by Frank and Lori Gonzales

When friends invited us to our first Adoption Ministry banquet, we gladly accepted, knowing that it would be a fun-filled evening of dinner and fellowship. What we didn’t know was that our lives would be forever changed. During the banquet a raffle was held for an all-expense trip for two to Ethiopia. Frank reached for his wallet. He was a little short so our friends spotted us the $6 loan. Out of thousands of tickets purchased that evening, we were stunned to be holding the winning ticket! It was clearly the Lord’s purpose that we should pack our bags for Ethiopia!
While in Ethiopia we were so blessed to be a part of the first in-country Adoption Conference, which bore immediate fruit with the adoption of several of the orphans from the YWAM orphanage.

We fell in love with a one-year old girl named Hawii, and she let us know the feeling was mutual!

We would have adopted her in a heartbeat if it had not been for the fact that she had to be adopted by someone from Ethiopia. (She is now in her forever family in Ethiopia.)  We think and pray for her often.
Another remarkable experience was visiting a Muslim village. We witnessed the genuine joy of the elders of the church who were once Muslims but now are set apart for God’s salvation! They worshipped with such love and joy and passion. Sadly, it was a sharp contrast to how we in the American church can often take our own salvation for granted.
The most moving experience for both of us was when we visited an Adoption Ministry 1:27 family in Shashemene. The only thing in their 8’x8’ mud house, besides an old single mattress and filthy blanket, was a coffee urn and several small mugs.
The beautiful in the midst of despair.
This widow, wearing an Obama t-shirt, stood with her 6 fatherless children, the smallest holding tightly to her skirt. She could not afford to send her children to school past 2nd grade. Their faces were all very grim, and standing in the room I felt their desperation and lack of joy. I knew instantly that they did not know Jesus yet. I hid behind the camera, taking more pictures than necessary to keep myself from sitting down to cry.
Jeff told them that we had come a long way because we were Christians, we loved them and God loved them. Abebe told them they will get help through AM 1:27. The kids will be able to get the uniforms to attend school. The gospel was shared. As we prayed for this family, the “call to prayer” horn sounded loud and long. Another stark contrast between despair and hope.  I wanted to know so badly what they each were thinking, and what was happening in their hearts. I was the last to leave and I will never forget how tight and warm and grateful this mom’s hug was. I will never forget her. It is only a matter of time before this precious family crosses from darkness to light.
There are too many special stories to tell, but the memories and life lessons will remain in our hearts. We want to thank Adoption Ministry for their vital work in Ethiopia, and for making it possible for us to witness God’s work there firsthand.

Thank you,
Frank and Lori Gonzales


This year might be YOUR year to win a trip for two with one of the 2015 mission teams to Ethiopia!  Our banquet is on October 11, 2014 at the Tacoma Convention Center. Click below to register!