Tuesday, March 1, 2011


Before leaving for Ethiopia, my two most eager helpers helped me sort and stuff letters for about 60 of the kids at TOG who didn't get personal letters from their sponsor families. I received about 40 letters from across the country filled with love and pictures from sponsor families and we wanted to make sure that all the kids whose sponsors weren't able to send a letter would at least know that they were loved by us and of course by their heavenly father.

My aunt who has a new little cutey at TOG donated mentos for the whole crew-which the kids absolutely loved. She and another sponsor family also generously donated cash that we used to buy bananas and bread for all the kids at TOG. We even had enough to purchase bananas for another Hopechest orphanage that we visited on our way back from TOG (more on that in another post).

Each child received mentos, a pen, stickers and scripture.

Our banana and bread stop was a great experience. The government has made several positive changes since the new administration took office last year. One of these is a cap on banana prices. Bananas are to be sold for no more than 5 birr per kilogram. That's about 16 US cents for every 2.2 lbs of bananas-or 8 cents per pound. Like I've said before-it takes so little--such small "sacrifices" on our part to make a big difference for others around the world. That's why I love sponsorship and what Children's Hopechest does.

Now for the most fun part of the whole TOG trip--meeting the kids and staff. The thing I want you to notice most in these pictures is the JOY. This place is filled with JOY and it was awesome to be around. I love seeing how happy Simret is for these kids to receive letters from their sponsor families. She has so much love for them and it is so evident how much she and the other staff members care for them.

Fikre was our trusty tour guide and translator-awesome guy and friend.

Girma is seen here in the background helping this sweet girl fly an airplane lovingly constructed by her sponsor family. I just love this picture-check out his intensity!

Joy and the love-what a gift!!!

Looking at a picture of his sponsor family-his face just lit up!

Sweet siblings


Loving his mentos!

Aren't they great? One after another, these kids came in to receive their letters from "home." It really makes a difference for them to hear words of encouragement and to know that someone is rooting for them and praying for them.

One after one, they spoke these words, "God bless you." "God bless you."

God bless me? I'm already so blessed-blessed to just be around the beautiful hearts of children with a faith stronger than most. Blessed to be able to witness unexplainable joy and contentment in conditions and circumstances that most of us can't even imagine. Blessed to be in the presence of people who've devoted their lives to living out the gospel.

Yes, we were blessed beyond words to spend time with our friends in Ethiopia.

To them I say, "You are the true blessing."


  1. Hi Jessica,
    I think I know that sweet Fikre. He works with CHI also I think.
    Hey, is it possible for us to visit TOG on our next trip to Addis? Is it in Addis? If not, how far? or is there a HopeChest in Addis? Not positive we could make it work, but sure would like to try.
    ~Angie D don5ftw@msn.com

  2. Thank you so much for delivering our letters--our family LOVED seeing the pictures that you took of Dirbe (the little 'girl' flying our airplane). When I met his family in November, I told Karen we'd like to sponsor that 'little girl' and my sister would sponsor his big sister. Then profiles came back and that cute little girl in the green dress, is really a boy! Nice to know we aren't the only crazy americans that assume a dress is gender specific. Thanks for loving on those kids for us!