Tag Archive | "Korah"

The Last Day of an Extraordinary Life

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The Last Day of an Extraordinary Life

Posted on 07 October 2012 by Kari Gibson

I visited Sisay on his last day. I didn’t know that God has something very special planned for Sisay on this day. I had the opportunity to take one of the Visiting Orphans team on a tour of the (leper) Alert Hospital in Korah. I like this gig … being a tour guide for the lepers. The structure has been there over 80 years and the artisans, mainly elders work on their trade of weaving, embroidery, and many other beautiful creations. On the walk back to Great Hope church, I invited the team to meet my friend, Sisay. He looked weak, but clean and peaceful, moved on the other side of the bed, so I knew his neighbor had been there today. We greeted Sisay and he whispered his familiar greeting. The team sang him a song of hope and joy. Wesley Sellers prayed an emotional blessing and we gently laid our hands on his quiet body. Someone on THAT team had a divine appointment to meet Sisay… I don’t know who they were, but I know in my heart God will use the testimony of Sisay’s life, pain, and salvation to impact THAT person.

(Saturday) My dear brother, Murad called me this afternoon and told me that Sisay had died. It was a shock to hear the news I had anticipated the past many weeks. Sisay was gone. We quickly called our driver, Dougu and asked him to take us to Korah to support his family and friends. As soon as I started walking down the familiar muddy road to Sisay’s home… I started to cry. Every day for the past 2 months, I have brought him water, eggs, bread, oil, charcoal, and 1 onion. We made sure his sores were clean with medication and bandaged. It was my duty to bring him new friends and fellowship from mission teams. We sang songs and prayed for healing. My 3 P61 boys, Senti, Baby, and Tuloosa helped me buy the items from a tiny “Suk” near Sisay’s home. They showed great respect for their elder. It broke my heart that this precious man was no longer here, but my heart was also relieved. My friend would no longer suffer in pain, but was celebrating in his new home. Today, Heaven welcomed Sisay. Oh, what a party Sisay’s having with his new feet and new hands and perfect new body in Christ dancing with the angels! He no longer has leprosy… he is finally healed.

The daughter of Sisay came around the corner and started sobbing when she saw us. God had softened my heart toward this woman and helped me look at the situation the past few months without judgement. Culturally, it was unacceptable for her to abandon taking care of her father’s needs, but God allowed us to be there to care for her father. She hugged me and we both cried for her father’s death. She invited us inside and it hurt my heart to no longer see his bed. Sisay had lived in this home for over 50 years. The tiny mud home was filled with benches and visitors, but we honestly had no idea what to do. We sat down next to his friends who were grieving the death of their neighbor. It was very emotional for all of us. I was amazed at how our family just fit in. We were truly a special part of Sisay’s last days and his friends were so thankful for us being there.

Thank you David Parks from Visiting Orphans team for this very special photo. Please read Dovie White’s 2 posts about Sisay.

(Sunday)Today we went to Sisay’s funeral. It started at 9:00am in the morning and the P61 mission team decided to join us. We walked through the rain and mud almost a mile through Korah. We made it to the Orthodox church as they were covering the grave with dirt. At first, I was a little disappointed we didn’t make it there on time, but we joined the procession through each step of the ceremony. The daughter of Sisay carried his photograph and we followed. The family set up a tent next to his home and literally hundreds of people were there to pay their respects. I was so proud to have known Sisay and to feel the love pouring from his community. Roger and I secretly helped the family pay for the funeral, injera, wood, and maze for their guests. The cost … 500 birr ($25 US)

A few weeks ago when I asked Sisay what he needed most, he told me, “I don’t need anything, but just bring me visitors.” I want to thank the team members who visited Sisay this summer, who ministered to a very old and sick man who needed big love and prayer. I’m grateful that God allowed us to hold Sisay’s hand when he asked Jesus to come into his heart. I will always cherish the friendship God gave me with this extraordinary man! Goodbye, dear friend!

You can see Sisay on the Man Up and Go movie coming out October 20th.

As you listen to birds calling to one another, hear also My Love-call to you. I speak to you continually: through sights, sounds, thoughts, impressions, Scripture. There is no limit to the variety of ways I can communicate with you. Your part is to be attentive to My messages, in whatever form they come. When you set out to find Me in a day, you discover that the world is vibrantly alive with My Presence. You can find Me not only in beauty and birdcalls, but also in tragedy and faces filled with grief. I can take the deepest sorrow and weave it into a pattern for GOOD. Search for Me and My messages, as you go through this day. You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with your whole being. (Jesus Calling, Sarah Young)

If you would like to leave a special blessing for Sisay, I will include this in our mission-adventure e-book.

Photos I took from Sisay’s funeral processional:



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Steady My Heart

Posted on 02 October 2012 by Kari Gibson

“Life is hard.” This is what our adopted son, Sentayehu D told us one day after Man Up Bible study. My husband studied the book of Daniel for 3 1/2 months with about 35+ young men living in Korah, a slum community in Ethiopia. Every single day they came and learned together how to live a life of courage, faith, and prayer like Daniel. The Bible tells us Daniel lost his home, family, friends, and community … everything he knew, but the Babylonians never could take away his relationship with God. The guys all understood Daniel’s heartaches and his loss and his battles. Most of them had lost everything, too … they are fatherless and motherless and familyless.

When I look back over my life, the past 45 years … I agree, life is hard. I have experienced great loss, but nothing can compare to losing your family, your dad and mom. The conditions are heartbreaking living in Korah, living on a trash dump. The boys and girls living at the shelter with Great Hope Charity and Project 61 ministry have lived through death, rape, or abuse. Trust has to be earned. Roger and I showed up every day. We had to prove (at first) our loyalty to the community and children, that we loved them unconditionally. I met Sentayehu two years ago on a 2-week mission trip, but it took showing up daily and taking long walks, for him to finally open up and share his history, his story. It was easier for him to write the painful memories in letters, and finally trusted me enough to share the details of his mother’s death. Steady my heart, my broken mommy heart; there are really no words to say to comfort this beautiful boy who had lost everything. Why is life so messy? Why is pain a part of us? Nothing ever goes right. Sometimes it just hurts so much. Roger and I made a commitment to Senti that we. are. family. We gave him the blessing and security that he will never be alone again …. this young man has many people that love him, but knowing he has an Abate (dad) and Enate (mom) and a big brother and two little sisters is healing to the soul.

I learned from the children, the importance of family. I had the great honor of being a mommy to the motherless in Ethiopia. I took on the role of protecting and loving and cuddling and hand-holding and parenting and teaching and feeding and caring for children that desperately need a mom in their life. In Ethiopia  a mom is called Enate (Amharic). I will never forget the first time I heard the kids call me this affectionate name. It melted my heart. I love being a mom to Michael, Hannah, and Zoie, so it was very natural for me to “mother” the children we served in Korah. I wanted so much to give them this precious gift, I wanted them to know what it means to have a family, but most importantly, I wanted to ease, like only a mommy can do, their pain of loss. Teaching them that in life … what’s good and what gets broken happens just the way that You [God] plan. They taught me through their suffering, that God is real and is the Healer of my scars. 

Here’s the truth behind my craziness for missions … for years, I lived with the false belief that leaving my children behind to go on a mission trip was bad. It was irresponsible for me as a mom to spend money on a mission “vacation” to love orphans. My belief system was messed up because I used this as a barricade to hide my real fears of travel, or death, or spending time away from my children. How could I ever sacrifice motherhood for kids (out there) I didn’t even know. On my 41st birthday, God helped me to TEAR down all my fears of missions and clearly see the truth. I celebrated this victory and went on my 1st mission trip to Haiti with my church family. It changed my life and I’m grateful He never gave up on me. He was the only one who really knew my heart’s deepest desires. I think this is why I’m jetting full blast ahead making up for lost time. It’s my passion now to obediently live life wholly for Jesus. To die to self, knowing God will do a greater work through me. (John 12:24)

Now, here’s my challenge back to you … pray bold and act fearlessly to visit the widows and orphans on a short term mission trip. Stop making excuses, using your children or lack of money as a barricade to NOT do what God has CALLED us to do in James 1:27. There are so many wonderful churches and ministries out there that lead mission trips. We are currently planning 4 amazing Simply Love and Man Up mission trips this year. It’s your choice where, when, how, why … pick one and go. I made a decision to live my life full-on, as if it’s my last day, to share the gospel to the unreached people groups and inspire others to GO and love big on the fatherless and motherless and familyless. It’s our responsibility to love like Psalms 89:1 Your love, God, is my song, and I’ll sing it! I’m forever telling everyone how faithful you are. I’ll never quit telling the story of your love— What is your barricade holding you back from loving radically on a mission trip? Be honest and let’s pray and support one another.

I want to hear from you (seriously) It’s been my joy and daily renewal to blog and be your friend through the years. I read every single comment you leave, but we need to re-connect after my month+ bloggy sabbatical. If you take the time to read a post, please let me know how it changes you or inspires you or challenges you. I’ll take the good, bad, and crazy!

Just for you: Have you ever considered sponsoring a child from a third world country? What impact has it made on your family?

{Steady My Heart by Kari Jobe}

Wish it could be easy
Why is life so messy
Why is pain a part of us
There are days I feel like
Nothing ever goes right
Sometimes it just hurts so much

But You’re here
You’re real
I know I can trust You

Even when it hurts
Even when it’s hard
Even when it all just falls apart
I will run to You
Cause I know that You are
Lover of my soul
Healer of my scars
You steady my heart

I’m not gonna worry
I know that You got me
Right inside the palm of your hand
Each and every moment
What’s good and what gets broken
Happens just the way that You plan

And I will run to You
You’re my refuge in Your arms
And I will sing to You
Cause of everything You are

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I’m Taking The Challenge On {Motion of Mercy}

Posted on 01 October 2012 by Kari Gibson

My good friend, challenged me to write 5 stories with each post focusing on one thing God taught me or revealed to me while I was in Ethiopia. He even challenged me to make one of them a video blog. I prayed about his challenge all weekend long (I spent 3 days at a massive women’s conference [DFL] at my home church with over 4,000 crazy gals!) and came to only one conclusion …. ohhh ya, I’m taking you on, Trev!!! But, I’m going to add a special twist, picking 5 song titles that best describe each story.

This week, I’ll tackle a different story each day and hopefully on Friday will have a vlog to share with you, too. If you have any questions for me about our 110 days living in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, will you leave your question in the comments and I’ll answer them in the video. I know you have prayed and supported our family through the craziness of our mission’s adventure. The best is yet to come!

Today, I wanted to share with you the story, Motion of Mercy. Two years ago, God introduced us to a remarkable 16 year old girl named Mercy who lived in Ethiopia, a little village called Korah. You  have heard her story, and have prayed her to the USA for medical treatment. I can’t believe how this beautiful girl has changed me and started the motion of mercy in my life. It’s beyond understanding why God picked our family to take on this medical challenge with basically no understanding of the world of medical visas, neurologists, cardiologists, and EEG’s. We are so grateful for the family and friends who have helped us along the way with their gifts, talents, and passions. We honestly had no idea what we were getting ourselves into, but we give God all the glory. He moved our hearts and called us to action, simply asking our family to do something radical. We knew there would probably be a few challenges like language barriers, facing possible surgeries, or even serious medical conditions. The timing was crazy, we received her medical visa when we were living in Ethiopia, so we needed a host family and a medical appointment champion. God brought us every single thing we needed for Mercy. She has been courageous and has faced every appointment like the Queen of Sheba.

We received the miracle news (today!!) that her last EEG results were normal!!!!!!!! She has a perfect report now and no more medical appointments are scheduled! The doctor’s have assessed her from head to toe and she is a walking miracle! She can enjoy her time now in the USA with peace knowing she is healthy! We even started her on immunizations, so she can live the rest of her life with this protection shield against diseases. This (photo) was her very first shot … ever! Thank YOU for wrapping up Mercy with your love and prayers and support. Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love. (1 Cor. 13:13)

My favorite part of the song describes perfectly how God gloriously ruined my life in every possible way and how grateful I am for His mercy and grace and compassion. I have learned that nothing is impossible with God. God has taught me when I obey Him, the blessings that flow are endless and extravagant. He has changed the way I want to spend the rest of my life, serving Him with adventure (even at 45) and sharing the gospel to the unreached people groups. I want to love big, but serve even bigger…. No matter what the cost.  “I was empty before now I’m drawn to compassion * And to give myself away * Living for the lost * Loving ‘til it hurts * Like You loved me first * That’s the motion of mercy.”

Motion of Mercy (song by Francesca Battistelli)

I was poor I was weak
I was the definition of the spiritually
Bankrupt condition
So in need of help

I was unsatisfied
Hungry and thirsty
When You rushed to my side
So unworthy
Still You gave yourself away…

That’s the motion of mercy
Changing the way and the why we are
That’s the motion of mercy
Moving my heart

Now I’m filled by a love
That calls me to action
I was empty before now I’m drawn to compassion
And to give myself away

Living for the lost
Loving ‘til it hurts
No matter what the cost
Like You loved me first
That’s the motion of mercy

God give me strength to give something for nothing
I wanna be a glimpse of the Kingdom that’s coming soon

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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)


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Destroying the Goliaths in Korah

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Destroying the Goliaths in Korah

Posted on 25 July 2012 by Kari Gibson

1 Samuel 17 is the story of David & Goliath. “Then David took his shepherd’s staff, selected five smooth stones from the brook, and put them in the pocket of his shepherd’s pack, and with his sling in his hand approached Goliath.” When I walk around the village of Korah, I can almost imagine the hideous giant, Goliath standing, mocking loudly in the streets. He brings terror and fear straight to the heart of this people group of lepers and children living in the slums of Korah. The Goliaths of pain, suffering, sickness, and tragedy stand towering over every corner you turn. It’s overwhelming, but I know God’s power will conquer every single Goliath with the courage and salvation of the lost hearts,

Today, we shared the story of David and Goliath with the Ordinary Hero team to the Project 61 students. It was a spontaneous production of a shepard played by Brook and a big, bad Goliath played by Stephen Murray. The spin off was from the Veggie Tale version and I quickly ran outside and grabbed 5 red stones from a pile of dirt. The story lasted only five minuets, but the message was powerful. God gave David mighty strength and power to kill Goliath. After the actors took a humble bow, it was my turn to share the gospel with our translator, Brook aka King David. I wanted to keep things simple, but felt in my heart I needed to be bold. I shared that God promises to help us face our own Goliaths. When life is difficult and painful and heartbreaking God stands by our side and destroys the giants with His mighty power. I asked the children if anyone had a Goliath in their home… every single hand went up in the room. I shared the ONLY way to have this power in our lives is to ask Jesus Christ to come into our hearts. I encouraged them to raise their hands if they had never asked Jesus to be their personal Savior, their Father. When I looked out in the crowd, I saw 4 older boys boldly wave their hands. It was a precious sight … they didn’t even consider putting down their hands until a few team members went to sit down next to them. We prayed outloud together the prayer of salvation. Let me tell you, the children of Korah pray without abandon!! It was loud and joyful and full of crazy love.

The 4 boys came up to give me a big hug and I gave each of them one of the “five stones.” I explained to them that they needed to keep the stone as a reminder TODAY they are sons of God, mighty warriors for the Kingdom, and children of royalty. I promised to give them each an Amharic Bible and asked them to start reading the Word of God every single day … for the rest of their lives.

Every day when I’m serving in Korah, the 4 boys find me and pull out of their pockets their red stone… their reminder that God is alive in their hearts and will never leave their side.

I Am the Light of the world. Men crawl through their lives cursing the darkness, but all the while I am shining brightly. I desire each of My followers to be a LIGHT-BEARER. The Holy Spirit who lives in you can shine from your face, making Me visible to people around you. Ask My Spirit to LIVE through you, as you wend your way through this day. Hold My hand in joyful trust, for I never leave your side. The Light of My Presence is shining upon you. Brighten up the world by reflecting who I Am. (Jesus Calling, Sarah Young)

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I Watched Jesus Cleanse the Lepers (in Korah)

Posted on 09 July 2012 by Kari Gibson

Luke 17: 11-19 MSG “It happened that as [Jesus] made his way toward Jerusalem, he crossed over the border between Samaria and Galilee. As he entered a village, ten men, all lepers, met him. They kept their distance but raised their voices, calling out, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” Taking a good look at them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” They went, and while still on their way, became clean. One of them, when he realized that he was healed, turned around and came back, shouting his gratitude, glorifying God. He kneeled at Jesus’ feet, so grateful. He couldn’t thank him enough—and he was a Samaritan. Jesus said, “Were not ten healed? Where are the nine? Can none be found to come back and give glory to God except this outsider?” Then he said to him, “Get up. On your way. Your faith has healed and saved you.

UPDATE 7/9 – I went to visit Sisay today to make sure he was feeling comfortable and had food … but God gave me an urgent request… a divine appointment. I visited out of obedience to share the gospel to my friend. We walked inside his home and immediately thought he was unconscious. He was barely breathing and didn’t move when I called out his name. We finally brought him out of a deep sleep and asked him what he needed. He asked for eggs and water. I raced back to Great Hope and we bought the items. We also carried a new mattress. We all sat around Sisay and I asked Berhanu to interpret. This was the moment I had been praying for and God urgently pushing me to ask my friend …. “Sisay, are you a Christian?” He whispered to us that he was Orthodox. I asked him if he wanted to ask Jesus Christ to come into his heart and accept the gift of salvation. I held my breath. He slowly said to us – YES he did want to pray and would we pray with him. This precious man that has lived a life as a leper was ready to spend an eternity with his Savior!!!!!!!!!!! We prayed with him the sinner’s prayer and he repeated everything we said out loud and repeatedly thanked God. When he started to cry, I completely lost it. I held his hands and told him that his new family would spend forever with him in heaven and he would be perfect and whole, with a new body!!! We reassured him how much God loved him and would hold him closely to the very end. He shouted out that he was ALIVE!!! We changed his clothes and made his new bed and told him we would visit in the morning. I know in my heart that my dear friend, Sesay will not be on this earth for much longer, but the honor of being with him as he accepted Jesus is a priceless gift I will never forget. God has healed him and cleansed his body miraculously. “Your faith has healed and saved you.

I have often wondered why God brought a special man named Sisay into my life that has leprosy. There are so many stories in the Bible that talk about Jesus healing lepers. Honestly, I had no connection with the verses about lepers and had no idea what it would even look like to have leprosy. Three years ago, I met Sisay. He’s probably around 80 years old and has a lively spirit. He’s lived in his home for over 50 years, but previously was a beggar. I’m assuming he’s had leprosy for over 50 years and was an outcast from his village, community and family. I want to ask him to tell me his story, so I’m hoping for the opportunity this week to learn more about my friend. When I first met Sisay, he had a lively spirit and joy that was contagious with the teams and elders in Korah. Great Hope Ministry feeds 35 elders with leprosy every single day, except the weekends. There is a brand new home in Korah for the leper men. They have the VERY first toilet and shower in Korah!!! I think that is just remarkable … watching these precious men enjoy a comfort I have had my entire life.

Today I met my good friend, Berhanu to help move four of the lepers to the hospital in Korah called Alert. This is a special hospital for lepers and the treatment of complications that come from the disease. I was happy to help Berhanu and recruited a few good men from the Visiting Orphans “super 7” team!! I honestly had no idea how you move lepers to a van, but soon learned the simple process… Two men carry one leper. We greeted the men and shared, with the help of translation, we were going to Alert Hospital. We wanted them to know we loved them and cared for their health. We loaded three men into the van and headed to Sesay’s home. The smell of their wounds hit me instantly. They were the most serious cases and we needed to get them care and medicine today!!

We walked inside to greet Sisay and my heart broke. He was lying in is bed in an awkward position and he looked like he was in pain. I called out, “Hi Sisay, it’s Kiki.” He always gets so happy to hear my voice, he can no longer see, but put his hands on my face and cried out, Kiki! I held his hands while Berhanu evaluated the situation. I just want you to know that (newlywed to Emily Cornish) is only 24 years old and takes care of his community and elders with all his heart and strength. He’s a big guy, but has a gentle soul. Berhanu showed me today what a real man looks like. There was no spotlight, no team, no one to impress … I had the great honor of watching a man simply love. It took four men to pick up Sisay on a hand made gurney and CARRY him to the Alert hospital. His illness was so severe, we weren’t able to drive him. I couldn’t believe my eyes watching them walk through the rain and mud carrying Sisay with dignity and love. It was like watching the Old Testament come to life.

The rest of the day we spent talking to doctors and caregivers about the elders of Korah. We had to put Sisay down on the floor and wait for someone to see us. He called out to me for Wuha (water) and I asked the five nurses standing near for help. They looked at me with arrogance and unwillingness to help. I could feel my heart start pounding. Sisay deserved dignity. I looked around and said in my best English … I want water for my friend NOW!! (I heard later, that Berhanu had a “come to Jesus’ talk with the nurses!!!) I was escorted inside a small room to talk to the assistant on duty. He explained to me kindly that we arrived 30 minutes too late to see the physician today. We would have to go home. For those of you who know me personally, I don’t really hear the word no. I calmly looked at the assistant and said I would not be able to leave today unless my friends were examined. I explained that the reason we were 30 minutes late, was the great difficulty it took us to bring the men here. Again, he kindly told me that they could not help us today. I looked at him and told him it would break my heart if he turned us away. I started to cry. My friends were hanging their heads through the window and surprised to see me so emotional. This was my very first time to cry in Korah.

I think the assistant could see Mama Kiki wasn’t going to budge until he helped my friends!! He assured me that they would track down the head doctor on the grounds and convince him to [help us] examine the four lepers from Korah. They took us to a small private room and we, once again, placed Sisay down on the ground, but this time in the grassy courtyard. Everything I saw was different than anything I would see at my local hospital. The hunted-down doctor warmly greeted us, even though we were late and examined his new four patients. They removed the dressings and it was very difficult (for me) to look at their injuries. Lepers lose the nerves and sensation of feeling in the diseased areas of their body and skin, so they can hurt and injure the infected area without even knowing they are hurt. One of the men’s injuries today was from burns getting too close to the cooking fire.

Today, when you are cooking a meal for your family, please pray for the elders in Korah that they are safe from harm and have a meal for the week.

The only comfort in my heart, was knowing someday when they leave their earthly bodies, they will see the face of Jesus and be whole again … cleansed and perfect in His image. I feel grateful and honored to know the lepers of Korah. They are people of dignity and deserve our service and kindness. Please pray for their salvation. I know some of the men do not know Jesus as their personal savior. I’m praying God will give me the boldness this week to share the gospel and simply love. I know God has the power to heal and cleanse their bodies instantly, but I’m also praying He heals their hearts. Continue Reading

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Lord Have Mercy {update}

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Lord Have Mercy {update}

Posted on 30 June 2012 by Kari Gibson

Update 7/10/12: Mercy received her medical visa!!!!!!!

Update: 4/5/12 We JUST heard that Mercy’s case will go before the board of Surgical Doctors at Black Lion Hospital on FRIDAY for the final decision. Our friend in Addis Ababa, Dr. Ridwan feels very positive that …. this is it!!!! Pray BIG for mercy & a medical visa approval!! We have prayed circles around Mercy for over a year. “If you do pray, all bets are off. You can live with holy anticipation because you never know how or when or where God is going to answer, but I promise you this: He WILL ANSWER!! If you’re willing to dream BIG and pray HARD and think LONG, you might just bring kings to their knees and shut the mouths of lions” -The Circle Maker

Update: 12/23/11  we are starting the campaign OPERATION: MERCY to bring Mercy here for medical treatment as soon as she receives her medical visa approval. Please join us praying for Mercy and that the process of getting her passport (done) and medical visa will be expedited. I will update here on My Crazy Adoption as we move forward. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown Mercy. (Matthew 5:70)

[Post: March 8, 2011] I want today’s post to testify God’s mercy in Ethiopia.  I want every word to honor and respect and give all glory to the great Healer.  The first thing that seared through my heart was a mother’s pain.  What great lengths would I go through to seek help for my daughters?  I love Hannah and Zoie with all my heart and I would give my life for them.  I looked into the eyes of this desperate mother (Mulu) asking me to come to her home and pray for her sick daughter.  I saw faith, fear, and hope in her eyes.  I quickly grabbed a few girls on my team and told them to come with me to pray for this mother’s daughter.  She held my hand and told me her daughter, Mercy was very sick and needed healing.  Mercy was waiting for a miracle. Continue Reading

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The Very Best First Day

Posted on 22 June 2012 by Kari Gibson

Today I watched my 4 year old fall in love with Korah. We had no idea how Zoie would react coming back to the village she was born … would she be nervous, scared, shy, or refuse to get out of the van? It was our first day of loving and serving with our brothers and sisters and multitudes of children running around on their summer break. There is nothing I love more than watching children sprint toward the visitors coming for hugs and playing. Korah is constantly on the move. There are mothers walking by with their babies strapped to their backs and elder men with leprosy walking for lunch and children playing on the dirt road in front of Great Hope’s bright blue gate. Don’t forget the dogs, donkeys, cats, and cows that pass by too.

We wanted to stop and say Salem (Hello) to the 35 women working with Mission Ethiopia in the heart of Korah. They create stunning magazine and clay bead necklaces for order here. They also have hand made rugs, scarves, mats for online orders. I hope everyone of my bloggy friends check out the Mission Ethiopia website and help support these amazing, strong business women.

It was such a hoot getting our first Amharic lesson from the women. They giggled as Roger and I struggled to learn 2 simple words … how are you? “Tenayistillign endemen not?” and I am well. “Dehna negn.” We butchered it so badly they couldn’t stop laughing. The proper way to greet a friend in Ethiopia is to say … Name first, and ask, how are you? But, you say a different phrase for male and female. Whew!! As we helped shine the clay beads rubbing gently tiny pieces of sticks, we worked hard on our words. The BEST part of visiting these women everyday is that our precious friend, Mulu is part of Mission Ethiopia. Can you believe how happy we were to spend time with Mercy’s mother today and chat about her daughter’s miracles!! We are grateful she understands English better than we understand Amharic.

Our next stop was visiting a wonderful daycare ministry founded by our friends Jerry and Shannon – Embracing Hope Ethiopia. They have a beautiful facility that has 66 children from babies to toddlers. Single mothers or widows can join the program that need a safe place for their children to play and cared for during the work day. Is this incredible or what! Just think how many families they are saving with this one of a kind ministry in Korah. Please take the time to view and share your thoughts. This is what living radical and loving big and making a difference really looks like.

What would you do if you HAD to work to live, but didn’t have anyone to watch your children during the day?

After visiting the daycare, we headed to meet for the first time in real life our friend, Emily (Cornish) Tenker and her brand new hubby, Berhanu, one of our dearest friends working with Great Hope Ministry. Their new home is beautiful! Zoie loved holding their new puppy … we had the honor of naming him, too! We all agreed he looked just like a Simba! Emily has faithfully helped Mercy the past year get her medical visa paperwork finalized. We have Mercy’s US Embassy appointment on Monday, June 25th! Please pray for favor and help spread her story on your blogs or facebook. Continue Reading

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Our Adoption Miracle

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Our Adoption Miracle

Posted on 14 November 2011 by Kari Gibson

This month on My Crazy Adoption we are celebrating Adoption Awareness Month. I love posting adoption stories from guest bloggers. If you are interested in sharing your adoption story at any phase of the process, please email me.

Today, I wanted to share our adoption story.

When we adopted Zoie Senait, and held her for the very first time, my heart fell deeply in love at first sight.  I know that this phenomenon doesn’t happen for everyone, but it did for me.  I looked into her deep brown eyes and every love song in existence hit my heart instantaneously!!  I was madly in love!!  I write often in my blog about adoption, but I have never fully shared Zoie’s adoption story.  There are some parts of Zoie’s life story that are for our family exclusively… precious things that should be saved only for our daughter.  They are her treasures to share.  However, there are some things that are meant to be shared of God’s miracles, faithfulness, grace, hope, and love.

I have prayed since returning from Ethiopia in July about sharing on my blog the miracle God gave our family.  He planned it step by step and somehow in the craziness of leading a missions trip with 30 extraordinary people, God allowed me to walk into a miraculous adventure.  Honestly, it has taken me a very long time to process the things I saw and touched and smelled and heard and tasted, but now, the time is right to share with you the story of Zoie’s adoption miracle.

On my very first day back in Ethiopia, July 26, 2010, I hired a driver and guide from my agency to help me find the three keys we had in our adoption paperwork.  I had in my hands, Zoie’s birthmother’s name, the police station where she was relinquished, and the area of employment (no address).  It really felt like a mission!!  I was prepared that day to visit the two most important places in my daughter’s life. I thought a few photos would be amazing and special to keep tucked away in her baby book. I wanted to give Zoie something tangible to touch someday if she wanted information about her life in Ethiopia.

I had no idea that my day would embark on the supernatural, cracking open secrets that were inside Zoie’s paperwork that we did not know existed.  My guide, was like an Ethiopian James Bond with the spirit and energy to match the secret spy.  The ultimate goal was to dig up enough information in the few hours I had- perhaps even finding Zoie’s birthmother.  I dreamed and longed to meet the precious woman who gave birth to our beautiful daughter.  I had no idea what I would actually do if we found her, but I had prayed to God the past two years for an adoption miracle.

The information we have on Zoie’s birthmother is limited, but enough to know that she was strong, courageous, smart, savvy, survivor, gifted, and loving at 17 years old when she relinquished her rights.  We received a letter from birthmother that was bittersweet.  She explained in great detail how much she loved her daughter, but also why she was not able to care for her.  I have NEVER doubted her reasons, but often played the scene over and over in my head about the day she had to say goodbye to her daughter, Senait.  I have actually prayed that God would show her in dreams that Zoie Senait is safe, loved, cared for, beautiful and happy.  I want her heart to be at peace.

Our James Bond guide took me and a few of my team to the first location- a clinic to check out details he had found in the paperwork.  I had noooo idea that there was a clinic on our route, but he pointed at a few words in Amharic that were very good “clues.”  At that moment, I realized it was a real possibility that we might actually find Zoie’s birthmother.

He rushed inside and we sat in the van waiting and praying.  He came back very excited about what he found out.  He again, pointed to parts of the adoption paperwork and said enthusiastically, “I think I know where your daughter was born!”  Whatttt??? You think you know where Zoie was born, I repeated loudly.  Where is that in the paperwork? We raced off in the van to a small clinic that our guide thought was the spot.  We were all giddy with anticipation and the entire time I kept thinking, Ohhhh noooo Hubby should be here seeing all this with me! The secret spy took off and we were left alone at the clinic gates.  My instincts kicked in and we decided to explore inside with our cameras!  This is what I saw:



I was speechless.  I didn’t understand why I was at this clinic… could this really have been where Zoie was born?  My heart was thumping so fast I could hardly breath.  I noticed two women sitting outside the building so I stopped and held out my hand to say hello.  They told me in broken English that this was a very special place.  The new mom shared that this was a clinic that took in very poor people in the community and helped them.  I was so moved by her words that I started to cry.  I thanked her and asked her if this was the building where she had her baby.  She smiled and nodded yes.   I decided to go inside the door marked “Delivery.”  I could barely stumble through the door- but immediately felt this calmness come over me.  I felt peace … everything just made sense in my heart.  The hallway was dimly lit, but I could hear voices.  I walked down a few doors and peeked inside a tiny room.  There was a screen up and obviously someone was having a baby.  I immediately turned to leave, but a woman asked me what I was doing.  Ahhhh the sense of being caught, flooded my face I’m sure.  She motioned for me to come inside and I was embarrassed due to the people inside helping with the delivery.  I bowed slightly and apologized for being there, but they all looked at me with puzzled faces.  I gulped and said as quickly as I could, the truth- “I adopted a beautiful baby girl two years ago from Addis Ababa and I believe she may have been born here at your clinic.”  Well, at that moment, the staff burst with excitement and started asking me many questions.  I was weeping and trying to answer all their questions when the mid-wife hugged me and thanked me for adopting a child from here and she started crying.  I was a mess!!  The hospital staff rushed me into another tiny room and opened a big, thick book of names and dates.  Was I dreaming?  Was this really happening?  They asked me the name of the mother and the date of birth.  My heart was pounding as they poured over the book.  Meanwhile, the rest of the group was trying to find our spy guide- who had completely disappeared for over an hour.


We found Zoie’s birthmother’s name and Zoie’s three dates of immunization- real, living tangible proof that she had been there.  We will never know 100% if she gave birth at this clinic, but the midwives explained to me that typically the place mothers bring their children for immunizations, is the place they delivered the child.  When I touched her name in the book, God gave me overwhelming peace that He had a reason for me being there that day.  I will never be able to thank the incredible clinic staff that day that helped me piece together a mystery of love.  They allowed me to take a photograph of a young mother holding her baby for the immunization… I was weeping (the ugly cry) knowing this was the very chair our birthmother sat in holding Zoie Senait.  This was a real place, with real people, helping others in their time of need.

My team literally had to pick me up and help me back to the van.  I was a wreck.  I could not wrap my brain around the things I had witnessed at the clinic.  Ourguide pointed at one more word in the adoption paperwork- spelled KORE.  I had looked at that word before but had no clue what it meant.  He told me that our birthmother lived in Kore and he would take us to the church to see if anyone recognized her name.  It was almost too much for my heart, but we plunged ahead to see if we could find someone who knew our birthmother.  The van bounced down the narrow streets- worst I have ever seen and finally stopped in front of a beautiful church.  He shared that if a mother was in trouble, this is where she would come for help.  He showed several locals the photo of Zoie and mother’s name, then took off running with several women and men.  There was a real excitement in the air.. they recognized something!!  We were instantly surrounded by locals… I was so nervous, but didn’t really realize that we were left alone.

The guide came back, but had disappointing news… they met two mothers who had given up their children at the same time, but they were not my birthmother. I was so happy to have found this place and had such an overwhelming sense of peace in my heart knowing the things I found out today.  It was time for us to go, but had no clue that more miracles were coming in the morning!!

You might have read blogs from people that have traveled to Addis Ababa and ministered with Project 61 at the Korah Dump.  I read those same blogs too and watched the videos, weeping over the poverty and filth that I saw in the faces of the people living on the dump.  I had no idea that God was going to give me a different view of the dump and a miracle for our daughter, Zoie.  This is a living testimony of God’s mercy and goodness and glory all wrapped up in a place called Korah.

The next morning, my missions team headed to Project 61… as we bounced down the streets in our big bus to the dump, I glanced out the window and thought- this place looks really familiar.  As we jostled farther down the narrow dirt streets, I kept starring outside and my mouth literally dropped open.  I was back in Kore!!  Was my daughter’s Kore- Korah???  I had no clue where we were, but everything looked familiar.  We pulled up to this little building and the sign said Project 61.  I was completely shocked that I was back where my daughter was born and the morning was a blur of activity.  I really have no idea how to express to you what was going on in my heart.  When I walked out on the dump- you can’t see where it ends.  It’s just endless hills of trash.  But, I saw Korah with different eyes- I looked at every face and tried to find Zoie’s face.  I looked at their smiles, hair, teeth, eyes… trying to find my daughter.  I saw her every place I looked.  This was her home, this was her people, this was my daughter’s community.  I fell deeply in love at first sight.  I know that this phenomenon doesn’t happen for everyone, but it did for me.  I looked into the heart of Kore and every love song in existence hit my heart instantaneously!!  I was madly in love!!

Isn’t it amazing that God CAN change our lives with one word.  For me, it was Kore.

I pray that you will look at the faces of Korah with beauty, and dignity, and respect, and love.  God has used our beautiful daughter, Zoie to grow a powerful love in our hearts for this community.  My family will give our time and effort and life to simply love the people of Kore.  I want to personally thank Sumer Yates and her family, Samuel Liben and the Great Hope staff, Alicia Jordan, and P61 for loving Kore with all your hearts.  We are thrilled to hold your hands and serve the beautiful people of Ethiopia! (special note- I can’t wait to share what our family will be doing in 2012 with the men of Korah- stay tuned!)

My Crazy Adoption is GIVING AWAY a mission trip and I want to challenge you to come with me and serve the fatherless. Please continue to spread the giveaway news on your blogs, FB, and Twitter. Together we can make a difference in the life of a child who desperately needs to hear God’s love for them.


Here are a few of my favorite Korah posts from blog friends that I love:

Melanie Strobel – My Child of Korah

Emily- Korah

Big Nanny- Love Stinks.

Sumer Yates- Project 61

Korah video:

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Let’s Help Project 61 Sponsor Korah Kids

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Let’s Help Project 61 Sponsor Korah Kids

Posted on 08 September 2011 by Kari Gibson

It was truly a miracle for me to walk on the trash dump in June and not see any children.  They were MIA and it’s the best news to hear from P61 … only a handful still need sponsorship at this time.  YOU made a difference in the lives of so many children in Korah who lived on the dump, and now go to school. If you are interested in sponsoring a child through the ministry, Project 61 read more …

SPONSOR FAMILIES- if you are currently sponsoring a child with P61 … please leave your testimony in the comments to inspire others to join the P61 family!!  We want to hear your story.

Project 61 currently has two options for sponsorship:

  1. Boarding School: For $750 per year, you can send a child to boarding school, where they will receive a quality Christian education, 3 meals per day, and a dormitory to live. The payment can be broken up into 4 payments or paid all at once. There are 25 students approved for this program that still need sponsors. You can view some of their pictures . You can sign up for boarding school sponsorship online HERE.
  2. Bright Hope Program: For $32 per month, you can sponsor a child within the local village, where they will live at home and receive schooling, after-school tutoring, a daily hot meal, and spiritual discipleship. There are 10 students approved for this program that still need sponsors. You can view some of their pictures . You can sign up for Bright Hope sponsorship online HERE.

With both sponsorships, there are opportunities for correspondence through letters, pictures, and Christmas gifts. Those going on a trip to Ethiopia will also have an opportunity to meet their sponsored child and his or her family, if they have one. The deadline for sponsorship this fall is September 30th. Please email Erin Allen with any questions:

**Read this brand new post from my friend, Wynne that features stunning photos she took on the trash dump at Korah. Read here.

I love these photos that show before and after Project 61 … your sponsorship changes lives!!

Project 61 Ministries
PO Box 126
Thompson Station, TN  37179


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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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A Night For Korah – Come Join Sumer And Friends!

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A Night For Korah – Come Join Sumer And Friends!

Posted on 03 June 2011 by Kari Gibson

Written by Sumer Yates – A Night For Korah

We had our first Korah Night in April of last year, at that time we had 75 of the original 91 kids
sponsored.  A friend who had just returned from a Visiting Orphans Africa trip handed me a
fresh stack of profiles for 71 additional children living in desperate situations and
needing some fresh hope.  I was overwhelmed, but reminded that this ministry is not my own and would not be done in my own power. I moved to Africa in June and every day I was able to see God’s power as He provided the sponsors that we needed for each child.

I am so excited to be able to be part of Korah Night once again.  I am even more excited to tell you who all will be there with me!  Cherrie Cornish, an irreplaceable part of this ministry and the biggest advocate for the people of Korah that I know, will be there along with Baby Juddah. Also Worldu, a 17 year old boy who himself lived at the trash dump for several years will also be joining me on this very special night.

We will also have a special gift for all the sponsors from their children at the boarding school!  I hope you will join me at my home church on June 7th to celebrate all that God has done in the lives of over 300 children supported through Project 61.

For the display of His splendor

(Click to make bigger!)

Feel free to copy and share my post link!!

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Korah Village Video {to share}

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Korah Village Video {to share}

Posted on 10 December 2010 by Kari Gibson

Keith Bolling (FB) did quite a bit of filming and photography work when he was in Ethiopia this past March 2010.  He is returning to Ethiopia in January 2011 to work on a feature length film about adoption and Korah.  The new project is called Both Ends Burning.

If you are interested in traveling to Ethiopia and working with the precious people of Korah- contact Amanda Lawrence with Visiting Orphans Ministry for the next mission trip to simply love in Korah with Project 61.

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Simply Love.

First Love.

H Love.

Z Love.

Daddy Love.