Friday, August 24, 2012

Trees of Glory Update Part 2

I was thrilled to be able to go back to Trees of Glory a few weeks ago.  Aside from seeing Simret and the kids, I was most excited to see all of the progress that has been made now that the fresh water well is up and running.

That was the first thing Simret wanted to show us as well.

I don't know if everyone knows this or not, but Simret did not always struggle to get water each day.  She lived in the capital city of Addis Ababa up until a few years ago when she moved out to the property at Trees of Glory.  She worked a government job and had a relatively comfortable life with access to clean water and electricity along with all of the conveniences that living in the city afford.

But, as she became more and more aware of the orphan crisis around her, she decided that something had to be done.  She took in several children on her own, and then a few years ago, she petitioned the government for the property at Trees of Glory.

She is living out the gospel every day and I admire her obedience to literally give up everything and follow Jesus.

I just love her heart and her willingness to go even though it meant forgoing her own comfort.

When we were there this time, Simret told us that the name "Trees of Glory" was inspired from God from verses 22 and 23 of Ezekiel 17:  

 This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I myself will take a shoot from the very top of a cedar and plant it; I will break off a tender sprig from its topmost shoots and plant it on a high and lofty mountain.  On the mountain heights of Israel I will plant it; it will produce branches and bear fruit and become a splendid cedar.  Birds of every kind will nest in it; they will find shelter in the shades of its branches.  
Ezekiel 17:22-23

Trees of Glory is indeed becoming a splendid fruit bearing tree that is providing shelter in the shade of its branches.  A beautiful fulfillment of scripture playing out on a daily basis.

Here's what Simret wanted you all to know as she stands in the newly updated kitchen equipped with multiple sinks providing clean fresh water.

New kitchen area with sinks.

The new cooking area of the kitchen-this use to be a storage area.

The new laundry facilities.

Listen to Simret as she explains how all of the kids who live at TOG and attend school there are now able to wash there clothing--a real luxury.

The new well.

The cisterns that store the fresh water that has been pumped from the well.  
Listen to Simret as she tells you how the water is used to not only serve TOG, but also the surrounding community. The clean water well is such a blessing to so many and its effects are far reaching.

Simret tells of the celebratory coffee ceremony that was held at this site.

In addition to the sinks in the kitchen, laundry area, and water storage tanks, there is now a new shower house at TOG filled with stalls where the children enrolled  can bathe themselves. 

All of the plumbing has been repaired and there are working showers and toilet facilities in the orphanage dorms as well.

What's this you ask?  Well I almost asked the same question just before I realized that this WAS the toilet.  See the nice little foot grips for your feet--you just put your feet right on those and then .....well, you can probably imagine the rest from here.  .  Definitely a new experience for me.

just pull the cord on the tank above and wallah--a flushing toilet at TOG

The changes at Trees of Glory over the past 14 months are just amazing. I still have a whole other post to write about the live stock and new chicken coop. Things are taking off, but there are many needs that remain--I have a post for our next project coming up soon as well.

 For now, on behalf of Simret and the TOG children and staff, THANK YOU for helping provide access to clean water for them and the surrounding community. The impact this has made is remarkable.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Trees of Glory Update Part 1

Oh Trees of Glory--how I love thee!

 I can't explain it, but I'm sure those who have been to Trees of Glory, or Ethiopia for that matter, will be able to understand my feeling of being home with good friends--family really--every time I return. I couldn't get out of the car fast enough to greet Simret. Her joyful grin and embrace were just priceless. I was overcome with emotion as we talked about all that has transpired since my last visit 14 months earlier. It is simply amazing and I'm so happy for her and the kids to finally have access to clean water and electricity. It has changed daily life for them dramatically.

 I'm going to save the detailed water update for my next post because I want to share with all of those who so generously gave to the school supply fund first.

Can I just say again how AMAZING the response was and how grateful I am to all of those who gave!

You want to know one of the best parts about it?  Before my trip, I didn't really have time to find out about any specific needs that TOG had, so I just kind of guessed that school supplies would be a good thing as the new school year is just around the corner. Well, when we got to Trees of Glory, Simret raised her hands to the sky in thanks and said, "I have been praying for BOOKS!" Isn't that so cool? Across the world, Simret was petitioning God for books at the same time I was praying for money for books and because of the faithful and generous gifts we received, God answered both of our prayers!

The library in May of 2011.
 The "library" (it consisted of just one partially filled book shelf) that we were able to help start last year is in definite need of expansion. With the new water systems in place, TOG stands ready to at least double their school enrollment. One little book shelf can hardly meet the needs of a few hundred kids. The almost $1300 raised allowed us to more than double the amount of books at TOG and a new bookshelf along with additional books were able to be ordered as well.

Look at all the books we have access to just in our little home school with only 6 kids enrolled.  The contrast is dramatic and you can see why Simret was praying for books!

At the book store with Hellina-the HopeChest staff person that helped
 us pick out each  item on Simret's book wish list.

My friend Devin was able to join me in Ethiopia this time (she's adopting a  baby boy as well).  This is the amazing view as you leave the city on the way out to TOG.

Everything is so green right now because of all the rain.

The views are absolutely amazing.

Amazing I tell you!

This sign is new since my last trip.  I just love it.  It was one of the first things we saw when we  pulled up to the care point.  They are striving for educational excellence and with their hard work and our joint prayers and resources, they will achieve just that!

A box packed with books.  We were also able to purchase
 charts for the walls , workbooks and a shelf is on it's way.

Simret was literally praising God and beaming with joy to receive these items--how many times have we praised the Lord for books??? I don't think I ever had, but I did this day :-)

Simret wanted me to tell you all how very thankful she is for your support. She asked me again to "not forget her" (an absolute impossibility) and to continue to pray that God would use her and the staff at TOG as they continue to care for, educate, disciple and love the children that God has brought to Trees of Glory.

As always, it was my humble honor to be able to be the bearer of your gifts and I sincerely thank you for the privilege.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

It's Official!!


Meet Eli Tesfa

"Eli"-from Elijah-means "the Lord is my God" and his Ethiopian name "Tesfa" means "hope"

I hoped and prayed for a baby boy and we are so thankful for this most precious blessing!  All glory to God.

Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4
Our first meeting-he smiled right at me.  He loves me :-)

He is such a happy boy!

The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy. Psalm 126:3

More to come and a Trees of Glory update.