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19 posts from October 2008

October 28, 2008

Sponsorship of Kolfe Orphanage in Ethiopia

Kolfe orphanage is an incredible place filled with 130 boys outside Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. After spendingt just a few hours with the young men there, I was struck by how polite, engaging and smart they are. They are so conversational I almost didn't realize that this orphanage is situated on a dumping ground. Kolfe Every window is broken out of every building except the office and the only thing more prominent than garbage and glass on the ground is the red dust that covers every square inch of this horrible place. I see two possible roads for these boys. Down the first I see future husbands, fathers, and leaders of Ethiopia. Down the second I see death. I will occasionally use hyperbole to make a point but be clear that this not one of those times.  

What They Need

Family. The boys of Kolfe need a church family with a heart for seeing boys become men. They need role models and mentors. They need someone to see their potential and walk with them through life to help them realize it. Here's an overview of Children's HopeChest's  orphanage sponsorship program. Thanks to Sam Henry at Red Letters Campaign for the post.

Kolfe2 The Basics. Serving these boys begins with meeting their basic needs for survival. Today and tonight they are exposed to the elements living in dormitories that are in shambles. Their food is meager and mean non-existent. Children's Hopechest needs to raise $25K immediately to repair housing facilities, provide beds, and buy books while we find a church sponsor. If you would like to GIVE click here and mark Kolfe orphanage as the recipient.

Help. We are hiring in-country staff to oversee and manage these Sponsorship programs and to identify additional sponsorship opportunities. The field teams' role is threefold: 1) Point of continuity, trust, and fun to the kids throughout the year. 2) Point of financial accountability for orphanage leadership. 3) Facilitate connections between the sponsoring church and children in the orphanage. 

If you are interested in recruiting a church or community to sponsor Kolfe, please contact me immediately at [email protected]. We already have 3 sponsorships in process since returning last week!

October 22, 2008

New Scared Cover

I had to pull the last cover of Scared, my first novel that will release in May of 2009. The publisher wanted to make some changes, now here they are. This series will be marketed under the tag, "Novels with a Conscience." I'm asking you to comment honestly about what you think about this new design. They read the comments you leave and your input will be a huge help. Thanks!

Scared front cover

It's Too Early for Snow!

I'm getting Facebook and Twitter messages from my friends saying they're not sure they believe me about the 3 inches of snow we received last night. Here's some pictures to prove it! There was also a sheet of ice for my car to ski on as I took the kids to school this morning. Gotta love Colorado!


October 21, 2008

Ethiopia Orphanage Sponsorship

I'm still getting my head screwed on right after being home from Ethiopia. Jet-lag takes a toll on you but so does the adjustment of being around children who are desperate, hungry, and without much hope. Slowly, I'm getting back to normal.

I have great news to report: We already have our first Ethiopian orphanage sponsored! My good friend, who I am so thankful for, Anita Renfroe, has launched Anita's Mission of Hope to help us meet the needs of orphans in Africa. If you attend one of her conferences, you will hear about her connection with Children's HopeChest, and what she is doing. Today, she decided to sponsor the Kechene orphanage I mentioned in this post. You may remember Anita from her Mom's Overture that has been view millions of times on YouTube. She's also now a regular guest on Good Morning America. I can't begin to describe how excited I am that Anita and her husband, John, have partnered with us. They are amazing people!

Over the next few days, I'm going to be presenting the opportunity for sponsorship to other orphanages in Ethiopia. You can participate by recruiting your church, business, or community to get involved. We are also seeing blogging communities take responsibility for sponsoring an orphan community. 

Children's HopeChest has also opened Uganda. If you have a heart for that country and would like to help us please jump over to Daniel Clark's blog to read about his recent trip and learn how to connect. One life and a time, we are making a difference. Thank you!

October 20, 2008

Picture Album from Ethiopia

I tried to upload a photo album to my blog, but Facebook proved to be much easier. Click here: Ethiopia Photo Album to view the photos from the trip. Can't wait until we're there together in the Spring!

October 18, 2008

Pictures from Ethiopia

DSC_0257 When I'm home, I'll upload an album. Until then, I wanted you to see a few.


October 17, 2008

Headed Home

By noon on Saturday I'll be home...hopefully in enough time to catch some of my boys' soccer games!

Can't wait to post more pictures and stories for you! Thanks for your prayers!

How You Can Help

The most frequently asked question I get is: How can I help?

As you head into the weekend, here are 5 things you can do...modeled after 5 for 50.

1.'ve read the posts, seen the photos, and watched the videos. Pray that God will raise up 10 churches to sponsor Ethiopian orphanages through Children's HopeChest. You can pass along this one page summary of how sponsorship works to any pastors or leaders you think should get it.

2. FAST...Ethiopia is in the grip of a famine that is impacting over 6 million individuals...maybe a lot more. Commit to fasting for Ethiopia and ask God to use that time to reveal to you how you can make a difference for orphans.

3. GIVE...You can give now at When I return, I'll be sending out an important update about how the economy has impacted our giving, and what our plans are for keeping our programming funded.

4. SERVE...We're leaving in April 2009 for the next vision trip. How many people can you recruit? I want to have 10 or more churches, businesses, and donors travel with me to make a difference for Ethiopia. Can you help?

5. JOIN...Send this to five (or more) people. Post it on your blog. Message your friends on Facebook. Share this message with those you know and encourage them to start a relationship with an orphan through Children's HopeChest today. We need an army...and you can help.

Thank you so much for your support. I look forward to sharing more about my trip when I return to the U.S. Simon has shot some great video that I'll be able to post soon.

October 16, 2008

Expansion Criteria

As we're in the midst of this exciting launch in Ethiopia, I wanted to share with you some of the factors that we use at Children's HopeChestin deciding how to expand. As you can tell from my previous posts, not everything goes according to plan and you have to be flexible and get very good and turning lemons into lemonade.

When we talk about expansion in the U.S., we're typically looking at seven different factors. These are “guiding principles” that may be expressed differently in each country where we choose to work. They are identified here as guidelines for expansion and the type of information our executive leadership needs before committing to expansion. Not all principles will line up perfectly…and many could be weak or developing at the point of making a commitment to expand. 

  1. Spiritual: Expansion follows the conviction of the Holy Spirit in His guidance of the leadership of Children’s HopeChest.
  2. Sponsoring Organizations: Expansion depends upon the interest of CHC partners (churches and businesses) to establish a long-term presence through our sponsorship program.
  3. Donor Investment: Expansion requires the investment of donor seed money in the initial stages.
  4. Ministry Partners: Expansion to new countries requires strong, in-country, national-led partner ministries with a true heart of caring for orphans in their distress.
  5. Mission-Centered Programming: Expansion must afford Children’s HopeChest the ability to support programs that are consistent with the mission that every orphan knows Him, experiences the blessing of family, and acquires skills for independent living.
  6. Infrastructure: Expansiondemands CHC have the appropriate U.S.infrastructure in place to support and grow new ministries in new places.
  7. Country Selection: Expansionrequires significant due diligence before selecting a country for new programming—this includes cultural considerations as well as travel realities.

October 14, 2008

Ethiopia Day 4 - I think

Tomorrow morning I'm heading to Lalibela, Ethiopia and will likely be out of pocket from the internet for a few days. This is the home to some of the oldest churches in the world and has been called, The Eighth wonder of the world. Google it - the churches are carved, inside and out, entirely out of rock. They date back to the 11th or 12th century.

This trip has been so amazing. My heart burns for Ethiopia in a million ways. The kids here are amazing. Full of life and as kind as can be. Today, we were in an orphanage called Kolfe, a boys home with about 120 kids. You would think this place so filled with testosterone, would be a bit dangerous, cold and resistant. Just the opposite. These boys had incredible manners, they showed so much respect to us, even bowing when they met us. And, it is dirt poor. They have nothing, and I mean nothing. They never get to eat meat, and don't even have the money for a hair cut. They just want the chance to be men, to make their mark on life and accomplish something. Many have dreams of going to college, and I want to help them.

Sponsoring this place would transform your community, I promise you. I'll post pictures and video when I get home.

I think we are up to 6 orphanages that will soon be available for sponsorship. I'm hoping to have 8 by the time we leave. The vision trip looks like it will be some time in April. Please email me if you want to come.

Thanks for the prayers. God is doing great things in this beautiful country. With His help we can change the lives of these kids forever. Want to be a part? Just say yes!