shhhhhh we are going to counseling

  my LOVE

It's funny how when you use the word counseling people get all freaked out. Most everyone who knows Trent and I can expect us to be real with our lives. This may cause people to freak out a little in the beginning but it is to encourage others to be real to advance the Kingdom here on earth.

Recently we felt we needed to fluff the word counseling and say that we are going to marriage enhancement. But wait we aren't the fluff type didn't you receive the memo. Why should I have to change a word so others want judge me and think they know more than they do. You fluff your pillow to make it comfortable. Wait life isn't always comfortable. You fluff laundry to get the wrinkles out of your clothes so they look perfect and yet again we all have wrinkled lives. Some of us with tiny little wrinkles that no one would ever notice and some of us with big oh dents that scream "I need to be fixed". Us as women will fluff our hair to make it fuller to make us feel like we have more hair than we actually do. And you may enjoy fluffy pancakes because you like everything to be bigger and better than just a good oh flat flap jack. When you fluff things you want to change them and make them different than they really are.

While yes I want to make my marriage better I never want to fluff my words to make it seem any different than it really is. Trent and I have been living in Ethiopia for a year and a half and it has been hard. So we are going to be proactive in our marriage and do something about it. We talk about our problems and what we can do to make it better. And yes we even say it out loud and let others know that we are shhhhhh we're going to counseling.

People get scared to be real with people because of what people might think of them if they really knew who they were. But here is the problem with that, when you pretend to be something your not you will always stay where you are and that is Lost.

We are all people and all deal with the same kind of struggles. No you may not live in Ethiopia and you may not have added 9 kids to your family in the past year BUT if you are married you are having some type of struggle and If you are not great but get ready because you will. The enemy wants to destroy marriages do not think that you are not on his list. Enjoy the season of peace you are in yet do not be blindsided when struggles come. Be ready to talk openly and real about it and yes get counseling or if you need to fluff it get some of the mostAMAZING ENHANCEMENT available.

YES we are going to counseling and NO we are not getting divorced just actually the opposite. We are fighting for our marriage so that when we return to the battlefield we will be more equipped and prepared to take a stance and protect what HE has given us, EACH OTHER!

Expect the unexpected

Today as I set out on a journey to continue to help my friend the direction I was headed in was once agin blocked but not stopped just redirecetd. This would make my fourth trip to try to get this paper that my friend in the states needs to help finalize her adoption process.  Of course things never go as plan in the land of Ethiopia and you have to be willing to just laugh as you are turned away yet once again. This time because the lady that would be the one to help me left to go home since she got off at 4:00. BUT wait it was only 3:25 why had she left already HAHA!!!  

Days can get exhausting when you fret around the city trying to accomplish just one small but lietrally life changing goal.  About 3 weeks ago I began this journey. As I was about to turn up this street to reach my destination I heard a shout. It was my friend Natti. He is currently living on the streets.  I was so excited to see him because i had not yet seen him since we came back from our visit in the states.


My friend was extremly filthy and had a stinch to him that when you are created to LOVE those on the streets you somehow enjoy the scent while others would be gagging while holding vomit in their mouths.  His colar bone was pretreading and my heart sank for him.  I had been praying for this kid for over about 9 months or so.  I had met hin through a friend of mine that was trying to help him when they were living here. At that time he seemed just like any other street kid in Addis trying to get a free ride while continuing to live a destructive life.


This time when i saw him God had softened my heart and gave me specifice directions. I was thankful for this because I had been seeking wisdom in what HE would have me do.  It was getting cold outside and Natti's stretched out shirt showed half of his arm and shoulder. "Go get the boy a jacket I heard" "Eshi" I replied. I went and bought him a jacket even though I knew my husbands respones would be "Carmen he is just going to sell it on the streets."


I talked with Natti and explained to him that there was something that kept bringing him back to the streets. He has had many many opportunitites to change but always ended back in the same place where he had always been. I continued to tell him that he could never bring about this life chnage that he wanted so badly for I too knew for I had only been there years ago. In a place so dark and so deep that you would scream to the top of your lungs and no one would hear you. Feeling alone you just knew you were forgotten.  I asked my friend to pray and seek GOD's face.  Obviously I could have grabbed this boy up and brought him off the streets that night yet that wouldn't do him any good nor was that the direction my father was leading me.


I continued to visit Natti over the next couple of weeks leading up to this very day. One of our partnered ministries had one of their son's run away Sunday after church.  I had known this and been praying for him since the day before.  When I found Natti he told me he had seen him.  I immediately asked him to go

get him so we could take him home. After talking and speaking truth into his heart the boy agreed to allow us to take him back home where his family

welcomed him with open arms and grateful hearts that GOD had answered their prayers by bringing him back home safely.


As I spent time with my fried Natti today he was different something had changed in him.  I saw in him myself a 16 year old girl who had made many bad choices and hurt so many people because of my choices. I heard those same words that I had remembered as a runaway on the streets myself. "because of what you have done so many times over and over agian it is hard to trust you and believe that you wnat to change."


We are now in the process of praying and asking GOD to radically change my friends heart so that he can let go of his life and allow THE ONE who created HIM begin to use him for greatness. I envisoioned my friend back on the streets one day being a light to those street boys and sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ. God says I know the plans I have for you and I believe this verse for my friend Natti.


I believe that one day he will be back on the streets loving and speaking truth to the very kid that I took the bottle of glue from (and this isn't no elmers glue we are talking about).  The one who believes that he has to huff this in ordert to stay warm, the one that the belives that he has to huff this to not be hungry, the one who believes he has no purpose in this so called life.


This little boy that I took the glue from captured my heart.  He has been on the streets for 6 years...yep since he was 7 years old. GOD I AM WILLING were my thoughts immedaitely.  My husbands words this evening were "Carmen I can;t handle one more kid on this compound" I laughed and said no I mean we could legally adopt him he is only 13. As I sit patienlty awaiting my FATHERS plan I BELIEVE in all HE puts in front of me even if it is CRAZY and EXHAUSTING.


Please pray for my friend Natti over the next few days. We have asked him to put together a plan, a vision a purpose for his life as he is still on the streets at this very moment. Looking forwrad to what DADDY shows him and us through this process. Natti I believ in ALL that you can be with HIM!!


Also pray for a friend that we will help reunite with his family after he has been on the streets for 5 years.  Pray that we are able to find them and that he will have no more dirty feet.


Last pray for my sweet friend who needs this one last document so that she can come and get her daughter and bring her home to be with her forever family. Tomorrow will be attempt 5 BUT..............GOD has done some pretty AMAZING things on each journey to attempt to get. Daddy is using Kalkidan already for greatness!!

I will laugh, I will cry and I will be silent because I just don’t know how I am supposed to feel.

The overwhelming feeling I have locked up within my being is almost too much to tolerate. We have had an amazing past 9 months here in our new home Addis Ababa Ethiopia. I have had moments where I literally thought I couldn’t make it another day, followed by days that left me feeling completely overwhelmed by the grace and love that the FATHER reveals to me on a daily basis here. With 28 days until we head back to the states for 2 ½ months I don’t know if I should feel happy or sad or both. I don’t know if I should laugh, yell or cry. My first emotion is excitement on our upcoming stint in Charlotte NC. This is the place that we grew up. This is the place we use to call home. This is the place where most all of our family lives. It’s the place where we have some of our closest friends. So you see why I would be excited. I cannot wait to see my mom and hug her precious neck, then enjoy watching my children run to her rapidly with excitement of how they have missed their Gigi so much. With arms wide open I will wait to congratulate my baby sister on her graduation from nursing school that I missed by just a month of our arrival. I wanted so bad to make it home in time to watch her cross that stage but it wasn’t HIS plan. I will eagerly wait to see my brother and sister in law holding their baby girl (my niece Sophia for the first time). Sophia was born just 4 weeks after we moved to Ethiopia. I spent many nights crying because I could not be there to watch my baby brother with his first child. I would see pictures of my most beautiful niece posted on facebook and just cry at how much she resembled my little brother. I spent many moments imagining what life looked like in their home, wanting so much to just have a second with them in person to enjoy their new JOY. I anticipate that the moment that my children see their Pops they will jump on his lap and laugh and play and physically wear him out within minutes of being in his presence. Seeing my best friend and her husband watching their new baby girl Jemma in awe will surely bring tears to my eyes. My Jemma was born right after we moved to Ethiopia and she doesn’t even know I exist. Oh but she will after these next 2 months. Birthdays have come and gone and holidays too so we have much making up to do. I can’t wait to eat some cheese dip, chips and salsa at a local Mexican restaurant, my mother in laws cheese cake will be divine. Driving through Chick-fil-a will be quite a treat. Getting manicures and pedicures at the one and only Polished nail bar will leave me feeling spoiled and undeserving. A place that I once visited every 2 weeks will now be straight luxury for me. I look forward to going shopping and having a choice with what I get from the grocery store. Getting to go to MY church and get MY JESUS on will leave me in tears of abundance LOVE and JOY. Spending time with our Make Your Mark kids and families who were so gracious and understanding that GOD was calling us away from them after loving on them through the good, bad and the ugly for the past 5 years. Getting to hug their necks and celebrating accomplishments and of course correcting and discipline where needed, will fulfill the emptiness I have had in my heart since saying goodbye. Getting to watch and see one of our MYM boys walk across stage of his graduation will leave me voiceless as I scream to the top of my lungs celebrating this day in his life that many said would never happen.

With all these things to look forward to I cannot forget what I am leaving behind here in Addis. We came to Addis a family of four and GOD quickly grew the number to 11 and then more. As I hear the fright of my daughter Amellawork’s voice as she wonders if anyone will come to our compound unwelcomed this year I assure her that they will not. 2 summers ago when we left our sweet Amilly’s life and heart were torn and abused by many. She never wants to go through that again. This was during our trip here for HIM to confirm that HE wanted us to move to Ethiopia. We had no idea that Amilly would later be a part of our family. As she opens her heart to me about her fears I want so much just to throw her in my suitcase and bring her with her family so that we will not be a part.

Last night we took our sweet daughter Lucy on a date to talk with her about dating. When Lucy first became a part of our family she had failed out of her grade last year due to tragic things that happened to her within her extended family. We invited her to be a part of our family and loved on her like crazy. Once a shy, insecure, not knowing where she was going young lady has since turned into a confident, trusting, number 8 in her class, loving GOD young lady. What happens if I miss out on something in her life over the next two months that she needs me for. Oh how I wish I could put her in my suitcase too and take her with me.

We met Jerri 2 summers ago she had a big belly that would change her life forever. I couldn’t wait to get back in Sept. to meet her daughter Initial that I had only seen one picture of since leaving 2 summers ago. We too had no idea that Jerri and her almost one year old daughter would become a part of our family. We have helped our daughter Jerri out by watching Initial during the day when she goes to cooking school and at night while she goes to night school. Who is going to watch Initial while we are gone so that Jerri can continue to go ALL-OUT so that she can one day provide for her and her daughter? What am I going to do without having a 18 month old baby around all the time that I get to watch Gavin and Kiki love on as their very own sister. Or that I am able to teach sign language too or potty train who??? Oh how I wish I could pack them up away tightly and take them with their family.

Belay whom we had met the summer before moving here and lead him to JESUS had gotten kicked out of his Aunt’s house because he chose to follow JESUS. When we moved here someone mentioned to us why you don’t have him be your guard. Just the sound of that made me want to vomit. Why not invite him to be a part of our family I suggested by completely ruling out the other. He has come into our family with the biggest smile and such a generous heart to my children. Gavin loves to go outside and play with his big brother. Belay is chasing his dream of becoming the next Ethiopian to win gold in the 2016 Olympics team. I want so badly to tell Belay just run and meet us in America so that you can be with your family.

Yeshi is our youngest daughter whom we love dearly. She was placed to invite into our home right before being on the streets with no place to go. She reminded Trent and I so much of ourselves when we were her age, lost, confused but with so much potential. We opened our home to her and have had some challenging times but through it all we love her and believe in her. We had to make a hard choice for the good of Yeshi but oh how we would love to put her in our bags and take her with us.

Yide I met almost 5 years ago and GOD used him to radically change my life forever. Through Yide GOD taught me so much about who HE was and grew me incredibly in my faith and walk with JESUS. We tried to adopt him back then but were unable to due to his age (he was too old 16). Getting to be reunited with him the summer we spent in Ethiopia as a family was so beautiful. Trent not knowing Yide and having no type of connection with him was a little withdrawn from him when we first moved here. BUT God is good and now Yide is a part of our family. God has moved what seemed like impossible mountains to move. Yide and his dad are now loving each other and being used by GOD in each other’s lives in only a GOD ALL-OUT kind of way. My son who has grown up in an orphanage most of his life tells me weekly how much he thanks GOD for bringing him his family. He tells me that I am his mama and that GOD sent me to him. He loves on Kiki and Gavin as if he has been with them from the beginning. He dreams of going to America one day. Oh how I would love to fulfill his dream and show him where his family is from and be able to feed his wondering mind so it would wonder no more about this magical place called America.

Don’t let me forget to mention the other 120 kids that we love on through the ministry. At moments when I get so aggravated at having to go late at night and help a house talk through a problem they are having; I will sit by my phone in America waiting only to not have it ring. Having buna (coffee) ceremonies with dancing and singing; I will take these sounds with me in my heart. Teaching around 40 girls on Thursday not to listen to the lies of the enemy that they are beautiful and were created with GREATNESS is something I will miss dearly because in the wisdom that HE gives me to teach them he is also reminding me of HIS TRUTHS. Holding a girl as she cries and fears this SO CALLED LIFE, having youth show up at my house for the need of a band aid, school project material or just need to be encouraged my soul will crave. Having to challenge girls like they have never been challenged before, seeing the fear in their eyes of the not knowing but the smile on their face after they have VICTORY. Being able to have a bible study where we all come from different backgrounds and beliefs. Being Protestant, Orthodox or Muslim we come together and understand that there is one GOD and HE has a son named JESUS that came and died for our sins so that we may have an everlasting relationship with GOD. OH THE PURPOSE OF LIFE IS FULFILLING AND I WILL MISS!

As my heart is torn like a piece of material with a cat digging its nails through it sliding slowly down to the ground. I will laugh, Iwill cry and I will be silent because I just don’t know how I am supposed to feel.


Are you willing....?

We had a packed compound as usual on a Saturday afternoon.  The kids were running around and we really had no plans that day.  I was in the kitchen teaching my 19 year old Ethiopian son Yide and my friends son Sisay how to cook.  Someone knocked at the gate.  Gavin raced up the hill to see who it was.  With Gavin being so small he isn't quite BIG BOY enough to open the gate on his own.  He called for his big brother Yide to come help him open the gate.

It wasn't a regular visitor at this time because the person remained outside as Yide continued to talk to him.  Minutes later Yide approached me saying mom there is a man at the gate that needs our help.  I need for you to understand how precious this moment was for me.  See Yide grew up in a government orphanage from the time he was about 8 years old about my daughter Kalkidans age; this could have been her.

God crossed my path with Yidneckachew in 2008 when I came to Ethiopia on a Sports Friend trip.  We went down to Langano for a week and helped serve, cheer and love on about 70 boys that came from all over Addis to enjoy camp for a week.  God strategically placed this then 16 year old in my group with much purpose.  My sweet friend and sister Genet was the Ethiopian leader for our team.  She had noticed instantly that Yide was dealing with an evil spirit.  The reason she could recognize it so easily is because she too had dealt with evil spirits as the chosen one in her family to carry them.

I know CRAZY weird evil spirit stuff it sounded CRAZY to me too at the time.  I began to pray for this kid like crazy.  Every time I was beside him I would have my hand on him praying with out him even knowing.  The harder I began to pray the more darkness caved in on me.  One evening when I was praying for him in a cabin full of women that were mostly sleeping, I began to call out to my FATHER.   I prayed for Yide's salvation and that the demon that was inside of him would be released so that this precious boy could be a living testimony to his Heavenly Father.

After I prayed I lie there in bed not being able to go to sleep.  I could feel this presence of darkness that was hovering over my body.  It got very warm and I was very scared.  This darkness surrounded my entire being as if it were laying on top of me without touching me.  It couldn't touch me, God wouldn't let it touch me.

I turned on my head lamp to bring some light into the darkness. I laid there trembling at what I had just experienced.  I got brave enough after some time had passed to turn my head lamp of again.  I immediately heard footsteps as if someone were walking in our room in the cabin.  I turned the light on again and  I saw nothing.  Turning the light off again I was almost asleep and I sat up in my bed and screamed to the top of my lungs.  I felt that presence of darkness again something was defiantly there.

Before switching my light on again I heard little steps going across the wall where my head lay.  I was terrified.  I began to pray harder for Yideneckachew realizing that this was a spiritual battle and that the enemy wanted this boys soul.

The next morning we had devotions and my friend James told me that Jeff one of our really close friends screamed out Trent's (my husbands) name 4 times in his sleep last night.  I realized again that this was a battle and I must radically engage.

I physically was able to watch the battle within this young boys body.  When we would have worship he would literally cover his head with his hat and look straight down at the ground.  Anytime you would mention Jesus his eyes would do this funny twisting thing.   This was the first time ever that I had experienced anything so black and white dealing with evil spirits.

Every opportunity I had I was laying my hands on him and praying secretly for him.  I remember this happening on August 1, 2008 like it was yesterday.  It was time for the boys to go swimming, something they looked forward to because most of them had never been in the water before.  We were walking and Yide grabs my hand.  How precious it was to hold his hand and walk with him on this exciting journey to swim for the first time ever.

Earlier that morning I had felt direct direction from your Spirit LORD to pray  heavily for him.  As I was experiencing firsts with the darkness in this way I too LORD was experiencing first with you.  You were speaking to me directly about praying specifically for Yideneckachew's life to be forever yours.  I earnestly prayed and begged you crying a few different times for you to have VICTORY in this situation.  I prayed LORD that YOUR SPIRIT would completely take over the evil spirit allowing Yide to feel your LOVE and YOUR presence in JESUS'S name.

After the swimming was over we locked hands again and walked down this beautiful path of trees that hovered over us.  I began to learn more about this precious boy and his story.  We started talking about you GOD and then out of no where he says "I love Jesus".  I responded with "Jesus loves you too" but inside I wanted to jump up an down while screaming and shouting praises to you.

There were moments where GOD revealed HIMSELF to me that outrageously changed my walk with HIM forever through this 16 year old boy that I in just a week had grown to love.  GOD had me on my knees in the strangest places crying and pleading and begging to HIM for Yide's soul. Moments where my heart ached so bad for what ached HIS that I couldn't even speak what I wanted to say in the presence of my FATHER.   My GOD showed me that HE cared about the things that I cared about and HE taught me how to care about the things that mean the most to HIM....peoples souls.

Yideneckachew gave his life to JESUS CHRIST that evening.  I was forever changed by my Father!!!

So getting to share this moment where my son is in my home with me and telling me that there is a guy at the door that needs our help blew my heart away. This is how AMAZING our GOD is.  I walked up the hill and to the gate where I reached this old man who was probably in his 80's.  He was squatted down and began to speak in a soft voice.   He was explaining to me that he had come from the country side about a month ago to Addis in hopes of  getting help to the Dr. for his eyes because he felt he was going blind.

I informed him that we do not give money out to anyone.  I asked him why he came to our door?  His response was "I don't know why I am at your door".   He began to weep which made all of us that were standing around him cry including Yide.   I assured him that we would take him to the doctor and get his eyes checked for him and after all the eye stuff was over we would help him get back home to his daughter.  We asked him to come back the following Wednesday.

Not knowing if he would return all I could think about was the fact that his words were "I do not know why I am at your door".  In my heart I knew he was sent by the power of GODS SPIRIT somehow.  Walking back down the hill with Yide, you could just see in his heart and hear in his voice how happy he was to be able to have been a part of helping someone. I am so grateful to be with my BIG FAMILY of 11 here in Addis where we are able to help serve our FATHER by helping those he brings to our gates.

Wednesday Thomas did show up and went to the eye doctor.  This past Monday he went back and had surgery.  Next Monday we will take him back to see how the surgery went.  During this time spent with Thomas our hearts were once again reminded of our Heavenly Father.  This precious man gets to feel the love of his HEAVENLY FATHER because we were willing, Yidneckachew gets to receive the blessing of being a part of something so much bigger than himself and we get the priveledge and honor to be HIS chosen ones.


Around 40,000.00 gone and we still stand praising our FATHER!!

It was a time of celebration for us here in Ethiopia, the night before we fed about 700 street kids and adults. The youth from our ministry had been busy for a few days preparing the meal that would show the love of Jesus Christ. It was beautiful watching our girls and boys finish up all the last details of the food preparation. We were singing; while taking turns stirring a huge pot of wat (a common sauce here in Ethiopia). Then the enemy attacked trying to steal all the JOY from us during this precious time.


I was actually engaged in a conversation with Sinke (Kiki’s biological mom) about her taking the Tofel test that would open the door for her to come to America and go to college studying social work to prepare her to come back to her country and open an orphanage. Trent entered the room with this look at his face that frightened me. He said Carmen we need to talk something bad has happened. My heart sank and I began to get very nervous. He told me that our friend had tried to kill himself. Immediately my heart ached for him and his family. Knowing this person and his family I knew it had to be a spiritual attack from the enemy. My concern was had anyone gotten to him and prayed over him? Someone needs to do this; it is all the enemy.

It just so happens that this person is also the one who handled all of our finances for Ethiopia. We can’t go home I remember screaming. The thought of having to leave all of what HE had created us for made me sick to my stomach. Fears begin to creep in about leaving the youth that we have been sacrificing everything for. “But GOD, I said, this is not what we want to do, please do anything to change this”. Trent and I began to talk and decided that just he would go back to the states to figure everything out while the kids and I would stay here with our 5 older kids and continue on life as normal. As normal……what a crazy thought to be here without my partner. But we could not possibly leave our 5 children that GOD has brought into our family unexpected like this. What would this do to them? We had committed to being here loving them, helping them, teaching them and supporting them. Now what were we supposed to do, we could not abandon them like everyone else in their lives had.

As the story continued to unfold we were completely shocked to say the least. We heard that possibly all of the funds that we had raised had been mishandled. WHAT….ARE YOU SERIOUS; were our thoughts for the first couple of days. Then we received bank records since Trent was a signer on the account, so that we would have a check card to access the account when in the states while living off support. It was true…..all of it was true. As we began to read the statements we felt like vomiting heavy, gross, disgusting vomit all over Ethiopia. How could this be???

How could this be??? This was our friend! We had known him for 8 years; he had served in many ways at church, he was well known in the community and even looked up to as a coach. How could we have not seen this, what about his family….his wife, his children? So many questions were going through our minds. Our hearts were burdened for this family. As more began to unfold our emotions turned to confusion and uncertainty. Through it all we just kept asking GOD to allow us to stay here in Addis even though things were falling apart on the America side of things.


We kept pursuing our FATHER through loving on the kids here in our ministry in Ethiopia. We knew we had not come this far to go back home. We were not backing down and we had to prove this to the enemy. He tried to derail our thoughts and minds. He tried to run us off of our emotions so that we could not stay focused. Satan tried to scare us through lying to us about how our supporters would respond.

Our minds were filled with doubt but only for a second. We are HIS children HE knew all of this would happen before a day had passed. We are talking about our Almighty Heavenly Father here. We began to focus on HIS TRUTH, HIS WORD, HIS PROMISES and saying them out LOUD!! We claimed victory over all that had happened and all that would be ahead. WE WILL NOT RETREAT! HE gave us HIS peace.

The blessings began to pour in immediately through the support of our home church UCITY. The lead team was all over this. They poured countless hours into making sure that HIS work here in Ethiopia through us would not be disturbed. We had emergency funds sent to us. One of supporters sent us enough money to cover 2 month of living expenses while our monthly support begins to be built back up. Some of our supporters lifted their number of monthly support to help us regain what was lost. We had our round trip airline tickets paid for so we can still visit the states this summer for 2 months.  Another supporter sent us money so that we would still be able to intact Christmas in Ethiopia where we would buy all 150 of our youth shoes, lotions etc.


We have a long ways to go to recover all that was lost but there is no doubt in our minds that DADDY has us covered. We also believe that HE will do so in a way that will have people in awe of who HE is. So that HE can get all the glory, honor and praise that HE deserves. We are so grateful for all of you who love on us the way you do. Thank you for your support, love and prayers that allow us to be HIS hands and HIS feet even in the middle of the storm.

I have always wondered how I would handle myself in certain situations; if I could really do it differently now that I had JESUS in my heart. I give GOD the glory and the praise for how HIS HOLY SPIRIT radically revealed his power in my life. I know that the old Carmen would have been angry and wanted revenge tenfold on what was done to us and more importantly to GODS Kingdom. But my DADDY can handle this and I guess I can proudly say I can too. We were able to speak to this person just briefly on speaker phone as he was meeting with one of the board members closing accounts etc… We were able to speak bold truth to him about his FATHERS love and the enemy’s attacks. Trent and I were able to freely and earnestly forgive him for what he had done.  NOW THAT IS THE POWER OF THE LORD.  AMEN

JOY in the midst of a trial is not happiness in the moment of the difficult time; but rather the EXCITEMENT in the anticipation of what our HEAVENLY FATHER will do with it afterwards.


These precious girls didn’t know that none of these men could possibly give them what they were worth in the eyes of their creator.

As we prepared to go into the streets 3 deep with 4 different teams, I thought I was ready to accomplish this mission.  After all there was a period of my life where I could relate to being on the streets and wondering where I would stay and how I would get food in my stomach. As I got out of the car with Beza and Mesfin we locked our arms with one another and off we went.  The first girl we saw was sitting down with her knees pulled in tightly to her chest with a long skirt covering them. Her name was Salam.  We asked her what she was doing there and she replied she was waiting for someone. In reality this probably was her home for the night.  It was safer than other places because it was well lit.  We asked her if she had ever heard about Jesus she said no who this is.  Beza and Mesfin began sharing the good news.

The next girl we came to was a prostitute by the name of Zoeto.  She was probably in her mid 20’s.  You could tell that she was not new to this.  She was definitely high because she was extremely nervous and kept dropping things out of her purse. It seemed as if she had maybe just gotten dropped off from turning a trick because she was putting lotion on her arms and trying to freshen up.  She kept looking behind us making sure that there wasn’t any money she was losing because of us distracting her.  We spoke with her about Jesus but you could tell all she wanted was to work in desperation for survival.

We continued walking past a bar that had around 5 girls that were wearing short skirts, high heels, red lipstick and smoking cigarettes.  I would guess that their pimp was nearby and required them all to stand together.  After passing them we looked and there was a street person covered from head to toe in the corner.  Our spirits were drawn to this person.  Beza tapped on him and he began to stir. It was an older man probably about 50-60 years old.  Wenmagn greeted us with a smile.  He gently pulled down the bag he was covering with and sat up.  We asked if he had heard of Jesus.  He guaranteed us that he had heard of him and used to know him.  When he did know HIM he was happy but things changed for him a long time ago.  He used to be a soldier and had done many bad things that had separated him from this Jesus he once knew.  Tears were streaming down his face. You could literally feel his love for this Jesus he once knew.

We were right in the middle of this emotional moment when from behind us we here this loud stomping.  I jumped so high out of fear as if I were a frog leaping from one lily pad to another. In was in sync for the 3 of us. We had been caught off guard.  We all 3 rose to our feet to a 30 something year old man yelling at us.  Beza calmly is talking to this guy to then begin to tell him about Jesus and why we are here on the streets.  He wanted nothing to do with the word of God.  The guy who seemed like the pimp to the 5 girls that were standing beside us came over and began to talk to this guy; obviously putting him in his place and taking up for us.  Next thing you know the older man that we had just shared the most intimate moment with talks with this guy who doesn’t look Ethiopian and tells him that he is grateful that we are talking to him and shares about Jesus.

The guy who is from Somalia continues to be bothered by us so we begin to walk.  Wenmagn walks with us. With him we continue to speak Gods truth to him letting him know that God has never forgotten about him and loves him very much and that HE awaits for HIS return with open hands.  We stopped at another street man that was chewing on chat; a local plant here that many use as a stimulant to keep them from getting hungry. If they chew enough they begin to hallucinate and it gives them energy.  We spoke truth to him but you could tell even though his body was physically there his mind was absent.  The Somalian man came creeping back up and was yelling at us again.  Filled with fear I began to just pray.  I held God accountable to what I knew HIS word said; That the enemy cannot touch us because we are covered in the blood of JESUS. I learned quickly to not make eye contact with this man because every time I did he would get closer to me. So I stood my ground as a prayer warrior.

We walked next across the street to a younger street man maybe in his 20’s. His name was Mahammad.  He was easy to speak with and was accepting to the news of Jesus. He was very curious and asked many questions.  We showed him a church that was in the area that he could go to get the love and support he needed.  We drew a crowd with this one. Many of the country boys with their blankets came and sat and listened as the news of Jesus Christ was being shared.

Hannah sat quietly with her 3 month old baby that was sleeping.  She just sits awaiting someone to just drop a coin for her and the baby.  We sat down and talked with her for a while.  She had come to Addis from the country side about 6 years ago and was good until she got pregnant by her boyfriend.  He left her all by herself and now she was on the streets by herself with a 3 month old baby.

As we walked up the hill talking about all we had encountered I saw something so disturbing.  It was a white skinned person like me talking to one of the bar girls as they call them here (prostitute).  He was obviously trying to pick one up.  I stopped dead in my tracks and hurt badly for these girls.  Up until this point I had not seen anyone trying to pick up the girls just them standing there.  He obviously didn’t like what she had to say so he moved on down to the next one. Everything inside of me wanted to run across that street and tell him to leave her alone and to get away you gross bastard.

Now my eyes were being exposed to things that reminded me of things I had encountered as a young child throughout my 20’s.  These precious girls didn’t know that none of these men could possibly give them what they were worth in the eyes of their creator.  Walking up the hill we look to our left and there was this fragile girl not even knowing how to dress to look so called SEXY.  She had on a long skirt, a long sleeved shirt with a vinyl black vest on top.  You could tell she was new to this and very uncomfortable being there.  Her name was Betty.  She had a four year old daughter at home and had to provide for her baby. She was doing this for her baby she said.  She had a neighbor that would listen for her baby as she slept while she was out working. Asking her how much she makes in a night she responded that sometimes nothing if there is no business but other time 70-100 birr would be good. That is like 4-6 US dollars, I asked her what she normally gets when she lays down with a man her response 7 birr (.40).  My heart ached for this beautiful girl who didn’t even know her worth.  We spoke with Betty about Jesus and right there on the streets she accepted Jesus as her personal savior.  We will be following up with her this week. Pray that we can disciple HIS precious girl and get her off the streets at night.

Driving to another area we met with some street boys who were in their 20’s they said that they had tried to go to church but they wouldn’t let them in because of the way they looked. Sounds familiar huh; the same problem with the church all over the world.  Tssefa and Daniel couldn’t walk into the doors of a church because the clothes they had weren’t good enough or they were not as clean as some of the others. And we wonder why people want nothing to do with the church.  We were told by another Zinash who was a beautiful girl that had worked the area for a while but not long enough to be torn and broken I guess you could say she still enjoyed it. Yea I have heard of Jesus I have had Christians come out here and tell me about him but offered no solution, so what do you want me to do?

I asked Trent before we even made it to the streets “Babe what if HE wants us to open a home for these girls to come for a year or so to help them get off the streets, get a job, and know JESUS personally”?  He gave me his usual smile that says “Carmen Post  I love you and your willingness to follow him!"

A little lower than Angels, to 40 cents...

The sky was clear, but the streets were cold as we made our way out into the darkness of the midnight streets.  We left in teams to bring this message of Good News to a broken world. Wanna and I began up the hill and I saw what you would typically think when selling ones self is involved, short skirt, long hair, 6” heels and a large purse; draped over the opening of a passenger door. In that moment I realized I was walking into a world that I was completely foreign too, maybe out of my league. As we approached this car the door closed and she began walking toward us, but Wanna kept walking not saying a word. I thought isn’t this why we’re here, but as the night went on I realized that he used Spirit lead discernment to the ones who were prepared to hear? As I stood there listening to him talk to the first young lady we approached I thought why are we talking with her, she is conservatively dressed and looks so innocent. After listening to them talk in the local language, he explained her story to me; she was sold at 12 yrs old as a servant to a family in the city. She worked there for four years until she was raped by one of the men, became pregnant and was then kicked out. She proceeded to find a small paying job that she got by on until her child needed to go to school and the extra expenses came in that she couldn’t afford. With all her immediate options burned up, she went into survival mode and turned to the streets. While they talked I just kept looking into the crisp sky and as I gazed upon all His creation, setting the stars in place, I wondered”oh God how have we gotten this far”. I just tried to speak truth to her about how beautiful she is and she deserves much more than where she is now. I told her how it angers me what happened to her, but there is hope and it is readily available, all she has to do she accept it.

We talked with a few more girls this night and of all the ones we talked to, not one of them wanted to be out there. It was complete survival mode trying to get by when all else had seem to fail them. The most disturbing thing from this experience was not something I saw, but what I heard from Carmen. Most of the girls Wanna and I talked to said they made around 300 to 750 birr a night ($17 to $43) which doesn’t sound like much, but here it’s good money. While in the car Carmen shared that one of the girls they met sold herself for 7 birr; THAT IS 40 CENTS!! When I first heard it I think I went into shock because I really couldn’t wrap my head around that. It was the next day as I was lying in the sun staring into the heavens processing all from the night before that it hit me. Psalms 8 proclaims that God made us just a little under the angels, but the enemy has taking so far from God that we think we’re only worth 40 cents. From created in His image, a little under the mighty, powerful angels to 40 CENTS!

What I saw on this night blew heavily on the embers and passions of my heart, for it just exposed me even more to how the enemy is winning a battle that he has no right to. Yes these young ladies were making the choice to be out there, but if we as men would claim our victory and stop waving the white flag, then maybe there are fewer or no girls out there thinking they’re only worth 40 cents! We are created to provide, protect, lead and LOVE, but we’ve become the predator preying on the weak. It’s time for a generation of men, young and old to rise up and be a men. A man doesn’t us his power and authority to abuse and control, no we use our God given power to defend our families and lead them well. If we don’t love our wives, protect our daughters and teach our sons to do the same, then I don’t see a man at all; I see a weak passive shell of what could be a man. My hearts breaks for each one of the girls we saw on this night, I pray their Father would radically move in their lives.

We will end this on a positive note, all glory be to God! Here is an email I received from Wanna while writing this blog:

Hello my friend! One of the lady whose we have talked last night called me and we meet and make long conversation and she decide to follow Jesus and also want to stop such kinds of work and she start to seek another Job. Please pray for her and her baby girl too. Hare Name is Werkinash (the first lady we talked with)

God Bless you ...wana






May I always be disturbed by what disturbs your heart FATHER!! Story of Meskrem

As I sit here two police stations and three hospitals later, I am mentally exhausted.  We came home today to two girls that had brought a girl to our home that had been beaten and raped the night before.  Before we entered the gate I had my suspicions to why they were there, man was I wrong. As soon as the three girls were visible to us it was completely obvious which one had been abused the evening before.  I sat on the ground beside them and stroked the one side of her face that wasn’t bruised or swollen.  Looking at her just made my heart ache.  It literally felt as if it were bleeding.  From her eyebrow on the left side of her face to her lips displayed pain.  It looked as if someone had slammed her face on the ground and slid it across the pavement over and over again.

She began in a quiet voice to tell her story.  It was heart breaking as soon as she began her voice let on that she was use to this type of thing.  Without saying it directly the emotions of her broken soul said that this was her life and it’s just the way it is.  Two weeks prior to her attack her dad had kicked her out of the house.  She said this was common because he drank all the time and when he felt like it he would make her leave.

My new friend revealed her evening the night before.  Meskrem had gone and found a place to sleep and was covered with a piece of plastic when all of the sudden the plastic was ripped away from her sleeping body.  Two boys stood over her and began to attack her.  Next they raped her.  She went into a different state of mind as she was enduring this life changing event.  Almost as if she fainted and were not aware of the things that were happening to her in the moment.

A boy found her laying there on the street barely conscious and took her to a girls home that our daughter actually lived with her biological mom before we adopted her.  These girls knowing what our ministry stood for they brought her all the way across town to us.  We immediately knew we had to do 3 things.  First we would need to take her to the police station in the area where the rape occurred so that we could file a report.  Then we would take her to the hospital to get her body checked out and then prayerfully her dad would allow her to come back home.  This was our hope because we have no room for any more girls in our ministry.  We had just discussed earlier in the week we need to be able to go ALL-OUT for the ones that are there now which would mean saying no to many needs that arise each and every day.

You would think you would get some sympathy walking into a police station with a girl whose face clearly showed that she had been beaten but instead we just got cigarette smoke blown into our faces and were told to go to another police station.   I thought that maybe the lack of sympathy was do to them being male.  The second place we were told to go to wasn’t much different; we entered to an officer that for sure wasn’t going to get out of his seat to greet us.  When telling the story his posture remained slouched and uninterested as he pointed us up the hill.  As we entered the small room I thought we would finally get some help because it was a woman but instead we received very little emotion or concern.  Continuing to play connect the dots we finally were asked to follow into another office.  This man was hard and seemed completely unaffected that we had a young girl who had been beaten and raped.  Come on people what if this was your daughter??

I can’t put into words the amount of aggravation I was feeling.  I was desperate; my soul was desperate for someone to care.  We went to three different hospitals before finding someone that would deal with “OUR PROBLEM”.  While sitting waiting for hours in the waiting room my head began to hurt and I felt as if I were literally going to catch some disease.  Looking to the left you could see blood on one of the benches; I feel the germs through the person beside me that continues to let out a long howl for a cough.  It smelled as if I were sitting inside a toilet bowl that had not been flushed in months.  As my mind was mentally failing me I remembered that we had made some progress after 7 hours because at least Mekrem was being seen now.

After receiving papers on all the test that they had ran on her you would have thought you were holding a small children’s book in your hand.  We were told to come back on Monday to get the results but that we were to go back to the police station to get a paper written from them first.  I was ready to surrender the evening to my family after all we had bought some local cheese and were cooking cheeseburgers for the first time since we had moved here just over two months ago.  But I had one issue.  We still had the girl, what would we do with her?  The next two hours were spent trying to get her dad to come to the door.  He just yelled out at us and turned off the lights.  We even went and found 2 police officers to go back with us to his home.  This time he hid quietly as if he weren’t there.

We were in an area where one of our girls Amellaworks grandmother lived.  I suggested we go and ask her if she could stay the night there; just a few weeks prior she had allowed another girl and her baby to stay there until the next morning.  We approached the 80 something year olds home.  Every time we visit in the evening her home is filled with 2 or more people whom she allows to sleep there so that they have somewhere to lay their head at night.  She agreed that she could stay with her until Monday when we would pick her up and go back to the hospital again.

That night I couldn’t get this precious girl’s beaten face out of my mind.  My heart continued to be completely disturbed by the image, her story and her being all alone.  I had no idea what we would do to help her but I knew my DADDY had a plan.  I prayed that evening asking my FATHER to never allow me to get comfortable to what goes on where ever HE has me serving HIM each day.  May I always be disturbed by what disturbs your heart FATHER!!

Monday comes and we go meet with Meskrems father.  We wanted to make sure we got there early enough before he began drinking.  We arrive at his home and get no answer. We call him and they sya he is at the super market. We walk to meet him but when we arrive it is no super market.  The crazy part is that it is indeed his supermarket; a bar.

He looks not at all like I imagined. His frame is small and he is dressed in a suit.  Very business man like.  We entered into his stomping grounds.  He glimpses at his daughter once and refuses to look again for many minutes.  You can see the pain in his eyes.  Not so much for his daughter but more so his life.  We learn that he was married to to Meskrems mom and about 6 years ago they left.  Meskrem said he kicked them out.  Meskrem was together with her mom for a few years but then she disappeared.  Here was this young girl left all alone.  She went to her father’s house with no other place to go.  By this time he had remarried but this wife to supposedly left too, he has no idea where she is either.  He glances up again to look at his daughter and you can see his pain bursting in his heart.  I believe he sees in his daughter, his ex wife someone whom he once loved but has since become angry at.  I tell him I am sorry for all of the hurt he has in his life.  We ask him if he would allow his daughter to come back home. He refuses; we ask him if he would be willing to pay for her rent in a room somewhere else. He again refuses and wants nothing to do with the one he helped create.

My anger just wants to explode on this sorry excuse for a father.  I just get up and walk out of the bar without saying a word.  I couldn’t thank him for anything because after all he had done nothing deserving of my gratitude.  I could see this blank look on her face.  She had become numb to the pain caused by her father.  She suffered abuse and abandonment; what was left for her anyways.

We returned back to the 80 year old woman’s house that touches my heart and challenges me every time I am in her home.  We ask her if she would be willing to allow Meskrem to  live with her in her single room home.  She agrees but said that she needs help with feeding her.  We agree to help her by providing 320 birr a month.  This equals to about 20 us dollars.  We also agree to get her a bed, knowing that we don’t have the funds to do so but trusting that our provider, Meskrems provider would provide.  We put the need out there and had 3 women that would come together giving 75.00 a piece to provide a bed, blamket and sheets.  We praise our FATHER for what he gives to HIS children so that they can make their mark in this world one life at a time.

No matter where you are in life HE can use you to spread HIS love. Don’t allow the enemy to lie to you by having you doubt your gifts, talents and money to change the world one life at a time.

It is now Thursday and we are back at the hospital for the third time this week. There are no appointments here so you show up early and wait while this day began as us being the first in the waiting room.  Now you are surrounded and have no personal space as I wonder what in the world does it take  to get something done here?  HE reminds me it takes patience and grace and suffering.

Just when you think it can’t get any worse… happens the moment when you want to break down and cry and can’t possibly go a step further in this process.  We were the first people here this morning and the last to be seen.  3 ½ hours later Amellawork comes out with paper in hand.  What looked like a glimpse of hope would soon become dreadful and dreary.  The note she had in her hand was not what we needed.  It mentioned nothing about Meskrem being raped.  I asked Amilly to go back and ask the doctor to give us the specifics we came for.  Then the craziest thing happened as she explained to the Dr. what we needed he took the original letter he wrote ripped it up threw it in the trash can and went to lunch.

Are you freaking kidding me…..I am ready to explode by this point. Who does this?  We go and find the Dr. that examined her on Saturday.  She says come back tomorrow.  Fighting back tears I explain to her that this was our 4th time being there and that Amilly has stayed out of school for 2 days just to help me with my direction.  There was no way that we could come back tomorrow.  I couldn’t physically do it anymore.  She calls the OBGYN dr. the only one who could write the note. She asks us to come back in an hour.  This foreign little girl was getting so frustrated at the system that we are up against.

I find myself at this point speaking aloud HIS truth to give me the strength to continue on.  This is the sacrificing that HE talks about; HE suffered for Meskrem that is why we are doing all this I tell Amilly.  We can do all things through him who gives us strength, we are to go in mighty power and complete this task, HE went ALL-OUT for us so we must go ALL-OUT for HIM so this girl will feel her DADDYS love.

We went back and really got nowhere.  I finally got to speak to the Dr. by accident he was walking around the corner as we were in search of him.  I asked him boldly do you have children. His response was yes. I then asked him do you have a daughter.   You could see he was getting aggravated with my questions; what if this was your daughter I asked, wouldn’t you want her taken care of.  His response was simply this “I have to take care of all the important patients that are here, we do not have time for this.”

To all the so called problems in this world I make a promise to you that I will live my life to love you, to care for you, to encourage you, to challenge you, to teach you that you are important and that you were created with purpose.

Currently we are still working hard to help Meskrem, every step here takes weeks. This week we were able to get some clothes of her from her dads, got her bed set up, and continue the process of getting her in school.  Just when I couldn’t take another step forward last week her dad called me out of the blue to say he would help us on that Friday, and he did he took her to get her picture taken and get some card that we needed. This week we went to try to get her transcripts from 6 years ago but the cashier was not there so guess what we have to come back on Monday. At this point all I can do is laugh, cry and pray and trust that HE will give me the strength to continue HIS work HE has started through me.

Pray that Meskrem will know JESUS personally, pray for HIM to transform her mind, heart and soul, pray that she will be able to start school next week.

I had no idea what they were talking about but now I GET IT.

In the beginning of this journey I was not too happy about having to home school my kids.  After all I wanted to be on the streets here is Addis loving on the street kids.  That is what I thought my purpose was.  DADDY had a different plan and I am beginning to except and actually like HIS plan. Tears streamed down my face as my 4 year old looks at me and gets so excited because he has 25 words this week (not just 10) that he will learn to sound out and spell.  As I hear his words my heart fills with joy and fulfillment.  Getting to see your kids grow and learn and GET IT is a gift, a gift that HE has given me during this season.  I remember friends of mine that were teachers telling me this exact thing before we moved to Ethiopia.  I had no idea what they were talking about but now I GET IT.

I remember discussing my fears with my husband on our first date night here in Addis, describing to him that I don’t know if I can carry this task out.  I feel so incapable of doing this. “My kids deserve so much more than I can give him.”  “I will just end up ruining them; I do not have the patience.” ” Remember I hated school.”  It was fear after fear that came out of my mouth while more tears continued to stream down my cheeks.

Trent looked into my eyes holding my hand and said to me “I am so glad that you are the one that gets this privilege. I would want no one else building up our kids” Of course I laughed out loud and said “yea right.”  He tells me he is serious and that I have been given the most important job ever because I am building up our children to be all that GOD has created them to be.


Kiki and I were talking the other day about school for next year. I asked her Kiki do you want to do home school again next year.  Hoping she would possibly say no mom but instead she said YES MOMMY PLEASE!!!   I am beginning to understand that my children love being in our home learning having their mommy with them every day.  Although it is still foreign ground for me I must say that I am enjoying this time with my babies. I must admit there have been times when I would think about next year and my heart would ache thinking of possibly not being able to teach my children.

YOU GOD have seen the unseen in me and made it the best for my children.   To you I am grateful that you take us out of our comfort zones and reveal new parts of us that we never knew were there or remember them being there a very long time ago but have since pushed them so far back that it was as if it didn’t exist at all.  Thank you for believing in us when we don’t believe in ourselves. Thank you for my 2 precious gifts Gavin and Kiki. Thank you for the 5 new additions to our family Amellawork, Jerri, Lucy, Belay and Yeshi. I guess I don’t have to go to the streets after all you have them right here in our home with us. Thank you for using those who are not qualified to completely blindside this world. I LOVE YOU and to you be the glory forever and ever AMEN!!

My FATHERS truth is buried in my heart so that I can overcome these doubts that the enemy is lying to me about.  “I Carmen can do all things through you LORD who gives me strength” (Philippians 4)   The Lord is MY helper HE will never leave me or never will HE forsake me.(Hebrews 13) I am HIS chosen one, HE called me out of darkness into HIS light (1Peter 2)

We laughed and giggled a bit at our FATHER because only HE could do this to us…

We heard about a family that the mother had just died from aids and the father wanted to put the baby up for adoption because he could not care for his young boy who was HIV positive.  Immediately I remembered what one of my precious friends had told me.  She was being lead to be an advocate and adopt a baby with HIV.  We sent her an email and told her about the baby and asked her to pray about it.  A few days later we received a message back saying that this was not her baby and it wasn’t time for her to adopt yet. I thought nothing of it and just assumed there was another family that would adopt him out there.  Then I began to think about this little guy. Wondering what his life would be like if he stayed in the orphanage.  I wondered what he looked like, what his name meant just little tiny thoughts that really could have meant nothing.

Trent and I were riding down the road inhaling gobs of smoke from the diesel truck in front of us when I just turned and looked at him and quietly asked him.  “Do you think we should try again to have another biological child or just adopt the rest?”  Just a week after we arrived to Addis I found out I had, had a miscarriage.  It was time to start talking about what our plan would be.  His big baby blue eyes looked at me and said well I have been thinking about the HIV baby.  My mouth dropped and I quickly said oh my, me too.  We laughed and giggled a bit at our FATHER because only HE could do this to us.

Not being our plan at all; we started talking about when we could go see the baby.  His dad put him in an orphanage so that he could be taken care of because he had been to the hospital and had ammonia.  We planned to go the next day and see this baby boy that had been separately placed on each of our hearts.  Oh when we saw his newborn size body and his extra long fingers for his body size we fell for him.  As we gazed into his big brown eyes we saw hope and purpose.  Could it be our son??

The next day we went to meet with the biological father to just let him know that we were willing to adopt his son if that were the route he chose but we wanted no response at the time because we wanted him to pray about it.  After all he had just lost the one he loved to a deadly disease.  We found out that he actually brought in Yodsera’s mom off the streets about 5 years ago. He loved her so much. They had a fun life together.  He had just lost his best friend.

After a few days Beaza spoke with the father and said that he would be okay if we adopted his son but only if he could see him every week and he could take him to see the grandma.  We could not agree to those terms and so we felt that God may have been closing the door for us. I understood this dads plan.  Even though he had not been to see the boy since he put him in the orphanage he still had control, this was HER son. He still has a piece of her.

We had started to talk about trying to get pregnant when a week or so later we hear that he wants us to  adopt  and would be grateful  to see him a few times a year.  We were like REALLY GOD???  But we kept our original agreement with the LORD; that being if it’s your will LORD we will.

Today we went to the Ministry of Womens Affairs to see what our options were.  In order for a foreigner to adopt in Ethiopia while living in Ethiopia you have to reside here for 2 years.  Since we don’t quite have 2 years we were told that we could be foster parents and have guardianship over the baby until we hit our 2 year mark then we could legally adopt him.  So we are taking the steps which I am sure will be many and long to become foster parents to Yodsera  so that in the appropriate time we can make it legal.

With that being said we have no idea what we are doing but HE does and we trust HIM wholeheartedly. Please pray with us along this journey. Pray that HE goes before us with each and every tiny step we take to loving on this boy and helping him to be loved and healthy. Pray that HE would prepare our family and friends hearts for this journey. We all know when you say HIV people get a little freaked out.  Pray that we are able to become foster parents to Yodsera and are able to get him a visitation visa next summer when we come to the states to visit.  Above all else pray that HIS will be done and that HE would lead us there.

We are so grateful for your love, support, prayers, friendships without your support we would not be right here, right now on this journey so thank you for the part you have played in it.



All-OUT for HIS children of the world,


"Why GOD you know my heart, you know I would never choose to do this?"

Knowing we were moving to Ethiopia we began to look into schooling options to our children’s education.  We tried to get our kids in to Bingham Academy in Addis Ababa Ethiopia.  We had heard so many good things about this school and I was SURE that my kids would get in because after all it was what I wanted and I was moving my family in obedience to what GOD was calling us to do. It came time to hear if they got accepted or not.  I remember it was a Thursday afternoon when Trent called me.  He said I got an email from Bingham today Carmen and the kids did not get in. (Because they are a very small faith based school that has one class per grade and we were at the bottom of the list)  Immediately my body felt like it could just fall to the ground.  Kiki had not missed a day of school all year but this day she wasn’t feeling well so I let her stay home.  After hearing the news I couldn’t even react because my daughter was standing right beside me.  I gave her the news and she was so excited while I just felt like I could vomit.

Once I got the kids down for a nap, I threw my body down on the couch and I cried out to GOD “Why GOD you know my heart, you know I would never choose to do this”?   I couldn’t understand why in the world that HE would choose such a task for me to fufill.  I actually hated school and was totally in it for the social scene. I do hair, I am a people person, I need to be on the streets loving on the street kids LORD what are you thinking.  I thought of every reason why I am not the one for this.  See at this moment I realized it wasn’t about me anymore.  It wasn’t about my plans and what I was going to do for the street kids in Ethiopia. It became everything about HIM and HIS plans and purpose for me in Ethiopia.

The next day at the salon I had a new client that I know HE placed there in perfect timing.  My new friend would have gone through exactly what I was going through. She had her career as an attorney and had heard GOD telling her to home school. She ignored and battled with obeying HIM. She had made it through that and had been homeschooling for 2 years.  That morning I was still devastated and HE knew how to comfort me. Jennifer and I talked for a couple hours and she then invited me to her home to learn a bit of how she does things. Jennifer continued to mentor me through all the details and challenged me to dig in and read about the curriculums and find out what is best for my children. I thought I could just copy her and do what she did. But that is not the way it works LOL

GOD began to reveal to me exactly WHY HE had me where he did. Kiki began to have dreams that we would take her back to the orphanage because she was a bad girl.  Or having dreams about us paying the kids in the ministry more attention than her. Or that she was going to be kidnapped and how would she find us.  Again you have to understand that the enemy is a liar and we had to battle with him on these things. Seeing it all from a spiritual perspective I knew exactly why my baby girl needed to be homeschooled. She needs to know that she is secure in her family and that nothing will change that.  It wasn’t my plan at all but for her I will do anything and with HIM I can do all things.

The day has come when tomorrow will be our first day of homeschool.  It has been fun getting the room set up here is Addis. I look forward to this time with my children.  I have never spent this much time with them. I had the ideal schedule at the salon being off 3 days a week and making my own schedule then we had Make Your Mark. So my time was equally spread out.  This will be new and will be challenging in every way but I will trust that HIS plan is perfect and is what is best.

James4:7 Submit yourselves then to GOD. Resist the Devil and he will flee from you.

I find myself constantly having to choose not to listen to the lies of the enemy.  He is a liar and wants to distract me.  I will focus on HIS TRUTH through it all.


Humbled-Ashamed- Blessed….

It was a another raining day in Addis Ababa last year when I set out on my hiking expedition to find a good welder to make some needed bunk beds for our girls home. I walked from our area to the sub-city of Bethel; which was about a 3 mile hike on a 10% grade. There seemed to be a welder shop every 20 yards in this area but none of them made beds. After a couple hours of looking I became frustrated and tired and decided it was time to go home. As I made my way down the hill I was just about to turn right to my cut through then I saw one more shop about 50 yards away. Wanting to head home I thought the law of averages must kick in, so I walked down and ask the man, “Do you make bunk beds?”, his reply “YES, of course I do..” That is how my friendship with Tesfa (which means Hope) began.

When I went to see Tesfa this year to make the bunk beds for our kids, it was a warm reunion as we hugged with Ethiopian tradition; that would be greetings, big smiles and three hugs. After telling him what I needed he invited me to go have a macchiato at the local café, this has always been tradition for us, as we did this every time I went to see him last year while checking on the beds. We talk about life, God (he is a deacon in the Orthodox Church) and he’d practice his English while I would practice my Amharic. Today he came by the house and as tradition goes, I invited him to go to my local café and have a macchiato. Today I would pay, because as we call it, “This is my town!”, but today’s conversation has struck me deeply.

We talked about the usually stuff and laughed as I tried to fumbled through my limited Amharic vocabulary. I did learn more about his personal life, finding out he came from the country side with his parents and has lived in the same little sub-city for 20 years. He said they had nothing, literally nothing when they arrived, driven to the city by unrest and war, famine. He worked his way up with small jobs here and there and saved enough money to buy a home made welder; in which he started his own welding business and every year he saved and added new equipment; slowing growing to where he is now. A nice little shop by Ethiopia standards, plastic walls and plastic roof to protect from the weather and an outside area in the grass/mud to make a living in; with three employees, sounds nice right?

Then I asked, “How much do your guys make?” let the humility begin. One of his guys is the top guy (manager) and he makes 100 birr a day, which is  $5 for an 8 to 5:30 day of hard work, grinding, welding and such. To make it easier for your reading the exchange rate is 17 US to 1 Birr, I will put the rest in dollars. His other two guys make $4 a day. Then he told me how much he brings home, $1,058.82 a year, yeah that’s not a type-o, a year. He pays himself less than his guys because they are there doing all the work every day and he is out doing unrelated work things and feels it’s unfair .He also said he's scared to raise his prices because he might lose business or shut down like other shops because of big tax increases. Good man, hard worker, trustworthy, husband, father this is crazy.

I’ve been torn since this conversation, feelings of shame as I realized how petty I’ve been when it comes to money. Having plenty of money in my pocket and money in a bank account across the seas and worrying about what am I going to do until more gets here because it’s gotten low. Knowing that Carmen’s made as much in a day doing hair than this hard working husband and father works a year to earn. Having yearly support in place to serve here that would take him about 50 years to make. Me getting bent out of shape because we don’t have dressers yet and we’re pulling our countless pieces of clothes out of bins and suitcases.  God we just have so much stuff and there are those that have so little, it could’ve been me, it could’ve been you. I realized how blessed or cursed I am by a statement Tesfa made later in our conversation. He said, “You know what Trent? I am RICH, (he held up his hands) I have 10 fingers, two eyes that see, two hears that hear and can do a little something, make a living, I’m good”

Father forgive us all as we fret in self consumed worlds. We worry about so much that means so little and brings no profit to our lives. Help us to learn from a man that looks like he doesn’t have much, but has everything we need. He fully understands that he is BLESSED!


My Friend Tesfa

Saying goodbye before I even said hello

When we left the states to move to Ethiopia we were so excited and were officially a family of 5.  I can remember the first time someone said that I was like oh my this is real, we are going to have another baby.  This pregnancy would be a little different than my first because now we would share this joy of watching our two children get very excited that they would have a baby brother or sister.  Gavin was excited that he would be a big brother and Kiki was just excited to have a baby to carry around that would be her real live baby doll. There would be something that took place that I did not experience with Gavin.  Around 3 weeks I had severe cramping for a few hours.  It hurt really badly. As if I had some type of air built up in my stomach.  When I stood up there was a ton of pressure. It was such intense pain that I was laid out for a while. Thinking nothing to serious about it, once the pain was tolerable I was up moving again. This was the weekend before we left for Ethiopia.

Once we arrived in Ethiopia a week into it I started to bleed.  Now this was a very hectic time because we were trying to get our house cleaned up so that we could move into it.  I kept up the normal pace the first day of bleeding but after sharing with others of what was going on they said I needed to rest. By this point my body was physically exhausted and I was glad to.  So after a days of rest I thought I was good. The bleeding wasn’t as heavy so I thought everything was ok.

After speaking with a nurse she said it was too early to tell and we would just have to wait and see.  Not once did I think I had lost the baby.  We prayed together and it felt as if time stood still. Could it be? Could I have lost the baby and not know? Why didn’t I know this or do something about it?  The days passed and I just needed to know if I was SAYING GOODBYE BEFORE I EVEN SAID HELLO.

After seeing a Doctor and getting an ultra sound and blood work we found out that we had indeed lost the baby. I was so confused. How could this happen? I was healthy, I took care of myself. What did I do to make this happen? The lies began to pour into my heart.

I had to stand strong on my FATHERS truth and say this verse over and over again.  1Peter 4:12 Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.  But rejoice in as much as you participate in the sufferings of CHRIST, so that you may be over joyed when HIS glory is revealed.

Through it all Gods plans are perfect and HIS ways are not my ways. I lean on you LORD and your TRUTH when I do not understand.

Mommy can we talk for a minute

 Moving our daughter back to her country has been a big deal for us.  When God was calling us to move to Addis Ababa Ethiopia in the beginning there wasn’t a doubt in our mind that we must obey.  Then people started talking and saying crazy things like “oh my what if someone kidnaps her” speaking of her biological mom.  Well to be honest we had never thought about that. But once the seed is planted then it begins to grow.  My family and I have this ALL-OUT relationship with the LORD and the enemy would love to destroy it.

From the beginning the thought was how cool would it be for our daughter to grow up knowing who Senke was and knowing all of her story.  We had pictures of Kalkidan and Senke before Trent brought her home to be a part of our family.  We wanted Senke to be able to see her before she left.  When we would go to Ethiopia to visit we would take Senke pictures of Kalkidan and Gavin so that she could see how well she was doing.  See I grew up being adopted having no connection to my biological family so I was always searching for something to fulfill me. Unfortunately I chose many paths that lead to destruction.  I wanted to be able to give my daughter something I wasn’t given, peace in knowing who she is and where she came from and complete confidence in who GOD created her to be.

Before moving we had many conversations with our daughter and even spent 2 months last summer in Addis Ababa Ethiopia to make sure that HE had prepared Kiki her for this journey.  Kiki did great the 2 months and was excited to move.  Her and I talked about Senke being in the same city and even in the same ministry that we would be in.  Kalkidan was good and really has no emotional attachment because she knows who she is, she knows that this was Gods plan for her and she is confident with her family.  Before leaving I told her there will probably be many conversations that take place where she feels weird or doesn’t know what to say to the question. And when this happens to pull me aside and say MOMMY CAN WE TALK FOR A MINUTE.?

The time came within a few days of being in Ethiopia where she came up to me and said those exact words…mommy can we talk for a minute.  We discussed a question she was asked about Senke being her mom.  I asked her what did she say and she said she didn’t know how to answer.  I said well answer it from your heart.  She said “But you’re my mommy” I grabbed her and hugged her and said well that is what you say next time you are asked.

A few days later I decided we needed to go see Senke.  I didn’t want the enemy to have any way in this part of my family’s life. So we tackled it head on.  When we went to Tseffa’s house (one of our girls home where Senke is a house leader) the emotions were running high. SO many of the girls were so excited to see Kalkidan because they were in a girls home with her before she went to the orphanage. When I saw Senke I gave her big hugs and a kiss and told her that we loved her.  She was filled with so much JOY to have us there. As I was walking up the steps to the house behind Kiki I looked back to see the most precious look on Senkes’ face. It was a face filled with amazement and fulfillment.

We spent the next 4 hours eating lunch, drinking buna, laughing, watching Kiki show off all her gymnastic moves and looking at pictures from when Kiki was a baby.  What a blessed day it was to share with my daughter.  HE went before us and prepared the way for us.

I am so grateful now in life that I went through the things I did growing up so that I can love on my baby girl in a way that she can relate to.  I am grateful for my mommy and the way she loved me even when I was seeking something that was right in front of my face.  I thank GOD that HE has given me the wisdom to LOVE and ENGAGE in my children ALL-OUT!!

Being forced to rest

It has been crazy busy here in Addis Ababa Ethiopia.  We are very happy with our home. It has great potential.  It has been freshly painted and awaits our arrival.  At the present moment we have no water so we can’t quite live there.  Here in the city the government turns the water on and off at random moments; at which you have no idea when yours will be working.  The people who live across the road may have access to water daily while others may only have it for one day a week. They sale tanks here in which you fill up while the water is on, in hopes that it will last you all week.  We will use our pump and tank that we purchased last summer when we ran into the same issue. A bigger tank=more water to last through the week.

In 2 days and a 13 hour span we have finally purchased some items for our home.  The 2nd day we were here we spent 7 hours riding around looking for furniture.   We actually saw exactly what we didn’t want.  The next day we rode around for 6 more hours and actually purchased our living room furniture, refrigerator, and our bed. The furniture was delivered yesterday. We were all smiles seeing that our hard work had paid off. We actually had furniture in our house.  We still need to purchase the kids beds, home school furniture and some dressers but we are getting closer and closer. We can’t wait to be living in our home.

With the craziness of moving our family to Ethiopia today we are being forced to rest.  I am 1 month or so pregnant and I have been bleeding for 2 days. I also have a sinus infection. So today we are taking the entire day to rest. Even GOD on the 7th day rested from everything!  As we serve our FATHER ALL-OUT here in Addis Ababa Ethiopia we must remember to rest.  The kids are doing great. They have adapted very well. Trent is officially driving and doing a great job. If you have never been to Addis the driving is a bit unique to say the least.

We had a couple of first that we would love to share with you. The first time we saw Abdul we parked the car and ran over to him and continuously hugged his precious neck. Abdul is a friend of ours from last summer.  Abdul was born with a disfigured face, he was abandoned at birth b/c of this. He grew up thinking that his grandmother was his mom. Well his grandmother died and he came to the city realizing that his mom, dad and siblings were here. He had been lied to his whole life about who he was.  His father soon dies to TB and mom is left with 6 children. Abdul was still shunned from his family b/c of the way he looked.  He had to work and shine shoes while the rest of his siblings were able to go to school.  From the moment I saw his precious face GOD put something in my heart to love on him like crazy. I decided one day to get in his world for a minute so that I could get to know him. I sat down and got my boots shined from him. From that moment on we began to love on Abdul and he became a part of our family. Abdul was a Muslim boy who we were able to tell about JESUS. The past year he has been sponsored by a teenage boy in America for 40.00 so that he can go to school, get a hearing aid, have clean clothes and help his family with rent or food. Abdul is in top of his class and has so much hope now. YOU TOO can make a difference. We have many children that need this opportunity.

The first time we saw Belay we ran to him and hugged him and hugged him some more. This boy has the most contagious smile ever.  Belay showed up at our door last summer and wanted some shoes. We told him that everyone in Ethiopia needs a pair of shoes and that we wanted to get to know him.  We began to build this relationship with him and were able to share Jesus with him. He was kicked out of his aunts home because of this. Last summer we had friends that came over to adopt 2 children from Ethiopia. They own Run For Your Life. They brought him new shoes, socks, shorts and watch. Everything that he would need to be a great runner. Since then he has completed 11th grade and wants to pursue running ALL-OUT. He is in training now. In a year or 2 he wants to try out for the Olympics. Again I say YOU TOO can make a difference in the life of one!

Then it hit me….oh we won’t be coming back.

When arriving at the Addis airport we were extremely exhausted.  The night before we left our home in America we got just an hour and half of sleep.  When we arrived little did we know that we would be in the airport for 3 hours or so.  Since 2 pieces of luggage did not arrive Trent had to wait in a long, slow line to claim the pieces that would be arriving in the next few days.  We are delirious about now and still needing to get our 22 bags through customs.

We roll in with our posse that is helping push our carts and they start going through the x-ray machine. One by one they started pulling the pieces aside to look at what was in them.  In the end we only were getting taxed on our 24 inch flat screen that we bought in the states.  We had receipt in hand ready to show them that we only paid 200.00 for it. Well they have a set price on this taxed item and let’s just say it’s more than we paid for it. We left it at the airport to discuss what we would do.

In the end we decided that we will pay the taxes on it.  We feel it’s important for the kids to have it to watch movies on and to be able to play the wii. Okay so we may not be your average missionary’s b/c of this but you know what it’s us and we go ALL-OUT!!

We are riding through the city and I began smelling all the wonderful smells of this place we love, this place that is now home. On the way here I remember thinking on the plane that I really shouldn’t watch all the movies because I would need something to watch on the way back. Then it hit me…..oh we won’t be coming back.  Reality is sinking in that this is our home.

We get to our neighborhood and we start to think these were our stomping grounds last summer.  I must admit that I wasn’t felling confident in our journey ahead. I guess I just thought that I would arrive with boldness ready to love, but I found myself feeling a little bit out of place. 2 Corinthians 12:8-9 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me “My grace is sufficient for you for my power is made perfect in your weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weakness, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. When we pull in our driveway we see familiar faces of our girls.  BIG SMILES and BIG HUGS were given; that was refreshing.

The house is more open than our home last summer.  We have a bit more space BUT man does it have some work that needs to be done, LOTS of work. The next couple of weeks we will spend this time getting our home livable so that we can function as a family. Please pray for us through this process, we have a lot ahead of us.

We will be staying in a guest house for the next week which is a blessing because we can get away from the chaos and rest.  We know that it will be very challenging possibly even more so than last summer but we know that once we get settled in; it will be on.