Monday, December 7, 2009

Amazing Encounter

Today was a day like no other...

This morning I departed from the rest of the team to join Tom Davis and a small team to visit a very special project in the village of Nazaret (a.k.a. Adama) about 1.5 hours from Addis Ababa. While there we visited the Look Development Association care point - a facility that currently services approximately 100 orphaned and extremely poor children in the area. 

The circumstances of the children in Nazaret is no different than what we've seen in Addis Ababa and the surrounding regions - extreme poverty & HIV/AIDS. I don't want to diminish the need here by summarizing it as simply as I have, but I have limited time to write and I feel like I've covered the need in my previous posts. Simply stated, human beings are suffering and dying slow deaths right in front of our eyes. They have committed no crime but they are paying the dearest price. I could provide more detail, and I will at some point, but for now I'd rather write about the 'hope' side of this equation vs. the death. Justice vs. injustice. FAITH vs. fear. ACTION vs. analysis.

Today I met a woman who genuinely embodies these virtues of HOPE, JUSTICE and FAITH - and I can sincerely say to you that I was humbled to be in her presence. Her name is Yemeserachkeab (good luck on the pronunciation - we'll call her Yeme for short). Yeme was described to me as the Mother Teresa of Ethiopia, a tall claim to make, but after spending two hours with her I can tell you that she is unlike anyone I've ever witnessed. This is a Holy Woman - which is a phrase that I do not use loosely. I can not pretend to tell you her amazing story in a simple blog post, but I will share a few points so you might have a little insight into this inspiring leader. 

Yeme started this care point facility several years ago with nothing but a vision from God and FAITH to act on it. Not because she is a kind person, she claims, but because God shared a vision for her life. Yeme is a beautiful and distinguished Ethiopian woman who radiates a spirit that I can not adequately describe with my limited words. She has big brown eyes that convey sincerity, conviction and love. I was so comforted by her presence and her quiet but powerful way of communicating her story in her native language of Amharic (her brother in-law provided the translation). 

Yeme was fifteen years old when the fascist regime in Ethiopia was persecuting Christians throughout the country. Her father was a leading evangelist in the country and was thrown in prison, along side of his daughter Yeme. While in prison they were tortured and beaten in an attempt to intimidate and break them from sharing the Gospel. She would only share so much of the torture stories with us but one thing she did tell us was that they used to make her and her father 'walk' five kilometers (approximately 3 miles) from one town to the next, in nothing but their under garments.........on their knees. She spent one year and eight months in prison...

One day while she was being tortured (whipped) God spoke to her and showed her that her oppressors will some day give way - it was as at this time that God did a work in her heart and she began to really follow Him in her life. Here compassion for the poor grew in the days following her release from prison. She vividly described visions that she received from God on multiple occasions and the actions she took in spite of her fear. Actions to serve the poor and care for the oppressed, "the least of these". 

As I wrote earlier, there is so much more of this story to tell but I just don't have the time - but I am working With Childrens HopeChest to share the amazing details of this story with you and others. I will tell you that I was as much inspired by the beauty of the children at her carepoint as I was her amazing story.

So here's the bottom line:

1. Andrea and I came to Ethiopia because we were convicted to do 'something' - though we didn't know exactly what that was. 

2. During my first days here we were convicted of what that was - to support poor children and their families (not limited to orphans, though there are plenty of them here). 

3. Today I was convicted of who we will work with - Yemeserachkeab and her team. Beyond Yeme everyone I met with (Board Members, Staff, etc.) were amazing, compassionate and trustworthy. These are the kind of people that we will be honored to work along side in this mission.

4. Now we are convicted to build a team in the States that will partner with us. A group of caring souls who are not willing to just sit on the sidelines while these kids die of hunger and preventable disease. Yes this means you! 

It takes very little effort to support a child and I will explain the details for you at another time, but here are the basics: 35 dollars a month per child, intermittent correspondence, and if you have the heart and are willing - come to Africa with us to get up front and personal with these amazing kids (this is not required - but it will change your life for ever). Check out this amazing organization at

Our next step is to sponsor approximately 100 children at the Nazaret Look Development Association care point. Please join us (email in changing the live of these kids. I promise that you will not regret this decision. Thank you and God Bless!


Anonymous,  December 7, 2009 at 10:23 AM  

Love your heart Pete and I'm thrilled to be a co-laborer with you and your bride.

Megan December 7, 2009 at 10:40 AM  

Team Clarke and I are totally in. Love, love, love this post it is absolutely heartbreaking and beautiful all at the sametime. Life is supposed to be an awesome adventure for God.

Brandi December 7, 2009 at 11:18 AM  

Woohoo!!! So glad to know the site now! Can't WAIT for launch weekend in April!

Love you guys already!

Kari December 7, 2009 at 12:45 PM  

Pete, thank you for helping us be there with you & vision team thru your amazing posts and photos. We continue to pray that God will guide our steps. We love that a simple $35 can make such a huge difference in a child's life.

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