ethiopian faith journey

(Follow link to the right 'OUR STORY FROM THE BEGINNING' for more of our story)

“For I know the plans I have for you”, declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11.

God has been writing our story in His book of life – orchestrating details and making connections for our faith journey to Ethiopia for some time. Here is a glimpse of what God has unfolded for us and the journey He has called us to – God has written the story start to finish, but we are just beginning to receive this blessing. He will unfold His journey for us a little bit every day and we are blessed to have you experience the love of Christ for His children with us. There will be a day when we know the whole story and I pray that we can spend eternity with each of you singing praises of His goodness together!

The above verse from Jeremiah goes on to state, “Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord…” (v. 12-14)

We have called upon God and prayed to Him and He was listening. We sought Him with all our hearts and we found Him calling us to Ethiopia.

After we adopted Eliana, God led us to cross paths with many people who were touched by adoption, considering adoption or knew someone adopting. After seeing the way Eliana’s story touched lives, I (Angie) began giving out our phone number to anyone showing interest, praying that God would use our blessing to touch others for adoption. I received a phone call one day from a woman, Jen (& husband, Larry, also in the process of adopting), who expressed several people had given her my name & phone number, from varying circumstances and she felt that God had placed it on her heart to connect with me. They were using the same agency, All God’s Children International, and they actually lived only 3 miles from us – ‘isn’t that a coincidence’ we commented. We kept in touch and I was blessed by watching God at work through their journey to Ethiopia for their beautiful daughter Aleena. By chance, we actually met in person at the Little League field while watching our boys and we shared the joy of their upcoming travel to Ethiopia in crossing at the ball fields! About 4 weeks ago, Jen shared with me with that Aleena has 2 biological brothers that were later relinquished for adoption. After petitioning the Lord and praying for Aleena’s brothers, they felt God was telling them not to adopt them. She was broken and crying out for these boys and the Lord’s provision for them.

Upon receiving the email, something stirred in my heart…the same quiet knock God gave me when He brought Eliana to us. That day, I knelt at my bedside and prayed for these boys that God would bless and protect them and lead them to the family He had already chosen for them. I prayed that God would break our hearts for these boys if I was hearing the knock from Him and not from within my own selfish desires. Joe and I began to pray for these boys and the families that would be approached about them – ‘Lord…let the people hear your heart for them and bless their precious lives.’ Every family contracted with All God’s Children (AGCI) prayed over the placement of these boys and each one received a ‘no’ from God. When there was one family left to contact, we called AGCI and stated that although we were not currently contracted with them, we were praying over them and felt God calling our hearts to them. At this point, our hearts had been broken for these boys and our confirmation from the Lord would be that He stirred every other waiting family’s hearts to say ‘no’. On November 26, 2007, we received a call from AGCI that these boys had not been placed. Joe and I prayed together once more for these precious lives and received clear calling from God that our sons, Muaz (age 7) and Bereket (3 months) were being saved for us. Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

As of Friday, November 30, we are an officially contracted family with All God’s Children International and are pressing forward at mock speed to bring our sons home! Our adoption process in being done in reverse order since normally the home study and paperwork comes first and placement with your child follows. Well – God is working this miracle for us in reverse, so it is a race to catch up and bring them home. Our second confirmation from God that this was His calling for us is that it is also beyond us financially. God is made strong in our weakness and we are about to experience that in all of His fullness. In the next few weeks, we will be watching God make the miracle of approximately $18,000 happen (and then another $20,000 in the next 3-4 months)! In the past, I struggled with making this need public in order to adopt again, but God has shown us His need for these two boys to be safe, loved and growing in Christ. It is about watching an awesome God work a miracle and giving Him the glory for who He is! It is about leading others to Christ by experiencing His love for His children (our boys) lived out to the fullest measure…

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” Matthew 7:7 The Lord is working in powerful ways and we are excited to see Him work a miracle…

Joey has arrived!

January 31, 2008


So, how do you fit 3 growing boys in a small bedroom? Triple bunk beds!!! The boys are very excited to have a bed for big brother 'M'. He will sleep on the bottom, Aiden in the middle and Ethan on the top. Ethan & Aiden have had these bunk beds for several years now, and they have the ability to add a third bunk into the mix (who would have known that we would actually need triple bunk beds some day?! - God did!). We were blessed with the third bunk pieces gifted to us by Pat Walton - a furniture representative that Joe works with at Kettering for the dorm bunks. They actually use a similar brand of bunks in the dorms as we had purchased for the boys years ago. He had some extra pieces 'laying around' and we are so grateful to have the third piece of these awesome triple bunks provided for us. God uses people to fulfill His plans and we are so grateful for the gift of 'M's bed and the generosity of Pat.
We received news on Thursday that baby 'B' continues to be making strides in recovering (back at the orphanage) from his bacterial meningitis. He had an appointment scheduled with the eye specialist today, so we will wait to hear more on that next week.
We are awaiting our social worker's arrival this afternoon and excited for this long awaited home study visit to be upon us! We have been working hard on adoption grant applications - submitted several last week and will be submitting several more in the next few weeks. Please continue to lift our remaining financial need for the adoption in prayer. To God be the glory for the great miracle He is working for our boys!

January 29, 2008


We received an update on baby 'B' today and are praising God for his protection, provision and healing of him. The orphanage director stated, "Praise be to God 'B' was discharged from the hospital today and doing really well." We are so grateful for answered prayer and the fulfillment of God's promises. "Blessed is he who has regard for the weak; the Lord delivers him in times of trouble. The Lord will sustain him on his sickbed and restore him from his bed of illness." Psalm 41: 1 & 3
God must have big plans for precious baby 'B's life and we are so excited to give God all the glory for the man He will someday become! We can't wait to tell him how much he was loved and prayed over by so many people before we ever held him in our arms and about God's faithfulness and love for him through these trials.
We are also very thankful that our home study visits are scheduled for this Friday and Saturday. We are officially moving forward again - thank you Jesus!

January 24, 2008


We received an update from Ethiopia today on baby 'B' - his temperature is still fluctuating up and down, but the doctors do feel he is responding to the antibiotics. He was awake when the orphanage director visited him today (he has been asleep every other time she visited this week), so she was encouraged by that. God is faithfully providing for him and we are thankful for His provision. We pray for a continued healing of his body as well as protection from residual effects of the meningitis. We also continue to pray for God to comfort 'M' in a time of uncertainty with baby brother being sick and in the hospital. We are truly blessed to have so many people praying for him and know that God hears each and every prayer.

January 23, 2008


We got an update on baby 'B' today - he was diagnosed (via spinal tap) with bacterial meningitis. He has been in the hospital since Saturday and will be there at least 7 days. He is being given IV antibiotics and his weight is remaining stable. They are very cautious about telling us how he is doing overall because they really are not able to tell at this point - they say he is stable. We feel the strength of your prayers for 'B' and are being comforted knowing the healing power of Christ is working within his precious body at this very moment. We will find great joy in sharing with him how much he was loved and prayed for through this illness in the years to come. We continue to lay him down at the foot of the cross and trust in Jesus for his care.

January 21, 2008


We received a call tonight that our precious baby 'B' is in the hospital with meningitis. Of course, as parents our hearts are heavy and we long to hold him tight, lay our hands upon his tiny body and pray for his healing and protection.
Although our arms are not long enough to reach him tonight, we know that God's arms have no limit and baby 'B' is resting in the loving arms of our Lord at this very moment. Please join us in lifting up prayers of petition for baby 'B' that God's healing hand would be at work on his body and He would protect him from residual damage from this illness.

January 18, 2008


Today we celebrated 'M's birthday and look forward to celebrating with him on his next birthday! We sing an additional birthday song at our house that says, "May the dear Lord bless you...may the dear Lord bless and keep you, the whole year through". Today that song held a promise for us that the Lord is blessing and keeping our boys across the miles of land and sea until they come home to us. The next time we sing that song for them, we will be able to look into their eyes and enjoy that promise of hope together.
As you may have noticed we removed the names from the blog in order to comply with requirements to withold this information until the adoption is final and they are home with us in the US.
We received a brief update on 'B's eye condition today. He was evaluated by 2 US doctors that were at the orphanage last week who consulted with an ophthamologist in the US regarding his condition. They are quite certain that it is congenital glaucoma, but another possible cause could be a tumor. The procedure that would positively determine this cannot be done there, so the doctors reiterated a known urgency for him to come to the states for surgical intervention. He is receiving drops, but more for infection control than treatment of the pressure. He is scheduled for a follow-up at the end of the month. We continue to pray for God's protection of his vision and for expedition of this process so that he can receive the specialty treatment required to preserve his vision.
We are still awaiting our home study visit to be scheduled, so continue to lift that need up in daily prayer until it is met.

January 17, 2008


We are so excited to share the blessing of our new nephew - Kellen Michael Asperger! Jeremy & Heather (Joe's brother and wife) have gifted our family with a beautiful (& handsome) little man to add to our neice/nephew/cousin clan - we are now numbering 9 strong and praising God for the precious children in our lives! He was born Wednesday, January 16 at 12:19pm weighing 6# 9 oz. and 19 inches long. He is perfect and they are all doing well!

January 15, 2008


My (Angie) mission trip to Mexico was a wonderful experience last week and I am grateful for the opportunity to be part of the ministry they are doing with the orphans in Monterrey, Mexico. I will continue to post 'Reflections of Mexico' to share that experience and the work Back 2 Back Ministries is doing there as well as the compassion of the The James Fund (an affiliate of Family Christian Store) in partnering with them. I had the priviledge of loving on many, many precious children as well as doing some work at 2 of the orphanages they support and helping to pour the foundation of the new House of Hope (funded by the James Fund) for teenagers and college age orphans. In Mexico, public education stops at 9th grade and only private high school education is offered (which orphans have no way of funding). age 15, they are basically put out on the street to survive in a harsh poverty stricken society... and the cycle of poverty continues to spiral out of control. Back 2 Back ministries provides both support to orphanages in Monterrey as well as inviting the orphans who reach age 15 back to their houses of Hope and paying for their high school and college education while living in homes with house parents to teach them how to break the cycle of poverty and orphan life, how to live as a part of a family unit with the example of a loving husband and wife (& children in many homes) and bring them to a saving faith in Jesus Christ. The mission motto is to provide "care for today(orphanage support) and hope for tomorrow(teen homes)". Stay tuned to 'Reflections of Mexico' posts to come....


Well...all of our home study paperwork made it to the Grand Rapids All God's Children (AGCI) office last week (thank you to everyone that was a part of are a blessing!) and we are awaiting our home study visit to be scheduled. We are praying it will be scheduled by the end of this week for next week (so feel free to add that to your daily prayers as well!). Once we have our home study(with home visit) completed, we can add that to our orphan petition with the US government (which requires federal finger printing and some additional processing time to receive a 'Favorable Determination Letter' from our government allowing us to bring the boys to the US). We also need the home study to begin applying for grant funding. Not to mention...that makes us one step closer to the boys!! Pictured are our 'excited siblings-to-be' holding the packages of our important home study documents before praying over them and putting them in the mail last week!

January 7, 2008


"Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you."

It is 4:50 a.m. and I am packed and awaiting my ride to the airport to go to Mexico for my mission trip. I am posting a list of prayer requests for the week before I go:

  • Pray for Joe and the kids while mommy is gone
  • Pray for the health of my kids while I am gone
  • Pray for safety in travel for me
  • Pray that God will use me and bless this trip with the children of Mexico and the orphanages there
  • Pray for the paperwork that we are sending in this week and that we sent last week (one document is pictured above)
  • Pray for 'B's pending eye appointment (that we will get more needed information from that)
  • Pray for the Christmas celebration in Ethiopia today (today is their Christmas)

January 1, 2008


We have enjoyed a wonderful Christmas season and are so blessed to have had Joe home with us for a week of family time between Christmas and New Year's.
"All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth" rang true for Ethan this year - he lost his two front (and one side bottom!) teeth within a few weeks just in time for Christmas. How cute is that!?!
Aiden celebrated his 5th birthday on December 30 and was the primary designer for the cake of himself pictured here. It is hard to believe that he is 5. Each time we celebrate another year of life for our kids, I find myself thanking God that He has provided for our family so that I had the priviledge of watching God grow them each and every day (that is God's gift to be home with them every day)!
I (Angie) am preparing to leave for a mission trip to Mexico on Monday, Jan. 7-11 with a team of Family Christian Store employees (I work for them as the story hour leader) from across the nation. We are blessed to serve the Lord in an area very dear to my heart - the orphanages sponsored by the James Fund there. I am so grateful for this opportunity and pray that God will use me to touch the lives of the precious children there. Please pray for Joe, Ethan, Aiden and Eli next week while I am gone (& Aunt Kimmie who will be caring for and schooling the kids during the daytime hours).
Also pictured is Eli (@ the Flint Children's Museum) - enjoying her role playing as 'daddy - the architect'!
The new year causes reflection of the year that has past and hopeful anticipation for the year to come. Each year I look back and praise God for all the blessings that brought joy and for all the trials that caused growth in Him. One thing is certain for the year 2008 - there will be joys and trials and I pray that my reflection of the year shows dependance on and growth in Christ.


"All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ. Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son."