The journey of Embracing Hope Ethiopia began in 2006 when Jerry & Christy Shannon first started exploring international adoption. They were happily serving the Lancaster Vineyard Church in Lancaster, PA which they had planted in 2001, yet they felt God stirring things deep in their hearts specifically focused on demonstrating mercy among the poor.
In 2008 they traveled to Ethiopia to adopt their daughter Hanna. It was a life changing experience for them. (During this trip they met Alayu Tadesse who founded the local NGO named Embracing Hope Ethiopia alongside of the Shannons.) After returning to the US they felt as if God continued to do a deepening in their hearts for the people of Ethiopia. Over time through a series of astonishing God directed events they felt led to move to Ethiopia to serve with the poor and children. So, in 2009 their family moved to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
As they spent time on the ground in Addis Ababa, they realized that the people who were most in their hearts were orphans or those children whom were living in such poverty that their family was vulnerable to needing to give their children up, unless there was intervention. What also started to grow deep in their hearts was Psalm 68:6 “God sets the lonely in families.” Out of this a vision developed for ways to help keep families together and to prevent orphans among the poorest of the poor. At the same time that God was deepening a vision in them, He also was deepening it in a number of Ethiopians who had a desire to sacrificially serve the poor.
A vision started to come into focus of some practical ways that families could be served and helped to become more sustainable while also overcoming not just the physical causes and effects of poverty, but also the emotional, psychological, social and spiritual causes and effects of poverty.
In 2010 this vision started becoming a reality as a team of Ethiopians including Alayu Tadesse sacrificially gave of their time, energy and service to form a Board of Directors, get licensed and get all of the necessary project approvals. Alayu and his team volunteered so much during this time – freely given as an act of worship to our God on behalf of the poor.
In 2010 EHE also was incorporated in the State of Pennsylvania and registered with the IRS as a Non Profit 501c3 Charity. In Ethiopia we work as a Local NGO named Embracing Hope Ethiopia which has been licensed by the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, Charities and Societies Agency since January 2011. In April of 2011 we opened our doors to provide Day Care and holistic interventions to the first 20 children and their Moms.
In 2012 EHE also opened a School. Starting as a Nursery School and Kindergarten, this school continues to add 1 grade level per year and as of Fall 2015 will have over 150 children attending.
In 2013 because of the need to also see spiritual impact in the lives of Moms and children, EHE Spiritual Ministry was registered with the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia Ministry of Federal Affairs. This ministry is able to care of the spiritual needs of Moms and Children both that EHE has previously served as well as others in the community and beyond the Kore’ community.
Our focus is the poor, children and orphans who live in a section of Addis Ababa known as Kore’ (or Korah). This area of the city is very poor and is known as a forsaken place. It began decades ago as a leper colony, later become the site of the city trash dump and now has become a slum of 120,000 residents, many of them the poorest of the poor. We believe that the message of hope that Jesus brings to the whole person is a needed expression in this section of the city in cooperation with other individuals, churches and organizations who are already expressing His hope in this holistic ways..
Since its beginning in 2011, EHE has grown to now serve 196 children from 180 families, all of them young and vulnerable. The ministry has grown to now include a Day Care Center, School, Skills Center and Ministry Training Center. EHE now employs 53 Ethiopian staff who diligently serve children and mothers in holistic ways.
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