Visit to Where Love Is Orphanage

This morning I went with Evan and Worknesh to meet with Aliye.  It was the first time that I had seen him since we flew to Ethiopia together in July.  I was very happy to see him and the feeling was mutual.  We discussed the wheat crops, and the plans for Kokosa.  He wants us to stick to the original plan, or submit a whole new plan for approval before we move forward with it.  I will be doing a lot of research this trip so that I can write up a new proposal.

When we returned, Lloyd and I drove to the bank to cash our checks so that we could have money for our work here.  It is unnerving to walk out of the bank with great big bundles of cash. {Erika: "In the picture to the right, Joseph is holding cash that they pulled out of the bank to build a road in Kokosa. It is: 170,000 birr, which is currently the equivalent of about $15,000 U.S. dollars. You wouldn't want to walk into a dark alley with this in your hands!}

We took Joseph and Evan up the street to do some shopping at a fruit stand and a bread stand. The fruit here doesn’t look as pretty on the outside, but it is fresh and has a fantastic flavor.  The other benefit is that it is relatively cheap, for instance bananas are only 30 cents per pound. When we arrived home with our produce, I fried up potatoes, onions, and garlic for lunch. After a quick 20-minute power nap, we headed out to go to the "Where Love Is" boys home. 

The minibuses were packed full, so we just hired a couple of taxis to take us there. Brian and Kristin and Kathy had lined up Family Home Evening with Jason, so he invited us to attend when Joseph had called him earlier in the day. Brian served his mission here in Ethiopia about 15 years ago. Brian had purchased soda pop, Kristen had a soccer ball, Lloyd and Evan had some smaller squishy balls, glow sticks, and tops, I had some fruit snacks and Joseph had the uniforms. {Erika: "It must have been like Christmas for those boys!} The gift giving was scattered throughout the evening making it a lot of fun. The boys loved Joseph’s tricks with a soccer ball, and he and Lloyd’s magic tricks. The boys took Joseph around and showed him their bedrooms (3or 4 bunk beds to a room), bathroom (holes in the concrete floor)kitchen (a tarp stretched over a small table and small wood grill), and their classroom. 

When it got dark, we went into the class room for FHE.  The boys did everything themselves in Amharic, and the oldest boy translated it into English for us. They had a prayer, song, lesson and a drama (very good show of a missionary teaching the gospel to a father, who taught it to his son, who invited his drug using friends to learn about the gospel and forsake the drug lifestyle).  I was amazed that those 20 boys had at least an hour long family home evening and they all stay focused the whole time. I was especially touched when they sang “I am a child of God with (parents kind and dear). I guess Jason is their kind and dear parent, and for being a young father (and mother) he does an incredible job with those young men.  They were so excited when Joseph handed out the sports uniforms, and so very grateful to have them.  Afterwards they fed us dinner of bread, rice, lentils and some cooked cabbage on the side. It was simple but filled us all up. What a wonderful evening.

{See more information about Jason's orphanage at:}