It is late, but Abebe and I are still going strong (well, I don’t know how strong, but at least going!). Our days are packed full from morning until night. We have been in Nazaret (Adama) for the last three days and have spent wonderful times with “our” kids. They are soooo precious and (if it is possible) I fall more in love with them by the minute. We have three new babies that I can barely put down. Some of the younger ones (like 2 and 3-year-olds) that were stand-offish last time I was there …. came right up to me and wanted to be held and I loved to oblige.

We have been to several small villages to visit families of children given to our adoption program. Walking through the streets is walking back in time. There are no cars, only donkeys or horse drawn carts. Mostly people walk. The homes consist of a very small room, dark, and no running water. Today, I asked one mother (who is dying) how many stayed in this room and she answered that she and four children slept there. There was only a single bed, a very narrow bench and a small table. Three of them must sleep in the bed, one might squeeze in on the dirt floor, but for the life of me I couldn’t see one inch where another child could sleep!

Of course we were a novelty in the village and we had multitudes of people crowding the doorway, blocking the little light that might eek its way into the room and then quite an exuberant escort to our car. Other than the fact that the stories I hear are tragic, it is fun to see village life and interact with the people, especially the children. One thing interesting to see are the treadle sewing machines set up outside to do mending for the town folk.

Ben Hull and Pastor Jeff Butler accompanied me on this trip and it has been fun to have them along. They are wonderful with the children. We have a system. When I visit the children supported in the community, I first meet with the whole family and then they take the children out to the street or wherever there is room and play with them so we can get some good video footage for our website while I continue to interview the caregiver in the house. I have so much more freedom asking questions of the adult when the children are not there. Several of the community children have been transferred to our orphanages when I find them in less-than-desirable situations.

Yesterday was spent at the Orphans and Widows’ Home and we had such fun! We have a humorous picture (above) of the widows sitting in a row enjoying lollipops. The home is unique and it is a pleasure to see the interaction of the old women and the little children. We also went to the property that was given to our ministry and had an incredible prayer time. Tomorrow when we go back to Addis we will visit the architect who is drawing up the plans for the center to be built there. Where will the money come from? Nobody knows. But! Tezera (the director) has heard a clear word from God to build and she is moving forward expecting God to provide and provide He will!

I am full of scenes and sounds that I wish I had the ability to communicate to you. However, the time is late and I must try to get this sent. Tomorrow Jeff and Ben leave for home and I have only one week left. My son had foot surgery today, so my thoughts and prayers have been with him and I need to get home. I am busy, busy here …. but the work is immediate and I am not pulled so many directions so I go to bed at night with a sense of well-being and satisfaction. Oh! Forgot to tell you! We have been without running water since coming to Nazaret. Nobody complains and just takes it in stride. We have a bucket of water in our hotel room and just take sponge baths after a long, hot, sweaty day. Must run.
Love to you!! Joy