Saturday, October 31, 2015

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween from the goofball gang!

Troy may have been ready to retire but Meron knows a good costume when she sees one and she isn't quite ready to hang it up yet!

And it got its usual response - even extra candy at one house when the guy declared:

"Give THAT kid extra!"

Meron came down from the porch and said "Daddy - he did it! He really did give me extra!"

And then there was Mebski Love - rocking what she called a "fancy lady" and rocking it well!

Get your sass on Mebbie!

And last but not least - we had Donatello - or like I like to call him - "Donatell-Fro" - our little Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle with a Z-Dogg hair do!

These guys had a blast hitting the streets and cleaned up pretty well! We got candy for DAYS around here now!

Happy Halloween everybody!

Friday, October 30, 2015

Mission Trip Day 5 - Sponsorship

A full night's sleep in a comfy bed is what everybody needed - and we woke up bright eyed and bushy tailed and ready to go do it again!

Well - after a little balcony soccer with one of the guest house guards that is!

Today was the day we got to give a couple small (to us) but gigantic (to him) gifts to our awesome little dude we sponsor through Connected in Hope!

He immediately started yanking off his school uniform to try on his dope little outfit - he was so proud of it all!

We've since learned that he went home that night and slept with everything we had brought him. It was just an outfit, some building blocks and some books - but it meant the world to him... just like getting to spend some time with him and hug on him meant to us!

We also got to meet his mom who just kept smiling and smiling!

A perfect picture of what sponsorship looks like - mom on one side and sponsor on the other pouring in some love to our little man!

Next we were off to make some pipe cleaner glasses for the kids...

Well... some of us were!

Somebody else got sucked in pretty hard to Bisrat's world and spent the whole day hanging out with him!

Hoarding toys.... swinging...

See-sawing and just having a blast!

We also set up a "photo booth" complete with silly props to snap some fun pics of everybody.

This is just one of the awesome shots - these kids were digging it!

The Meron-Go-Round was in full effect pretty much all day!

And Z-Dogg tried to find his inner Zen through meditation on the swing...

FUNNY: about 30 seconds after this picture - he decided to let go, eyes closed and place his hands in front of him - and promptly fell off the swing on his face.

He survived with little more than a bruised ego...

We were blessed with the opportunity to help serve lunch again.

And some of us jumped at the invitation to enjoy a traditional Ethiopian lunch!

Way too soon it was time to leave these smiling faces again or the day...

Because we were heading to our other spot to spend some time with some more kids over at Kebebe Tsehay - the government run orphanage that Brighton Their World has been trying hard to support in any way we can...

But first...

Some Coke and Fanta for the ride!

We don't drink either at home - but here - it's SO MUCH BETTER for some reason...

And it got everybody smiling!

Kebebe Tsehay is super strict about no pictures or video... so we have little to show here - but trust that we played with kids, talked to caregivers and - the thing Meron was dying to do most - we held babies. Lots of them.

We also spent time in the special needs room - which is one of the hardest places I can imagine - but the kids lit up, smiled and had a fun time trying to figure out my beard!

We finished up the night by taking some in-country friends out to eat at one of our favorite burger joints in Addis!

We had a party of like 25 - and it was nice to just hang out and hear how everybody was doing!

With our energy disappearing on us after a long day - we hit the sack early because tomorrow... we are heading to Awassa!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Cute Kids On A Playground

Jet lag has kicked all of our tails and stopped me from updating like I want to. But... coming tomorrow - Day 5 summary!

In the meantime... cute kids on a playground in Africa!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

In Her Element

Watching this gal do her thing fully in her element was one of the biggest gifts of the last week.

I am blessed she said yes...

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Mission Trip Day 3 and 4 - Travel and Loving

The day started off like this - another long walk down a hotel hallway - but we were believing this was the day that no challenges would stop us!

For the next 13 hours or so - this was our crew...

Sleepy-eyed but anxious!

Until finally - we landed in Addis Ababa!

After cruising SO SMOOTHLY through visa lines and customs (take note United Airlines - Ethiopian Airlines made you guys look like PlaySkool's My First Airline...) we found ourselves in the airport lobby patiently waiting for Nebiat to arrive!

Needless to say - we were PUMPED!

Nubian picked us up and took us straight back to the guest house where we dropped our bags and connected with our other team members...

And before we knew it we were on the ground being serenaded by the pre-school children at Connected in Hope's school!

Led by our sponsor-child Bisrat, we heard our good old favorite tune, "Big Fat Momma!"

There was plenty of hugging of other sponsored children...

And lots of new friend making!

Meron fell in love with Bisrat, who she promptly nicknamed "Bizzy" and he drug her all over the school grounds!

Even little Z-Dogg fell right in place - lining up with his hands on the shoulders of the other kids and following them right in to their classroom...

The goofballs got to spend some time in actual school settings and they took a stab at learning to write some Amharic!

Not too shabby Mebski Love, not too shabby!

But ya got some work to do to catch up to these guys!

We also didn't forget about the staff there...

These guys keep it running smoothly and the kids seem to love them all!

Overall - we just tried to hang out and love... whether it was at lunch...

or in a bear hug! We just wanted to try and be like Him.

Eventually - the shoes came off and got lined up...

and the kids filed in to their rooms for nap time.

We were pretty spent too and so we finally loaded up the van and headed back to the guest house.

After dinner we talked about the day a bit...

Until we realized that some of us were so tired that we had actually fallen asleep where we sat...

With the drama of the first two travel days all but forgotten - We all hit the sack early - tired but excited - to try and get some sleep so we could go at it again the next day.

Monday, October 26, 2015


These faces sum it up right here. We are officially lagging.

Jet lagging that is...

6:45 PM (mountain time) but feeling like 3:45 AM in Ethiopia.

Hang in there goofballs - it goes away soon!

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Rock Stars

These guys are nothing short of rock stars.

I wanna be just like them when I grow up...

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Voxer Prayers

I love that technology allows us to sit around and listen to the most heartfelt prayers for our trip from a family we love and adore!

Voxer Prayers for the win!