.  However, we pray, someone is there right now, regardless of the “right time” to hold our baby.” (Ashlie, mom to be)

If you are on the fence, trying to make every mommy detail perfect before you make the decision to go, I challenge you to jump down and pray forward.  Most of my readers are crazy moms, life will never be perfect for us to go on a mission trip, but I promise you that this trip will change your life.  Your family will benefit from you doing something so radical… you’ll be a crazier mom!

UPDATE- If you are sending out donation letters or asking for donations, please have all donations be written: Paid to the order of “Visiting Orphans”. In the memo section you may have the sponsor put your name. You will then turn in the these checks and Visiting Orphans will send the tax write off to the individual at the end of the year. If you have any questions please email (my co-leader) Ashlie
Crazy Talk…

I want to know what you’re thinking?  Does anyone else have a story to encourage each other to go on a mission trip… please share in comments.  Next week, I’ll share some crazy ideas to help you fundraise for a mission trip.


Comments (10)

Craziness Started With Visiting Orphans!

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Craziness Started With Visiting Orphans!

Posted on 24 August 2010 by Kari Gibson

I can’t believe I’ve only been home 3 weeks from Africa!  It took me a long time to recover physically and emotionally, but now feeling the excitement bubbling inside my heart to share the good, bad and craziness with you.  I think the best place for me to start is from the beginning.  I would never have had the opportunity to lead a trip to Uganda and Ethiopia without the incredible ministry of Visiting Orphans.  I stumbled into the leadership role of an extraordinary team of 30 for reasons I still do not fully understand.  I am grateful for all the twists and turns that happened to redirect me, change me and guide me to serve in Africa.

The executive director of Visiting Orphans is my friend, Amanda Lawrence.  We have never met in person, but have a shared passion for missions, orphans, adoption and craziness.  She opened up her heart wide in faith and allowed me to jump on board due to our relationship with America World Adoption.  She has lead countless mission trips all over the world and taught me so much about leadership and serving with her grace and love for orphans.

My personality, as you know is a little on the crazy side, but Amanda poured her patience in abundance as she worked with me during the months preparing for the trip.  The best part, announcing to her that I was going for a week to Alaska with my family the week before the trip.  She never wavered in kindness, understanding and willingness to help.

I wanted to give my best effort as a newbie leader and allow God to lead through me.  God lovingly taught me through my team how important it was to be flexible, patient, joyful, loving, and courageous every step of the way.  I was so humbled.  I watched my team demonstrate love and generosity and compassion to every single person they ministered to.

(Thank you team-  Ashlie, Ernie, Randi, Dee Dee, Vit, Kevin, Judson, Juliana, Kari, Carrie, Joe, Emily, Darrell, Cherie, Ashlie, Amanda, Beza, Carly, Chaye, Cynthia, Cynthia, Eryn, Janette, Jen, Karen, Kinsey, Lindsey, Marge, Rebecca, Sarah for loving radically in Africa!!)

In the next few weeks, I want to celebrate on my blog the incredible people we met in Uganda and Ethiopia.  I have so many stories and photos to share with my readers.  I want to dig deep down in my heart and tell you how God changed my life.  I pray that God will use our craziness in Africa to help spread His message of love and service and ministry to orphans.

I want to invite you to join me on a bloggy adventure to Africa.  I hope that you will read the stories, leave your comments and share your own personal stories of mission trips and orphan care.  We are all in this together.  If you have any questions please email me.

My New Crazy Mission Trips 2011

I will be leading two trips in 2011.  Please join me serving orphans in Africa!!  You can go directly to the website Visiting Orphans to sign up today!!  The first 5 men who sign up for the trips will receive a FREE Man Up T shirt!!!

10 Day Ethiopia Trip:  February 17th – 26th 2011

  • Leaders- Kari & Roger Gibson and co-leader Kelly Blackwell

10 Day Uganda Trip: June 2nd – 11th 2011

  • Leaders- Kari Gibson and Michael Smalley

Men Needed- Visiting Orphans has available spots for an Uganda Mission trip Dec. 28 to Jan. 12!! Sign up today!!

Visiting Orphans vision is simple:

  • To enlist Church volunteers to visit orphanages so they may meet physical, emotional and spiritual needs of orphans.
  • To develop relationships, provide comfort and to share the Gospel with orphans.
  • To provide financial aid for child sponsorship, medical assistance and construction to improve the living conditions of orphans.
  • To mobilize Christian churches to help orphans experience the blessing of family.

Visiting Orphans mission is simple:

Visiting Orphans is a registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization.  Established in 2005 by America World Adoption Association as a way to further help the orphans of the world. Visiting Orphans works to fulfill the biblical mandate given in James 1:27 of “visiting orphans” in their distress.

Visiting Orphans has conducted many missions trips for churches, schools, and individuals from around the United States to orphanages around the world including China, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Uganda, Ghana, Ecuador, Peru, Haiti, El Salvador, Honduras, Russia and Costa Rica.

Looking ahead, VO’s plan of action is to begin mobilizing and working more directly with churches in the United States.  While we will still work with individuals and schools in order to bring people to orphans and expose them to the hardships they face,  partnerships with churches will drive our expansion and positive impact on orphaned children around the world.

Visiting Orphans works with Christian churches to help raise orphan awareness in the hopes of each orphan experiencing the blessing of family through:
1.  Reunification
2. Transitional Services
3. Adoption

If you are part of a church looking to start or expand your orphan ministry we would love to assist you!

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My Crazy Bon Voyage To Africa!!

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My Crazy Bon Voyage To Africa!!

Posted on 17 July 2010 by Kari Gibson

My heart is almost as full as my suitcases.  I’m feeling excited and nervous and blessed like crazy for my 14 days in Africa.  I think the shock has finally worn off that I’m actually going to get on a plane and fly to my beloved Africa to serve orphans in Ethiopia and Uganda.  I’m honored that 31 crazy people are joining me from all over the country.  My family has supported my adventure wholeheartedly and have made me feel that what I’m going to do is important to them, too.  My community has also supported my trip and wrapped their hearts around helping me raise donations for the 14 projects and hundreds of orphans we will visit.  I was interviewed on radio and newspaper for orphan awareness and adoption support.  I’m packed and ready to go with a well-organized itinerary and plan, but I know that God can write His own itinerary and change every plan made for His glory.  In fact, I might be a little disappointed if our plans don’t change just a little due to some craziness and adventurous detour (remember Haiti).

Someone asked me recently why I’m going to Africa to visit orphans?  I wanted my answer to sound confident and wise, but all that came out was shaky and emotional.  I want to walk the walk. It’s very difficult to express what is deep in my heart and the passion that burns inside to simply love orphans.  God gave me 3 beautiful children and now I have the honor of visiting children who do not have a mom or dad or family.  They just need someone to hug them tight and love them unconditionally.

Please join me for the next 14 days and pray for me and my team.  We are moms and dads and sisters and brothers.  We are 31 different souls heading to Africa with different expectations and beliefs, but one special purpose- loving and serving orphans.

My Crazy Adoption blog will be featuring guest bloggers for the next 14+ days.  These are crazy readers that took the time out of their busy schedules to write posts that will inspire, encourage, challenge, teach, and make you laugh or cry!! Please take the time to come over and read the guest posts and pleaaasseee leave them your encouragement and cheers in the comments.

Comments (9)

Let Me Be Your Crazy Billboard

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Let Me Be Your Crazy Billboard

Posted on 22 June 2010 by Kari Gibson

My Crazy Readers, it was so much fun for me to show off your fundraising projects when I was in Haiti.  It was a joy to give them away to the amazing people I met there that fervently serve orphans.  I’m traveling soon to Uganda and Ethiopia on my mission trip with Visiting Orphans and would LOVE to be your billboard.  I will show off your fundraising products via photography or video, wearing, giving, or sharing them with others in Africa!!  When you see me wearing your products in a future post… leave a detailed comment and description of where readers can purchase your products.  I will also add a LINKY TOOL for you to share where to purchase your projects.  I get many emails a week from readers who want to support your fundraisers!

If you are interested in me being your billboard in Africa- leave me a comment for my mailing address.

Deadline to send me your fundraising projects- July 4th!!

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Donation List for my Mission trip + Itinerary

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Donation List for my Mission trip + Itinerary

Posted on 12 June 2010 by Kari Gibson

My crazy friends, I need your help to collect donations for my mission trip to Uganda and Ethiopia (July 18-Aug. 1) I’m asking you to help me with donations that will go directly to the orphans I visit- hand delivery of love.  We received a long list from the many projects and orphanages … it honestly made me feel overwhelmed!!  We are visiting hundreds of orphans in Africa!  Their needs are soooo desperate!!  The orphans need so many things, but also fun things to play with!!  We will also spend the day serving and loving the women at Fistula Hospital (A Walk To Beautiful) I would love to have a beautiful, colorful purse to give to each women.  These can be new or hand made (thanks Tiffany)

When do I need the donations?

I need all my donations by July 4th so I can pack the 2- 50 pound duffles!!

Donation ideas I’m going to take with me (with your help:)

  • soccer balls (flat with attached pump)
  • underwear- all sizes for girls & boys
  • small toys – so every child can “own” something special
  • fingernail polish, ribbons, bubbles
  • 100 purses for women at Fistula Hospital (Walk to Beautiful) + flip flops, lotions, etc to stuff inside purses
  • school supplies- all kinds for young and older students at Korah Dump Project

I want to ask you to donate to my special project.  The 1st week in July, I will purchase the items and show you exactly how your generosity was spent.  I can pack 2 duffle bags with 50 pounds of donations.  I will purchase the remaining donations in-country!!  Every penny you donate will be used for “orphan care” and I will take photos of the children receiving your gifts of love.

Please pray for me and my crazy team as we prepare for 2 weeks of loving and caring and ministering to orphans!

Click Here for Orphan Donations!!  Ends July 1st!!

100% of your donations will go directly in the hands of an orphan.

My Africa Mission trip Itinerary:


Leave the States for Africa at 8:30 PM Eastern time from Dulles
Day 2-
Arrive in Entebbe at 11:40 PM. Head to the Sophie Hotel for the
Day 3-

Return Ministries Uganda & the Kampala Market for shopping.

Day 4-
Return Ministries Uganda & My Father’s House orphanage.
Head to Jinja for the night.
Day 5-

Canaan’s Children Home Nile Boat ride in late afternoon

Day 6-
Canaan’s Children Home in the morning and afternoon.  Amazima at
night to help prepare for the feeding program on Saturday.
Day 7-
Amazima Feeding Program. Dinner at the King Fisher Lodge.

Day 8-
Church with Pastor Isaac – Lead the children’s Sunday school
classes and select someone to preach a sermon (preferably a man).
Lunch on the road and head to EBB airport to arrive by 3:30 PM for
a 6 PM Departure to Addis. Arrive in Addis at 8 PM and head to the

Day 9-

Fistula Hospital in the AM. Shopping & Rest. (A Walk To Beautiful)

Day 10-
Korah Dump with Project 61
Day 11-

AWA Transitional Home & Kids Care. Dinner out at the Elephant

Walk restaurant. (This is were Zoie lived!!!)
Day 12-

Day 13-

AHope HIV orphanages. Dinner at the traditional Ethiopian

Day 14-

Hope for Entoto Impoverished Children program. Head to ADD

airport to arrive by 7:30 PM for a 10:00 PM departure back to the
Day 15
Arrive HOME

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My NEW Crazy Mission Trip 2011 – 10 days in Ethiopia!

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My NEW Crazy Mission Trip 2011 – 10 days in Ethiopia!

Posted on 11 June 2010 by Kari Gibson

Visiting Orphans 2011 Trips

Apply NOW! (click here)

A special note from Kari:

I requested this 10 day trip to open the door wide for working dads, stay at home moms, and individuals that find it challenging to take a 2 week trip due to work schedules and crazy kids:)  I want to ask you to pray about joining me and my dear friend, Kelly for an exclusive trip to Ethiopia to serve and love orphans!  This trip will fill up fast, so apply today for information at www.visitingorphans.org!!  The best is yet to come!

Dates: February 17, 2011 to February 26, 2011
Leaders: Kari Gibson and Kelly Blackwell- both moms have adopted from Ethiopia!!
Location:  Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Details:  This trip will be spent working with Kid’s Care orphanage, Mother Teresa HIV orphanage, AHope HIV orphanage, children living and working in the Korah city dump and a ministry for street children.   We will be packing and delivering formula for many different orphanages.  We will also spend the day at Fistula Hospital serving the women documented in A Walk To Beautiful.

This trip is ideal for moms & dads who have a passion for orphans, bloggy friends, individuals, families, and for those interested in taking a small group of people from your church.

Cost:  $3000-$3200 (varies depending on flight & individual travel insurance costs)

My crazy bloggy friends, do you want to join me?  Leave me a comment or email me if you have ANY questions about the new trip.

A “Shout Out” for the Visiting Orphans Mission Trip to Ghana Aug. 2-12th.  They need 5 more people to join the team to make this trip happen!!  Thank you Jaime for making this information available to readers!!

Dates: August 2nd to 12th, 2010
Team Leader: David Sweet
Location: Accra, Ghana
Travel with Visiting Orphans as we visit the “spirit children” of the Northern Region of Ghana, home to the Dagomba tribe. The members of this tribe are considered social outcasts by most Ghanaians because many of them are poor and uneducated.  They are farmers who toil day in and day out to eke out a small living by raising crops such as maize and goundnuts (peanuts).

In the mud huts of the Dagomba tribe, death is an unwelcome visitor way too often. There is little or no accessible healthcare and the nearest major health facility is four hours away by bus.  Children whose mothers die in childbirth are many times seen as “evil” and are rejected by the father. Multiple births are seen as a bad omen and those children are usually shunned by their mothers and their villages. These are called “spirit children”.  Most of the orphanages in the Northern Region care for these “spirit children”, but there are also orphans living in remote mud hut villages.  We will visit three of these villages as well.

This tribe is considered an “Unreached People” group, which means that 93% or more have never heard the Gospel.  They are Muslim.  We will be doing hut-to-hut evangelism, sports evangelism, and orphan care.  We will also be helping to paint the local school and deliver school supplies to the children of the Dagomba tribe.

This trip is ideal for individuals, families of older children, and for those interested in taking a small group of people from your local church.

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