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Friday, September 10, 2010

o.k, so where were we?

So......moving right along. **it may be a good time to grab a cup of tea, coffee or bottle of wine, whichever you fancy**

Sometime last spring Moody sat in a parking lot and talked to Eric (see Cast of Characters post here) for over an hour.  Moody shared our hearts and desire to do something, specifically an integrated community development project, in Eyasu's village.  Eric further explained the scope of Glimmer's work and how they spend a great deal of time developing their partnerships.  They didn't have a developing partnership in the Sidama zone, nor did he forsee that one would develop anytime soon.

We prayed about it and still felt a peace to move forward, plan the trip with Julie, Julie and Kristin. Still felt a peace about seeing what Glimmer was actually doing in Ethiopia and committed to joining forces with them if we liked what we saw.

I have said before that I was pretty much amazed at all that we saw on that trip down south.  The quality of the work, the relationships they forge with the zone development associations, the level of work that they insist upon and the sheer IMPACT they are making in Ethiopia was simply overwhelming to witness.  Most of the projects that I saw in June were funded in October.  That is a.m.a.z.i.n.g for Africa. They have such vision and set systems they follow, that success is guaranteed.  They stick to what they do and therefore, do it very well.

Have I mentioned their 100% Promise?? Every single dollar donated to A Glimmer of Hope goes directly to the people of Ethiopia.  All of the operating costs are paid by the endowment fund so more people in need receive help.

That confidence, knowing that every dollar sacrificed, raised, and given goes directly to help those living in extreme poverty in Ethiopia is HUGE!  I saw the committment that they have for each and every project.  Eric could easily recall who raised the money for each and every well or school we saw and that showed me that this is more than a job.

So we return from our trip and are committed to partnering with them in some capacity.  Regardless of where in Ethiopia that might be.........

We begin talking back and forth and realize that since Moody didn't travel and see firsthand the work they are doing, it would be worth it for us to go to Austin to meet with the Glimmer team in their office.  We went at the end of July.  That meeting was key.  I loved walking through the doors and immediately being transported to Ethiopia as they have large, beautiful photographs of Ethiopians everywhere. Meeting the rest of the staff was a huge blessing, it is so clear they all have a true passion for this country.

In that meeting we first discussed a very real possibility of finding a partnership in Sidama.  A few things had not gone as planned in Dawro (they are now, praise the Lord, but this was KEY in looking elsewhere in the South) and they were now open to finding another partnership to work with in the Southern Region.  We were thrilled, yet guarded as it was made clear that this was in the very beginning stages and simply may never come to fruition if the right development partnership couldn't be found.  At that point we agreed to commit to where the greatest need existed in Sidama.  Obviously our hearts were in Gorche, yet we thought if they didn't have the greatest need, we would comit to work anywhere.

My sister and her husband, Joey, met us in Austin for this meeting.  I loved having them there with us, sharing our common love and passion for those in Ethiopia.  They graciously took all 6 kiddos back to San Antonio so Moody and I could have 24 hours of free time. :) This allowed us to spend additional time with Eric to further discuss our hearts desire to work alongside them in Sidama.  I will never forget the lunch we shared at Z-Tejas.  Tears were shed, hearts opened and we walked away almost floating at the possibilites that were before us.

Unbeknownst to us, they were already actively looking into a new development partnership in Sidama.  The ball got rolling rather quickly and on Thursday, August 5th my phone rang.  It was Eric.  He asked where Moody was and if we could both get on the phone. "I really think this is something you should experience together!"  With a few phone calls, and a fastly beating heart, we found ourselves on a conference call with Eric, MC (precious friend from my trip in June, newly relocated to Addis to work full time for Glimmer), and Brian Cooper (Glimmer CEO).

They began to explain how a team from Glimmer had been in Awassa meeting with a new development association in the hopes to partner with them in Sidama.  They met one day in Awassa and the next day set out to determine the needs of those living there.  They drove their car as far as one had ever driven, got out and proceeded to walk for over an hour.  The countryside was beautiful we were told.  At the end of their hike, the arrived in Buti Yatine.  The very village of our dear son, Eyasu.  They met his uncle, his maternal grandmother and many of his extended family!  Gebre, who helps run the Addis office and has his masters in water engineering, was able to determine that there were at least 3 unprotected springs that could be capped off to provide clean water to the village!!  Oh my word, we were going to be able to provide clean water. In regards to schools, more water points, health posts, etc, we again reiterated our desire to help those in the greatest need and realized that simply may not be Eyasu's local kebele, Dube Bute. We were all crying!  So more cloud walking was taking place over here at Team Alexander.

The founder of Glimmer, Donna Berber, was out of the country when we were in Austin so we were unable to meet with her.  I was disappointed as I had heard that she is one remarkable woman.  Her story is fascinating. Her committment to those in Ethiopia is inspiring, and I was so hoping we would get the opportunity to meet.

Eric called on the day after our conference call to say that Donna wanted to come to meet us.  WOW.  Her schedule was about to get really crazy, we were leaving for Nashville in a few days, so how about Monday night, August 9th.  Moody and I were really excited and humbled.  We met at the W Hotel in downtown Dallas.  Immediate connection.  Just can't fully explain it.  Donna is just a lovely, lovely person.  So warm and our common passion for Ethiopia sealed the deal.

So we are sitting in our nice little restaurant talking non-stop and she asks Moody to come over to the side where Donna and I are sitting.  Eric pulls out this black leather photo album.
Moody is on one side of Donna and I am on the other......she opens the album and the first picture is this:
(our meeting with Muhammed and Nasser in November in the Glimmer office in Addis)

and then pictures from our birthfamily visit, followed by the pics that Gebre and his team took on that day they visited the village.  Moody and I both had tears steadily streaming down our cheeks as the world became smaller in that moment than I have ever experienced before.  My extended family was there before my eyes.  Standing outside the exact mud hut that Eyasu spent almost 2 years of his life and I simply couldn't contain the emotions that I was feeling.  I was so overwhelmed with gratitude and humility that the Lord would give us this incredible gift.

As if that wasn't enough to take in..........Eric said, "there is more." Seriously?? More?? I don't know if my heart and head could take it.  So we wiped away the tears and Moody moved back across from me.  He proceeded to explain in reference to our prior agreement to expand the rest of the project out to the neediest kebele within Gorche District.

**for those lost on village, kebele, district, zone and region.....maybe this will help.  We live on a cul-de-sac, in a town, within a large city, within a large metroplex, within the state of Texas.  So we have our sweet little neighborhood, Pantego (town), Arlington (city), DFW (area) and Texas.  So the village is similar to our neighborhood, the kebele more like our smaller local town and the district more like Arlington or even DFW.....and so on.  Hope that helps a bit**

Apparently the kebele that Eyaus's birthfamily lives in has one school. ONE. It goes through 4th, maybe 5th grade.  It is a farming community and my best guess is that many say "why bother" on a school that only will take you to the 4th grade!

So guess what?? You got it.  His kebele is the most in need of help.  OUR help.  Can you even wrap your head around it?  I'm still having a hard time and I have been smack dab in the middle of it.  

We are given the incredible privilege to help provide clean water, education and prayerfully health to this precious part of the world where our son was born.  We are doing exactly what Moody inquired of Eric last spring.  God so could have done it that way, had Eric say "awesome, sounds good. Gorche it is." but I am so thankful for the journey, for the stretching, for the stepping OUT of our comfort zone, for me leaving my family for 10 days to SEE, for committing to give to Dawro, then Gorche District, only to have Him in His infinite goodness and grace, say here my child, this has been my plan all along.  

To stand back and remember the day that the Lord placed on our hearts the desire for another son as we always assumed we would return to Ethiopia for a daughter, to remember the day our dear friends sent us his photograph as they were in Ethiopia just beginning a serious journey of their own, to think of the random texts that resulted in us going to the Glimmer office our last day in Addis when we were picking up today, is simply Only God. 

I have seen Him so clearly through this journey that we have such peace in the next step.  We can't do this alone, we will need help.

The next steps, the how you can help is coming.  Prayerfully we can go live with our fundraising efforts online in a few weeks.  Eric, MC and others from Glimmer will be there very shortly and once they know the scope of the project (how many water points, schools, health posts, etc) and a ballpark number of how much the project will cost, we can go forward. If you want more, need more info, I would be happy to share!  We are excited to see how the Lord weaves those of you He intends to partner with us to make the entire project a reality.  

Thank you for going on this adventure with us!

Soli Deo Gloria


Christy. said...

OK, I am crying as I read this.

I LOVE how God is in the details and LOVES to surprise us with His perfect plan!!

Praying for this adventure to reach the people of Ethiopia!!

Sydney said...

Aaaahhh and update! Okay, four very small and very awake kids, no time to read, promise to come back tonight with one of the previously mentioned beverages :)

Neil, Amy and The Girls said...

This is just amazing! Praise God for opening doors and Praise God for your family!

Our daughter is from the same area as your son and I am so thankful for everything you are doing. I have often thought that your younger son, Abe, looks a lot like our Julianne. I wonder if they could be relatives?

You guys inspired us when you decided to build a well with Charity: Water and we started a campaign. So far we have raised $4300...only $700 more to go! Thank you so much for blogging about the great need!

I cannot wait to hear more about your project!

Holli said...


Deena / TEAM MARQUIS said...

YEAH! I love it! I am so thrilled to see how God has orchestrated this amazing project. I'm looking forward to hearing all about how we can partner with you and hopefully, some day, we will travel back to Ethiopia and witness some of His work (and love) in action!

laura said...

Okay...really? God is so good. I am so thankful to know you and see all God is doing through your beautiful family. I am jealous, yes jealous, that Tymm will be there tomorrow to be with you, and celebrate with you!

We WANT to be a part of this with you. Thank you for carrying the formula for us. Thank you for loving the least of these...thank you sweet friends.



laura said...

Okay...really? God is so good. I am so thankful to know you and see all God is doing through your beautiful family. I am jealous, yes jealous, that Tymm will be there tomorrow to be with you, and celebrate with you!

We WANT to be a part of this with you. Thank you for carrying the formula for us. Thank you for loving the least of these...thank you sweet friends.



Gayla said...

This is fantastic, wonderful, amazing, beautiful... the adjectives just keep on coming!!! So excited about all this and about your trip. AWESOME!!!

Anonymous said...

Ok~ my feelings are a little hurt that you didn't share any of this with us when we were at your house Sun. Would have loved to see the book and hear all the details.

So great.

missy said...

can't stop the chills. so beautiful to see god's hand at work in you and through you to the ends of the earth!

Nathaiel said...

What an incredibly beautiful picture of God's love and faithfulness. I can hardly wait to see more of it unfold. Super sad I won't see you while in TX!! Will be praying for you as you continue to walk this journey!! Blessings, Shelly

Heather said...

Oh my my my... Tears and more tears. Amazing and awesome and how good is He?!?! In awe.

Can't wait to hear about the opportunities to partner!


Kim said...

Only God! I love how he WOWs us!

We Are Family said...

AGAIN WOW! God is a God of details! Love it!

Cindi Koceich said...

It is so amazing to me how God shows us so much more than we ask or imagine when we are willing to follow Him in obedience and complete trust!
What an awesome God story!! I know there will be more and I am so excited!! Thanks for sharing and for the example you and Moody have set as you follow after God!!

Misty said...

amazing story! thanks for sharing all the details with us! <3

Lyndsay said...

God is so good! It's all I can say. Sounds like your path to Eyasu was very similar to our path to "B" and this time God allowed you to be matchmaker! So excited for your trip. Can't wait to see how we can help! God is obviously up to something. :)

Alex and Riann said...

Incredible. God is good, always.

I have followed your blog on and off (as well as the Oatsvall/Mayernick crew) and if you check out our blog, you will find that God is moving not just in our hearts, but our children's as well! Will you give us details on the well project?

May God bless you as you follow Jesus.
His and yours,

jody said...

I love this post for several reasons-the main 2 are that it shows once again the beautiful weaving of the Lord and how He is just so perfect with every detail-how can anyone NOT believe in Him??? These are not "random cooincidences" people!! ;) Also, I love it personally b/c right now we have a raging passion to serve in ET and feel called to do it, but do not know how/when and this is a fabulous reminder that it will happen in God's timing and in His way-He will not let us "fall through the cracks" like "Oh, totally forgot about y'all-sorry!" Good grief I can be such a spiritual moron sometimes....:)

wildflowers said...

hi there. we came across your site thru babyHoffmans'.
thank you for sharing such a wonderful post.
we will join to follow your blog as well .
we are in the beginning process of adopting from Ethiopia :)

Cindy said...

I am loving your posts. Look forward to reading about more of your adventure.

Danae said...

AWESOME Story Emily!!! Excited to see this all play out!!!

HoodMama said...

THis is such a beautiful, fabulous, inspiring story! The LORD IS SO SO GOOD!! His weaving together of the fabric of this story is such a testimony to His power and faithfulness!

Julie said...

Truly amazing.

Missy @ It's Almost Naptime said...

I wish I had something to say, but I am just speechless.

I will never lose awe at how the Lord works through the willing. SDG, indeed.

The B Family said...

To God be the Glory! HE is so GOOD! So awesome to see the amazing things He is doing in your lives and through your family! Wonderful!

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"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from becoming polluted by the world." James 1:27
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