Imagine a Kit Kat bar with only three bars. These bars are closely and tightly together and it takes you breaking them for them to come apart.

A normal street kid scene of theft would have been a bit louder, and silly to watch. You would have seen the street kid running around with a big grin on their face even in the midst of trouble. You would have seen others chasing him or even police around. Street kids would fight back. This kid was frozen with big brown eyes, stunned, like that of a deer in headlights. This situation was just way to serious.

Back to the Kit Kat, the men in their early 40's dressed hip, and high off of some type of drug. They were on the outside and this young 13-year-old boy was in between them. In between them tightly knit, as a kit Kat bar. Each man had a hold of the little boys arms. There was no space in between from top to bottom. They were escorting him somewhere while threatening him with their words with each breath.

We had just gotten finished talking to a guard, an older guy that was outside one of the bars. He had seen Danny with us and just could not believe the person he was looking at. He kept grabbing him and drawing him close with great happiness of the new kid he was seeing.

You may wonder how Danny one of our street boys from the Day Center fits in the picture. Well Danny had left the MYM day center a day before to go see his friends on the streets. Danny has been off the streets now for about a month. We met Danny face to face and welcomed him with open arms. His words over and over again were I am sorry, I am sorry. He even wanted to call Trent and hear his voice. The most amazing thing we noticed about Danny was that he was not high. Typically a kid that we would see on the streets day in and day out, high as a kite was not high. God is changing him friends.

Did God possibly allow Danny to venture into the streets for about 18 hours so that we would be right there with Danny at that very specific moment so that the guard would be mesmerized by the new kid he was looking at just so that we would we see these two guys sandwiching in a 13 year old boy? I believe so. Even more magnificent there were a couple other events that kept us from going to do our night light ministry earlier that evening. Our daughter Amilly was late coming home by about 30 minutes and we didn’t want to leave without her. What about the very fact that we were leaving and I had our old Land Rover in reverse, our daughter had the gate open and I was ready to put the car in drive after backing it up and it wouldn’t go. I had to call my husband outside to work on the car so I would be able to put it in drive so we could go along our evening journey of outreach.

God is so into our minute’s friends. He is so into our seconds of every single day. Had we been a few minutes earlier we would not have seen the Kit Kat bar. Had we been seconds late this little boy would have been in a situation where he would have been raped and had his innocence robbed from him.

Each day you are given a breath and are disturbed or aggravated that things didn’t go perfect to your timing, remember that God may very well be intervening to protect you or someone else. Keep them EYES, WIDE OPEN.

His name is Abi and he is 13 years old. That morning Abi had left his mothers home for school. Started off as a normal day until he came home and his mom asked where his schoolbooks were, 2 of them to be exact. Out of fear he lied to his mom and said that his friend had them. Well she sent him off to his friend’s house to get the books. What really had happened is someone at school had stolen his books but he didn’t want his mom to worry. See they are a family living in poverty here in Addis. In standards of such that you would feel a bit uncomfortable even stepping foot into, what they call home, a room probably about the size of your smallest bathroom, if that. I am speaking of a state of poverty that makes American poverty look like a golden ticket. I mean this family would do anything to just be in the midst of your worst day, with all its problems. How could Abi possibly tell his mom that someone had stolen the books that she would have to pay for to replace that would mean that they wouldn’t eat for days, weeks, taking months to ever catch back up on the rent. So he lied and couldn’t go back now.

Seeing this frightened boy, the Spirit that lives within us told us to approach with boldness. We entered the personal space of this Kit Kat with power. Asking questions about the scene we were, now, involved in. These guys were saying something about they were walking and someone told them that he had stolen some cigarettes or something. We knew this would be a radically different scene if this were true. I went up to the young boy and tried to remove him from one of his predators. He willingly let go. The other guy held his right arm firmly. It wasn’t until this point that I really realized what was about to happen to this boy had we not been attentive and willing to act. I literally had to come in between his grip on this boys arm like a dentist in his patient’s mouth with pliers trying to remove a tooth that is just unwilling to budge.

When he was free I rushed him over to the steps and sat down with him just beginning conversation about what was going on. My team and I have looks that we give where The Spirit just speaks when we are unable to say any words and we act. My daughter Amilly and I sat on the steps with this boy and Danny and engaged to get the truth of the matter while Amy and Lydia pursued generic conversation with the guys and all the now civilian’s that are causing a crowd to see what was going on.

It was time to evacuate the scene. We have to do this quite often because, well, I am a foreigner, in a foreign land, with skin that is colored noticeably different than absolutely everyone around so, I get noticed, quite quickly, evern if I am covered from head to toe, hoody and all with nothing showing but my face. I was observing the guys behaviors and The Spirit confirmed to me that their story was a flat out lie. There was no one around trying to get anything from this lil guy of which he stole, NO ONE. These guys were in the streets looking for a child to take and rape. Abi would have been their victim on that night had we not intervened.

These are the stories that we have heard from time to time from our boys. Rich men coming into the streets or driving by with their cars promising you things to come with them. This case was just a forceful act.

We took Abi safely home to his moms house that night. She was so happy to see her son that she had previously been in the neighborhood and close by streets looking for hours and hours for her son. With tear filled eyes she held him. We described the scenario of what had happened that night to her so that she would understand the magnitude of what situation her son was rescued from. It was beautiful because Danny was able to share his story and his life on the streets for the past 8 years to the newbie. He is still at home with his mom and we are in continued contact with her to check on him.

Lets explore this word fear a bit. FEAR: an unpleasant emotion caused by the threat of danger, pain, or harm. It was Fear that caused Abi to run away from home so that he could protect his mom from the pain of having to pay for something that she didn’t have the money to pay for. It was fear that crippled him into going into an even darker place, the streets. He didn’t even realize where he was when we found him, for he had been wandering the streets for hours. It was fear that took him from a place of truth to a place of deceit.

What is it friends that you are allowing fear to do to you? God has not given us a Spirit of Fear but of POWER, LOVE, & SELF CONTROL. 2 Timothy 1:7 May we as children of the living GOD live our lives fearless.

~carmen post~

Can you hear me???????

We must defend them: iDefend  

You know they say that God uses everything that happens to us for good. Up until this point I still had wondered, questioned and doubted this one particular issue that I had dealt with, going through years of sexual abuse by a woman, my day care worker who did things to me that I know now should only take place between a husband and wife.


One early morning when we were taking a street boy named Mikkious (who later became our son) to the bus station to go see his mom after being on the streets for several years,(only to find out she had died sometinme during the period of six years) we decided to go to one of our normal spots to wake up some street kids and take them to breakfast. It was in this gut wrenching moment that I knew the very reason God had possibly allowed the sin of another to intercede with my being as a 6-8 year old little girl.


We were at the spot where a group of about 12 street kids were huddled together under any type of material they could find to stay warm, for it was rainy season. We went and stood over them and just looked into their precious sleeping faces peering beyond the torn, stained, bug infested cloth. We anxiously awoke them gently, telling them to come and eat breakfast with us and then it happened, along with the 12 little street kids, they immersed like wallowing giants to my little girl again heart, two grown men. In this very blink of my eyes I knew exactly what had taken place, they were preying on these street kids and had abused them in the midst of their already dark, fearful worlds. This is the exact moment that I heard my Lord whisper “I will use your hurt and pain to bring justice to these very street kids, you must be patient and you must WAIT FOR ME”


Here we are a couple years later and I must admit it has been dreadful at times to sit and wait on God to put all the pieces together. Did I mention in that very moment I wanted to just kick their faces into the donkey poo that covered the ground I stood on and maybe just break their jaws while I was at it?


Just two weeks ago as I was on a date with my husband, ok so now-a-days we take them when we can even if it is riding in the car to get stuff for ministry just him and I. Romantic I know but even if you are not the romantic kind you will take what you can get. I told him these words “Babe I just don’t know how much longer I can just sit and do nothing.” See I had come to the point of ministry when I was literally drowning with the stories of our boys being raped by other men. My heart hurt and actually bled from the inside out. These were like pains of that of a mother unable to help her child from S-L-O-W-L-Y……… drowning in the middle of the ocean, so far away yet so close that she could see it all happening. I began to lose sleep over each story, each face, each tear and each name of that which He has brought to us.


The first cycle of street boys would come and they opened up about the abuse but mentioned it as a far away place, you know happening to all the other boys. The next cycle of street boys came in with more trust and began to pour out situations, names, places, people, groups of people and so forth. This group of boys comes in damaged, hurt and fearful of what may happen next. I go home each and every night and look into my eyes and thank God that they are not the forgotten (NO MORE) street kids that are enduring physical sexual abuse of a grown mans penis’s going into their anus. Boys that are my Gavins age, YOUR KIDS AGE, YOUR GRAND-CHILDRENS AGE, this is happening to and I refuse to sit back and let it happen!


God knows our time bombs, you know those minutes when you are about to explode and just react because you can’t freaking wait any longer on the sidelines. You are ready willing and anxious to jump in that game and get a VICTORY for the sake of THESE. Its game time baby and God knew it before I even said the words to my husband.


This week HE reacted so I didn’t have to. A huge bust took place that only God could have ordained in the manor that it did. We at Make Your Mark Ethiopia lead police to the predator’s home. They went in at the wee hours of the morning to the predators house and found around 70 street kids in his home, took him to jail and are holding him currently.


I try so hard to imagine what this scene was like and even with my experience of drugs (before Christ) and darkness I just can’t get even picture the smallest glimpse of the reality of the terror that was embarked by a shimmer of light. I imagine a drug addict, because that is what these kids are in their captivity of huffing glue lingering like crack addicts at the mercy of this man to just get one more huff so that they do not feel the pain any longer of this life they were given, willing to do whatever it takes to get one more hit, huff, high so that they may escape their reality which wants to keep them in bondage forever destroying their very purpose here on earth. For I know, I have been there.


My emotions are a freaking disaster; I can become unplugged from conversations in a split second because my mind is always wandering back. My desire is to see these kids begin the healing process, you know that relief that comes when you realize you are no longer a prisoner to yourself or someone else’s control. The fear begins to creep in whispering “you know you are in a country filled with corruption and I will do everything possible to set him free so that he can finish what he has begun in destroying these kids lives.” Then another whisper interrupts reminding me that “Where the Spirit of the Lord is there should be no fear; only hope and redemption., for it is who I AM.”


I am literally in a war zone between reality of what is taking place and finding a peace in realizing who God is and what He can do THE BROKEN, THE HURT, THE LITTLE BOYS BEING RAPED BY MEN just as HE did me, a little girl being robbed of my innocence from a woman that I am sure, that was only doing to me what was done to her. DAMN IT we must brake these chains and rebuild these kids, rebuild this system that was put in place to protect them and those who are silently sitting in places of despair because they know a dirt little secret and are doing nothing, or they themselves are being victimized.


Lord I know I am supposed to pray for this piece of crap here on earth that he may come to know you but I just can’t right now, not in this moment. I hear your truth, I promise. Please allow me time to process and actually see the healing and power of your blood in each of these boys lives and then I will submit and pray for him that will be captured and unable to hurt YOUR little street kids that you have prepared for greatness. Rise those precious little ones sweet Jesus just as you yourself rose from death to life for the Gospel to be REAL.


I give my life to you JESUS for this purpose no matter where in the world you take me, to be a voice. ……………Can you hear me???????


~carmen post~

founder & executive director

Literally the pile of kids I am referring to









This is his normal: Update on Abdul

1606948_10204461198385067_1561361372457047286_n Have you ever been in the midst of God and he just does something you never even thought of, something immeasurably more than you can ask or imagine. That is where I found myself today with Abdul and his mom.


We all ventured off to meet the Doctors to see if they would be able to do surgery on Abdul’s face. This has been a request of his for the past 4 years. This has been a prayer I have prayed for the past 4 years. This is a prayer that many of you have prayed with us along this AllOut journey.


Waiting for hours and hours, five to be exact, to see the doctors could have been the most precious time that Abdul and his mom experienced. We arrived to the center where patients who had surgery previously awaited to be checked out from the Doctors and prospect patients like us that sat in wonder of what the answer would be.


I watched Abdul react to the others and was so curious to all that he was thinking in that brain of his. His head shook, his mouthed moved as he spoke to himself in disbelief of what he was seeing. Abdul hid his face but this time it wasn’t to hide his face because of fear of what someone thought of him, instead he hid his face to hide his reaction to the many that walked by him looking unlike anything he had seen before. Much more different than his very own disfigured face that he wishes was normal like everyone else’s.


We saw faces that were missing noses, teeth that went on the outside of your face structure instead of behind the closed doors of our lips and mouth. Faces that were missing half of itself, faces that had dropped square structures that went down to the chest, faces, faces that were swollen and elongated looking as if it had been at war with thousands of wasps. Faces that were missing chins, faces that had to be what looked like a third eye that was growing dimensionally, faces that had been restructured so that the they could chew, swallow and speak, faces hidden behind scarves scared to reveal what the world would view as frightening.


Abdul went to meet with the team of different surgeons. We prayed, we shook, and we waited with anticipation of what the answer would be. One thing we knew was that we trusted that God’s will would be done above all else. He came out and the first thing he mentioned was that he didn’t have fat on his belly lifting up his shirt to show us his shallow stomach. We were a bit confused so we waited to speak with the surgeons directly.


Due to each having a specialty we got a few different answers. The fat Abdul was referring to was: that one option would be that they could take fat and put it into his cheeks to raise them. Another’s opinion was that it wouldn’t be permanent and would go back to normal. The cranium surgeon that would be bale to take the bone from either his skull or ribs to put into his face had an emergency surgery two days before the trip and was unable to make it. After hearing all this we talked with Abdul and told him all the above and that the surgery wasn’t going to be able to take place this time and we would come back again in January. Then I connected eyes with the surgeon behind the person I was speaking with. I watched his lips say do not give false hope. That was al I needed to hear. All of the confusion had been nipped in the bud. I went to him and begin to ask for bold answers from him.


By his response I told Abdul that surgery just wasn’t the best option for him period at this time. With shaking hands, great disappointment and tears slowly creeping down his missing cheeks, we all felt his pain within our veins trembling through our bodies. We sat for a while before leaving and processed all that we had saw and what took place inside of us that would change us forever.


It wasn’t Abduls face that god changed it was something much more precious and world changing, his heart. He shared with us about how he looked at all the people that were there with us realizing that they had it worse off than he did. Then he said it……….”I am the normal one. “ All this lil guy has wanted in his whole entire life was to be normal and today he felt that for the very first time in the deepest most inner parts of his soul.


Today we ended our long emotional day all praising God. We went back to the original truth we spoke to Abdul 4 years ago when he gave his heart to Jesus.


Psalms 139 13You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body

and knit me together in my mother’s womb.

14Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!

Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.

15You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion,

as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.

16You saw me before I was born.

Every day of my life was recorded in your book.

Every moment was laid out

before a single day had passed.

17How precious are your thoughts about me,O God.

They cannot be numbered!

18I can’t even count them;

they outnumber the grains of sand!

And when I wake up, you are still with me!


God is into changing hearts more than He is faces. Thank you for all who have prayed for this special moment. It was more than perfect and left an indention in this families heart that empowers them to be courageous and fearless. A mom who abandoned her son at birth because of his deformity was called to the simplest form with her child today and is so proud to say he is beautiful. A son who has always wanted to have a normal face realizing for the first time that THIS IS HIS NORMAL.

Pray for Abdul

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Many of you have been following our journey with this precious guy for the past four years. For those who are new to his story here is a quick overview.  Abdul was born to a Muslim family. Due to his disfigurement he was given away for his grandmother to raise. He grew up thinking his grandmother was his mom. When Abdul was 12 his grandmother died revealing a whole new secret, he had a family and the mother that had nurtured him, loved him and cared for him although the rest of his community looked down upon was really his grandmother. Abdul moved up from the countryside to live with his family. A mother, a father, and 5 siblings. His heart was confused and hurt and now living in the city he would come in contact with many new people that would look, stare, point and avoid. Soon his father would die leaving his mother a widow with 6 children.

Fours years ago is when God crossed our paths with this guy. As soon as I saw him tucking his head in between his shoulders, wishing to vanish at the pure existence of his being, I was drawn to HIM. The Holy Spirit called me to go and love on him. It was rainy season and my boots were muddy so they could use a good cleaning by this bashful shoe shiner. The moment I sat down you could tell he was uncomfortable. I just sat and smiled at his beauty for what seemed a lifetime. Beginning to ask questions I learned a bit about my new friend. I went into his world and began to build a relationship with him.

Abdul began to come to our house to get a basic need met, hunger.  His trips became more often, leading up to this Muslim boy coming to our bible studies. Always always hiding behind his hands I recognized my new friends shame. We began to share Gods truth with him about how he is perfectly and wonderfully made. It was beautiful to watch the glimmers of hope  become real inside the twinkle of his eye. His hands began to slither down to his sides revealing he was comfortable and trusted us to love him just the way he was. He soon would give his life to Jesus. Normally this would be an exciting time for the individual but for Abdul it was very scary because the rest of his family followed Alla.  Never did we expect this timid one to go home and immediately share that he gave his life to Jesus. The result of him sharing became a threat to being a part of his family. His mother threatened to kick him out and said that he could not follow Jesus. Since then it has been a peaceful roller coaster so to speak. His mom later changed her mind saying it was ok to follow Jesus but not to influence the family in that way. Mom has allowed us share the bible to her littles. We assured her we would only focus on the common ground of what was common in the bible and Koran.

Over the years the pressure from the Muslim community watching this young boy walk into a church began to stir up some concerns. So Abdul began to be a pleaser for the sake of his family and theirs and his safety. He began going back to the Mosk, meeting for prayer times only this time something ha changed, his heart. He is secretly doing all these things worshipping his sweet Jesus. He often goes through time of fear, doubt, and the unknown like any baby believer. through all of this God gave us vision early in our time with our friend. That we should pursue seeking a Doctor that could do surgery on his face. SO for the past 4 years we have prayed and sought as much as we could from 8,000 miles away from American territory. We have had a couple friends give suggestions and even did some footwork but it was always a no to the capacity of what we could do being so far away.

So the purpose of this blog is to share some exciting news that we need covered in full prayer: So God does crazy things right?  We have prayed for 4 years for God to open a door for Abdul to get surgery. Do you hear me??? 4 years we have prayed and taught Abdul to pray and keep asking for Jesus to do this for him. I had posted in an fb group here in Addis seeking a private clinic for one of our girls because the care we had been receiving over the past 2 years was pathetic and I was at my wits end. A man that saw my post sent me a message to my inbox on facebook. Due to the fact we were not friends it went to my outbox and I didn't get it for a month. Once I saw it we began to communicate about our love  for Ethiopia and what we each did in this country. Well he is the founder of an organization called Facing Africa http://www.facingafrica.org/ that comes to Ethiopia twice a year to do surgery on kids faces with Noma.

Noma (cancrum oris) is an acute and ravaging gangrenous infection affecting the face. The victims of Noma are mainly children under the age of 6, caught in a vicious circle of extreme poverty and chronic malnutrition.


So I mentioned Abdul to him. I sent hime pictures and he sent them to his cranium surgeon who identified Abduls disease as Treacher Collins Syndrome.

Treacher Collins syndrome (TCS), also known as Treacher Collins–Franceschetti syndrome,[1] or mandibulofacial dysostosis,[2] is a rareautosomal dominant congenital disorder characterized by craniofacial deformities, such as absent cheekbones.[3]:577 Treacher Collins syndrome is found in about 1 in 50,000[4] births. The typical physical features include downward-slanting eyes, micrognathia (a small lower jaw), conductive hearing loss, underdeveloped zygoma, drooping part of the lateral lower eyelids, and malformed or absent ears.

And guess what, at the time the team of surgeons, dr's, and nurses would be arriving in Addis in 2 weeks. Well today we are just 2 days away from our meeting time with them. On Saturday we along with Abdul's mom will take him to meet the surgeons face to face and see if they will be able to do the surgery here in Addis Ababa. It would be a very complex surgery and could be 6-8 hours possibly. If they are able to do the surgery they would take bone from his skull, or his ribs and put them into his face for cheek bones.

From the beginning when we met Abdul we had a vision of him getting surgery, his family recognizing Jesus as the source of making this happen and turning straight to Him giving Him all the praise. We also saw a Muslim community that knew Abdul in his disfigurement and standing in awe of what was now before them. In time we saw Abdul being brave enough to tell all who opened this great door of opportunity.

We do not know what will happen when we go to meet the doctors on Saturday. It could be a yes or it could be a no. But what i do know is that God is the only one who could write a story of this magnitude. If they say yes Abdul will have one day to return and get operated on. He would stay at the facility until he was free from infection and healing was in process. So pray with us friends. We are walking through this open door with so much excitement at what could happen. If its Gods will pray that it happens. If it is not the will of God pray that He closes this door as soon as we step foot in. We are freaking out in so many exciting and nervous ways. We can't wait to share with you what happens.




Quick Fixer or Long Termer

Be the long term solution to a big problem. Its super easy for us to see a shoe with parts of it missing and holes in it and respond, “How can I get this kid a pair of shoes?” That’s a quick fix. We can be in and out with no commitment and pat ourselves on the back and think that we have done something great for the world. That’s great and all and we are glad that you have that instant gratitude in helping an immediate need. However we at Make Your Mark have a different solution to this hole in the shoe.

We at Make Your Mark are not about quick fixes. For when you simply put a band aid on the problem its only a matter of time before it oozes with goo again waiting for another band aid that may or may not be available. When we throw quick solutions like buying another pair of shoes for the kid.. See it will not be long before that street kids shoe gets another hole in it. He steps on some metal that cuts his foot, which begins that gooey, bloody process all over again.

That new pair of shoes was great and looked good for a few days at most with a street kid, however that instant I feel good about myself because I have new shoes with no holes vanishes in the blink of an eye. It takes so much more work to really help a street kid. It takes time, energy, prayer, commitment and money. That’s what we at Make Your Mark do with each kid HE brings to us. We do not do this to feel good and more than feel good moments, we have shedding tears moments at the fight the enemy has going for this very kids soul, not sole.

So as we are grateful for your interest in fixing this problem with a kid who wonders around the street at night with a piece of his shoe missing, but we would much rather have you along for the journey, the long emotional, going to cost you a little more journey. We would love to have you cry with us, laugh with us and pray with us for each and every kid we serve. We challenge you to sacrifice with us and go deep instead of wide.

Please consider going deep with us by sacrificing a monthly donation. Some of you may feel the hurt financially and say I have no idea how I could even spare another penny. Guess what if you choose to give to build these kids DADDY will take care of you in crazy All-OUT ways. Because most of us can give up a few bucks a month so that a street kid can be fed twice a day and so much more, and so a family can keep their kid in their home with them where they belong instead of having no choice but to send them to the streets because they are too much of a burden to provide for. Then there are those of us who wouldn’t miss the dollars given monthly, we wouldn’t even notice I say. So how can we not give? How can we not?

Please consider partnering with Make Your Mark Ethiopia for the sake of the street kids and the families that want to keep their kids with them but may be on the edge of losing them due to their poverty status. Its not because they are not working, I promise, every single one of our Keeping Kids Home families work and do all that they can to earn what you and I would surely die from if in this position. TOGETHER we can do more than we can ever do alone.



Boy Eats With Dogs

Street Kids are real. Nothing could have prepared my heart for what I witnessed last night during our Night Light Ministry. This is where we go in the spiritually dark streets to build relationships with street kids, trusting that God will lead us to His chosen ones for us to build up through Make Your Mark Ethiopia. You would think by now with all that I have seen and experienced I would have seen it all but last night proved that to be incorrect.

As we began our journey we met with the officers to let them know that we, MYM were here. Hoping that they would be less violent to the kids when we are around. Our goal is to partner with them and actually shine a glimpse of hope in their eyes for the street kids so that they can see that they too can be used to love, encourage and help Their street kids, instead of the other routes that they choose.

As we get to one of our regular meeting spots I immediately am surrounded by many street kids, greeting me with hand shakes, hugs, smiles, and some is dazes from huffing the glue. Others giggled as they practiced their English and I practiced my Amharic. I couldn’t help but keep looking to my left. It was dark so I really couldn’t see if what I thought I was seeing really was.

Imagine this with me please. There are about 4 dogs gathered around, I could easily see that the dogs were biting this 2 foot skeletal back bone of some sort of animal possibly a goat or cow. There was very little meat left on this fresh bone. In the middle of these dogs squatted a little boy with a dark hooded jacket covering his head so all you could see was his silhouette. My curiosity wondered what this kid was doing. Then I saw it, with all of his weakened strength he had some type of sharp object in his right hand, probably a rock, while holding the bone with his left sawing away at the bone scavenging for a sliver of meat; a child eating with the dogs, on a bone of another animal in the dark, dirty streets.

I grabbed my daughter Amilly and with disbelief asked her to bring him to me. We talked to him and got his story. This kid that is eating with the dogs has a name, its T. He is tall, very slender with a contagious smile and beautiful lashes stretched to his eyebrows, you know the kind that every woman would love to have.

When we began to talk to T I could not believe that the same boy that was in the streets eating raw meat off a bone with the dogs was able to have such an intelligent conversation with us. The two were no match for sure. I have seen street boys bond with dogs but never quite like this, Normally the boys will let the dogs nibble the bugs out off their scalps for them or be cuddled up close to them as they sleep together at night in the dark, cold streets as if they were best friends, protecting one another but never have I seen a child eating with the dogs, on a gnawed bone.

T grew up with his mother and father and the family was good, his father was a Christian he tells us. But things took a quick turn when his father died. His mom began to worship the evil one. She practices witchcraft in the evilest of ways. She began to beat him and abuse him in many different ways. Others that would be around would abuse this kid in unthinkable ways. So he ran away to the streets a couple times actually. Each time coming to the streets begging saving his money and taking it to his mom in hopes that she would be proud of him, want him or even love him. Each time the abuse grew deeper and deeper. So deep that he would think about going to live with other people. The words he spoke next pierced our beings to a new understanding of our new friend. “If my very own mom will do the things that she has done to me then surely anyone else would too”.

T is scared of the whole human race because of what the people have done to him. Of course the kid was hungry and that is why he was trying to get just a sliver of raw meat off that bone to fill his bare tummy. But here is another observation. He was down there eating dinner with the dogs because he trusts them, they will not hurt him.

When going into the streets you cannot just feed the street kids. If you were to do this you would be met with a chaotic stampede that would leave many wounded. So secretly our son Belay took this hungry child and fed him. Upon his return I spent the next few hours watching this little one. His interaction with these dogs was so pleasant. He played chase with them up and down the streets. He gave them piggyback rides on his back; he held their legs up as if to dance the night away. It was quite disturbing in its magnificence. Please know that this kid was not high like most of the kids that you would expectedly see acting in such a manner.

As I pondered through all of this I came up with two conclusions. One is that this severely abused, mentally, physically, emotionally and sexually almost 13 year old boy found a peace in the streets among the dogs because they simply would not hurt him. He was safer with them than he had been in a very long time with any human species. Seeing how smart this kid was I also noticed the huge difference in the boy that was eating off a bone, that glanced up at me when I was tearfully watching him act as an animal, looking up at me with no shame and continued on with the dogs to be quite different than the boy we were communicating with. Is this a spiritual thing where his demon-worshipping mother cast her demons on him or was it just a mental issue? My spirit inside me tells me its demonic because the two were so drastically different. When our son Belay communicated with him about eating off the bone with the dogs it was almost as if there was no remembrance of this very event.

Even though mentally this is too much for my human mind to comprehend I am glad that God brought us to this boy in just the time to see what He had planned for us to see. We will continue to meet with T and see if there is anything we can do to love him, serve him and build him. Please pray for him with us.


Here is how you can help us help T and many more street kids like him. Partner with us financially at Make Your Mark Ethiopia by becoming a stability partner (monthly donor) or with a one-time gift . Read below to see some of what we do.



  • Make Your Mark House (Drop-in Center): The big idea here is creating an environment where the children build a desire within themselves to want to change. We do this through providing two healthy meals, showers, basic needs, washing their clothes, basic education, play therapy through sports-art -games, counseling, life skill trainings and more. Currently we are serving 15 boys 5 days a week. We keep these numbers small because we believe in going a mile deep instead of mile wide. To bring a street kid to the Day Center about $100.00 a month
  • Placing the Lonely in Families – PLF (family base care for street/orphaned children) : These homes are a place of continuing rehabilitation, which have an Ethiopian husband & wife ,being dad & mom to boys from the street. The boys will have first shown they’re ready by their efforts in the drop-in center. The purpose of the home is prepare the boys for family living, whether that be reintegration with their families or adopted/foster care with an Ethiopian Family or just growing up in this home. The purpose of a dad & mom is to show these boys how God has designed family and to give them an example of what their future family can be like. We currently have one home open with 4 boys and hope to open another in the next couple months. Sept.-Oct. 2014 Our goal is to open 2-3 of these a year. To sponsor a home is around $800.00 a month.
  • Keeping Kids Home –KKH (orphan/street kid prevention): Most children become orphans or are in the streets because the family was so poor. We come beside families living in extremely materially poor conditions to help keep their children home. We initially provide educational needs, tutoring, and family counseling and for the most malnourished some food supplements are provided. The Make Your Mark House is also used on Saturday’s and after school for tutoring and library work. Our long-term goal for each family is to become self-sustainable materially, relationally and spiritually. We are currently serving 85 children with their families. This cost us 50.00 a month per child.

iDefend uDefend weDefend

Image As my team and I prepared to go on our Night Light visits my soul began to creep into the reality of what these visits do to me. They shake me, they break me and the empower me to be a voice for the forgotten ones of the world. I had a friend once say “Carmen you guys are always asking for money.” After nights like the one I experienced last night, the ones before that and the ones to come, I will always ask for money to help them.  After each day I know that some of our boys at the center are ready to be placed in our next step which is a transition home and we have to send them back to the streets because we have no place for them to go because of money I will always ask for them.

Covered as much as I could be besides covering my face I was clothed in disguise. My hooded sweatshirt hiding my locks and my hands in my pockets trying to make that I was a white girl not as obvious to those who would be looking wondering why we have stopped to talk to “those kids.” Every single time I stop and talk to a street kid it attracts attention even to the one who is looking from behind and can’t tell the color of my skin. There is something mysterious about these children to the locals yet something frightening as well that keeps them from being the ones to stop and getting to know their names, their stories and why they call the streets home.

It never fails we always get some drunk guy that just loves to shout and scream drawing more attention to us. Last night there was a group of 6 of us. The one guy just kept on and on. While I was squatting down talking to these two boys my team was radically engaging in conversation with this drunk man trying to occupy his mind while we were learning who these two precious kids were.  As the conversations above me continued to get heated and louder I decided to remove myself from this group and let our son Belay take over in conversation with these boys.

I walked away with our daughter Amilly and it wasn’t long and a little about 7-8 year old boy came running saying “Carmen, Carmen.” I recognized him from the time I spend in the streets getting to know them, feeding them, praying with them and encouraging them. A lot of the kids have wondered where I have been because they have not seen me in a while. Once I got pregnant I was extremely sick and obviously couldn’t hide my hippopotamus belly so it has been a long while since I have been to see my friends, HIS children, THE ONES He loves and has so much purpose for.

It felt good to be back in the streets using my God given gifts to LOVE All-OUT. Please do not confuse the feeling of good as easy or accepted. It wouldn’t take long and the comments would be yelled from the windows “You white girl, why are you here?” “You can’t help these kids you are wasting your time.”  My response to them is always the same I stand and boldly ask “Would you like to help us help them?” The answer is always the same “NO.”

These were just a couple of the comments that I could understand because they were in English. I can’t even imagine the things that were being yelled at me that were in Amharic. The very thing that God has called you to just because you love it does not mean that you will not hurt; it does not mean that it will not be painful and wreck you every single time. However what it does mean is that He will do a great work through you if you are willing. Thank you God for making me, well me for your purpose and plan for the street kids of the world specifically in this moment Addis Ababa Ethiopia, thank you for always being my strength in my very weakness that strengthens me stronger than ever before in moments where I want to just cave in and crumble to pieces.

I heard my daughter Amilly’s voice “Carmen do you see him, it is him, it is Abraham.” I turned around and here was our boy walking up the street I could not believe it. Even with my glasses on I still could not believe this was him. He had grown so much since our last encounter. He stood at least 5”5 now, that same BIG beautiful smile, no shoes, and a very over sized faded green sweatshirt that was stretched badly probably from a fight or a getaway of some sort. His clothes were filthy and you could hardly recognize that they once were a color. He had a long cape like material draped over himself that reminds me so much of the mentally ill street adults that walk around the streets helpless with no clue of anything that is going on around them. We ran towards each other and just held each other for what seemed like minutes in my heart. ( There is so much history here, To read about our journey with Abraham please read previous written blogs) Our boy has chosen to live a life on the streets and ran away from home for the last time almost a year ago. Although it hurts like crazy I love when God specifically crosses our paths. I know He is not yet done with Abraham.  We are praying that when we are able to bring in our next cycle of street boys that he is ready to be one of them.

During the time in this specific area that probably makes hell look a little more warming I had to defend the street kids we were with. Each cop that would walk by would have their billy stick ready to hit and attack the kids. Not knowing who I was I would turn around and step in front of the kids. Pleading to the cops that there was no problem with them and thanking them for not hurting them. This happened at least three times had I not stepped in front the kids would have gotten beaten right there out in front of everyone. This is why we have to defend them.  iDefend.

We continued to move on because you really can’t stay in one place for long or some very powerful forces from the dark side will join in and try to take over. They are really scary situations that by the power and protection of Jesus we seem to make it through safely each time. You feel the Holy Spirit nudge you when it is time to move. This is why we have follow up visits and begin building relationships. Our Night Light visits are simply to be a light in the darkness to his chosen ones. We had a follow up visit today from one of the boys we met last night. His name is Roba please begin to pray for him by name.

As we are walking we see this huge fire in the middle of the roundabout. It wouldn’t be long before we realized why it was there. The next group of street kids we stopped to talk to let us know that the police had just taken all their belongings and burnt them. Not that they had much but a dirty smelly bug infested blanket at night to keep you somewhat warm in the cold rainy night is worth gold to them. And now they had nothing it was gone all because of what?

We had two of our Make Your Mark  street boys with us Abi and Santayo. It was beautiful to see Santayo talking to some of the street kids and explaining what it was that was different in his life. Even though these boys still live in the streets there is something different in them and it is visible to the others. Since coming to the day center one of them has given his life to Jesus and the other is not far from it. Change is taking place and we are in awe of our Father in heaven for who He is and what He is doing.

The absolute hardest part of this night was when it was time to leave. We were now at another location with about 20 boys huddled up together under the bus stop. We had to leave Abi and Santayo behind. When I met these boys 2-2/12 years ago they were just like the ones we had seen throughout the night, all of them. But not tonight, tonight they were different. They do not belong on the streets anymore. After being with us at the day center these boys are ready to be taken off the streets and yet I had to drive away holding back tears as I waved and blew them kisses goodbye.

The reason why they are still on the streets is because we are waiting for funding for our first transition home. This will be a home where the boys who we feel are ready for the next step and truly desire change in their lives will come off the streets and live with an Ethiopian husband and wife. This couple will be mom and dad to these boys. Each boy will have a special need that we will meet uniquely. Some boys will be going to school in the fall, some will learn a trait that they can begin working and save money to get their own place to live, some will be receiving counseling and being prepared to be reunified with their families. Ones that are truly orphans will be prepared to become part of a family learning through our transition home how a family functions then prayerfully will be adopted.

The monthly amount needed for our transition home is $772.00 This will include the rent of the home, food, water , electric, all school fees for kids and uniforms,  medical care for the kids, salary for one of the parents while the other continues to go to their job, any outings, hygiene materials, counseling and training. This is for about 8 boys and house parents. There will also be a one-time set up cost to get the things needed for the home that will be around $3,158.62.

So here I am again you know the one who is always asking for money asking YES again. These boys have needs and deserve and have shown us and our staff that they are ready to come off the streets. Will it be perfect absolutely not but we know it will be good, His plan with these children to love them, teach them who He is to them and build them up for great purposes and use them to change their country and possibly the world if they are willing. As long as my Heavenly Father has me in a position to be an advocate for the orphaned and street kids of the world I will always ask. Please do not get tired of me asking but yet grateful to be a part of what DADDY is doing in and through your sacrificial giving.



Together weDefend



Both Abi & Santayo are being sent to the streets every night until we can open our transition home.

Help us get these boys off the streets. They are ready.













The Adoption Wait.........a look from the other side.

While the international adoption world here in Ethiopia has become unstable, uncertain and its future unclear. There are many families left waiting, worrying, trusting and hoping for God speed that the walls would come down. During these times we tend to lean towards blaming governments, systems, big name organizations and much more; but let me bring another view from the dark side of adoption. Before I begin let me say I highly support international adoption as it is a small part of the solution for the worldwide orphan crisis. I am a forever dad to a beautiful 11 yr. old Ethiopian princess. I live in Ethiopia rehabilitating street children and training local families for domestic adoption. Adoption gives the watching world the clearest real life picture of what Christ did on the cross for us and that is why our enemy attacks it so.

We have an enemy that cannot create, that is God’s job; he can only distort what has already been written into place. Let us remember that he does disguise himself as an angel of light, good and pure at the beginning. And that is just what he’s done to many mothers, fathers and families here in Ethiopia and all over the world. Let me share my experiences over the last couple of days to bring light into the darkness and hopefully more peace and patience into your adoption process.

Make Your Mark Ethiopia works toward rehabilitating street children and then reunifying them with bio-family or into a local Ethiopian family. We also have a preventative action plan which is “Keeping Kids Home”, where we come alongside the poorest of the poor families to provide what is needed for their children to stay home and not be on the streets begging. I’ve sat in some of the most distressed homes during our home visits, in which we evaluate each families need. While they are living in some of the poorest conditions in the world, they highly value family and life.

This week we met 12 of our families to gather information and take photos of the children for office purposes. When it came time for one of the mothers to sign the paper that was  just stating the information she gave was true, she stopped and lifted her pen from the paper. Her next statement pierced my heart and opened my eyes, she said; “I’m not giving my son away, he’s not going to be taken from me!”…………………………………………………. We assured her this wasn’t the case, but this messed me up for the next couple of days.

Then two days later came the time to show our first expression of God’s love towards them by providing them with about half of their monthly food needs. As they walked in they all had this distressed look upon their faces, but I thought it’s just normal for this culture and poverty environment. As we informed them of what all the bags of food and oil were for, they all praised God and gave blessing and thanks to us. It was an encouraging & joyful moment for us until the next response came out. These 6 mothers express their relief as they thought our end goal was to take their children from them to a faraway place. My tears of joy turned quickly to tears of pain, hurt and anger as I realized what millions of moms all over the world have lost. Once again we reassured them that the best place for their children is with them and the best love for the children is their LOVE not some else.

While adoption/orphan care is powerful and biblical, there is an evil lurking to kill and destroy. There are those who intentionally prey on these vulnerable children and families. They feed upon innocents, weakness, the uneducated and the desperate; they convince, bride, lie, cheat and steal to make a dollar off these children, actually millions of dollars.   There is also those who unintentionally feed this monster, as they push and demand for their children to come home or for faster placements because the wait is just killing them. The latter of these two has good intentions and does this with a heart of love, but unknowingly motivates more activity from the first.

I’ll close with this, while I know it’s tremendously hard to wait for your forever child or even waiting months upon months into years just to get a placement. Know that measures are being taken to make sure mothers don’t lose the ones they love. There are so many mothers and families in this world who never wanted their baby’s to leave. Just this morning I laid in the bed holding my new gift from God, a precious 1 month old boy. I thought about how what if he was taken from me and I never saw him again. My heart hurts for the ones who had them slyly slipped out of their arms and into a pool of profit and gain. So, as you wait, please don’t rant, rave and demand from your agency as this only throws fuel on the fire of evil profiteers looking to meet the demand. Turn your waiting into prayer for the moms who unwilling miss pieces of their hearts and pray for effective systems to be put into place that guards against such evil acts. And through it all, just WAIT………………………………………..

DSC_0040A picture speaks 1,000 words..... This was taken right at the beginning, before we informed them of what we were doing.

And then after.....


Wait, Pray and Trust!

A Grateful Father of 3 + 9

I have waited 26 years for this, today I saw her face.

Remembering the very first moment I heard that I was adopted and that the one I thought was my “real mom” wasn’t left me devastated. I was just a little 8 year old that had just had her world turned upside down due to the events that had taken place the week before and now these words would change my life forever. What you are about to read is from our unfinished yet overdue book of our lives.

It was late at night and everyone was asleep.  Mom and my brother were in the bed and I was just down the hall; I had fallen asleep on the couch in the living room.  The intruder crept around quietly knowing all details of our home.  Every night I would usually get up and get some water from the faucet in the kitchen sink.  My mom must have heard a noise because she began to say my name “Carmen is that you”?   Not a sound came from the kitchen.  Again in a very sleepy voice she said “Carmen honey, are you getting water”?   Still nothing she must have just had a feeling that someone was in there.

Having that gut wrenching feeling that moms always have when they know that something is going on that shouldn’t be; she got out of bed and walked quietly and slowly in the kitchen.  It was so quiet that she could actually hear her own heart beating as if it would pop out of her chest at any moment.  What she saw next sent her into a deep desperate fear.

There he stood standing in our kitchen.  My dad had broken into our home through the window in my little brother’s room.  We had changed the locks earlier so we knew he did not have a key.  I had been oblivious to what was going on while my little mind was fast asleep.  Due to the fears that had been imbedded in my heart as a child I was a very light sleeper.  I woke up slightly with my eyes squinting not wanting to look like I was awake.  I watched as my dad carried my mother over his shoulders out of the house.  Was I dreaming, how could this be?? I began shaking as if I were outside naked in the North Pole.

I began to hear my mom’s precious voice pleading with him.  His voice began to get loud and I could hear the tears dripping down my mom’s face through the sadness in her voice.  I got up from the couch and walked into the small little sunroom that you had to walk through to exit our home.  To the right it was lined with beautiful flowers.  At the time there was nothing beautiful about the place I found myself standing.   My heart began racing as I got up enough courage to open the screen door that separated just inches between me, my mom and my dad.

As I carefully cracked the door opened not wanting anyone to know I was there I saw my mom lying on her back in the flower bed.  My dad’s gorilla sized body over top of her with a knife cutting her throat.  My sweet innocent mom must have heard me and looked my way with weak desperate eyes.  Saying in a low courageous voice “Carmen go inside please everything will be okay”.

Not knowing what to do I listened to my mom.  I cautiously allowed the screen door to close.  I ran up the hall as fast as I possibly could grabbing the phone off the wall.  Breathing heavily and crying I called 911.   All I could do was scream out “My dad just killed my mom please help” I remember the operator asking me my address. In that moment time froze.  My mom had been teaching me my address since I could talk now all of the sudden nothing would come out of my mouth. I began to mumble numbers but they just weren’t making since.   I could not remember my address from my zip code.   I was getting them mixed up.  This was a time before your information instantly popped up on a screen.  Panicking I hung up the phone; I had a thought I could call my mom’s best friend down the street.  I could definitely remember her number.  I dialed the number, the phone began to ring and then I heard him coming.

My heart literally stopped beating.  I was frightened, I was trembling and I was just a little girl that had no idea what to do next.  I hung up the phone and ran directly into my mom’s bed and hid under the covers.  Scared that he would see me moving I remember vividly trying not to breath.  He was standing in the same room as I was.  I heard him get something and pick up the phone.  He had called my uncle Kenny and said “I just killed Luray, I am going to take her to a dump yard and then I am going to kill the kids and myself”.

He hung up the phone leaving my uncle no time to convince him otherwise.  As he walked down the hall I woke up my little brother and said “I think daddy just killed mommy be still”.  I remember holding him tightly and just crying trying to be the brave big 8 year old sister.  He was 5 at this time so I am not sure how much of what I was saying that he understood.  His small tiny little voice would often say “can we go get mommy”?  “No not yet just wait a little while longer and we will get her” I promised.

What my dad had done was slit my mom’s throat from her left ear to the middle of her neck.  Throwing her in the back of his blazer then running in the house to make the call would be the last time he would be able to ever hurt my mom again.  While he was in house my mom got out of the back blazer that had big ole red neck tires on it.  With her neck dangling to right she somehow crawled up our very steep driveway and to the front door of our neighbors house.  Knocking on the door desperately for help my mom never gave up.

Most people would have been defeated through this all but not my mom.  I think it is very possible that GOD sent HIS angels and they lifted her to a place of safety until the ambulance and police could get to her.  There is no way physically possible that she could have lifted her body up out of that oversized blazer.  How does a woman with her neck dangling off her body crawl up a steep hill after losing all that blood.  How does she do it in a perfect amount of time that just saves her from death?

While mom was in the hospital fighting for her life; I remember living with my grandparents.  They went ALL-OUT to make sure that life was somewhat normal for my brother and I.  We weren’t able to visit my mom for what seemed eternity.  She wasn’t in good shape and I guess they thought it was better if we did not see her this way.  My paw-paw would bring home notes that mom had written.  She was unable to speak for a while.  I would get so excited to see that notes where she had asked how I was doing and that she loved me.  I love hearing anything about my mom but more than anything in the whole world I just wanted to be with her.

Just when you think things couldn’t get any worse; I was down the street playing with one of my childhood friends when she spoke words to me that would radically change my feelings towards anyone I was suppose to trust; forever.  “Carmen you are adopted, your mom is not your real mother”.  She was just a couple of years older than me and was just repeating a conversation that she must have overheard her mom talking about.

I wanted so badly for this not to be true.  With tears streaming down my face I ran from her swing set up a small hill leading to the road.  With no shoes on I ran down this long gravel road until I reached my Granny’s house.  Out of breath from my mind being overwhelmed at the very words that had just been spoken to me I jumped into her arms and wailed.  Her soft touch comforted me enough that I was able to speak.  “Shannon told me I was adopted and that my mom was not my real mom” I softly spoke looking into her eyes with mine just begging her to say that this was not true.  Instead she said the exact opposite.  “Carmen you are adopted but that doesn’t mean that Luray is not your real mom” she said.

Life in a matter of weeks had rapidly turned into something I was not sure that I liked too much.  I watched my dad slit my mother’s throat, I had been sexually abused and now my mom wasn’t my real mom.  My whole life had become a lie in just a matter of seconds.

Fast forward to today in this very moment where I am right now. Have you ever as a child wanted something so badly then when you get it, its like way different than you expected? I waited 26 years for this and it happened today, I saw her face.

 I had a message in my inbox from a name I did not know. Her name is Molly. As I read her message I began to get chills. She is my cousin. She is the daughter of one of my biological mother’s sisters. Could this really be happening?? I have waited for so long to be connected to my biological family in some tiny way. I have always wondered what my biological mom looked like. Did I look like her were we in any way shape or form similar?

As I messaged my cousin back surprisingly she was still up. We are 8 hours ahead of where she lives. We began to talk and share a little bit of information with each other. Then they started to come, pictures. Oh my gosh she had pictures of the people I had heard about. She had pictures of the ones MY MOM tried to connect me back with to bring comfort and belonging to her teenage adopted daughter’s heart so many years ago. 

Then came the picture I had wondered about my whole life since learning I was adopted. It was her, the one God had chosen to give birth to me but yet I had no connection with her. WOW there she was a picture of this woman who I had always been so curious about. A woman whom had abandoned me and left this emptiness in my heart, a woman that I thought I would recognize but didn’t. I had envisioned seeing her the first time and having these overwhelming streams of attaching emotions but there were none. In this moment when I see her face the emotions that the enemy had lead to ruin my life were really of unimportance. She was human just like me.

My heart aches for her. I know only a few small parts of her story. Parts that are similar to those of my very own. Her mother abandoned her when she was a small child but not by choice. She died in her thirties of breast cancer. Her and her siblings had to go to an orphanage. The lies the enemy whispers to us as children to destroy any hope in our future,  I can’t imagine what she felt like.  I know that she was married to my biological dad and from reading above you know he had issues of his own that he needed to deal with.

Then marrying a man and having his children and starting this whole new life. A life that would have many secrets, one of them being my existence and what about the brother before me that you also abandoned and left behind. I have yet to meet him but I know he exist. The man she created this life with has just recently died of cancer and never knew about her other children.

My heart aches not at the fact that he did not know me but my heart is in deep pain for my biological mother that she has been living a lie for so many years. I know the enemy and I know his schemes and I hurt physically within the depths of my being creating such sadness that I just can't shake. The enemy is a liar and wants to keep us in bondage. I want this woman to be free. I want her to experience a peace in her heart. I want her to know that she is loved and she is forgiven for everything and that Jesus Christ is the only one who can give her this.

I can’t even begin to say that I know what she has been through because I have no idea. I only have a few stories that I have held onto since I was a child. All I can express right now is the sadness I have in my heart for her.

Lord this isn’t the way I thought it would be at all but I know that your plans and experiences are far greater than anything I can put together. Please Lord seek my heart expose to her the truths of your love for her. I may never meet her and I may never speak to her  but I know you will Lord . I know you can. Reach her Father, love her, care for her and fill her being with the very hope you have given me. Teach her who you are as a Father since she grew up knowing no such thing. Teach her your forgiveness and expose her to her very own ability to forgive herself. Teach her to trust you like she has never trusted anyone before. Change her Lord from the inside out. You know her and I don’t; do all that needs to take place so that she may know you sweet Jesus and have eternity in Heaven and peace here on earth.

God I thank you for this connection with my biological family. I look forward to building relationships with my cousins and my aunts Lord and if it’s your will one day meeting her face to face. If not I am grateful that on this very day you have given me a visual of the one you chose to create me.


my heart warped inward feeling as if it is deflating like a flat tire

Heavy heart says a mother of a 10 year old precious Ethiopian little girl. She says this because she is scared, she says this because she is sad, she said this because she is hurt and know she says this with emotions from being 30 weeks pregnant too. I am sharing my heart today not to be little my child or even to put her business out here as some of you might think but I am sharing this situation because its real, its raw and it hurts. To some you may think REALLY?? Is this such a big deal and the answer from my heart is YES it is to me and my family.

Or perhaps maybe just maybe there is another mother who is going through or has gone through this similar experience that can relate with me, encourage me, pray for me and my beautiful child. And then there might be someone out there who is very private that would never share this type of information to another in fear of their child being judged and this just may be an encouragement to them that they are not alone.

I am a home school mom not by my choice at first but of that of our Creator when HE called us to move to Ethiopia. My daughter is in 6th grade this year. As we are currently in the states for a few more weeks before returning home to Addis Ababa Ethiopia I recall a comment I had with my husband. We were discussing how if we lived in the states how could we possibly be sending our lil girl to a middle school here in the states. Scary thought for us that live over seas and are able to protect our kids from many things of this world.

Today was a day where I realized that you can not protect your children from making their own choices no matter where in the world you live, where you decide to send your children to school, or what method of parenting you use to instill the promises of the purpose our Heavenly Father has for them.

As my husband and I parent sometimes we want to control our little beings that HE has given us. We want them to not make the mistakes that we made when were growing up. We want to protect them from all the evil that is out there but guess what…. HE gives us all a choice, a freedom to do what we want to do.

I began to check my child’s work for the week and it hit me that she had been cheating. Oh how my heart dropped. My little Kiki how could she have possibly let this happen? I continued to check her work and it was all done to perfection word from word out of the back of the book that has the answers. I began to get upset when realizing what had taken place in my little girls heart. She had chosen to cheat on her work instead of doing what she knew was the right thing to do. It was her choice.

Know that the past few months we have been struggling with our sweet little Kiki with simple things such as being honest. Its with the little things. She is the type that when she is scared that she gets in trouble that she will lie out of fear. What we have been teaching her is that she gets in more trouble when she lies and that no matter what she thinks the outcome will be she should always be honest.

We have also struggled with simple obedience. Little things like asking her to do something and she says “Yes mam” to only later not do what was asked of her.

Today in my heart I realized that now it is obvious that she has added cheating on her school work to the list of little sins that she has let into her life that are having a negative influence in her day to day life.

Okay so to you may be thinking oh well she is a 10 year old this is what they do, or you may say this is no big deal she will out grow this, but for me this is my little girl and it matters to deep magnitudes.

When we look at this from a spiritual aspect we see the sin that is obvious present. As parents we are frightened at what could be ahead if her heart does not change. Its not a healthy family when you can’t believe the words that are coming out of the other family members mouth.

Oh how my heart is burdened. Could it be the stress of what she is holding in with leaving to go back to Ethiopia in just 2 weeks. Or was it because we were coming to the states to visit that her lies became more intense. Does it have anything to do with the fact that she is adopted, or that her hormones are changing. Yes all of these are very practical reasons but through it all we know that one thing is true. We have 3 sins that are taking place in our daughters life that are present and without making excuses to make them seem okay, more than anything I want my daughters heart to be pure. For her to realize what she is choosing to do because YES she has the choice.

We as adults tend to do this when we have a sin in our life. We will make excuses that make it seem right. We will manipulate situations that allow the sin to well not be looked at as sin but instead be accepted. Or we will go as far as to have people in our lives that will enable us to continue sinning while pushing those that will hold us accountable far, far away. There was a period of my life where this was true and it lead to deep darkness. I want with all my heart to protect my daughter from this.

Yes its lying, cheating and disobedience. Yes its things that kids so call do. Yes there are many reasons why this could be happening BUT one thing this mom knows is that it will lead to many more bad choices that will lead to hurt, deception, separation and loneliness. Its something that we will not sit back and watch steal our sweetness from our little girl yet it is something where we don’t know what to do but pray.

If you are going through something as many may say silly as this do not blame yourself for this but see it as a spiritual attack and fight through this with your little one. Together lets pray for each other and our children so that we may have victory in the tiniest of things so that our children may be free from that crazy thing called sin that we were all born into. Instead of falling into the excuses for our sins lets see them for what they are so that we can defeat them.

To me it’s a BIG deal that has

My beauty and I

. Just thought I would share my struggle today.


Trusting HIM when the answer in no.....

Belay doing what he was created to do......RUN When we pray and ask for things we must be willing to accept HIS answer. Gods answer is always the best because HE is all knowing. HE sees things that we cannot.

Our response to HIS answer shows HIM who we believe HE is in our life. How do you respond? Do you accept HIS answer although it is quite opposite of what you thought would be best and trust HIM with every ounce of your being that this is well....the way it is supposed to be for now?

Or are you the type of person that by your actions you are yelling at HIM without even saying a word. Determined to be in control and make things happen the way you think they should, fretting and stressing during a time where He just wants you to recognize HIM for who HE really is in your life.

When we try to take control of situations we are looking our Creator in the eyes and telling HIM no God I do not trust you, I know way better than you ever could, I will take care of me and I don't need your help.

Whatever the situation in your life right now where HE answered "not yet in my perfect timing or no this is not what is best, I have something even more marvelous I want to reveal to you" Trust HIM and do so with your actions. Then you will feel the deepness of his plan, love and purpose for you.

P.S. We are choosing to trust God with the path HE has chosen for our son Belay. It doesn't line up with what we have been dreaming and praying for but maybe just maybe HE has a more perfect plan for HIM that we simply cannot see. Going to America and going to university was never our plan or our sons. It was an opportunity that came our way when someone asked to see his scores. They took the scores to the University and they flipped out at the times wanting our son to run for their team because his times were game changers. As the door opened we walked through it each step of the way praying and trusting that HIS will above all would be. Our son Belay did everything in his own power that he could to prepare in 3 month what many prepare for in 4 years. The results of all three test that he has taken ( the SAT 2x and the Tofel) simply reveals that our sons comprehension isn't where it needs to be for him to fully understand what is going on in an all English speaking University classroom.

This makes us very sad for our son. When we sat him down and told him the results to his “last chance” there was this awkward silence that no word could bring peace to. He is hurting and we are hurting for him. But the truth is we have covered this situation in prayer and many of you have as well. This is simply HIS answer. Is God capable of doing anything YES he is!! There is always an 11:59. For now this is where we are and we are choosing to find rest and peace in HIS answer. We are not trying to find ways to “make it happen”. If those doors open we will again walk through them. As hard as it is we are trusting: that Maybe just Maybe His plans are best and HE knows way more than we ever will.

For now Belay is still focused on his training and he will go for an interview next week to get a job. We will continue to support his dream of winning gold for Ethiopia in 2016. Continue to pray for our son that he will trust in the one who created HIM to lay the perfect path before him. Pray that God will continue to open doors for our son to be recognized in his God given gift of running. Pray that at just the right time the paths would be crossed of Belay and that one person that is the chosen one to help get Belay on that team to run for his country.

Whatever it is in your life where you feel your dream has been crushed or you feel as if you are at the end. Look at it from a Heavenly perspective. That HE knows what is best and wants that for you. Keep pursuing your dreams, goals and even the mission you know that HE has called you to. Do not stop, do not give up, just be willing to except that at the present time the answer may be no or just wait on my perfect timing.


Belay's run Nov 013


Image Being a mom is one of the hardest jobs I have ever had.  This Mothers’ Day started off so beautifully as Gavin and Kiki made me a “special breakfast” cheese omelet and french toast.  The reason it was so special is because cheese is so expensive here in Addis and our family is so big so we can’t really afford cheese. And guess what I LOVE CHEESE. So this mom was happy. They made me a homemade card and bought me a box of oreos too. I think they bought these so they too could share in on the indulgence. We don t buy cookies of the sort well because they too are expensive. I got a gift card to go get a mani and pedi and I can’t wait to pamper myself.

At church this morning I cried over and over again sitting in my seat looking like a raccoon from my mascara. I kept rubbing in hopes that I had gotten it all off.  It started when they asked all moms to stand up. They began to talk about how special we were as moms and how hard it is to do what we do. I began to weep like a child lost in the mall searching for their very own mom. Why did they have me standing up? Why would they say these nice things about me? It was in fact very hard to stand in front of all these people as they said very truthful things about all of us moms.

I continued to sob and make eye contact with no one because if I didn’t maybe they wouldn’t notice what was taking place in my heart. Standing in the presence of my Father caused me to completely humble myself and my struggles. It’s really hard for me to except when people say nice things to me or about me because I know who I really am. I am but a mess that has been made Holy by my Heavenly Father.  He has chosen me for greatness that I simply can’t do without HIS Spirit to lead and guide me. HE has given me the blessing of being a mom to 9 children oh what was HE thinking.

I now have all of these teenagers that I along with my husband am responsible by the power of Christ to teach and love and encourage them in ways like they have never experienced before so that they may know they are loved by their DADDY and that HE created them with much purpose. Along with those things I must not forget to mention discipline and consequences to our actions.

I find myself on this very Mothers Day being put in two really hard situations that we as parents must stand our ground to teach our BIG kids lessons that will prayerfully radically transform their being into whom HE created them to be. It would be so much easier to give in and just try to be their friend but that will do nothing more but damage them.

Our little Abraham about 2 month ago, after his last time of running away we had a serious conversation with him. Trent and I decided that we would tell him that if he ran away again that he could not come back.  We wanted to do this the time before when he ran but our hearts couldn’t bear to say it. So this time it was a must.

I sent my mom a message and said mom you never gave up on me and always let me back home when I would run, this is what Trent and I are going to tell Abraham for the sake of our family and most importantly his very own sake. “Carmen all I could ever do with you was hope for the best” was her response. Ughhhh that’s a tough one to swallow here we are in this tough situation and all I can do is hope for the best. I believe who God is and what HE is capable of doing in Abraham but Abraham must want it for himself. So this worried me because I remember how long it took for me to get it as a child. Well it took until I was a grown woman and I didn’t want this to be the case for our son that has been alone on the streets for 6 years.

We followed through with what we felt would be best for our whole family and Abraham. Abraham did great for about a month then it happened. He didn’t come home from school and we found out that he had not been going to school for about a week. He would go drop his bag off in his classroom and leave the campus. The streets and the lies it tells had sucked our 11 year old back to darkness. He has an addiction to huffing gas to get high and cover up all his pain, he likes to smoke cigarettes and he went straight to it all.

Well Happy Mothers Day to me I get a call from our son Belay that Abraham was at our gate. We were away celebrating our friend’s baby girl’s birthday. My heart jumped with excitement that on this day I would get to see him after a month.  When we arrived at home we went outside and gave our dirty filthy stinky boy lots of love. It was the usual scene that we found ourselves in he was shoeless with indescribably dirty feet. He had his school uniform on which is what he left the house in last. Holes were present where they weren’t before. His shirt looked as if it had been drug through the mud 10 times.  He had an oversized jacket on that someone had obviously given him to stay warm.

Even in his filth he is still my son the one HE chose me to love and actively teach of his importance in this world even though he struggles with this belief.  We laughed and joked and I sat watching my son squat in his normal position that he has when in the streets curled up as small as he can as he squats to the ground. I asked him “why are you here Abraham?” He wanted to apologize for leaving again and began to say how he knew he didn’t want to be on the streets. Here we were in the same place we had been before. It was all too familiar to us all.

Abraham asked if he could come back home. Oh how my heart sank deep into the pits of the earth. This is it; this is where parenting gets hard. I knew the answer to his question even though it’s the opposite of what I would have liked to tell him. Daddies are sometimes so much stronger at holding their ground so this is where my amazing husband had to come in and reinforce what our last conversation with him was. We told Abraham no, that at this time he couldn’t come home because of what we had all agreed on the last time he ran away. We told him that we would pray and that he too needed to have some intense conversations and dependency on his Creator. Trent packed him up some juice, chips, sandwich and cookies and we said our goodbyes.

WOW how hard this was to us. We know that is was without a doubt the best thing we could do for Abraham at this point. If our word means nothing how could this little one ever trust us with his life. Please join us in prayer for Abraham. Pray that Abraham would listen to what God is whispering to his heart because it is only through HIM that Abraham can be strong enough to say NO to the streets, to say NO to the gas that he huffs and to have the courage to say YES to the new life that awaits him. We believe that Abraham will be back with us in Gods perfect timing but it still doesn’t make it easy.

We had another hard decision to make as parents on this Mothers Day. One of our teenage girls has been making bad choices. She doesn’t abide by curfew and is constantly inconsiderate to our family in this way. We showed GRACE GRACE GRACE over and over again and then it came time to let her experience how her actions had consequences. About a week ago we decided to ground her for a week. She cried, she said that we hated her; she said she couldn’t live with us anymore and it went on and on and on. Eventually she came around and was good. Then it came Sunday when she would be off restriction and she wanted to go meet a friend. We said of course, have fun but be home by 6:30. Well guess what she arrived at 7:00. 7:00 is not 6:30 so again we had to punish her for another week. She took it well this time and took complete ownership of how it was her decision that got her here and not our dislike of her.

She is growing so much in so many ways. It’s hard to take a teenage girl in who has never experienced LOVE on this level and completely expose her. We are trying so hard to teach them things that kids that grow up in families learn at an early age. Pray for our daughter that she would acknowledge what it is that is causing her to make these choices so that she can freely choose to do it differently.

I tell you these stories of the events on my Mothers Day to remind all of us moms of what being a mom is about. It’s about LOVING unconditionally, making the hardest choices of our lives for our kids to set them up to be strong, its about being courageous when we are scared to death, its about trusting HIM when we have all of our what if moments. Being a mother is about so much more than one day a year, it is about being a mother 365 days a year 24 hours a day.

Although times are tough as I am sure you are experiencing just as I, Please be encouraged and know that I have prayed for your ever changing, not knowing what tomorrow will bring journey. YOU ARE AN AMAZING MOM!!!

I witnessed, GREATNESS. An all-out kind of Easter

IMG_0333 It’s Easter morning in Ethiopia and I’m getting the eggs and cheese out to fix us a good breakfast. We have a new guest and I wanted to prepare a nice meal. As I was turning on the stove our son Belay runs into the kitchen and says,” WOW, amazing morning today.” I originally thought, “Belay I am busy trying to cook breakfast, so maybe you had a great run at the track; I’m busy.” Later I repented for these thoughts. He’s standing there with pictures in his hands and a yellow rope in the other. He begins to tell me of how he was on one of his morning runs through the forest, a place that I’ve trained with him many times. As he was running with is friend he saw a man in the distance but ran on by. Then he stopped and thought to himself; “Something isn’t right what is that man doing?” He told his friend we have to go over there and he friend said no lets’ keep going. Belay replied;” No we have to go over there!” They went over and the man had three pictures in his pocket, a note and a rope around his neck. The man told them to leave; they grabbed him down and talked to him until they calmed him down. They shared how Jesus died for him and has purpose for him. Then Belay knew what the next step should be, bring him to his family and see what to do next.

I must confess at first when Belay came in I was like, man I’m busy what is it? As Belay shared the above story my heart melted, especially as I looked at the rope that about took this man’s eternity. He is HIV positive, his wife is too, but his daughter in negative. His wife got really sick and went back to her country side to be with her family, he felt too much shame to go; hopelessness was sinking in. I told Belay bring him into his room and give me time to pray about what God would want to tell him. The Lord gave me this; but he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. Isaiah 53:5-6  In Ethiopia sheep are everywhere and I told him we’re all like that sheep that try  to get away, but Christ has brought us all back by His wounds, etc. etc. Then we went to For God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ, 20 and through him God reconciled everything to himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ’s blood on the cross. Colossians 1: 19-20. I told him God has brought him back to Himself through Jesus on the cross, making peace with him. I said,” You almost hung on a tree today, but it was finished when Jesus hung on a tree for you thousands of years ago.” I took him through Romans showing him how the wages of sin is death. But eternal life is a free gift. He had bought the rope for 4 birr (21 cents) to hang himself with. I laid the rope on the table and three nails in the shapes of a cross. I told him, “You just about paid your way to death for 4 birr (21 cents), but Jesus nailed you shame, guilt and sin to the cross and paid the price for your life. And this gift of life is free. I knew we couldn’t let this man just leave so we invited him to church with us and to our Easter lunch with our small group, friends and large family.

Church was amazing today, great worship, great message, but the greatest part was looking back and looking at this man clapping and smiling at me, praising the LORD! After church we went to eat and had great food. This man, Getachew, fixed the biggest plate ever and finished it all. He agreed to share his story to this large group of what God had done in his life today. Then we all gathered around him and prayed over him. A few of my close Ethiopian friends wanted to talk to him more about Jesus and so about six of them had 30 minute conversation about what it means to follow Jesus. He decided to follow Jesus.

So I was in the kitchen when I saw them take Getachew into a back room to  pray. My friend invited me in and when I came in he was on his knees and two other were praying over him. I thought this is amazing and just got on my knees and began to pray. He was praying the salvation prayer and confessing Jesus as Lord, then things got crazy. He became tense and went to the ground, and then I saw drops of blood hitting the floor. My first thought was of Jesus praying in the garden, but things changed quickly, he went into convulsions on the floor and screamed all kinds of words and sounds, all of us calling on the powerful name of JESUS. Blood was dripping from his nose and things were intense; then all of a sudden his body went straight and stiff as a board and then there was silence. He became peaceful and sat on a stool in his right mind; WOW what a day!

Here’s my take on the day;

1. I love the sensitivity of our son Belay’s heart to act in the Spirit of the Lord. So many of us hear this voice day by day and keep on going.  I’m guilty of this also. If Belay ignored this voice, Getachew would be hanging from a tree today, dead.

2. I LOVE that our son knows we’re a family that lives LOVE out loud and that he came  to us when a need like this arises.

3. As we were praying over him today the evil spirit said that he was going to kill him this morning and he will kill him. Our enemy wants to destroy us; but our Savior has victory!

4. When the blood came out of him while casting out the demon, the demon tried to scare us away, knowing that he is HIV positive. I also believe that the blood was symbolic that Jesus has healed him of his blood disease; I look forward to his next test, by faith.

5. My biggest take, JESUS IS LORD! He has victory over death and He has conquered our enemy. His ways are truly greater than our ways. He rose from the dead, so that we would rise with HIM.

Pray as we look to build Getachew up in the local church before we send him back to his wife and 4 year girl in the countryside. If the demon comes back and the house is empty, big trouble. Pray as we plug him into a church we’re partnered with to fill the house.

Closing: My Easter’s have always been filled with dinner with my family, a big meal that puts me in a coma, we dress extra nice for that special day at church, more people go to church than usual on this day and we sing different songs. Then we hide eggs, eat chocolate and have a fun day. I will never forget this Easter; it’s all about saving us from our mess, saving us all from hanging on the trees of our own lives and bringing us into peace with God and our pass, present and future circumstances. This is it, Jesus rose to life so that we could have life, and Jesus rose to life so that Getachew now has new life. I've written to the best of my human understanding of all this, I can’t explain God, He’s too great to be put into words; but I do know that today.





Abraham has gone back to the streets

DSC_0042You sometimes get into this place where you listen to the words of untruth of the evil one. That is where I have been for the last week or so. Not sure how to feel, not sure how to react and not sure on what to believe.  I have wanted to write but not even sure of what the text would say. Today is the day that I will defeat the enemy and write about my deal for the past week. We have had so much to celebrate that I have held on tight to those celebrations to keep me from collapsing into my sadness. Mikki started his wood working school and is doing incredible. Bereket is back home with his family after being on the streets for 6 years. So here we have 2 less street boys that God simply allowed us to be a part of getting them off the streets after 6 years. Man what an overwhelming amount of JOY that is felt by each of us that have been a part of HIS great plan. Inside deep I am hiding the pain for another.

Everyone seems to walk around as if it is ok or even normal.  I on the other hand struggle at moments to fight back the tears, the hurt and the struggle of what his decision has done to me.  Does he even realize how it has affected me in my inner being? My heart aches, my mind wonders, fears creep in and prayer is constantly flowing off the tip of my tongue for him.

It is now starting to rain here I envision my little man cold, shivering, curled up with his bottle of glue huffing away to create an illusion to what is really going on around him.  I imagine his shoes have been stolen or even sold to get some food or glue to get high.  His t-shirt by now is stretched out due to him trying to fit his whole body inside to keep the crisp air off his frail bones.  Bugs manifesting his long hair he was trying to grow out.

His future is in the hands of HIS FATHER and I am at moments having issues with remembering that my DADDY has him wrapped up even as he shivers. I am having a hard time remembering that HIS DADDY never leaves him.

I am missing my lil man incredibly and am questioning so many things.  God you brought him into my path, into my family and now he is gone for a while. Then the lies creep in about the things I should have done or could have done.  The adversary creeps these little voices in my ears and my mind laughing saying ha ha ha you thought you had him forever now he is gone what will you do to help him now. Then he continues to tell me about the roughness and darkness of the streets that my lil guy is facing each and every day.

Holding on the truths that I know is extremely hard and overwhelming when I do not have that loud obnoxious laugh that makes everyone in the room stare at him awkwardly then burst into laughter.  I miss having his little attitude around that goes into a corner and pouts like a 2 year old toddler when he doesn’t get his way.  I miss watching him, Gavin and Kiki ride their skateboards down the hill or Gavin and Kiki teaching him something new.  I would do anything right now to hear a little argument between him and Gavin as if they had been brothers forever. Although each of these drove me CRAZY at moments now that they are gone I would do anything to have them back.

Abraham has gone back to the streets.  He had an argument with one of our daughters one morning before I even awoke from that night’s sleep.  He didn’t go to school and we haven’t seen him since. My daughter Amilly and I went into the streets searching for him at every place we knew he once called home. He was nowhere. NOWHERE  to be found. None of our other friends on the streets have seen him.  Where is my boy??

Pray for Abraham pray that GOD radically engages death to Abraham; death to himself and what his life represents.  Abraham recognized that he needed Jesus and he accepted Jesus as his Lord and Savior about 2 months ago after he tried to kill himself. The battle is on for his life. The enemy is angry because he has lost this one but is trying steadily to keep him in this tangled web of confusion and distraction. I know that GOD has victory and I know that little Abraham does because he now has a relationship with Jesus but man when the spiritual battle is taking place inside I know how hard it is.

Abraham I love you and your family loves you. When you come home we will once again welcome you with hugs and kisses and TIBS!!!  I miss you every day that you are not here with us. Please stay strong out in this crazy world of darkness that is trying to capture your heart. No matter what the enemy whispers to you know that you are loved and cared for and that your CREATOR has so much purpose for your life.

Love your Mom

Night lights into darkness

Getachew This trip into the depths of darkness we split up into 3 different groups. We prayed and fasted the days leading up to our adventure and we’re ready to go.

My team consisted of Amilly,  Amsalu and myself.  Amilly and I are always on a team when we go anywhere for the Lord HE uses the 2 of us together for greatness; more than one could ever do alone. Normally as we go into the streets we know exactly where HE calls us to go. There isn’t much talking and we just begin to walk each of us praying and wondering where the night would lead.

After passing several prostitutes which is where HE normally stops us first we came upon a man in his 40’s dressed in dirty clothes, a hat having many holes covering his shattered hair sitting on a rock.  His darkened teeth showed as he smiled at us big and welcoming so we engaged in conversation with him.  Soon we realized that this conversation would be a while and our legs were under pressure from holding a squat for this long. We got more comfortable and sat closer to him on the rocks that were near.

His name is Getachew.  He has been on the streets for a while due to not having work.  Oh how often we hear this story. This is why so many here think America is heaven. It is the land of opportunity. If only he could find work over and over again we heard. As one of us talked to him the other 2 would sit quietly listening and pray for Gods wisdom and discernment.

We began to speak to him about Jesus he said he had heard of him before and had thought about going to church but the only problem is now if he went people would judge him and think that he is a thief because of his dirty clothes.

We shared the news about Jesus and how God loves him just the way he is. His eyes glistened as he realized this for the first time. That he doesn’t have to get all dressed up for Christ but Christ came in the flesh to meet him right where he is, in his despair and cares so much for him.  We told our new friend that we would be back tomorrow and confirmed a place to meet him.

Solomon & Getahoun

We got up and as we passed 2 older guys they called us over to them and asked us to share with them what we had just shared with Getachew.  They had been sitting watching us LOVE and wanted a little bit of that love I guess.

These 2 guys were chewing Chat a local drug that many here chew on.  It comes from a local tree and you eat the leaves off it.  It’s a stimulant that is compared to cocaine due to the way it keeps you awake. These 2 guys were sitting one with a jaw full of this chewed up plant the other had finished his and was just handling the stems.

I was able to share my testimony with these 2 men. I let them know that this little white girls face they see peeking out of a hooded sweatshirt could understand their drug use. We talked about the pain we try to cover up when we use drugs. We spoke of how the drugs make us feel stronger than we really are so that we can make it another minute in this horrific day.  I shared with them how the high only last for a little while and when it is gone you are left alone with all the feelings you had before sitting in your lap with nowhere to go.  This was the door to be able to share Jesus and how HE never leaves us alone feeling insecure or unworthy. The hope in Solomons eyes shone as Amilly and Amsalu continued to go deep with the Gospel.

Solomon has been on the streets for 20 years. He was once in the military here in Ethiopia and that is where he met his sidekick Getahoun who has been on the streets for 10 years.  As I looked into the eyes of each of these men it hit me hard in the heart. In a burst that brought tears to my eyes.  This is why we do what we do. So we can lessen the amount of street kids that 10-20 years from now can say they have been on the streets for such a long period.  Visions of each kid we have been a part of getting off the streets played in my mind and heart. THANK YOU GOD for choosing us is all I could whimper. With tears in my eyes I had to look away to get refocused.

Solomon says that he ask God everyday “What is my purpose, Why am I still here?”  He just wants to learn how to read. He has never been to school before. We told him we would love to meet him weekly and teach him how to read.  We shared with him how much Jesus loved him and had a great purpose for him.   We told them when and where we would meet them tomorrow morning.  Getahoun was quick to let us know that he would be sleeping until around 2 so he would not be ready to meet us but that once his friend Solomon hangs out with us some then maybe he would come to.

We continued walking just processing all that these men had shared with us and really still in awe that God had us loving on then men tonight, such a different direction than usual.


We walked by many prostitutes but still not feeling that was where we were supposed to stop that evening.  So we crossed over to the other side of the road where the last stop for the evening would be.  There was a group of street kids together all bundled closely together to keep each other warm.  They were all different ages 12-17.

There was one girl among them. She had only been on the streets for 2 weeks. She didn’t want to go home to her mom that lived just down the streets because to her the streets were still fun and free. I couldn’t help but notice how rough she looked compared to the boy that was sitting beside her that had been on the streets for 6 years. I immediately began to tell him how he looks so good to be on the streets for 6 years compared to the others.  Bereket said “I know God has taken care of me these 6 years. Nothing bad has ever happened to me when I have watched many bad things happen to those around me.”

As we sat on this mat I began to feel many bugs crawling on me. I was completely grossed out and I looked to the wall they are leaning on and watched as the bugs scattered around trying to get to where ever they were going dodging the street kids bodies.

I found myself in a place where I needed God to help me focus on him and not on the  many bugs that were moving like that of an animal which would attack me in seconds and kill me.

Bereket began to share his story with us.  The more he talked the more I began to realize how blessed this kid really was. He had only finished 5th grade was 17 and spoke English so well.  He came from the countryside 6 years previously. He said “I once knew Jesus but then I walked away from him.” The great news we shared was that Jesus has never left him. He comes from a Christian home and God has truly protected his son.

Then things took a dramatic exciting turn.  He mentioned where he was from and Amilly told me that it was where one of our youth would be returning to University in the next week or so.  I looked at Bereket and asked him would he want to go home. He got super excited and smiled so big that you could see every white tooth in his mouth and said “YES I have been wanting to go back to my family for a while now but had no way”

Only God would be able to put us in the path of this 17 year old boy knowing that we would have someone that could travel with him back to his home and be close by to encourage and become a friend to him.

I am now on this Jesus high that just doesn’t budge. We show up the next day in hopes to meet all 3 of the men we had encountered the night before.  Before we could even reach our destination Bereket calls us wanting to know where we were. We meet him and looked for Solomon, he was nowhere to be found then we walked with the sun blazing on our backs burning our skin to find Getachew. We were excited to see he was right where he said he would meet us.

We took them to grab some lunch and just sought out their hearts and what they wanted in life. Bereket is ready to be reunited with his family.   Getachew decides that he wants to follow Jesus Christ.  We take him to a local church nearby that he can engage with and walk to.  It is there that he bows on his knees raises his hands and invites Jesus into his heart.  We will meet with him weekly and follow up on what the church is teaching him.


Bereket left this morning to go and be reunited with his family after being on the streets for 6 years.  It is about 8 hours away from where we are in Addis. PRAY PRAY  PRAY ALL-OUT for him. Pray that his family welcomes him with open arms. Pray that GOD will open many doors for him for his future; education, work etc. Pray that God is preparing his heart to be back with his family and that he will not listen to the lies that the streets will whisper to him. Pray that he will lean on Sheriff our University student which is just a town away. Pray that GOD will use Bereket for greatness and dumbfound all that know him.

Getachew,  Soloman, & Getachoun

Getachew and Solomon have both given their lives to Jesus Christ. They are both still living on the streets but are going to the local church we took them to.  They are having discipleship classes 3 days a week and attend church on Sunday. Pray that God will continue to use HIS church to empower these men from the bondage they have been carrying for 40 something years. Pray that God will use these men to create a movement in this church to go into the community and love on the street people they see every day on their commutes.  Pray that Solomon will learn how to read and that Getachew can find work. Getahoun just this week has begun to go with his friend to church.

Thank you all for going along this journey with us and being prayer warriors.

UPDATE on Mikki: He would never be reunited with his mom.

DSC_0128 Mikki went on the search for his mom in the countryside, his aunt was cold and was not giving him any contact information and even made up a lie that his mom had moved to another country.  After a week and a half of Mikki being alone beside some old friends he would meet along the way he was beginning to lose hope.

We decided our team needed to go and see what was going on, there had to be someone that knew his moms number even though she had moved. Amilly and Brooke went and spent 3 days there. Immediately upon arrival they went and visited the aunt she was not home so they went to a family friend and that is when they were told the truth that Mikki’s mom had died.

Mikki was extremely sad and shed many tears as the realization that his dream would never come true. He would never be reunited with his mom. We didn't want to share this information yet until we talked to the aunt. The next evening the aunt was finally home after several trips prior to her home.  That Is when she confirmed that Mikki’s mom had died. She had been dishonest to protect Mikki in a way but at the same time was not welcoming to him because he had been on the streets for so long and she was scared that Mikki would steal what little she had. We asked if she could take Mikki in but she said she couldn’t because she is poor and has children of her own.

We sought out to see if there was any way that Mikki could survive there. The answer was no. There would be no way that he could find a job. We had to move quickly.  We had been praying for about a week constantly seeking Gods face for what HE would have us do with Mikki. He had to come home with Brooke and Amilly when they came back we couldn’t leave him there alone having no one after finding out that the one he had hoped to be reunited with, the one God had chosen to birth him was now dead.

With having him back in Addis we continued to pray and ask God please open a door please provide for you boy. We juggled school options he could go to night school maybe in September starting 5th grade as a young adult. What would we do with him until then and how could we keep this young boy occupied during the day.

We went and met with a school that offers woodwork training. We have a friend who has a connection there. We met with them and Mikki was accepted into the program.  He started school today and was super excited. He will do this school for one year. Then they will set him up to succeed with work.

We stand in awe of who our FATHER is and how HE has such a great plan and purpose for each one of his chosen ones. You must be willing to say YES to HIM. To get uncomfortable and MAKE YOUR MARK in this world so that others may be saved.

Continue to pray for Mikki as he is on a new journey. Pray that we are able to LOVE Mikki and be Jesus to him so that HE will accept his FATHERS love for him, for that is the most important decision that he can make. Pray that HE will see GODS perfect plan for his life and give HIM all the praise.

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THANK YOU for your support that EMPOWERS us to EMPOWER others!!

I am living it out loud because of you………..He’s home

                              He is home!!!!!



Man this week has been one of the toughest weeks I have had since being back home in Ethiopia for the last 3 months.  Our little one Abraham decided to run back to the streets.  He has done this before and we have went and got him after a day or so.  This time it was a different approach that HE whispered in our ears. HE told us to wait and trust that HE would be doing something in Abraham’s heart that hasn’t taken place before.  This is the first time Abraham has ran to the streets since he invited JESUS into his heart.

I wanted so badly to run and get him and bring him back home but as I cried rivers of tears not understanding why I had to wait; I would hear over and over again this whisper tell me “Carmen you know who I am and you know my promises. Let me have your son that I have chosen for you for just a little time.  He is mine now and I love him more than you do.”

My Father always amazes me with the situations HE uses to grow me and shape me. This would be one of those.  As I missed my son deeply I began to reminisce on who I was when I was his age.  I was just like this little boy that GOD had chosen for our family. I was broken, I was helpless, I was a runaway, I felt abandoned with no purpose.

As much as I love this boy he brings great challenge to me daily because he is so much like who I was at the age of 11.  When I look at Abraham I see myself, so much of myself that it hurts. All the things this little one is doing to me I too did them to my mom.  This brings up hurt and pain in my heart because I see tenfold what I did to my mom. Not only do I see it but I feel it to the deepest levels of my inner being. Not being Abraham’s biological mom allows the enemy to reside where our love stands just as it did with my adopted mom. I would yell at her and scream you are not my “REAL” mom when I would get mad. I would runaway and be gone for weeks or months at a time with her not knowing where I was. What a selfish and hurt kid I was.

I went to Trent who was lying in the bed and asked him what we should do and I shared all the pain of what I was feeling now having a teenage runaway of my own. I just cried and cried. He said “well Carmen what did your mom do for you?”  My heart longing to talk to my mom face to face and ask her “MOM WHAT DO I DO”; I realized I already knew the answer because my mom lived it out daily in my life.  She loved me unconditionally no matter the words I yelled at her with disgust, she believed in me when I never had an ounce of faith in myself and she never gave up on me.

Mom I thank you for loving me just as I was for rescuing from the craziness of my life and adopting me.   I thank you for paving a road of preparation for me as I now am a mother to many that are not biologically mine. You will never know mom the impact that you have made in my life. I hope that every time you think of me and this CRAZY journey that HE has us on that I am living it out loud because of you.

Today as Trent and the kids were about to leave the compound I noticed the car backing down the driveway. I wondered why they were coming back.  They got out of the car and yelled “we saw Abraham.”

I ran across the street with horns honking at me.  I didn’t care I just wanted to hug my little one. I could hear footsteps running behind me they were Kiki’s she was excited to see him too.  Belay had already ran up the other way to catch him. There he was dirty with no shoes and the smell of gas reeking as if he had gotten it spilt all over him.  (this was from him huffing gas forteh past week)

I grabbed him and held him in my arms and whispered BETAM EWDEHALEW (I LOVE YOU VERY MUCH). He whispered “ME TOO.”

The last conversation I had with Abraham was asking him if he knew that I loved him.  His answer was “I don’t know.” I then responded what can I do my son so that you will know this in your heart forever.  He didn’t have much t say.

Today as him, Belay and I sat talking he said that last night he couldn’t sleep and all he could think about was the question I had asked him about knowing that I love him.  He said in his heart in that moment that he knew that I loved him and he missed me and wanted to see my face.  He said he was just sitting waiting outside the gate kind of hiding so that he could see my face once again, then he would go back to the streets again. Grateful that Daddy had another plan.

Our sweet Abraham is home and we welcomed him with open arms just as we read about in the bible when the Prodigal Son. I thank you LORD for choosing us and I thank you that your word is as real today as the day it was written.

Please continue to pray for our sweet Abraham!!



Trent started washing his dirty clothes when he was in the shower. I think your dad loves you Abrham

WE LOVE YOU Abraham and are so HAPPY you are  home!!

#onelessstreetkid update on Mikki

photo (3)  


So Mikki is a street boy that we met about 6 months ago.  Weekly we go to the streets and build relationships with these precious kids.  From the first time I met Mikki he asked if we could help him get back to his region he is from in Ethiopia Dire Dawa.  What I always tell the kids is that I alone can do nothing for them but they must go to God and pray. God knows if there heart is true or if they are just wanting to a free ride of some sort.

Here we are 6 months later and he asks again. He tells me that he has been praying and asking this God to please help him get home to his mom.  He is tired of being on the streets. "When your a kid the streets are fun but now that I am older its time for me to get back in school or get some work so I can help my mom".

We too have been praying that if it is Gods will for us to help Mikki that we would know. Not only Mikki do we pray this for but every street kid that we have relationships with.  One week after hearing his words we were in the process of HELPING MIKKI get off the streets. This is what we do, this is what we were created for. This is what Make Your Mark Ethiopia is all about.

We go and buy a bus ticket for him. You never give a street kid anything that they can go sale so we keep it. Yes this means clothes and shoes to even if they have bare feet on the filthy roads. That is enabling them instead of empowering them.  As hard as it is to not give give give because that is our American mentality.  We thank God for the street smarts HE has given us through many years of bad choices our selves. Now HE uses those choices for HIS glory.

Saturday we went and took Mikki to get a new outfit. He couldn't show up to see his mom after 5 years looking like that.  We then brought him to our home to take a shower.  He spent the night with our 3 sons so that we could leave at 4:45 am to get him to the bus station.

Mikki was very happy and super excited to go find his mom and get off the streets.  We put him on the bus and stood outside the bus for two hours in the cold crisp morning air. For two reason we did this. One was just to be there to celebrate with him and let him know that we all loved him and cared for him. The second reason was because we wanted to make sure he didn't get off that bus.  We all know how the enemy works in our minds when we are trying to the the right thing.

We over the past 6 months have planted the seed about Jesus and how much he cares for Mikki. Pleapray that HE would bring someone to grow and water that seed so that Mikki will know Jesus in his heart.

So I have anxiously been waiting for a phone call from Mikki. I must know has he found his mom???

We received a call this morning.  My heart jumped with excitement to know that he arrived safely.  With the money we gave him 100 birr a little over 5 usd he rented a bed for the evening. YES he didn't sleep on the streets for 2 nights in a row. Woooooooo Hoooooo

The words he said next made my heart sad.  He hasn't found his mom and has heard that she had moved away to Djibouti. Djibouti connects Somalia and Eritrea. It a port where things are shipped in and out from. There is no way at the moment that he can even get close to the border much less cross over the border.

He found his aunt and she said that his mom was sad and cried a ton while waiting many years for Mikki to return to her and he didn't so she moved away, for work as house help.  His aunt is angry with him and is not sharing any information that she has on his mom with him. When we spoke he said she wouldn't even give him injera to eat.

He found a friend from a long time ago and was with him yesterday. His friend lives with his family so Mikki can not stay with them. He was going to find another group of friends to spend some time with when we last talked.

PRAY THAT THERE IS SOMEONE THAT KNOWS MIKKI'S MOM'S NUMBER.  Imagine being a mom and not hearing from your son for 5 years then all of a sudden you hear his voice on the other end of the phone. Or being Mikki and craving to be back with his mom for many years but had no way and finally gets to hear the voice he has sketched out in his mind from the last time he heard her voice. That is how AMAZING GOD is expecting IMMEASURABLY MORE!!

A little background on Mikki: in 2005 there was a flood in Dire Dawa before this flood him and his family were doing well. His father owned his own business and could take care of him and his mom. The flood came and ruined their home and business. 150 people died during this flood. It happened at night while they were sleeping. After the flood they went and lived in a community shelter where many many families all lived together. Shortly afterwards his father died, leaving Mikki and his mom with nothing.

Mikki came to Addis Ababa Ethiopia for some hope. That is what many from the country side do. The city is like the land of opportunity for them where they can get work and take care of themselves.  The problem is that most come here thinking that then find their selves living on the streets, digging through trash dumps for food, stealing  and begging for anything they can get.

That is where Mikki has been for the past 5 years. In a place of darkness that would suck him in squeezing the life out of him. Mikki is around 19 years old.  His ebony round face is the only thing that looks of his age. He is skinny and malnourished and has stopped growing due to the lack of nutrition.  When I picked up the pants we had bought for him I told my daughter Amilly there is no way that he fits in these tiny pants. Then I saw them on him. That is when I really realized how malnourished he is really is. He is the size of my 10 year old daughter.

PLEASE continue to pray for Mikki and his journey ahead of him. Pray for him to know JESUS and pray that he gets his mothers phone number and that they are connected very soon. Pray that GOD will lead him in the exact direction that he needs to go. Pray that through the time of waiting that GOD surrounds Mikki with a group of people that will love him, feed him and care for him. Pray that he can find some work soon so he can take care of himself until he is reunited with his mom.


after being taken off the streets

Amilly & Mikki

On the bus ready to find his mama


He could have taken his life BUT chose it instead.

DSC_0106 When you accept to follow HIM where HE leads you most of the time it is into places you would have never chosen for yourself. And once you get there you would never go back to life the way it was before. Although it seems so glamorous and glitzy because of the life HE has chosen us to live; we agree there is no other time that we feel as intimate with our FATHER than when we say YES to HIS plan. Well today it was hard, we had a scary day and that’s just all I can say.

Our latest addition is Abraham. He has been the most challenging yet. He comes straight from being on the streets for 6 years since he was around 5 years old. Today was a good day we went and passed out some pillowcase dresses that some ladies had made to a few girls in the ministry. We laughed and were having a great time UNTIL……..

It can happen at any given moment in this kid’s life. He doesn't like to be told no. Sounds like someone else I know. When I was his age I ran away from my home for the first time and continued this pattern until I was a young adult. Anytime my mom said something I didn't like I would run and do what I wanted to. Freedom was always calling my name just as the streets call my new son.

It was a silly comment one of our girls made to him about him needing to wash his clothes because she had already washed them before. We are trying to teach him responsibility around here. I guess her words were harsh and it turned into an hour of chaos.

In our hearts we know that he really doesn't want to be on the streets he just doesn't know any different or how to work through things without leaving. He went and layered his clothes to go on the streets so he could sale them of course when he needed some food or to get high from huffing. We immediately began to undress him and tell him he wasn't going to the streets with all the clothes on. If he wanted to go he could go with nothing.

After about 30 minutes of trying to reason with him we asked him to go sit up in the tree house and think about it all and that we were not going to let him leave. At this point he just had on some shorts. We threw him a shirt up because we knew his little 50 pound self was getting cold in the shade.

He began to react like that of some type of animal up in the tree house as we all watched from below. He ripped his shirt I was just thinking he was doing it out of anger but his next move would show otherwise. He ripped a long skinny piece of his shirt off and began to say that he wanted to die. He climbed up in the tree and tied the piece of material around the tree then his neck. Frantically I grabbed a piece of the remaining limbs that the tree house had been made of trying to break the string.

Trent knowing that it was just a skinny piece of t-shirt material wasn't freaking out like the rest. I can remember him saying it’s just a piece of t-shirt it will rip and he will fall as soon as he tries it. In my mind and heart I couldn't watch no more. I screamed and screamed for Trent to get up there and get him. This little boy that God has brought into our family is so much like myself when I was his age. Wanting to die, feeling as if I didn't matter. Just as the enemy lied to me he was lying to my newest son. We had to stop this.

As I continued to try to get this cloth that was around my sons neck and the tree broken with a long pole like limb Trent quickly climbs up into the tree house and grabs Abraham by the waste. He  then unties the cloth from around the tree. With the remainder of the cloth tied around his neck Trent grabs him down and unties it from around his neck.

Belay and I climbed up in the tree house joining Trent trying to calm this precious boy down. We sat him down, he was scared to death and bawling. We sat there holding him and speaking bold truth into his life. We told him that what he was doing came from the evil one. The enemy wants Abraham dead, the enemy wants Abraham back on the streets. We told him over and over again that we loved him and are willing to fight for his life.

What happened next was the most beautiful part of the day. As he said he wanted change to take place in his life but there was something that takes place each time he wants to run that is not him. We were able to share the gospel with him and tell him about JESUS. We told Abraham that he couldn't bring this change into his own life but only Christ could. We prayed with Abraham today and he realized he needs Jesus to help him.

Sometimes when we realize our need for Christ in our lives it’s at the darkest and scariest time in our lives. He gets us to where we are weeping out loud not knowing what to do next. We are at the bottom of the bottom and there HE is waiting. And as soon as we realize we need him and say the words he sweeps us up and holds us forever.

This journey for Abraham has been quite that to say the least and I am sure it will get harder before it gets easier. Please pray for our boy as we fight for his life. Praising HIM who has already died for his life!!

Our promise to you Abraham: 2 Peter 1:12-14  So I will always remind you of these things, even though you know them and are firmly established in the truth you now have.  I think it is right to refresh your memory as long as I live in the tent of this body,  because I know that I will soon put it aside, as our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me.


Our kids don't belong to the streets anymore


Meeting Abraham where he was.....on the streets.

Right now I sit looking out my front window watching my husband and 2 of our sons talk to Abraham.  They are trying to convince him in his moment of desperation to run back to the streets that it’s not an option anymore in his life.

This has become a pattern that we may face possibly each day with our newest son.  Sometimes we wonder if he does it to try to get his way and others we realize that the streets whisper all kinds of lies to him trying to drag him back to loneliness.  Either way we are in for the long haul for this little life that HE has brought to us.

Abraham grew up in a city that is about a day’s travel away from where we currently live.  He remembers being a worker for a family at the early age of 5.  He assumes his parents died.  When he worked for this family he saved up enough birr (money) to get to the Capital of Ethiopia which is where we are now Addis Ababa.

He began living on the streets between the ages of 5-6.  This would be like my son Gavin living on the streets now having to fend for himself. Or your son or daughter that is in this age range trying to find a way to get food. Trying to stay warm at night and seemingly pretending that they are brave when really they are scared to death at every nook and sound they hear. The streets are a very DARK place to be at night. During the day they fool you as if they are friendly.  In a city that has very few street lights the darkness remains a place that is capturing the very beings of young kids every day. This is why we are here and must do something about this.

Abraham was raped by a BIG boy when he was just 6 years old. He was sleeping and the boy approached him and woke him very aggressively. Pulling Abrahams pants down he completely hurt this precious boys soul for the rest of his life.  He says he screamed and screamed yelling for help and no one would come and help him.  The little boy was left alone in the darkness in pain physically hurting so bad he couldn’t move.

Trying to cover up the pain that this new life had brought him he began to huff very strong glue that smells of gasoline. It is illegal here for the mechanics to sale this to the kids yet some people will do anything to make some extra money.  The very first time I laid eyes on him he had this oversized green coat on with his feet ashy grey colored due to having no shoes.  He took his left hand up to his mouth and I watched him go into complete zombie mode after inhaling these fumes.  My heart hurt so deeply for him because I saw so much of myself in him when I was his age in him.

In this instance God placed something on my heart where I knew this boy was going to be my son.  So here we are today loving on him no matter the circumstances that come our way.  It’s not an easy task and challenges us emotionally, physically and mentally.

We’ve gone to the streets looking for him once not being able to find him for 2 days. When we finally found him he was curled up in a fetal position scared, lonely and filthy.  We are trying so hard to convince him that now he has a family and the streets are no longer his home. Yet the adversary is whispering other things.  We have a lot of good days but then it happens; he wants to run.  We cry together, we laugh together and we pray together.

Please pray that Abraham will come to know Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior it is only when this takes place that true life change will take place forever and ever. Pray that Abraham will understand that our kids don't belong in the streets anymore.



The day we brought him off the streets. Fresh cut to get rid of the bugs.

The day we signed him up for school. YAY first time ever being in school.

feeling the LOVE