God at Work in Ethiopia

We were presented with an opportunity to participate in a reforestation project. When I first heard about this, I did not think I would get anything out of it and was debating whether to go. I decided to go because I didn’t want to miss out on anything. After a long walk up a big hill, we made it to our destination. I have never been so in awe of God’s creation. The mountains looked like they touched the clouds and the view was breathtaking. We planted lots of trees and knowing that we were being servants in God’s kingdom was very fulfilling. I never thought I would be able to see God while planting trees in the mud, but He was more present then He has ever been.


~ Mackenzie Anderson

We arrived to HOPEthiopia on Tuesday and I fell in love with the place as soon as I got off of the bus. The kids are so sweet and I love getting the opportunity to share God’s love with them. I have made so many connections with the kids already and I am excited to see what God has in store for the rest of our time here in Ethiopia.


~ Jacqueline Keener


I think that leaving BCI and all of my friends there was the hardest thing I have ever had to do. I made so many relationships and if someone told me that I could live there, I would in a heartbeat. Sadly, no one told me that and I had to leave my second family. Coming to HOPEthiopia, I was bitter and upset, but the second that I saw the kids running up to us, I knew that this would become my home too. The transition may be hard, but I can already tell that God is doing amazing things here, and I cannot wait to be a part of it.


~ Ellie Nichols


Leaving our location in Debre Zeyit was hard, I liked talking with our Abasha friends, learning from Ndale, and painting classroom walls almost every morning and afternoon; but during the five hour van ride to Harbu Chulule, where the bustling city turned into green countryside, I started to get excited for our new adventure. Stepping out of the vans to the small, smiling faces of the kids who live on the compound confirmed that I was really going to like it here. I’ve already gotten close to a few kids, Sintu and her cousin Simba (how cool is that name?!). These kids also really like soccer (they’re SUPER good too) so that’s been a blast. This morning we had the opportunity to go plant some trees; we took a long and chilly walk through the village and then more into the countryside, to a nursery and picked up bags of baby trees and then proceeded to hike up a mountain, to a hill by a river to plant them, it was ABSOLUTELY BREATHTAKING! The sun came out and warmed everything up; we could see the tall trees and rich green hills on the other side of the river where shepherds were looking after cows, sheep, goats, and the occasional donkey. Trekking up and down that hillside, hands full of baby trees with Sintu was an experience I’ll never forget; I’m definitely in denial that we’re leaving next week. I’m super excited to continue in our time here, learning more about God and how much he loves his people.  


~ Lily Cook

I am still alive.


~ Abby

I have made so many friendships here. There are two in particular that have completely rocked my world. They remind me so much of two of my siblings, Zeke and Sarah. Goodbyes are hard but I know it is not forever. I am enjoying every second with all the sports I get to play at HOPEthiopia. These boys surely know how to play soccer and I am being harassed daily by their jukes and skills. Oftentimes, I take my life and family for granted. This time is teaching me that life is precious. I can’t wait to see my family 🙂 See ya soon, America! Peace out for now.


~ Mattie Harris

I never imagined that I would get a second family in Ethiopia, but that’s exactly what happened. The relationships I made in Debre Zeyit are some that will last forever. I was touched and moved in ways I never thought I would be by the people we met there. Leaving everything behind was really hard, but I have faith that I’ll be back again someday.

In spite of all that, coming to HOPEthiopia and getting to hang out with all these kids every day has been such a blessing. God is doing great things here and I can’t wait to see what else He has in store for us.  


~ Jenna Kropf

This past week has been extremely exciting for me. I have really been growing in my relationship with God more than words can explain. It was really hard to say goodbye to our friends at Blessing the Children, but I am so excited for all the new opportunities we will be having here at HOPEthiopia.


~ Amy Eberth


Wow! I had a moment today where I had to stop and thank God that He was the one who made Earth rather than me because I could never even imagine something as beautiful as what we saw today. We had the opportunity to plant trees today. The walk was a bit longer than we expected and when your not used to higher altitudes, it does not help much. We first filled little bags with mini trees then carried them up a hillside to plant. We sat on the hillside and dug holes with our hands then set the tree in the hole. I felt the impulse of Holy Spirit to pray over the trees as I laid them in each hole. I was reminded of the passage in the Bible where Jesus says that if you even give a cup of water to someone in His name, you are rewarded. I’m so thankful that we had the opportunity to plant trees in the Name of Jesus.


~ Abigail Quarles

Wow wow wow!


God is so good and I am in the process of writing a real blog not just an update but y’all, I have found the place my heart has been longing for, I found the place I feel most at home and the place Jesus has been wanting me to find.

I know it may sound crazy but I have found home and I can’t wait for y’all to read more about it in my “personal blog.”

I have truly fallen in love with this country.

I am doing well and can actually eat the food here at HOPEthioia so that’s nice.

I can’t wait to share more and share all the craziness of God when I get back home!



~ Skyler Vanderwier

Oh my goodness!!!


So this week we had to say our goodbyes to our friends at Blessing the Children it was so sad.

I miss all my friends there, the staff was so sweet and I will never forget them.  So now we are at Hopethiopia and it is amazing. On our way here I knew it was going to be a place where my heart loved seeing the straw huts, kids running up to the sides of the vans, people working in the fields. After one day of ministry my expectation from the ride here was true, I love this place so much! The kids are so sweet, the house moms so warm and welcoming, the kitchen staff so kind!  There is one little boy who has clinged to me his name is Abiti he is 8 years old and loves to sing, play soccer, and take pictures with my camera. I love Abiti so much after an intense game of soccer, he just wanted to sit down in the grass so we did and sitting there with this little boy singing praises to God looking at the mountains, I just felt a peace. We always want God to show up in these big ways like healing people and casting out demons but sitting there with Abiti I realized that it was a huge work of God to get the chance to sit there with him.  Everything had to fall right in place for me to get to Ethiopia and for him he has had to go through so much to be in this orphanage and the chances of me ever meeting him without God are slim to none. God is working in big ways!!


~ Lydia Brooks

This past week, we had to say our goodbyes to our friends that we made through our time working with Blessing the Children. I grew so much in the short amount of time I had there and made so many friends. I’m so thankful for the time I had there and for the amazing people that I had the privilege to work with. It was incredibly difficult to leave the place that quickly became a second home to me, but I’m excited to see what God has in store for my team and I at our new location, HOPEthiopia.


~ Adeline Bartelt

We are now at HOPEthiopia. The ministry here is focused on more younger kids. It was very fun to do ministry with the older girls at Blessing the Children, I am going to miss them but I can’t wait to see what new experiences we get to have here in our last week in Ethiopia.


~ Emily Hesselgesser

Our second location has a beautiful view of the mountains and there are even sunflowers in the garden. I am thankful for the beauty of God’s creation; He truly is the greatest artist. However I am fearful that my heart will not be prepared to return home, so please keep me in your prayers!


~ Rachel Diemer

Our last night at Blessing the Children, we had a traditional bonfire, cooking meat and sharing coffee and popcorn together.  Tadessa, the staff pastor from Blessing the Children came over to talk to me. He wanted to tell me a story about a man who felt the call to be a missionary in China.  He arrived in China and his mission organization required him to take a year of language school before evangelizing. The man went to the first day of language school and there were many people in his class.  The teacher came in the class, looked around the room and walked up and down the rows of desks. She stopped at the door and looked back at the students and said “This is lesson one,” and she walked out of the room.  The students left the class feeling confused about their first language lesson.


The man came back for lesson two wondering what vocabulary he would learn that day.  When the teacher arrived, she had one question for the class “What did you learn from our first lesson?” All of the students were quiet, they were confused.  They had not learned any language the first lesson, the teacher had walked through their desks and left the room.


After some time, a man raised his hand.  He said “I noticed as you walked around the room that you were wearing a nice perfume.”  The teacher answered “You are all here to preach the gospel but you have been asked not to share until you know the language, this will take a year for you to learn.  But you all carry the fragrance of the Lord and you can share that without words. This is your first lesson.”


Tadessa, said this was our team.  We all came into Debra Zayit with the love of Jesus and we willingly shared His love with the people by forming relationships with the teenagers in the program, getting to know the staff and the women who cooked for us, by taking discipleship seriously.


~ Tina Sakers


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