July 31, 2014

Let’s build a house!

Thank you so much to everyone who sacrificially and generously gave to our house fund!  We are now fully funded!

July 23, 2014

A home for $30?

This past June when we were preparing for our trip to Awassa, Ararso (the gentleman who heads up the Enabling Independence Program) told me “Charisa, when we go to Boricha you have to meet this woman. She needs help with her house. It is such poor condition”

I, of course, said “ok” and had some idea of what to expect based on prior visits with other families.  I know if he said it was bad then it was bad.

A couple days into the trip we headed to Boricha and I was able to meet the government gentleman who helps the families in this area. We then headed to Ashile’s home.

We pulled in front of the house and went inside to visit with Ashile and her 4 children.

Below is their bedroom. For the entire family. The front part was about 1/4th of this size.


This mom is part of our Enabling Independence Program and has much desire and drive. She is not able to do as well as she can (she is grinding and selling corn) because of the lack of security in her house. If she buys more than she can do that day (which would be more cost effective for her and more profit) her home is broken into and it is stolen.

Every home we visited we would ask how can we pray for you.  Through Ararso  she told us that she lies awake at night in fear.


for her children. that hyenas will come in and eat them.

This is not an invalid fear for her. It happens and could happen to her family.  (go back and look a the pictures of the openings in the wall)

Another aspect of this story is that a new road is being built--that will come right through her home.

We went to pray and she knelt down completely on the floor with her face to the ground.

I am not sure I can describe my feelings a that moment. Words can’t describe.


Becca Underwood’s thoughts about this family:

“The first house was the home of a mother and several young children.  Through the EIP she  is now grinding corn to help support her family. Honestly, this was the most shocking home for me to visit simply because what reminded me of a small child’s fort was home to a mom and her kids. This mom, a mom like myself, lives in fear of hyenas attacking her family in the night and it is a legitimate fear.  Despite this reality this beautiful, brave woman is a picture of strength.  SHE is working to change HER future.

I was reminded of Alison’s words…”Out of despair, she was building hope. It wasn’t something we were giving her. She was cultivating it herself with a little assistance and guidance. It wouldn’t be easy, and it certainly wasn’t an easy life, but there was hope thanks to the Enabling Independence Program.”

The face of courage.



Here is the part I love.

Ararso is motivating the local church body to step and help this family have a home. They are providing a lot of the materials needed.  We are privileged to partner with them…our brothers and sisters across the world and provide this mom and her children a home. A home that is safe, secure, and without fear.

Our goal is $1500.

Where does $30 come in?

if 50 people gave just $30…a home and items needed in that home can be provided for this precious family.

Will you STAND with us?   

To donate to provide a house for this mom and her children. Go here:



July 9, 2014

Bringing Hope to Awassa

Visit Awassa, Ethiopia with a team from Project HOPEFUL!

Come serve along side of us on a Mission Trip to Awassa, Ethiopia.  We would love to have you with us to meet your FIG child, serve at Ajuuja orphanage, and build relationships with the people in the communities we serve.  Please be aware that we are a different type of “mission”  trip that can be better described as a “vision”  trip.  Our trips are not as much as about “doing” as they are about learning and building relationships.  Our focus is to love and equip our families, support our staff in Ethiopia,  and build relationships.   Our teams include a maximum of eight people, which means we often have a waiting list of interested participants.  Our teams are selected after a careful review of the application and consideration of the balance of team members.  For more information please contact charisa@projecthopeful.org.

Our next trip is October 10-19, 2014.  Please fill out an application as soon as possible to be considered! The application link above has more info and costs.

So...what is a Project HOPEFUL Awassa mission trip like?

“A Project Hopeful Awassa trip is a journey with strangers who immediately feel like family. It’s about getting in a van and trusting your life to a crazy driver who turns out to be an angel who walks among us. It’s about not understanding in your mind a single word of what is being said to you, but understanding completely in your heart. It’s about smiling until the back of your head hurts. It’s about small gestures made with big love. It’s about holding the hands of tiny, grimy children at the fish market and hearing statistics from Zewdu that make your head spin and heart hurt. It’s about trying new food, honoring different customs, and appreciating a culture much older and richer than our own. It’s about noticing the presence of joy in the absence of material things. It’s about being okay with loose plans, and changing plans. It’s about sleeping on beds that might impale you with rusty springs or fold you in half with the lack thereof. It’s about being emotionally and physically tired, not sleeping well,  and pushing through anyway, not because you have to, but because nothing is going to stop you from loving on your FIG sponsor child and his family. It’s about dancing in church more than you’ve danced at the last five weddings you’ve attended.


You will likely feed monkeys and see hippos (or not). Maybe you will pass out care packages, paint walls, build a playground, shop for baby formula, teach someone how to make jewelry, or simply hold a hand. You will be graciously invited into people’s homes and you will start to put them into categories of poor, poorer, and poorest and you will feel like a jerk for doing so. Some homes you might have to give yourself a pep talk or bite your lip to stop yourself from breaking down in tears, in another home you’ll be amazed at the seamless competence of the hostess as the power goes off and flashlights appear in the middle of dinner and the food and drink still continues to appear. Oh, yeah. The power WILL go off. A lot. You will maybe have internet, you will maybe have hot water, or scalding water, or no water.

Your life back home will feel light years away and you will feel guilty for all you take for granted. You will hug, and hug, and hug, and people will sing and sing and sing. And you’ll wish you knew the words so you could sing along too. You will see feats of human strength, spirit, and endurance that will inspire and astound you and simultaneously break your heart. You will be treated like a rock star and you will feel completely undeserving. You will feel deep connection and love to everyone and everything. You will see things that will inspire you, sadden you, disgust you, and change you.

And when you return back to your home, people will ask what you did. The answer will be difficult because maybe you painted a room, preached a sermon, gave a lecture, held babies, took photos, or handed out care packages. How do you put into words the connection you created with the nannies as you decorate the baby rooms together in an effort to simply bring more joy and beauty to the sweet babies. How do you describe the honor of being invited into your FIG child’s home to witness their few possessions and YOU walk away feeling blessed and inspired by their joy and tenacious spirits? How do you describe being challenged to a dance off by an elderly woman with a gold tooth? Or being handed a mystery milky liquid in a dirty gourd with instructions to “drink this for the sake of the photo.” Maybe you will offer to teach a skill, and find they can do the skill much better, faster, and more efficiently than you. Like making jewelry and tying knots. Maybe you’ll be required to call on skills you haven’t used in a while. Like massage therapy when you learn the woman you are visiting isn’t just having problems with the scar tissue in her legs, but migraines and back pain too. Maybe the women in the house will look at you like you are crazy when you climb in the woman’s bed because she can’t get up and there’s no other way to massage her aching neck. But then those same women hug you with tears streaming down their cheeks because you helped their sister, friend and neighbor.


So what do you DO on a Project Hopeful trip? You show up with humility, flexibility, openness, some humor and courage, and a willingness to serve. You will tote bags to Ethiopia bursting at the seams with precious items that are urgently needed. Those bags will return empty, yet you will feel there was an exchange. But this time the precious cargo you shlep home is a heart bursting at the seams…and it will change everything.”

Allison M. Waddell

A recap video from our last trip.
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