June 14, 2017

Loving the Unlovable

A month ago as I was driving home from a conference in Nashville I began to think about love.

And how hard it was to love others. Really love others. It’s easy to say it and post memes and pretty graphics about it.

Much harder to do in real life. A busy life. A wounded life.

It’s much harder to really love those whose personalities rub you the wrong way. Those who are just obnoxious. Those who exhaust you mentally.  Those you’d rather duck into the next aisle in when you see them in the grocery store people.

But you know what? That’s exactly who Christ has called us to love. It’s easy to love those who are like us. Those who pour into our souls. Those you can be vulnerable with it and share the innermost parts of your heart with. Those we can laugh with. Those we can feel comfortable being quiet with.

We enjoy loving those people. And we need those people in our lives. We have to have those people in our lives.

But what about those other people?

They are different for all of us.

For some it’s much easier to love the Muslim refugee than it is the white republican male.

For others it’s much easier to love the person next to them in church than the homeless person sitting on the street outside of church.

Some can easily love any other race but struggle with those with mental issues.

Some can love and accept the adulterer but not homosexual.

and vice versa for all those situations.

We each have a wall that has been built by biases, experiences and teachings.  But still we most love.

Uncomfortable, isn’t it? (speaking to myself here)

But isn’t that exactly who Christ has called us to love?

Isn’t that what is supposed to make us different?

Isn’t that what people are supposed to marvel at about our faith? Our ability to love.  Because our love comes from Him.

Ephesians 5 tells us “Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.”

1 John 4 says “Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us.”

Challenging myself today to love those that I have deemed unlovable in my heart and mind.

Join me?

(Disclaimer: Do we have to have boundaries? Yes.  Are there some that aren’t safe for us that we have to remove ourselves from? Yes.)

March 31, 2017

Love isn't easy

We as people like quick fixes. We like things wrapped up and tidy like a 30 minute sitcom. 

Loving others isn't a quick fix. It's not tidy. It's not easy. It's not without some sacrifice on our part if done with our whole heart.

But these faces? They are what makes it worth it.

When you sit in front of family and hear how their lives have changed. When you see the man who had no shoes, rags for clothes and a malnourished son and poverty spirit standing before you now with not only shoes and clothes..but a spirit of joy deep within him---that's what motivates you.

When your in-country staff lists off names of children that they tell you surely would have died had it not been for people entering into their distress--that's what fires you up.

It goes beyond material things. It's deeper than the financial help. It's bringing life and hope to others because that's what's been given to us.

We are so thankful for those that have linked arms with Hawassa Hope--some of you since the very beginning and some of you brand new. You encourage us on hard days to stay the course. You help us to see the beauty in ashes. You fan the flames of our hopes and dreams.

"The victims of injustice in our world do not need our spasms of passion; they need our long obedience in the same direction - our legs and lungs of endurance; And we need sturdy stores of joy."   Gary Haugen

November 10, 2016

Rethinking Orphan Sunday

Orphan Sunday

When you hear those two words what comes to mind?

In 2008,  adoption would have been the first word to jump into mine.  This is the year that Ab came into our family.

Then sponsorship.  Greg and I were also part of a ministry in Zambia that consisted of sponsorship for school.

zambia 054DSC00169

Fast forward to 2016.  One more adoption. Several years advocating in various ways for different ministries or organizations.  Now directing Hawassa Hope.

I have learned that “orphan care” is so much more than what I originally thought.  Much more than adopting or school sponsorship —though that’s part of it.

Orphan care, to me, now begins before anyone is brought to an orphanage and before any parent has to go through a heart-wrenching relinquishment process.  The majority of the orphan care we are involved in now is preventing those children from being relinquished.  Advocating and seeking help to keep families together. 

So many families WANT to raise their children—the problem is they see no way to do that. They have no hope.  We have watched Hawassa Hope families provide for their children and be full of life and joy with just a little bit of help.  Help that ultimately we hope will lead to independence. 

Like this brother who stepped up to take care of his 2 sisters and little brother when their parents died.  Why? Because that’s what you do he said. “There is no alternative.”


Orphan care  now is supporting the in country staff who make reunification possible for families by offering them support and help where needed.  Seeing a child being placed back into the arms of his father….

Orphan care consists of supporting those in country who are taking care of children until families are found.


Orphan care now means supporting domestic adoption and foster care. in the states and in Ethiopia where we work.

Like these 14 families in Hawassa, Ethiopia who stepped up to love children. And there has been even more than this. I love it.


Orphan Care means providing clean water to children and families who desperately need it.  This changes lives dramatically. Childrens lives are literally saved.


Orphan Care also consists  of providing businesses for women so that they can financially support themselves and their children.  They want to work and provide on their own. They just need a little boost. Then you get to see the reward in their smiles.


Orphan Care can mean building a home for a mom who had the validated fear of hyenas coming in to get her children at night.  And then you hear the heartbreaking words, “I am now a human again.”


Orphan care can mean supporting adoptive/fostering families during the process and after they have adopted. Sharing in their concerns. Praying for each other. Loving each other. And maybe being quite silly together. ;)


It may be driving almost crazy amounts of time just to be with each other..living life together and loving each other through hard times.


As you can see my definition of “orphan care” has broadened greatly.  I am sure it will broaden even more as I experience more.

I challenge everyone to think outside of the typical box and to support children and families in areas that cause children to become orphans.   HIV education. Malaria training and nets. Medical support. Food support. Pregnancy care. The child we are a sponsor for we chose because it was the same situation as our adopted son. (and she reminded me so much of him!)

I told her mom as I sat in her home…. I don’t want you to have to make the choice my son’s mom did. I want you to be able to raise your daughter.


Orphan care can be so much more than helping after the fact. Let’s jump in help at the beginning of the crisis—not waiting until the end when it feels like there are no options left.

I would love to help you become more involved in orphan care. 

You can learn more about us at www.hawassahope.org or email me at charisa@hawassahope.org
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