Thursday, December 30, 2010

End of the Year Giving...

There is still time to give your end of the year donations to Eyes that See. As long as the envelope is postmarked by December 31st, you will receive tax credit. End of year statements will be mailed out in January.

Eyes That See
2705 Murray Hill Pike
Louisville, KY 40242

Thank you so much to so many of you who have given monetary donations to Eyes That See. We are honored by those of you who have chosen to give to Eyes That See in honor of loved ones for Christmas. It truly is a gift that will keep on giving.

God bless your 2011!

More T-Shirt options....

Sorry for our lack of posts, between being out of town for Christmas for a week and both Matt and my computer acting funny we are a little behind!!

Thanks for your patience. Along with our other shirts, here are two more t-shirt designs for sale.....

Women's scoop neck white t-shirt

Grey Keziah Project t-shirt

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Eyes That See T-Shirts!!

The Eyes That See t-shirts are for sale!!!

$15 - plus $4.95 shipping per order

Available in sizes: Adult S, M, L, XL, 2XL, 3XL

Brown Eyes That See Shirt

Green ETS Shirt

For those of you in Eau Claire and surrounding areas orders can be picked up at Valleybrook Church. Shipping Charges do not apply.

To place order, please send email to with shirt and size plus shipping address or if picking up shirt.

Thank you for your support! The money from these shirts will go to support The Keziah Project.

Check back for new styles soon.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Christmas Wish List

As you are Christmas shopping, I want to invite you to think about buying the twenty students at Project 1 a gift as well.  I talked to Endris, the project manager, and there are three distinct needs the project has to care for these students.

New Uniforms ($10 a piece) Many of these students were amazed that they would be gifted a uniform a few months ago.  They no longer had to wear pants with broken zippers or shirts that didn't fit.  Now, we are looking to buy them a second uniform so their first can not only be washed, but dried, mended and given back to them folded like new.  I cannot wait to see their faces as they are given this gift.  We have twenty students who would love this gift.

10 New Chairs ($30 a piece) We just added ten new students to our project.  Being that we are brand new, this means that they are needing chairs to sit on.  They use these chairs during the tutoring classes and during their meal times.

5 New Desks ($60 a piece) Like the chairs, we are needing desks.  The desks hold two students a piece, so we are only needing five.  When we add these chairs and desks the new students will feel fully engaged and welcome in the project.  We want them to feel safe and at home so that they can learn most effectively.

Thanks for partnering with us in this way.  If you have questions, please contact us or even comment below.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

This Sunday!

Hi to all of you in Eau Claire.  Twenty-two inches?  Seriously?

Since you had to have a giant blizzard on our festive "I support Eyes That See" day, we want to let you know that everything is moved to this Sunday.  That means that Infinitea will be hosting the event again for us, t shirts will be for sale at Valleybrook, and Grant plans on dancing from the stage at some point during the announcements in one of the new t shirts.  This will only be at the eleven o'clock service, so make sure you are there.

For all of you not in Eau Claire you can now breathe a sigh of relief you didn't get 22 inches of snow.  More importantly, we will be having t shirts available for sale online.  We will put the designs up soon and you will be able to order by emailing  Thanks everyone and enjoy the Christmas Season!

Monday, December 13, 2010

How to Get Involved

Hi friends
We wanted to give you a practical breakdown of what your support goes to as you give towards Eyes That See.  Here is a breakdown of ways that you can be a part of what God is doing through Eyes That See.

$7- monthly cost for one student to go to school and have their books provided.

$7- all twenty students receive a tutoring session.  We have four sessions a week.

$10- one month’s worth of meals provided to a student by Eyes That See.  For some of them, these are the only meals they eat.

$15- monthly cost for one woman to attend the hair stylist training.  (Each woman also receives meals, counseling, basic education and support outside of this expense.)

$36- monthly salary of our cook who feeds all the students and women in our program.

$50- monthly cost for utilities for the whole project.

$100- monthly cost to maintain our two buildings.  This includes paint to make the buildings feel more like home.

If you would like to partner in one of these ways with us, please contact us at or (715)529.9162

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Infinitea's Support

If you live in Eau Claire, you know how great Infinitea Teahouse is.  Their tea is wonderful and the environment is incredible.  I loved stopping to visit when I lived in Eau Claire.  Whether you are a regular or you have never visited I want to invite you to go to Infinitea this Sunday for their "Valleybrook Charity Event."  They have partnered with Valleybrook Church to have extended hours this Sunday where from 12-5 20% of purchases goes to Eyes That See.  If you are free, please go and support this great business as they support us.  Thanks everyone!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Update on our Stylists

I got an update from Endris this week.  He was writing to us about the women who are getting training at Project 1 and I could wait for you to hear about what is happening.  Here's what Endris wrote.

" As we are starting the programmed we invited some professionals to counsel us on (other) programs that have been conducted on HIV+ and ladies like ours. They told us 50% of them usually drop off after starting the training.
After prayer, we admitted 12 women. We did this expecting at least two of them will be lost in the middle.  The amazing fact was none of them, except one of them who was disciplined for 3 absenses,  were unable to continue in the programme.
Now we have 11 of them taking the training. 
Thank the Lord for that."

There is really nothing different that we are doing here.  For whatever reason, God has chosen to pour His favor on this project and allow us to make a difference on these women's lives in real ways.  We are overjoyed by God's faithfulness being shown here.  Thanks for all of your prayer and support.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Who is Keziah?

"Who is Keziah?  Why did you name this project after her?"  Well, we are glad that you asked.

Many of us know the story of Job.  I cannot imagine having so much taken from me.  When we read Job we see that he remains faithful and everything is restored.  At one quick read it is easy to miss the emotions that he felt.  Sure, we read them, but read them quickly.  I've read his pain as if he only felt it for as long as it took me to read the page.  The truth is, for years Job's life was destroyed.  Then, the Lord restored the fortunes of Job.  Everything that he lost was restored twice as much.  This restoration didn't take the experience away.  Keep in mind, that wasn't God's point.  His new children didn't replace the old.  They didn't wipe away all the pain, but they were God's promise restored.

Job's middle daughter received a name that made it to the pages of Scripture.  Many daughters of the people of faith go unnamed, yet she has a wonderful name.  Her name is Keziah.  Job 42:15 says that "in all the land there were no women so beautiful as Job's daughters."  After all that loss comes Keziah, her beauty, and her full inheritance.  Job lived another 140 years and died "full of days." (Job 42:17)  We don't know much about Keziah's life, but we know that she saw the promise of God fulfilled and saw her family restored.

Our friends in Ethiopia have lost so much.  Some of them lost hope generations ago.  Some never knew their value.  Some lost sight of their worth along the way.  The project that we are beginning over the next few months will diligently work to see this hope restored.  We pray that we will have the honor of hearing these women's stories and seeing God's goodness reshape them in ways that man could never imagine.  We want to stand strong for them and believe when they are too weak to believe for themselves.  We want to cry with them when they first begin to grieve and cry again when they become self sufficient.  We want to see generations live as the "beauty of the land."

We will share this week how we plan on going about this, but we wanted to invite you into the foundation of the project first.   This project begins with the desire to see Keziah's story retold in the lives of our friends. This is a story of redemption, restoration and hope.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Keziah Project

We are excited to announce our latest project for Eyes That See – The Keziah Project. The heart of this project will be restoring and redeeming the beauty of the women in Ethiopia. Many of these women that will be in this project will be in need of education, hope, love, and discovering their worth in Jesus.

The women will be going through a training process on such things as healthy living skills, basic education, literacy, and finance management. After finishing the life skills training, these women will be able to choose from an assortment of vocational trainings to be taught on site at our facility.

Throughout every stage of this, they will be shown who the Bible says Jesus is and who the Bible says they are through faith in Him.

With this our dream is that these women, many who are coming from a life of prostitution, abusive relationships, or extreme poverty, become self-sufficient followers of Christ.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

New Project!

Hey everyone.  We want to invite you to check the blog tomorrow afternoon as we will unveil our new project!  We are so excited to start this over the next few months.  Make sure to check back on Thursday, December 2nd for the second project of Eyes That See.

World AIDS day and why we do what we do.

The tenth student in our program is Efrate. She lost both of her parents last year to HIV/AIDS.  She has no siblings or extended family that would step in for her.  At sixteen she was forced to find work to survive and ended up encountering abuse around every corner.

This story is replayed all too often.  Sometimes we, or a group of people like us, can step in and try to help restore hope to the child impacted by AIDS.  Sometimes the story goes untold.  For Efrate, she is safe now. She is back in school with girls her age.  She is remembering how to smile and laugh as the great staff led by Endris work to help piece her life together again.  She is dreaming of finishing school and having a successful life afterwards.  

AIDS is impacting lives all over.  It has changed the landscape of our family.  It has impacted some of our dear friends.  It has taken lives, weakened immune systems, and is even undetectable in some bloodstreams because of advanced medication.  

Whether you are drawn to our friends in Ethiopia or the many in the US impacted by AIDS, I hope that you pause today and acknowledge the One who is supreme over AIDS, poverty, laziness, and everything else.
May He bless our eyes to see and our ears to hear.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

What if I don't know much about Ethiopia?

I have met several people lately who feel embarrassed that they don't know much about Ethiopia.  There is no reason to be embarrassed.  The beauty of living now is that we can begin to learn so much so quickly.  If you want some quick facts that can help you begin to understand this country I recommend going to BBC Africa.  Here's a link to quick facts about Ethiopia.

I hope this helps!

Project 1 student: Yonathan

I only spent about two hours with him.  His story is a difficult one.  His family, consisting of his mother and his brother, is struggling to make it.  Yonathan is an excellent student, but for obvious reasons his mind drifts from school to home all too often.  His teachers were hoping we could help him out so that he could focus on school.  When I met him I just wanted him to be able to be a kid again, or maybe for the first time.

Yonathan is an incredible 13 year old.  If there is anyone at Project 1 who is going to pull a trick on me I am sure it is him.  He loves playing soccer with the other kids and his laugh is contagious.  His eyes have seen a lot of life and they are heavy as if that is true.  Still, his heart is young, pure, and beginning to hope.  He is excelling in the 8th grade and is dreaming of what may be ahead for him.  When we asked him how we could pray for him, he said, "Pray for me to have a successful life and to succeed in school."  I look forward to watching him flourish.  For those of you who have invested in Project 1 so far, I want to thank you for impacting Yonathan.  His life is truly different because you had courage to give.  

Monday, November 29, 2010

Project 1 -Hair Styling School

Here are pictures of the women who are going through the hair styling school in Project 1. There are currently 10 women who wanted to leave their current life of prostitution to discover the plan God has for them.
Through this program they receive counseling, prayer support, hygiene and daily care instruction, daily meals, and a hair styling school.

Because of your financial and prayer support these women are able to discover their God created identity and begin to see what their worth in Jesus is. Just $50 a month supports the needs of one of the women in our program.

There is one thing that sticks with me the most about this group of women. Even though there have probably been times in their lives that they haven't felt all that beautiful, maybe even felt worthless or shameful, they are now choosing to learn to be able to make other women beautiful!!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Here are the winners of the prizes from Eyes That See......

Andy, Hannah, and Elijah Brown - Zebra from Ethiopia

Tim and Jina McCormick - Coffee from Gobena

Lauren Lebsack - Scarf from Ethiopia

Kristy Paulson - not-for-sale-yet Eyes That See t-shirt

Congratulations to our winners!!! Happy Thanksgiving!! Thank you to all of you for your wonderful support and encouragement to Eyes That See.

Drawing today!!

Thank you to all of you who sent us your contact information. You are now officially a part of the Eyes That See data base!!!

The results of the drawing are coming up soon..........

Stay tuned.......

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Another gift that you can win.....

So if you've already sent your information to me than you are entered to win this awesome prize......

1 lb of Fair Trade organic Gobena Ethiopian Coffee from our friends at Gobena. Please check them out to see the good things they are up to!

There's still time to get in on this gift - Thursday (Thanksgiving) is the last day to enter!!!

Thanks to the many of you that have already sent us your information. We are so glad to have you be a part of Eyes That See.

Heading Forward

The past few months have been incredible.  God has shown Himself so faithful in this first project.  The students are learning and growing.  The women are gaining hope and practical training.  We are seeing God's faithfulness as His word is being taught to everyone as they come by choice to learn the Bible on Saturdays.  This is what I want to do with my life.

We are at the point now where the kebele (sub city in Addis) is pleading with our staff to take more students in sponsorship.  The need is so great, and we are feeling led to take this step of faith.  The difficult part, of course, is that this costs more money.  It would cost about another $1,000 a month to bring in more children to this project.

At the same time, we are feeling that in the next few months it is time to open our second project within Addis.  We will spend time describing this in the next week on this blog and in a newsletter.  What we are asking is that you would join us in prayer for these projects.  Pray that God gives us courage to believe the funds will be available to care for His people.  Some of you will be led to give towards these projects.  Some may be called to support monthly, while others will be led to give a one time gift either now or before the year's end.  If that is you, please take courage and believe that He is faithful.  We are praying that God will provide richly in these last six weeks of the calendar year so that the needs of His students and women are met.  If you have questions, please email me at  Thanks for everything friends.  We are honored to journey this together.

Monday, November 22, 2010

What good could come from this?

Sometimes we wonder what we have to offer.  Most of us our busy.  Most of us feel like our money is tight, our schedule is tight, and our mind is crammed full of things we are already forgetting.  Often we feel like we don't have anything really good to offer, so what is it even worth?
Last September I went to Ethiopia.  Many of you sent money along for our first project.  When I got there, rooms had already been worked on and were looking pretty great.  At the same time, I remember standing there thinking, 'I must be crazy.  Why do you have us doing this God?  What will really come of it?"  I was standing looking at rooms like this trying to imagine ministry happening.

I remember being excited about the new roof, but still wondering what would be able to be done in rooms like this.  I talked with my friend Phil about it and we trusted God would do what He had planned.  Before we left on the last day we got to meet the students at Project 1 and began to see what God would do through everyone's faithfulness.
Since we left so much has happened.  I got an update today that had me crying in Starbucks.  There are now ten women going through life skill and job training at Project 1.  They have had rough pasts and are now given a place to rest, dream, and move forward into what God has for them.  They decided together that they wanted to learn to do hair.  With that in mind, a salon school was started.  Here's one of the photos I received this morning.

Look at how this room is transformed! Look at the potential here!  I'm so grateful to be able to see God's Kingdom moving so powerfully, through very small, and simple things.  Thanks to all of you who are taking part in Eyes That See.  We are praying about expanding this project and will announce our new project next week.  All of this is dependent on God stirring the hearts of His people.  Thanks for joining us in this journey!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

One of the prizes...

Here is one of the prizes that you can win if you give us your contact information. Deadline is this Thursday, Thanksgiving!!!! Drawing is Black Friday!!!

An Ethiopian Scarf - makes a great Christmas gift for you or someone else!!
(Cute Ethiopian boy not included)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Data Update!!!

We are looking for you.

If you support, pray for, or are just interested in Eyes That See then please send us your contact information - email, mailing address, phone number - we want to add you to our data base.

As an incentive we are giving away 4 prizes to 4 randomly drawn names from our data base!!

One of the prizes will be the first-ever-not-even-for-sale-yet Eyes That See T-shirt!!!

Entry deadline is Thanksgiving Day!! Drawing will be on Black Friday.
Thank you for your support and interest.

Please send info to

Thank you!!

Computer need in Ethiopia

I've had several people ask us if there are any practical items that are needed right now for Eyes That See. We will give a list in the coming days of items that are needed and of the cost of parts of the program for people who want to donate this way, but I want to put this item out there right away. Like most organizations, we are in need of computers.  I have a great friend who has donated a desktop for Eyes That See, and now we are need of a few laptops.  Laptops get to Ethiopia easily and are needed for all the legal work of the projects.  We need one laptop yet for Project 1 and will need two more when the next projects begin.  If you have a laptop around that you would like to donate, please let me know.  We would love to partner with you and put it to good use!  You can email me at

Women Empowerment at Project 1

I'm very excited to announce that our women empowerment program has begun at Project 1.  Ten women are going through life skill training and have chosen hair dressing as the skill that they would like to learn.  Messeret Kelayu is a professional hair dresser in Addis and she is training these ten women to have a career like hers.

You can imagine what this means for these ten women.  They are given a new beginning.  They have children, no husbands, and what looked like a hopeless future just got brighter.  They are learning to care for themselves.  They are able to learn a trade.  At the same time, they are given the support of nine other women walking through similar situations.  Most of these women are orthodox, and are now hearing the Gospel for maybe the first time. Please be praying for these ten women.  Pray for God's mercy on their life, His protection over their families and His favor on their new direction.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Project 1 student: Meskerem

Eighth grade is an important year in Ethiopia.  It is the grade where students turn towards preparatory school, vocational school, or leave school to find work doing whatever they can find.  We are so glad that we are able to step in and impact this year for our friend, Meskerem.  Meskerem is a seventeen year old girl who lives with her grandmother, her two brothers and her sister.  

Meskerem enjoying the first day of Project 1

Meskerem was chosen for this project by her teachers because of her potential to impact her family and her city through education.  She is full of promise and life.  I can only begin to imagine what God may do through this young woman's life.  When we asked her how we could pray for her, Meskerem asked that we pray for her and her siblings' lives to change in brand new directions.  I know that God hears this prayer and will guide this family to lasting hope in Him.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Global Missions Health Conference

Matt and I have the opportunity to attend the Global Missions Health Conference today, tomorrow, and Saturday.

It's an event that is hosted at our church, Southeast. This is how they describe it.....

Each year the GMHC connects health care professionals and students with one another and other mission workers,agencies, non-profit organization leaders, and ministers. Through main sessions and breakouts, the conference provides information and training.

GMHC is the largest gathering of its kind. The conference is designed to encourage all believers with special worship and prayer times intended to strengthen connections to God.

We are so excited to have the chance to experience this event. Maybe next year Eyes That See can be a part of it. Please pray for God's favor during this conference.

Thank you for your support!

Project 1 student: Rekik

Some people remind you why everything you do is worthwhile.  Rekik is one of those people.  Rekik has lost both of her parents.  She lives with her grandmother now, but they have so little to live on.  Still, with this reality, Rekik has not lost hope.  She is doing well in school and is in the 8th grade at the age of 13.

Rekik is benefiting from the tutoring at Project 1
Rekik had such a wonderfully confident smile as she waited for Project 1 to be explained.  I know that she realized the opportunity that this is for her.  She is a smart young woman who seems ready to watch God move powerfully in her life.  When we asked how we could pray for her, Rekik said that she would like us to pray for her to have a successful life and for the health of her grandmother.  She is well aware that this may be the reason that she has been brought to Project 1.  There is hope written upon her face.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Project 1 student: Natnael

Some kids just grab your heart.  Maybe it's because he shares a name with my son.  Maybe it's because he has unique needs that remind me of my daughter.  Maybe it's just his laugh.  Whatever it is, Natnael is a young man I could never forget.
Natnael trying not to smile

Natnael is a 7th grader who is a joy in the classroom.  Facing difficult situations at home as well as with his health, Natnael is a joy to watch.  His family was struggling to pay for school, but now Natnael's concerns are lifted as he can study for his exams knowing that the family's need are met.  When he was asked how we could pray for him, Natnael said that he would like us to pray for "help for my family and a successful life."  We will pray for you Natnael.  I cannot wait to play soccer with you again.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Project 1 student: Hermela

Hermela is a beautiful 12 year old student in Addis.  She likes to laugh and play with her friends. While the boys play soccer, her friends lean close to Hermela on the wall as they whisper back and forth.  Like many Ethiopians, she loves doro wat.  In many ways, Hermela is like other 12 year old girls.

Hermela posing for a photo
Unlike many 12 year old girls, Hermela is navigating life without her parents.  She lives with her grandmother.  She has no siblings.  Hermela leans on her friends, her dreams and her faith.  She is in the seventh grade and her teachers note that she is an excellent student.  When Hermela was asked how we could pray for her she asked that we would pray that she would be able to support her family and keep her faith.  Thanks for praying for Hermela and her grandmother.  Thank you for being generous so she can enjoy being an almost typical 12 year old girl in Addis.

Project 1 student: Helen

The first day I met Helen she wore a smile that was brighter than the scarf she wore.  The whole time as we spoke, played and toured the facilities, Helen smiled at the opportunity that she was being given.  As a student involved in Project 1 she is benefiting from the extra tutoring and meals.  She also has the comfort of not worrying about how to pay for school fees next month.

Helen enjoying Project 1

Since Helen's mother is no longer alive, she lives with her grandmother.  The live in the Yeka subcity where she is in 8th grade.  As a 14 year old who has seen a lot of life she asked that we would pray that she would have a successful life and be successful in her education.  Thanks for praying for and supporting Helen. I hope you are able to meet her someday.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Today Arise For Children celebrated their 2nd Anniversary!! It was a good turnout and really fun to see all the children who have come home from Ethiopia!

We are so happy to partner with this great agency.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Project 1 student: Emebet

Emebet is a sweet, young sixteen year old.  She lives in Yeka with her parents and her brother.  She is blessed by this family, but the circumstances around them cause her to be in great need of help if she is going to be able to graduate the 7th grade and beyond.  Her teacher commented how she is a very good student who just needs someone to see her.  Eyes That See is honored to be a part of her journey.
Emebet posing for photo after school.
Emebet has an infectious smile that makes you want to laugh right along side of her.  Seeing joy settle on her is a great reminder of why Eyes That See exists.  When she was asked how we could pray for her she said "pray that I will keep to my religion to the end of my life."  Thanks for joining in praying for her to truly see her Father's goodness in her life.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

An Amazing Gift

I realize that Nikki and I have the unfair advantage of seeing so many people respond to what God is doing by make great sacrifices.  We also get to see lives changed and transformed through God's goodness.  I hope that you are able to see that in real ways as well.
For just a moment, I want to tell you about the mail I received yesterday.  There is a sweet girl in Altoona, Wisconsin who has a desire to see the people of Ethiopia.  At her grandmother's thrift sale Reagan had a lemonade and cookie stand.  She worked all day telling the customers about the people in Ethiopia that she was working so hard to support.  Some people responded generously.  Others walked away, but for everyone who went to that thrift sale, they were given the opportunity to see God's Kingdom at work in real ways.  Reagan sent the money she raised along with a sweet note that will go to the students at Project 1.

Thanks for inspiring me, Reagan.  We really love you and your family!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Project 1 student: Addisalam

Some children are just sweet and soft spoken.  Some blend in throughout life, even when they have big hopes and dreams.  Addisalam is a kind, quiet, seventh grader.  He is eleven years old, though his family no longer celebrates birthdates.  His dad has passed away and he now lives at home, just he and his mom.  His teachers say that his behavior is excellent and that he is a good student.
Addisalam smiling for his friends.
When we asked Addisalam how we could pray for him, he asked that we would pray for him to "have a successful life and have God help my mother."  Addisalam is a sweet young man.  His life is being transformed as you see him and care for him.  I don't know if he would have the words or confidence to same them yet, but I will thank you on his behalf.

Monday, November 1, 2010


I first met Tigist in September of 2009. She was working as a nanny at an orphanage I was working at. Her situation and story was difficult to hear. She was found in the alley outside of this orphanage crying and without a place to live. Thankfully this orphanage offered her a job caring for the babies.

I've wanted to share Tigist's story with you for a long time and I had every plan on doing it until now. When I sat down to write her story I just couldn't do it. It just didn't feel right. Maybe someday I will be able to, but now is not the time. I felt like having you see Tigist as who she is... a child of God and not seeing her as her past. So many times a person's past becomes their identity. We see this often with our work in Ethiopia. A poor choice or an unavoidable circumstance becomes the label these individuals live with forever. Slowly over time sometimes they believe this is all they can be.

I'm personally quite passionate about not allowing one's past to define them because I, like many others, have parts of my history that aren't that pretty to think about. If I would have allowed those yucky parts to define me I would be no where near the person I am today. I would feel worthless, unlovable, and not useful in God's kingdom. But thankfully, because of Jesus and His amazing love, He has redeemed my story.

Through Eyes That See, redeeming one's past and putting a new mark of God's child on them is exactly what we are praying to do. Our hearts are desperate for you to have Eyes That See your neighbor, the family across town, or the young mother in Ethiopia as exactly who they are - children of God.

Tigist and Endris enjoying Addis.

So it isn't her whole story but for now here's a little bit about Tigist:

Name: Tigist Girma
Position: Cook and Cleaning
Family Origin: Oromo
Experience/Education: Completed Grade 10, Nanny, and teaching children
Dream for Ethiopia: She is praying for the country to be restored
Favorite Food: Injera
Favorite Color: White
Prayer Request: That her life as well as her son's life be restored!

Project 1 student: Abraham

I am proud to introduce you to Abraham, one of our first students to benefit from the sponsorship and tutoring program at Project 1.  Abraham was the first student that I got the chance to spend time with at the project.  He is a wonderful young man who plays some serious soccer.  Abraham is fifteen and is in the sixth grade.  He lives near LIA in the Yeka subcity.
Abraham on our first day.
Abraham's father has died.  He now lives with his mother and brother.  His main teacher said that he is an excellent student and that, with encouragement, he will be able to excel in helping his family, friends and neighbors.  When we asked Abraham how we can pray for him he said "My mom has no home.  Pray that God gives a home to my mom."  Thanks for your support and prayers for Abraham.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Church Partner

I know that everyone in Wisconsin knows about Valleybrook Church, but we have begun getting support from people around the country.  I want to take a moment to publicly thank Valleybrook for all of their support over the years.  Valleybrook is the community that Nikki and I worshiped with for our whole marriage, as well as the church where I was a pastor before Eyes That See.  When we said it was time for us to leave and go to Louisville the church was so supportive.  People have been in prayer and support throughout the move and transition.  Valleybrook has also been very generous in supporting Eyes That See monthly out of their missions budget.  They are also helping us with bookkeeping, communications, and whatever other needs come up.  Thank you so much friends.  We love you guys.  We'll see you in December!

Monday, October 25, 2010


The Eyes That See website is up and running!! Information and updates will continuously be added so please check back often.

We are still adding some finishing touches, but we just couldn't wait any longer to share with you all the great things that God is doing through Eyes That See.

Thanks again for all of your support and prayers. It's so fun to have you along on this journey with us!!

Check it out here..... Eyes That See

Friday, October 15, 2010


Hi everyone
Would you be praying for us this weekend? We have our first talk at a conference in Indiana.  We get to do a breakout session that may only have two people in it, but we are still pretty excited.  I haven't taught in a few weeks, so I may go extra long winded.  Please be praying for God's guidance and for eyes to see His Kingdom.
Susan from Arise for Children will be teaching three breakouts herself.  It will be a good day.
Thanks for all the prayers and support

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Our friend Endris

Many people who have gone to Ethiopia over the past few years either through Arise for Children or along with Nikki and I have met Endris.  He has a heart that is to serve Ethiopia and see God's Kingdom established among his people.  Last summer he received the government license of Love in Action and Eyes That See has taken this on as our Project 1.  It is at Project 1 that all of the sponsorship, after school programs and everything else is currently happening.  Endris has assembled the staff, done the legal paperwork to begin Project 1, and by Friday will have all of the children officially licensed for the sponsorship program.  When Phil and I were in Ethiopia we took some time to ask some simple questions so you could get to know Endris.
Phil and Endris taking a break

Full name:  Endris Amedo
Position: Director of LIA
Family:  a wife and three children
Work Experience:  previously worked retail as an assistant manager and then went position as Senior Bank Officer at the Bank of Ethiopia.  He surprised the bank when he said he was shifting his career to go into work that would benefit children.  Since then he has worked with three different organizations gaining experience before starting LIA.
Dream for Ethiopia:  Endris' dream for Ethiopia is that as he serves the Lord by teaching the Bible and leading LIA that he will see lives restored, women rescued, and children living in better conditions.  Endris loves to share the gospel with those who are around him.
Favorite Ethiopian food: Kitfo (Matt's least favorite food in the world.  Seriously, raw beef?)
Prayer request: Pray that God fulfills the dreams and visions that He has placed within Endris.  Pray that Endris leads a life that is for God's glory alone.

Endris and the staff

Please be in prayer for our staff in Ethiopia.  We pray that God honors their work everyday.  Thanks for joining us!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Water Projects

I know that sometimes within the US we don't realize the importance of clean water.  We are just used to it.  Even The Karate Kid makes fun of how we are used to water, hot or cold, depending on how we want it.  We have tap water that is usually great and bottled water everywhere.  We can't even really imagine life without water.

A few years ago Nikki and I spent some time with a good friend in Ethiopia.  He could not figure out why she would drink water all the time.  To him, even with his several college degrees, water makes you sick.  The headache he lived with was just a part of life.  When we saw the water that they were used to using it all made a lot more sense.

Two years ago I was able to help to dig a well in Wolayta.  When I went to see the site there was a guy standing nearby with a bottle of water he was drinking.  Here's a photo of his drink next to ours.  It's not tea, just water he was used to drinking.

This is why we, along with so many others, are so passionate about getting clean water to people who have none.  Our dream is that each project that we work on will have an Edge filtration unit, or something similar to enable people to have pure water.  Over the coming months we believe there will be two more projects starting. If you are interested in helping us with our water projects, feel free to contact us!

Monday, October 11, 2010

More updates

I know last week I would be telling you about the 10 children who are a part of the program.  That is still coming.  We are just waiting for the families to finish registering with the government, and then we will introduce you to each of the children.

As we are waiting for this, I know some people have wondered what the money that was raised went towards.  Before I left for Ethiopia, you had donated over 5,000 USD.  Here is a rundown of what all was purchased and completed when we were there.

Kitchen supplies
Our friend Tigist will be cooking for ten 7th and 8th graders three times a week.  Can you imagine how much they will eat?  I only have five, all younger than that and they eat more than Costco can provide.  As we looked at starting this program, we had to stock the kitchen.  A stove was already purchased, so we just bought the rest of the materials needed.
Tigist with the kitchen supplies.

Classroom supplies
Besides the paint and flooring for each of the rooms, the classroom needed to be set up for children to learn.  We were able to buy 10 chairs from our friend Hanah's dad in Nazaret.  They were delivered on time and looked great right next to the five new desks that were built for our classroom as well.
Phil and Endris learned a lot from each other.

The chairs were strong enough to hold us, so we were pretty excited to see them in use!
Sponsor children enjoying a treat.
Office furniture
Within Ethiopia it is very important to keep good records of how things are going.  For this project to succeed we needed to set up an office.  We were able to buy two desks and two chairs for the newly painted and floored office.
Office furniture.

Wash machine
My heart was grabbed by my son's story of missing school because of a dirty uniform.  For the children within this program, this will not be the case.  We were able to buy a wash machine where all the uniforms can be cleaned and taken care of.  All of the students will go home with clean uniforms ready for the next day!

brand new wash machine!

New Roof
I am truly honored to be friends with Phil Hollien.  He is a board member for Eyes That See and a wonderful encouragement to Nikki and I.  When we were in Ethiopia he purchased new tin to be on the roof of the buildings.  You have seen pictures of how much better it looks.  Now, all the work done inside will not be ruined by the rain.  Instead there is a safe, dry place to learn and grow. 

Thank you everyone for all of your help and support.  We'll keep the updates coming!

The Least of These...

When you think of it, this is a difficult concept.  Any definition of who this describes becomes slippery.  It’s a label no one wants to wear, yet Jesus clearly speaks about this reality. 

We just moved to Jefferson County, Kentucky.  You may have read about our school busing in the USA Today lately.  It is a case study in the “least of these.”  People from West Louisville are being bused to go to school with everyone else. People are upset, and stereotypes abound. 

We live in a nice area, next to nice people.  We often hear about “lower income families” and people with state assistance or health care.  Because of our daughter’s health situation, we have to stay at a salary right now to receive that state health care.  We are the unwanted neighbors that everyone is talking about, they just don’t know it. 

Some wonderful people are doing work in Ethiopia right now.  They are in one of the parts of Addis that is so difficult to walk into, yet even harder to walk away from.  I haven’t been to this place yet, but I’ve seen others.  Places where people are living in pieces of tin leaning on one another.  People drinking from the same river they use for a toilet.  These people would welcome death as an end to their pain.  When you are there it is so clear that they are “the least of these.”

I just returned from Addis to a city that is learning to love the poor in Africa.  The radio is raising sponsorship for children in Ethiopia.  Organizations are rising up to help everywhere.  People are changing the way that they live, but I cannot help wonder, are we missing “the least of these?”

For me, I want to devote my life to help those who are in need in other countries.  I want to work with those in West Louisville to see God’s Kingdom come alive in their midst.  At the same time, I have a hard time with passive Christians.  I pass them by.  Sadly, I’ve been known to judge them in my heart, seeing them as less than anyone else.  Isn’t that statement in my heart the very definition of “the least of these?”  Doesn’t my problem with the passive show the brokenness in my heart and where I need healing? 

For some of us “the least of these” are in Africa, and yet for others I know that is the trendy, easy scapegoat to use.  If “the least of these” are in Africa we don’t have to worry about our neighbor.  We just give our money, our time, our conversation and go on living unchanged.  I don’t think that is the gospel. 

Maybe for you, “the least of these" are the successful.  You would never say it out loud, but you can’t stand them.  Maybe they are the single parents, the delinquents, or the people on the west side.  Maybe it is those, like myself, who have their insurance through the state. 

I don’t know who “the least of these” are, but I’m pretty certain that there is not a definition to be placed on one people group.  “The least of these” is a matter of the heart.  Nikki and I have been talking about this all weekend and we are praying that some of you take time with your Father about this question.  Who are "the least of these" that He is inviting you to love?

Matthew 25:40
  And the King will answer them, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.'

Friday, October 8, 2010

Shoes that never wore out

When I was in Ethiopia I got the opportunity to speak at Endris' church.  Endris' church has welcomed Pastor Dye, Pat Kileen and others to speak, and this time it was my turn.  I don't know how clear the message was for those seated, but it was one of those moments that was crystal clear to me.

For you to understand, you need to know this: I like shoes.  I know that isn't a manly thing to say, but it's true.  I like shoes.  Usually when you like something like shoes you like new shoes.  That's just the way that I've been.  Now that you know that I can go on explaining my church experience.

It's always funny to me how we expect God to move how we would want Him to.  For me, if God is asking me to be on my feet I assume that means He will give me new shoes. In Ethiopia, like the US, they ask for what they want.  Another illness to be cured, extra food or money, new clothing.  These are good requests, but they have taken our lead in missing the miracles.  The requests there are much more humble and innocent than mine, but still something became more clear for me on this visit.  We spend way too much time telling God what to do.  Often we miss what He wants to do in us and for us.

When I got to talk at the church I talked about the time the Israelites were in the desert.  People within the room were in deserts of their own.  We talked about the pain, the longing to be somewhere else.  We talked about how you just want out, and humbly I looked at faces who understand this more than I can pretend to understand.  

We spent time on these words in Deutoronomy 29:4-5

"But to this day the LORD has not given you a heart to understand or eyes to see or ears to hear.  I have led you forty years in the wilderness. Your clothes have not worn out on you, and your sandals have not worn off your feet."

Their shoes never wore out, clothes never tore.  What an amazing God!  I don't want to be staring for new shoes while He is restoring the very ones my feet are standing in.  I want what God has for me.  

When you look for it, there is nothing more powerful than a person filled with true joy in a difficult situation, THEN seeing the situation redeemed.  There is nothing like a person with no means of surviving still thriving when mankind has no way to explain it.  That's my God.  He is always flooding His people with promise before the fulfillment happens.  The truth is shoes that never wear is way more miraculous than an unending supply of new ones.  For Ethiopia, I can't wait to see how He will walk His people through this desert.
I'm praying today that He gives us eyes to see His goodness and His Kingdom.  Maybe we'll even begin seeing all that He is already restoring.

Thanks for joining our friends in Ethiopia in trusting that God will redeem and restore us all.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

I know Matt mentioned while he was in Ethiopia they put a new roof on part of the building that will be housing Project 1 but I thought I'd share some pictures of it.

The old tin

The new tin

Abush fixing the roof

We were able to have a new roof put on several different sections of the building that were leaking.  It allows for the classroom, office and kitchen to all have dry ground.  That's just one more thing that we take for granted!

Our General Service Man

If you go to the first project of Eyes That See you will immediately meet Aweke Getu.  He is a slender, smiley man who always seems to be adjusting his Ohio State baseball cap.  Every time that I saw Aweke he had a smile on his face and was ready to help.  Aweke is a huge asset to this project as well as to Eyes that See and Arise for Children.  He is responsible for the buildings and grounds of Project 1 (LIA) and does a wonderful job overseeing all maintenance and repairs.

I spent some time with Aweke and asked him for some basics about himself.  This is what he said.

Personal info:  His name is Aweke Getu and he is has a Management Information Systems degree and Computer Science diploma.  His family is from the Nazaret area.
Work Experience: 11 years at the Pentecostal Theological College, with five years as an officer there.  He has also operated a guest house previous to this project.

Dream for Ethiopia:  Aweke talks passionately about how he feels a strong burden for the poor and beggars in Addis.  His dream is that they will see God provide for them in real ways.  

Food:  Aweke loves Doro wat (Chicken stew)

How can we pray?  When I asked how we can pray for him, Aweke asked that we pray "That God fills my heart through His vision and His word.  Pray that God fulfills the dreams that He has put in my heart."  

I can't wait for many of you to meet Aweke.  He'll make you feel right at home (if you like Ohio State anyways!)