from Joy Casey in Ethiopia

I spent most of last week in Adama (sometimes called Nazaret) at our Widows and Orphans Home and at the newly opened Living Hope Women’s Organization. Never heard of it? Let me tell you a little about the marvelous things God is doing and give you a hint of possible expansion to come.

Living Hope was birthed when Mike and Dinah Monahan from Arizona traveled with me to Ethiopia this past March. Dinah and Mike own Heritage House Publishing, a pro-life organization that sells goods promoting life affirming choices. Dinah also established a maternity home and three pregnancy counseling centers in Arizona. I shared with Dinah tragic stories of women who were aborting their children either through self-abortion or in the hospital, and the idea evolved that a maternity home and pregnancy counseling center here in Ethiopia was critical. I knew three awesome Ethiopian women with whom I had been praying for over a year who had this same heart for women and children and introduced them to Dinah and Mike. From that meeting, the seed of Living Hope germinated. Many details needed to come together, but through the hard work of Meseret, the director of Ethiopia’s Living Hope, the doors were opened in August 2010 and in no time at all, six abortion-vulnerable women were living there and the first baby was born in September.

This home is not just a shelter for pregnant women to safely give birth to their babies. The women are taught sewing, jewelry-making and knitting for which they get paid per piece. The goods will be sold through Heritage House and to YWAM’s adopting families when they travel to Adama. The goal is to disciple these women for at least a year, teach them a skill that can sustain their lives, and provide mentoring on how to start and maintain a business. We want to see these women prospering and living on their own, able to care for their child.

It is exciting work! Dinah and I had the honor of dedicating the home and Dinah and her team have spent this past week training the staff and teaching the young women. What fun they have had! One evening was spa night, and the gals got facials, manicures and pedicures complete with foot and arm massages. The cook prepared a fantastic meal and everyone had much fun together, celebrating in girl-fashion all God has done and is going to do in the lives of these women and their children. Eventually, another compound will be rented for these women to move to after they give birth that will continue them on the path of self-sufficiency and spiritual maturity. That will free up space in the maternity home for others that need this safety net.

YWAM Mercy Development in Addis Ababa has been helping five very young, vulnerable women who have given birth who are completely destitute. They have asked to place their children for adoption, but the rules of Addis Ababa prevent them from doing so. Dinah and I talked about the need in the teeming city of Addis for a similar home, and the YWAM director will partner with Adoption Ministry and the Monahans to provide shelter, training and discipleship to those five and others God sends to our door.