Apr 09

EHE’s North American Tour 2014

The Shannon Family is going to be taking EHE on the road this summer/fall and we would love to come share the work of Embracing Hope Ethiopia in a city near you.  Would you like us to come to your area?
Late July through Mid-October. us_canada_map
We are looking for the opportunity to get in front of churches, adoption groups or even living rooms full of people.  We are amazed at all God has been doing in the lives of families who live on the edge and we can’t wait to share it.
The purpose of our tour is to raise awareness about orphan prevention and family preservation as well as to find sponsors for the 66 new families that we will be adding to the project soon.
If you would be interested in having us visit and you can help us to create a place where EHE could be promoted, drop us an email at jerry@EmbracingHopeEthiopia.com .
Help us to start filling in our map!
We are hoping to pull our route together over the next month, so please get in touch soon!
Thank you for helping us to pull together the EHE Tour, Late Summer 2014.

Mar 26

Announcing EHE Spiritual Ministries!


Over the past 3  years of our work in Ethiopia, we have seen incredible transformation come to Moms and their children as families were preserved.   God has given us incredible opportunities to share His love in deed daily.  It has been beautiful to offer a holistic response.

However, over that time one area where we have been lacking in our holistic response is a limit on our ability to minister spiritually to Moms and children.  We always have had the understanding that spiritual transformation must occur in order for true transformation from the inside out to take hold.  However, due to a legal separation between development work and spiritual work in Ethiopia, we have been limited in our ability to share Jesus in word.

Ministrylicense - Mar 24, 2014, 1-26 PMBut now, our time has come to be able to start sharing Jesus in word, too.  After 5 months of paperwork, we received our license this past week for Embracing Hope Ethiopia Ministries.  This will give us opportunities to now share the Good News of Jesus Christ in word both here in Kore’ but also in other areas around Addis Ababa and beyond.

Now, we can truly minister the whole Gospel to the whole person – emotional, physical, relational, intellectual and spiritual.

Please join us in praising God for the new opportunities that He is opening up to us both through Embracing Hope Ethiopia Development and Embracing Hope Ethiopia Ministries.

If you would like to give towards the launching of our Spiritual Ministries, please click here and choose General Fund.  In the Notes, you can mark Spiritual Ministries.

Thank you for your continued prayers!

Mar 22

Family Sponsorship – Help us to get Mehalet and Habtam sponsored.

Help us to focus on seeing our families get sponsored one at a time.  By doing so, you are helping us to make room to serve more moms.

Mahelet and Habtam

Mahelet and Habtam

Today, Help us to find sponsors for Habtam and his mother Mehalet.   Habtam is 2 1/2 years old.  Mehalet is 28 years old, illiterate, and without resource to keep her family intact and healthy without the partnership that EHE provides.

Maybe you are able to sponsor them.  If so, jump in at $34, $68. $102 or $136 per month.  If so, Click on this link and sign up.

If not, please engage your networks and help advocate for sponsorship for                  .  Spread the word.  Talk about EHE.  Help others to see the importance of preserving families and preventing orphans – one family at a time.

Maybe this sounds like too much commitment.  We get that.  Would you consider making a donation to our fund that helps support those families who do not yet have full sponsorship.  To do so, Click here and put your gift in as Family Sponsorships.

Your partnership means so much to us!  Thank you!



Mar 18

Unfinished Business

We need your help.  

We are on the edge of expanding and we have some unfinished business.  We have over 35 sponsorship slots posted on our website that we need to find sponsors for.  We have an additional 40 sponsorship slots that need filled within the project because people have needed to discontinue sponsorship for financial or personal reasons.

Here is how you can help us today..

 1. Choose to sponsor one of the families.  $34 per month will cover one sponsorship slot or $136 per month covers all expenses for a family.  Families like Yeabsera & Yebrigual  are posted now on our website www.embracinghopeethiopia.com/sponsorships

Yeabsera & Yebrigual
Yeabsera and Yebrigual

 2.  Spread this video about sponsorship far and wide.   Post it on Facebook.  Show it to your small group.  Share it around the office.  Show it to your church.  Help us spread the word about how orphans can be prevented and families preserved.  It truly does change lives.

3.  Call your networks to action.  Talk to your Sunday School class.  Challenge your MOPS group to care about seeing mothers of preschool children in other parts of the world cared for.  Spread the word through adoption forums.   Here is a chance for people to make a tangible difference with their resources.

4.  Pray.  Our proposal to expand to 188 children is sitting in front of officials as I write this.  We’ll soon be opening up our doors to serve another 66 Moms and children who are in need.  Pray for us, for the gov’t officials and the families whom we’ll soon have the privilege of partnering with.

Thank you for partnering with us!


Nov 02

Thoughts on Orphan Sunday

Tomorrow is Orphan Sunday.  It is great opportunity to pray for orphans and widows throughout their world and again highlight their plight and ask God what our responsibility is to them.  Even here in Addis Ababa we will be praying for them tomorrow.  We will pray for them and then within seconds be confronted by the reality of their situation as we exit our church compound.

Orphan Sunday brings up a number of reflections for me.  I am an adoptive dad – now having welcomed 3 Ethiopian children into our family.   I am an advocate for family preservation – having seen a program birthed that now keeps 122 children in their families who otherwise had great likelihood of being orphaned.  I am a pastor whose heart breaks for the poor, and  long to see more Jesus followers engaged in serving their needs in Jesus’ name. And  I am a skeptic who has seen a lot of good and a lot of harm done in the name of working to meet orphans and widows in their distress.

Christy and I first started talking about adoption before we were even married.   I believe that God planted a seed in both of us that we someday would adopt a child.  It took over 10 years of being married before I was even willing to journey down that road.  We started the process in 2007 and I started researching.   It got into my blood that we were going to invest a lot of money and travel the whole way around the world and rescue a child out of their despair and return them to live the good life in America.   On top of that I became judgmental in wondering why everyone else was not rescuing children too. I have since repented of those attitudes.   Adoption was God’s instrument not mine.  God was going to add to our family through adoption and make it so much richer.  In essence He was going to rescue my family from our own self-centeredness in the process.   It was costing our daughter to come into our family.  She was leaving her family roots, people who look like her, her homeland, her culture, and her language.  This was no rescue.   Rather this was a gift that God was inviting us into that needed to be stewarded well.

One year after adopting we felt compelled to move to Ethiopia where we started Embracing Hope Ethiopia.  Within a short time of arriving in Ethiopia we saw the plight of the “widow.”  We watched as mothers who had been abandoned or widowed were faced with trying to beg enough for their child to eat so that the child could stay in their family of origin.  It was harsh and tragic.  We chose to do something.  We wanted to see families preserved.  God placed those children into a family, so didn’t it make sense that we do everything within our power to see those families preserved.  We wanted to see Kids raised with their moms, not with a different mom.   It got deep inside of me.

Like imagining that adoption was a quick fix to the orphan problem, I also thought that providing childcare would be a quick fix for orphan prevention.   Before even opening I was confronted with the multiple layers of poverty, injustice, need, corruption and needs for dignity restoration.   We had started to peel back a layer of the onion, but it was going to be an incredibly long process for us to get to the center.   In the long run we knew that Moms and children would need to come to know Jesus in order to see their poverty broken.  We also knew that it was going to be a long process before they would ever be ready to come to know Him.

Now this past summer we have adopted 2 more children.  Children for whom family preservation was not an option.  Children who add so much to our family and make us so much richer as a result.

What a ride it has been over these past 4 years.   Here are some things that I have learned…

1.  Adoption is an answer.  There are many children for whom the only way they will ever have a family is through adoption.  We are grateful for the way our family grew by 3 through adoption.

2.  Local Adoption is often a better answer than International.   If we can keep children in their home culture with loving families, I believe it to be an amazing solution.  Even here in Ethiopia the potential is here.   Interest is growing and in time our prayer is that it becomes easier.

3.  Family Preservation is the Future.   We have to stop children from being orphaned in the first place.  There is no excuse for moms to have to give up their children for economic or health reasons.  It is possible for us to walk alongside Moms and see them able to keep their children while also becoming sustainable.

4.  The numbers are skewed.   Consider the statistics for the number of orphans in Ethiopia.   While there are various estimates, some would claim that there are 5 million orphans in Ethiopia.   The problem is definition.   Many of those 5 million have either a mom or a dad surviving or a relative who is able to care for them.   In reality there are approximately 700,000 children in Ethiopia who have neither mom nor dad.   This is where Family Preservation comes in.  Sure, lets focus on the 700,000 who are double orphans and find an adoptive home for them either inside Ethiopia or internationally.   But for the other 4.3 million, we have to find other solutions to keep the family intact and to find champions for them inside Ethiopia.

5.  We cannot serve the orphan without serving the widow.  It is interesting to me how often we hear James 1:27 quoted and all we talk about is the orphan.   I believe James intention was for us to utter the orphan and the widow in the same breath.   We have to serve both.   It is difficult and ugly and messy.  Yet, it is the Kingdom life to serve both the orphan and the widow in their distress.  We don’t get to choose one over the other, in my opinion.

6.  Even the poorest of the poor Moms deeply and desperately love their children.  They would do most anything to make sure their children were being provided what they need.  If we couple that deep love with a partnership that can help them keep their children, I believe we have a powerful opportunity.

7.  There is a way forward and it takes all of us.   We need ministries and NGOs and churches and adoption agencies and government organizations and orphanages all working together.  Orphan and widow care is so multifaceted.  It needs multiple interventions.   Please pray that all can work as one and together we can meet the orphan and the widow in their distress and see them ministered to in holistic ways that point the way to Jesus.

Thank you for remembering the Orphan and the Widow on Orphan Sunday.

Sep 28

9 New Families!!

I am happy to announce that we have the privilege and honor of partnering with 9 New Families!   These Moms deeply love their children and we count it great joy that they have continually done whatever it took in order to keep their children.

Now, as we walk together, our prayer is that they can move towards a more sustainable situation while continuing to care for their own child.

Their situations range broadly.   We have one child who was referred to us by a hospital after having extensive leg surgery.  Others were found begging along the roadside.  Others showed up at our gate, like dozens of others who do so everyday, in hopes that we could partner with them to help them keep their children.

All of them are courageous moms who have made sacrifices to keep their kids because of their deep love for them.

We’ve posted a bit of information about all of them at www.EmbracingHopeEthiopia.com/sponsorships/  with the promise to post more information as their profiles are completed.

Please pass the word and help us to find sponsors for all of these families.  For now, here are their photos!

Kalkidan and Hareg

Mehalet and Yetayesh

Yeabsera and Medihanete

Besufekad and Enanu

Elbetel and Asnakech

Behimnet and Yenenesh

Biru and Mestawot

Enchalew and Shashe

Mahelet and Habtam

Thank you for partnering with us and with these new families!  Our project is now officially full and we covet your prayers as we look at the next chapter for EHE!


Aug 19

EHE Kindergarten is ready…here is how you can help!

We’re almost ready to open the EHE Kindergarten in September.   The slide and merry go round are purchased.  The desks are on order.   Rooms are being moved around and soon teachers will be hired.  It is getting exciting!!

Some of the children who will be learning in the KG

Today I wanted to share with you some photos as well as get some info to you…
  1. What is the EHE Kindergarten?  Here in Ethiopia, Kindergarten is required in order to proceed on to 1st Grade.  However, because often times Kindergartens are private, it means that the poor are unable to afford Kindergarten and therefore cannot send their children to 1st Grade when it is time.  Kindergartens have also become a business model where many times the education and care are not of a high quality, but rather it is a business strategy.  Therefore, we are starting our own Kindergarten that will serve the kids enrolled in EHE and provide them with a quality education.

Children will continue to receive Breakfast, Lunch, Snack, all day care, clothing,  medical care, etc.  The Moms will also continue to receive supports as before.   The  only real change so far is that they will now also have an in- house, licensed formal education. 


2.  What Ages will you serve?  At first we will have a Nursery School class (for those age 3 – 4) and a Kindergarten 1 Class (for those ages 4 – 5) .   The children will be required to pass a government mandated exam in order to enter Nursery and then another exam in order to proceed to Kindergarten 1.   Our dream is then to grow the school with the children enrolled in EHE each year by adding another Grade level.  So next year we hope to offer KG 2, then the next year Grade 1 and on and on.


3. How will you staff it? Are you licensed?   Each class will have a Teacher and an Assistant Teacher.  In addition we will have a Head Teacher / Administrator and our support staff (cooks, cleaners, etc.) in addition to a Social Worker and Nurse.  Yes, we are licensed by the Kebele Education Department in addition to our license as an NGO.


4. What about the Day Care? The Day Cares will continue as in the past, except now at age 3 or 4 the children will

Our instructor, Zabesh, who has been giving Pre-KG learning to the Day Care children already.

enter into Nursery School.  It still will be a lot of learning by play, but in addition to formal learning.  It is similar to what we have been doing with education in the Day Care, but now in a formal, licensed way.   At the same time, every time we bump a child up into KG, we’ll fill his or her spot with a new young child  in need of Day Care.  So, this will actually give us more capacity to serve the very vulnerable young children and moms.


5.  What is the Bigger Picture?  The bigger picture is that we’ll now be able to walk a longer way with the families whom we serve.  As the children start to KG, we’ll start to wean the families off of some of the services we provide in order to enable them to stand on their own feet.   This gives us an opportunity to continue to encourage them and provide an education to children, while acknowledging that to continue an intensive intervention for too long could result in dependency.


How Do I Get Involved?  Right now there are 3 primary ways we can use your support.

  1. Pray for us as we launch.  We need your prayers.
  2. Give a one time donation.  You can help us by giving a personal donation, or better yet help us spread the word through Facebook  and even start your own Giving Campaign towards this work.   By inviting your friends to join in you are helping to prevent orphans and preserve families, while at the same time ensuring that children get a great start to their education.

We have a number of non-budgeted expenses to provide for, such as:

a. Play Ground Equipment (required by the authorities for licensing).  We now have purchased a slide and merry go round.    Cost:  $700 USD.

Our Shiny New Sliding Board!

A Merry Go Round waiting for the children.

 b.  Desks / Tables for the children to work at.   You’ll see from the photos that they now are on the floor working.  We have tables on order.  Cost: $2,000 USD (Approx.)

Your help in buying desks means the kids have a space to work at.

c.  Floor Covering for the School.  Cost: $200 USD.
d. Play Ground Area Prep Work .  Cost $100 USD.
e. Classroom Materials – Chalk Board and Assorted Materials.  Cost $200 USD.
3. Consider Family Sponsorship.   Your sponsorship of a family helps us in two ways.  The one is that it provides for a family in the project.  At the same time it helps us to make room for new families to come into the project.  We always are adding new families by faith, so your sponsorship gives us encouragement to take another step in helping other families.
As always, thank you for the amazing support that you provide us here at Embracing Hope Ethiopia!

Aug 07

Announcing the One Child Campaign 2014 Ethiopia Trip

If you have been thinking about visiting Ethiopia and Embracing Hope Ethiopia, here is a great opportunity for you to consider.

Our great friends over at One Child Campaign just released their Summer 2014 trip. The dates are July 21 – 31. This is an opportunity for you to not only visit Embracing Hope, but also you will have a chance to visit a number of other amazing organizations working here in Ethiopia.

If you would like to hang out a bit longer at EHE, we are able to work together with One Child to have you add a couple of days onto your trip.

For now, check out the One Child Campaign’s Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/events/430655217054375/ for more info about this great opportunity.

Jul 22

When you know that God is with you…a driving close call.

Anyone who has visited Ethiopia knows that at times driving here can feel a bit dicey. City traffic is one thing as you feel cramped for space, but driving outside of the city comes with its own risks.

One road is well known for its share of fatal accidents. There are times where we drive the stretch of road from Addis to Mojo and will see 3 or 4 terrible accidents that had not yet been removed, all within a mere 70 kilometers of road. This two lane road that has trucks moving and passing at high speeds into oncoming lanes has meant that we never travel this road after dark. It is just too dangerous and many people have become statistics on it.

Last week we had our own close call. We were traveling back from the South, having had a meeting about our adoption when I saw the semi truck barreling down on us in my lane. I did the customary, flashing of my lights at him and started to slow down so that we could get back into his lane of traffic after passing someone. He squeezed back into his lane, no problem.

But I never saw the pickup truck coming that was tailgating him.

And there we were in slow motion, watching as a pickup truck was coming straight for us. I flashed my lights at him and he flashed his at me. My lights. His lights. My lights. His lights. I continued to slow as much as I could and ran off of the road onto the shoulder just as he locked up his brakes and collided into the back 6 inches of the Land Cruiser. The driver of the pickup was driving like an idiot, but God protected us and him.

Praise God we did not even feel a jolt. No one was hurt. Not even a scratch or a bruise. A small dent and a bit of scratched paint on the Land Cruiser. No problem. A bit shaken. Okay, I was shaken a lot more than a bit.

A close call. Way too close. However, God was with us. His hand was on that whole situation. He either moved the pickup or he moved us, because the sheer physics of the situation did not add up. He protected our growing family and also the driver of the pickup.

We are grateful to God…and I think I may avoid driving that road for some time.

Jul 06

Announcing EHE’s partnership with Poverty Cure!

We are pleased to announce Embracing Hope Ethiopia’s membership in the Poverty Cure Partner Network.  We are honored to be part of this network that focuses on partnering with the poor in ways that restore dignity to see cycles overcome.

Poverty Cure is an international coalition of over 230 organizations spanning 143 countries.

We support PovertyCure’s Challenge & Vision of partnership-based solutions to poverty that challenge the status quo and champion the creative capacity of the human person. Poverty Cure has a wealth of resources available to help small groups, churches, business groups and organizations to rethink poverty.

For more information about Poverty Cure and the resources they have available to help educate all of us on how to address poverty, follow the link below:


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