by Joy Casey
Adama, Ethiopia

I wish it was possible to write a personal thank you to each and every person who has bought items through YWAM’s gift catalog. I am in Ethiopia right now and I see first-hand the myriad ways these gifts are helping so many.  It blesses me to my toes knowing that many of the gifts are bought with a child’s allowance money, or a teen donating money saved for a computer, or another who blessed his grandmother with a gift given in her honor. I wish you could experience with me the joy of seeing just how much these gifts affect the day-to-day lives of the very poor.

Let me introduce you to several dear ladies that our Missions Director Mark Wolbert visited the other day. A large mission team from Kansas will be coming and spending a few days with the elderly widows, and they will be buying and distributing food and doing some repairs to their houses. Many items from the gift catalog will also be given to help meet the significant needs that Mark noted when he went to their homes.

Widow 1-1
During the conflict with Eretria, Roman lost her son to the war. This son was the center of her world and without him she became not only depressed, but destitute. There was no one else in the world to care or provide for her, and her life these past years has been lived in a veil of sadness as well as deep, deep poverty.

Immediately upon entering her home, Mark noticed that the front door would not close and the leather hinges needed to be replaced. The one window in her room was also badly in need of repair, and these are all things that the upcoming mission team can tackle. For just $250 her outdoor latrine can get a roof (yes, she gets wet during the rainy season!) and walls can be built up for privacy. From the gift catalog we will replace her mattress and pillow and give her a warm blanket. She readily admits that her greatest need is food. The mission team will provide her with some bulk staples, and from the gift catalog we will bless her with buna (coffee) and sugar, a rare treat!

Widow 2-pic 2
Ababich’s daughter died and she is attempting to raise her orphaned granddaughter. This is a difficult task because Ababich has TB and is quite weak and ill. Her neighbors pitch in to help with her granddaughter and help cook food for them. The doctor has told her she needs fresh milk twice a day, and for 16 birr (less than 10 cents a day) the milk lady will bring milk for her and her granddaughter. The problem is, she does not have money to buy milk most of the time.

Widow 3- pic 2
We call her the Cheerful Widow! Her love and trust in God’s goodness radiates from every pore of her being. Tedge lives in a small, small room, not bigger than most of our bathrooms, but she welcomed Mark in as an honored guest. She has no living family and has absolutely nothing of material value or comfort. From our gift catalog, we will provide her with new mattress and bedding. When asked what her greatest need is, she immediately replied, FOOD!

Widow 4-pic 2
This sweet widow has a sturdy bed, but her urine soaked mattress needs to be replaced and this time the mattress will be protected with plastic and covered with sheets. She was naked as a jaybird under her thin blanket, but was so happy to receive visitors. Mark asked her what her needs were, and she thought and thought and was hard pressed to think of anything she needed. Mark suggested that maybe clothes would be something that could be of benefit, and she said that yes, clothes would be nice indeed! To those who bought clothes from our gift catalog, I thank you on behalf of Aberesh.

Life Church from Olathe, Kansas is sending a missions team to Ethiopia from June 12th to the 20th.  I hope to get updates from them so you can follow along on this blog and be blessed as this big-hearted team ministers to these ladies as well as to vulnerable families that have not yet been sponsored through our Adoption Ministry 1:27 program.

Be sure to check out the YWAM Gift Catalog to look for ways you, too, can meet the very real needs of Ethiopia’s people.