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amazing photographer
.......she captured our trip on film

Final slideshows

Last 2 slideshows from Ethiopia Email me for link to


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Monday, June 28, 2010

Days 1-2 *edit, Fistula video added*

I am ready to start plugging along and process the trip! I will use some excerpts from my journal, pics and thoughts as they come to me.

I will begin with the night before I left. I don't think that I have ever been under such spiritual attack- my body and mind were both hurting. I sat on the back porch, sobbing, as my sweet hubby just held me and told me that I could do this and they would be fine! It was just the craziest thing as I had been nothing but excited to go and had a real peace about leaving Moody and the kids. Bam, out of nowhere, fear, anxiety and a very upset tummy were upon me. We prayed and called on some dear friends to pray. My sister said, " the Lord must have something pretty incredible for you there or the enemy wouldn't be wasting his time!" Oh, how I think those words were true.

Come to find out, the war wasn't just being waged on me, but he was attempting the very same schemes with the other 3 women going with me. I recently heard a pastor say that the enemy is not creative in his tactics and I guess this was true here as we all had the same physical and mental attacks. The good news--- He reigns victorious and He allowed each of us to walk on that plane in the full confidence that we were exactly where He called us at that moment and we couldn't wait to get to Ethiopia for Him to reveal His plans to us.

"As I sit on the plane about to take off from Amsterdam to Addis, I'm reminded of the Lord's amazing faithfulness. Leaving was so much harder than I ever anticipated yet God is good. He reigns victorious over all, He has total authority over darkness and will provide for every need that we have along the way!

I just know that so much awaits us there, so much of Him, and what He desires for us to do in Ethiopia in the future."

Arriving at Bole felt like coming home. I love that about Ethiopia. All of the different smells and sounds, and yet it feels so comfortable.

We were staying the first two nights at the Sheraton. As we were checking in we ran into Scott Harrison of Charity:Water. He may have been a bit startled as we may have looked a tad star struck. Prayerfully he quickly realized that we were safe as he was also there with A Glimmer of Hope, only he was going North and we were headed South. Glimmer actually builds all of the wells for Charity:Water. They have an amazing partnership and are bringing clean water to thousand and thousands of Ethiopians.

Julie, me, Kristin and Julie- incredible travel buddies
our sweet friend Milliard, met first in August '08
me and Travis
Jana, Joanna and Kristin

After one incredible nights sleep, we woke up to our first full day in Ethiopia. Julie, Julie and Kristin were going to visit the Fistula Hospital (**see video below**) and I was going to work on some logistics for our trip in October. I hated to miss that experience, but my time in Addis was so limited that I needed to get this done. Gladney provided me with a driver and off we went!!! We stopped by a few hotels and guest homes to determine the best place for our team to stay. It was very productive.

I then headed out to Ayat to see some friends that are on staff with Gladney. We met at Hill Bottom for lunch and then visited a few of the care centers! I loved seeing the kids.

We met up again with Travis, Joanna and Jana at Castelli's for a great dinner! Back to the hotel for bed and the next morning we would start our trek down South.

I just got the codes from Kristin for the Fistula Hospital video. Please watch! Incredible ministry for woman suffering from the tragic result of lack of medical care while delivering their babies. They bring such hope and dignity to them. Kristin has such a gift.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

I saw what I saw and I can't forget it......

I am home, so happy to be reunited with my precious family, yet torn by my recent trip to Ethiopia. The people, the country, the sights, the smells-- hold so very much of my heart. I am finding it difficult to express with words all that we saw, all that we experienced. Heading 8 hours south of Addis, much of it on dirt roads, was just a journey like no other that I have traveled. The Lord was at every turn, His Presence felt, your prayers were answered and I stand in awe at what He revealed to us there.

I will try to begin processing it on the blog, sharing some of the incredible ways that He went before us, prepared the way, and protected us! The Glimmer team took excellent care of us and I will forever be grateful for all they showed us on this trip. The work that they are doing is simply hard to describe- the impact is felt by 1,000's and 1,000's of Ethiopians across the country. More to come on that for sure..........

The slideshow is long, I cut so much of it already. I wanted a permanent reminder. I won't know if you check out a few minutes in!! :) I simply can't forget all that we saw and am excited to see what the future holds.

I can't wait to see all the pics that Kristin took, it is an intimidating thing to be snapping pics on my little point and shoot next to a pro. She is enjoying time with her family in Holland and will be back later this week. I'm sure once she gets settled, she will have far better images to share!
Thursday, June 17, 2010

Last update!

The kids and I will head out to the airport this afternoon (Friday the 18th) to bring home mommy...all will be good in the world:-)

The last days back in Addis were filled with friends from Gladney and seeing another very large water project a Glimmer of Hope is involved with. This one is only 45 minutes or so outside of Addis so it will be one we will visit again. She also spent some time preparing for October mission trip, meeting with a dear saint in charge of TOMS Ethiopia. We even had a skype/conference call with some Ethiopian friends (one of whom is a dentist), making plans for the October trip.

Without a doubt, Emily has seen God work during this trip in ways beyond what she expected. Isn't that how He always works? Her heart has been even more connected to this beautiful country and its people. Her awareness of God's call to love and care for the poor and needy has been heightened. She has seen children living in unbelievable circumstances which will no doubt change the way she mothers our kids. The question of "what are we doing about it?" has penetrated even deeper.

Thank you for praying!! These days has gone fast. Loved hanging out with my GREAT kids! Abe has been a rock star sleeper! (Em, it was three droppers of melatonin, right??)

Appreciate all the encouragements. Emily will fill in the multiple gaps over the next days as she processes it all and gets back to reality.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Update #3

Emily continues to have a "trip of a lifetime" experience! Praise God. Hurts not getting to experience it with her but know she is exactly where the Lords wants her. A great surprise is that "going dark" (as much as she wanted to be like Sydney Bristow) never really happened. We have been in fairly consistent contact via text and skype.

They left Awassa and drove to Tercha (not whatever I called it last time), which became their home base. Sparse hotel, complete with mosquito nets, cocoon sleeping deal and no shower. What troopers these strong ladies are! Sunday morning they drove to Dali to see Glimmer's village restoration project. She said the views were some of the most beautiful she had ever seen. Gorgeous mountains and valleys with huts scattered throughout the hills. She said when they arrived in the village, literally 1000s of people "just appeared"; singing, dancing, welcoming them to Dali. This village is the first village selected in the Southern region for this large of a project. They saw several smaller water projects, saw the newly built schools and health clinics. She was impressed beyond words of the high quality of work being done. Of course, a beautiful coffee ceremony followed.

Another night in Tercha, followed by another day of visiting still more areas and villages where Glimmer has or has begun projects. Emily was in awe of the work and how lives were being changed because of it.

As we speak, she is waking up in a hotel in Soddo, and planning to drive back to Addis (and hot water and skype!) Simply through her texts, it is obvious that her heart is gripped more than ever for this beautiful country, especially now that she has seen another side of it.

Not to bore you, but after 4 trips in the last 2 years you would think we would figure out how the country is broken up...I think we may have it figured out now...
Ethiopia is broken into 5 regions
The Southern region is where Em has been. Awassa is the capital of the Southern region. It has 13 zones. They have mainly been in the Dawro zone. Abe is from the Wolayita zone.
The Dawro zone has many districts. Dali and Tercha are in the Dawro zone.

So for those adopted families, when your case worker tells you your child is from _____, it may take some investigating to find out exactly what and where they are referring to. Hopefully that explanation is close to being accurate!

Home update:
All is good. Cousin Annie is here with us adding to the mix. Enjoying spending time with the kids, hitting Sonic happy hour, Yo-berry and late night swims! Em, know that our moms and many of our sweet friends are filling in the gaps and keeping food on the table :-)

Eyasu counting down the days until mommy is home!!!

At the Gladney picnic

Another birthday celebration with Em's side of the family...cake by Avery!

Thanks all for the prayers and encouragement.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

update #2

The trip continues to go great! Thanks for keeping Emily,
Julie, Kristin and Julie in your prayers. As we speak, they are waking up in "a hotel" in southwest Ethiopia. They left Addis Saturday morning, spent one night in Awassa. Emily says it is a beautiful place right on the water of Lake Awassa. Went on birth family visits with Julie that were amazing. The Glimmer of Hope folks are taking good care of them. Earlier today, they left Awassa, drove through Sodo on their way to Chucha (horrible misspelling!)

Text (yes crazy she can text from there!) responding to question "are you in Chucha yet?"
no, car trouble that ended up being divine appointment with great group of kids!
Can't wait to hear more about that!

Then a couple hours later, this came in:
In Woleta, where Abey is from! My heart is full. Love that sweet boy so.

Communications will be dark until Wednesday morning. These next days they will be traveling in the region seeing various Glimmer of Hope projects and praying through how we may partner with them.

On the home front...

all is well. Yesterday, we spent a great afternoon with other Ethiopian Gladney families! So cool!! Being with so many other families that not only look the same as we do, but more importantly share hearts. The amazing Gladney staff was there too, getting to see some of the precious families they helped unite.

Our oldest, Hill, turned 14 today!! We missed mommy, but he had a fun day. He is becoming a kind hearted, strong young man that we are very proud of. Had friends and neighbors over to celebrate with swimming and pizza. Nothing beats watching Eyasu swimming with and being loved on by a bunch of teenage boys!

also had a baseball tournament today...everyone looks pretty good huh for not having a mom around ?

Friday, June 11, 2010

Trip update #1

Em is doing great!! Thank the Lord for traveling mercies. They arrived yesterday about noon our time. Answered prayer for how good she feels and no yuckies while traveling!

KLM via Amsterdam, first time on that route. Em liked it

Praise God for Skype and AT&T free texting! I'm sure she saying "enough already" but it has been amazing staying in contact while we can. (another blessing is Starwood points and free nights at the killer Sheraton!)

The Gang (Julie, Em, Kristin and Julie)

Our sweet friend Milyard we have known these last two years

She had a great night's sleep and our dear friend Dereje met her to go visit a couple hotels we will be using for our October trip. He is a saint and a constant reminder of God's goodness. Brings comfort to my heart knowing he is there taking care of her! She then met Jana and Joanna for lunch at Hillbottom. ET version of ladies lunching! Encouraged and refreshed spending time with these women who are daily living it! From there they spent time at the Gladney care center, loving on the precious kids for awhile. Amazing seeing pics of the very room I was in last June meeting Eyasu for the first time.

Kristin and Em (a long way from big/little sis in the Kappa house!)

Kristin, Julie and Julie spent the morning at the Fistula Hospital. Hopefully will be able to show pictures later. Once again, God has used Kristin and her amazing talent to bless others. The hospital has a strict rule of "no photography". Kristin explained her heart and willingness to share the images for their fundraising and awareness, so they let her shoot. They met one woman who begged for 6 years to earn the bus fare to travel to Addis to have the surgery...$20!!! Six Words can't describe. That place is daily changing lives for His glory!

The Julies

Tomorrow morning the Glimmer of Hope staff will meet them and begin the treck south. Ultimately about an 8 hour trip on questionable roads and conditions. Please pray for safety and calm tummies!

The kids and I are doing fine. Praise God that Abe has decided it's not worth waking up at night if mama isn't there to snuggle with! The big kids are great helpers. Nanny has been a huge help and amazing chef.

Will update more as I know it....appreciate all of you!
Tuesday, June 8, 2010

prayer requests

I had been planning to write specific prayer requests for the trip and my dear, sweet, amazing hubby, sent the following as an email to some friends and family! He is just thoughtful like that! Oh how I will miss him.

We would certainly covet your prayers for this trip.


Emily leaves on Wednesday (June 9) for Ethiopia, returning Friday,
June 18. Writing to ask you to join me in prayer for her time in the
country we have grown to love.

- For the team of Julie, Kristin and Julie; for harmony,
encouragement, sweet fellowship and for grace to abound (Eph 1:15-23)
- That God would further reveal His heart for the poor,needy and
orphaned in Ethiopia and what our family's response should be (James
1:27, Matt 25:40)
- For safety as they travel 8 hours outside the capital of Addis Ababa
(in the region the boys are from), to visit humanitarian projects with
reps from A Glimmer of Hope (see (Isaiah 58:6-8)
- For divine appointments as she meets with friends there, helping
arrange the logistics for the dental mission trip we will all be going
on in October
- Comfort for her mother's heart as she leaves 7 of us behind (and
maybe a little bit for me for Abe to sleep!) Ps 121
- That God would be glorified in all things (Ezekial 26:22-23)

Thank you.

Soli Deo Gloria,

Saturday, June 5, 2010


Let them praise His name with dancing.........Psalm 149:3
Avery had her dance recital today! Her studio only does big recitals every other year so it is a big deal. We were so proud of her as she has worked very hard. She did amazing! Way to go. :) (thank you to neighbor Chelsea for taking the pics!!)
My beautiful dancer
Big congrats from Mim and Daddy Wick
Abe with a big kiss from his sissy

Friday, June 4, 2010

Ethiopia trip

I leave in less than a week for a 8 day trip to Ethiopia! I am excited to again be in the country that has captured my heart. I am also sad to leave my crew, but this trip has been His from the beginning, so I rest in that. I am going with my dear friend Kristin, (check out the video of us picking up Abe at the bottom of this page to see her work! She is SO talented and the Lord continues to use her gift for His glory), another sweet friend, Julie Neal (mom of 5, 2 from ET, friends since we began the process) and her friend Julie. I'm pretty sure that I will be calling this Julie a friend as well after spending so much time together! :)

We will be in Addis for only 2 days and the rest of the time will be spent down in the southern region of Ethiopia. The 2 days in Addis will be busy, busy. I will be coordinating much of the logistics for our 2 week trip in October. (We are taking the whole family and Moody will be leading a 1 week dental mission trip and the second week will be family time!) I will also get to spend time with some of my favorite people, the Gladney staff, and love on a few kiddos while there this short stay.

I'm excited about heading south as both Eyasu and Abe are from the Sidamo region. We will be in Awassa for 1 day as Julie gets to meet her extended family!! She will be seeing both of the villages that her boys came from and spending time with family. Oh what a gift to experience this with her and see the beauty in how He creates family. She will be sharing updated pictures of the boys with them, and getting to express her greatest delight in the world is being their mom. I will not be leaving without a few kleenex in hand.

We will then be headed to the Dawro region with an organization called A Glimmer of Hope. They are located out of Austin and do AMAZING things in Ethiopia. Here is their story taken from their

A Glimmer of Hope exists today because International Aid can and must be delivered efficiently and effectively.

It is different from traditional charities because it believes it can help bring about an end to extreme poverty in rural Ethiopia during our lifetimes. Everything it does is geared towards that goal.

Our approach has drawn significant support from other results-oriented philanthropists like Scott Harrison of charity:water, the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, Whole Planet Foundation and Matt Damon’s H2O Africa among others.

Harrison’s charity:water has funded 1,247 water projects in 14 developing nations around the world – including 10 in Africa – in just two years. He provides an unprecedented level of transparency to his supporters about how he uses their donations and it’s no accident that he chose A Glimmer of Hope as his implementing partner for his biggest fundraising campaign of 2008 – the September Campaign – which raised over $1 million for water projects in Ethiopia.

A Glimmer of Hope’s model has also received a ringing endorsement from an expert in the traditional model of international aid. Ambassador Tibor Nagy spent over 23 years in the US Foreign Service in Africa serving twice as Ambassador and three times as Deputy Ambassador.

In an article in the May 2004 edition of the Foreign Service Journal, Ambassador Nagy said A Glimmer of Hope’s approach was resulting in “dramatic positive outcomes.” In the article, he suggested: “we [the US government] should partner more with innovative emerging NGOs, such as A Glimmer of Hope.”

In the five years since Ambassador Nagy wrote the piece, we at A Glimmer of Hope have witnessed the astonishing rate at which true development can happen when it is done well. In Dembi Dollo, the isolated village where we began our work in 2001, funding requests for clean water, basic health care and primary education are giving way to ones for a teachers’ training college, a university, a job training center and loans for small and medium-sized businesses.

Less than a decade ago, Dembi Dollo was paralyzed by grinding poverty. Today, the community’s leading concern is what their children are going to do for a living after they graduate from high school.

Aid is not dead if it is done right. The traditional approaches need to be examined with a critical, creative and constructive mind as well as a compassionate heart. The setbacks, disappointments and shortcomings of aid and development need to be understood and then challenged and solved.

Recognizing that poverty comes in many forms, A Glimmer of Hope Austin was established in 2003 to fund programs designed to make a difference in the lives of disadvantaged youth and seniors in the foundation’s hometown.

We are so excited to see their work firsthand, meet the people, see how their lives are already being transformed and visit a potential site for a new project. The video above is the project that we will visit one of the days. It isn't finished yet, but we will get an idea of the scope of this type of project. I'm so struck by the children crammed into that school room, so eager to learn, not elbowing the person next to them for more room, writing as much as possible on each page as they know that paper is precious and not to be bought at a convienience store down the road. We have much to learn from these remarkable people!

I will post specific prayer requests in another post, this one got long. Just know that I will indeed covet your prayers as they will be crucial for this trip.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

keeping busy

Over a week since my last post........hmm, guess we have been running pretty non-stop since school was officially over at Alexander Academy!

For Memorial Day weekend we headed to Moody's parents ranch for the annual Alexander Family Reunion. Always crazy and always fun. My kids love this weekend as it is non-stop action with MANY same age farm cousins (as we affectionately call one another!) Moody grew up as one of 9 cousins all born within 6 years of each other (two more came later). There are now close to 30 farm cousins. Crazy good times, canoe rides, baseball games, basketball games, swimming, fishing, hiking, smores.......Eyasu certainly enjoyed his first of many!

Yesterday was this guys birthday! He just gets better looking to me as he ages!

Friday we will celebrate 16 years of wedded bliss! I am one blessed woman. I am so grateful the Lord allowed me to be his helpmate and bride. Doing life with him is such an honor. I can honestly say that our lives are SO very different than I envisioned on that day, but so much richer, so much better. I love him more than I ever thought possible....
I am leaving all of these people in a week as I head to Ethiopia for 9 days. Oh how I will miss each of them. Specific prayer requests to come. :)

My first baby is turning 14 while I am gone, how in the world did that happen?? Hill you are a great big brother, kind, funny. I love you buddy.

We are playing alot of this..

and doing this...
Happy Summer!!

p.s- we are having some insurance issues with Abe's therapy, equipment, etc. Would you please pray that it will resolve quickly? Little buddy is currently on a "summer break" from therapy because of it. Really frustrating, but I know that He is bigger than all of it.

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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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