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 and led since that time, yet they felt that God was 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. 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 events they felt that God was leading them to move to Ethiopia to serve with the poor and children. So, in 2009 their family moved to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Initially the plan was to start a church from which mercy and compassion ministry could flow. However, over time they realized that what God had really put in their hearts was the poor, children and orphans.
As time went on, 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 started to develop for ways to help keep families together as well as to assist children to find “family” here in Ethiopia. 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.
Our desire is to work alongside local churches, the community and the poor themselves in seeing the assets which God has already placed within them further developed and used to see lives transformed in holistic ways.
In 2010 we were incorporated in the State of Pennsylvania and are registered with the IRS as a Non Profit 501c3 Charity. In Ethiopia we work with a Local NGO named Embracing Hope Ethiopia which was licensed by the Ministry of Charities and Societies in January 2011.
Our focus is the poor, children and orphans who live in a section of Addis Ababa known as Korah. This area of the city is very poor and is known as a forsaken place. It began as a leper colony and then the site of the city trash dump. It has a higher prevalence of poverty, crime, prostitution, and disease then many other areas of the city. 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 108 children from 100 families, all of them young and vulnerable. We now have 2 Day Care Centers as well as a Literacy Center that serve the Korah slum. EHE now employs 40 Ethiopian staff who diligently serve children and mothers in holistic ways.
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