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We have been blessed with an amazing team of people.  Many are Ethiopians.  Some are foreigners serving on the ground or back in the US.  Others make up our advisory team.  Here’s your chance to meet our growing team.


 On The Ground in Ethiopia

The Shannons

Jerry & Christy Shannon’s first trip to Ethiopia was in 2008 when they traveled to adopt their youngest daughter, Hanna.  On that trip, God deposited something in their hearts about serving the poor and marginalized.  In 2009 they moved their family to Addis Ababa, where they have lived since that time, about a 5 minute walk away from the project houses.  About 1 year into their stay in Addis Ababa, they were able to help catalyze the beginnings of EHE.  Jerry and Christy’s roles within the project are to train and equip local staff as well serve as visionaries for the organization and funding.  In 2013 Jerry also took on the role of Senior Pastor of the International Evangelical Church, Addis Ababa.They have 6 children, Joshua (15), Micah (12), Caia (10), Hanna (5), Kidist (3) and Mihiret (1).




U.S. Embracing Hope Ethiopia Board of Directors

jerry & christyJerry Shannon

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Education: BA in Sociology and Religion, Thiel College

Currently employed as Executive Director of Embracing Hope Ethiopia and Senior Pastor of International Evangelical Church – Addis Ababa.

Married to Christy for 19 years.  Have 6 children…Joshua 15, Micah 12, Caia 10, Hanna 5, Kidist 3 and Mihiret is 1 year old.

Hobbies: I love to read, write, travel and spend time with family.

Favorite Book: Free of Charge by Miroslav Volf

Why you think its important to see the poor, children and orphans ministered to?    I believe it is important to see the poor, children and orphans ministered to because throughout history we see God’s heart in caring for the most vulnerable of society. Time after time He spoke up for the oppressed and forgotten and He called on His people to lead the charge.  It is in caring for those on the fringes that we also get in touch with our own poverty and we learn more of God’s design and intent for us to imitate Him.  Truly, we need the poor every bit as much as the poor need us, and God will use them to rescue us from our own god-complexes along the way.


shannon familyChristy Shannon

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Education:  Studied Elementary Education & Special Education, Millersville University

Currently mothering and home schooling my 4 kids, and partnering to see Embracing Hope Ethiopia happen

Married to Jerry for 16 yrs.  Have 4 children: Joshua 11, Micah 8, Caia 6, and Hanna 3 years old…who is Ethiopian.

Hobbies:  I love living in Africa!, scrapbooking, and playing games with my family

Favorite Book:   How to pick?

Why you think its important to see the poor, children and orphans ministered to? Simply, because God tells us to.  More explicitly, because not only is it important for the spread of the good news, for the advancing of God’s kindgom, but it’s also insanely important for us – those who are seeking Jesus and His Kingdom.  It’s amazing the ways you find Him among the poor.  Afrcia doesn’t necessarily need me, but I desparately need Africa.


van auken familyPaul Van Auken:

Oshkosh, WI

Education: Ph.D. in Sociology from University of Wisconsin-Madison

Currently employed as Professor of Sociology and Environmental Studies at University of Wisconsin Oshkosh

Married to Courtney, two daughters –  Tizita Desta (adopted from Ethiopia in 2008), and Soliana (adopted from Ethiopia in 2012)

Hobbies: I enjoy listening to, discussing, and playing music, hiking/biking/XC skiing, and sports of all kinds

Favorite Book: I don’t know if I can name a favorite book of all time, but I recently read James Loewen’s (a sociologist) book Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong – very interesting

Why you think its important to see the poor, children and orphans ministered to? I think that our extreme global inequality is a tragedy and we all need to do our part to address it in the ways we can. Women and children are on the one hand the most vulnerable but on the other hand are the keys to a better future. Finally, Christians have been commanded to love our neighbors and care for the such people, so not much more needs to be said!


ditzlersKirsten Ditzler

Lancaster, PA

Education: Doctorate of Physical Therapy

Currently employed as Women’s Health Physical Therapist

Married to Jason for 5 years.  One daughter: Julia, age 2

Hobbies:  Gardening, paper crafts, sewing, family time, home cooking, guess that’s more than one…

Favorite Book  Does my Kindle count??  :P  Julia calls it “mommy’s book.”  I guess if you had to pin me down to one…it would be “The Notebook”

Why you think its important to see the poor, children and orphans ministered to? These are the people that need love and comfort and compassion the most.  They are overlooked by most of society and need that love, support and caring no matter what their circumstances.  This ministry gives people hope and from hope all things are possible.


Cindy D’Asaro

Downingtown, PA

Education: Bachelor of Science – Elementary Education

Currently working as 1st grade teacher

Married to John for 19 years.  Have 4 children: Jonathan-16, Rachel-14, Josiah-12 and Andrew is 8 years old.

Hobbies: I love Reading and hiking

Favorite Books: Smith Wigglesworth and The Power of a Praying Parent

Why you think its important to see the poor, children and orphans ministered to? My heart goes out to those in need, especially children.  They need to be given a chance to be loved and fed nutritionally. The poor need hope and an opportunity.  They need to know that someone cares and most importantly, that Jesus cares for them.


Tymm Hoffman

Atlanta, GA

Education:School of Hard Knocks | Street Smarts  (actually went to GA Tech, Southern Tech, GA State, and Augusta College – yet to get a degree!)

Currently working as Senior Designer, Points of Light Institute (HandsOn Network)

Married to Laura with children, Brighton (son), Meron (daughter), and Mebrate (daughter).

Hobbies: running, exercising, mountain biking, playing with family

Favorite Book: fiction I like James Patterson.  Non-fiction I like Radical, Crazy Love, Hole in Our Gospel, Bible

Why you think its important to see the poor, children and orphans ministered to?

Because God thinks its important.


Jennifer Boyd

Boise, ID

Education: Doctor of Pharmacy

Currently employed as : Clinical Pharmacist, Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center

Director, Mission Medics (Vineyard College of Missions)

Hobbies: Backpacking, Hiking

Favorite Book: Non-Fiction: Experiencing God (Blackaby/King), Wild Goose Chase (Batterson), Do You Think I’m Beautiful? (Thomas) Fiction: anything by Francine Rivers.
Why you think its important to see the poor, children and orphans ministered to?
Jesus said it best: “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” The best way I know to return love to my Savior and Redeemer is to love on His most vulnerable kids.


Ethiopia Board and employees 

Our Team in Ethiopia is led by Alayu Tadesse who is the Director of the local NGO Embracing Hope Ethiopia, registered and licensed by Ethiopian Charities and Societies Agency.   He leads a team of 49 employees who run the Day Care, School and other activities.   Below are some of their photos.

2 pings

  1. Coffee Theory Newsletter #3 | Coffee Theory

    […] stayed with our friends the Shannons.  They really made this trip work for me, with hospitality and time and driving me all over Addis. […]

  2. Embracing Hope Ethiopia to present at East Petersburg Mennonite Church. | Jeff McLain

    […] Friday, September 5th 2014 at 7:00pm; the Shannon Family will be speaking at East Petersburg Mennonite Church, about their missional work through Embracing […]

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