by Joy Casey in Ethiopia

Shy smiles, giggles and tattered clothes,
A naked baby with runny nose,
Mothers coming with hope in their heart
For their child’s life to have a good start.
Mana Gammachuu, a kindergarten to reach
Young souls and minds to tenderly teach,
God’s love for them in amazing ways
To guide them and keep them all of their days.

It was a lovely May morning and patient mothers and eager children waited for their turn as each was called by the case manager of Adoption Ministry 1:27. With the generous backing of Lake City Church in Tacoma, Washington, we are opening up a brand new kindergarten in this village, a predominately M*sl*m town.
Forty children of the families being supported by Adoption Ministry 1:27 will be given a kindergarten education, free of charge. This is a big deal, believe me.
The families we have been working with these past months are destitute and many of their children have not had the opportunity of school… ever. The goal of Adoption Ministry 1:27 is to get all children registered for school, and the case manager in this area will be hard at work in August getting children registered and buying uniforms and school supplies.
In Ethiopia, first grade requires that a child be able to read and write and most children, if given the opportunity, start kindergarten at age 4 in KG1 and progress through KG2 and KG3. We are opening up two classes of KG2 for children ages 5-9. One class will be for the younger and the other for the older children. Down the road, we hope to add KG1, which is more of a nursery school, for 4 & 5-year-olds.
After taking the information about the child, the boys were measured for pants and the girls for skirts. The women trained in sewing at Living Hope Maternity Home in Adama are going to make the uniform pants and skirts and t-shirts will be ordered to complete their school outfit.
“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” … remember that adage? Some sports clothes and soccer balls were donated and we gave them out. White shorts went to the evangelists and black shorts for the church staff, and a rousing soccer match ensued. I think it might have been the first time that many of these men had ever worn shorts!
They did not have sports shoes, so they were out in the field kicking the ball in dress shoes, sandals, flops and bare feet. Most of the church staff were “seasoned” and most of the evangelists were younger… but guess what? The old guys won! It did my heart good to see these men who work so hard and face so many challenges, laugh and play together.
Today I learned that pests don’t like garlic or hot peppers. Wario, a YWAM missionary who is teaching sustainable organic gardening techniques to our evangelists in two villages, saw that some insects were invading the cabbage that was planted, so he mixed up garlic, berbere, and soap and sprayed it on the plants. He also planted garlic all around the perimeter of the beds to repel the damaging insects.
Wario had a teaching time with the evangelists about how to grow vegetables next to their homes to help feed their families. These gardens can only produce during the rainy season; however, the large garden on the church property has water year-around and can flourish. Those evangelists living in the towns can benefit from selling fresh vegies during the dry season when traditionally they have to import the food from other areas of Ethiopia. Our hope is that creative gardening plus harvesting the leaves of Moringa trees that have been planted will bring in much needed income for the evangelist’s families.