Vision and Need at Ajuuja Orphanage

Greg continues to share about the Nov trip with Project HOPEFUL Awassa

Ajuuja is the word that was stuck in our hearts 3 and a half years ago and is now forever part of who we are.

In the Sidama language it means vision and is it’s the name of the place we have come to love so much and that have become a part of our family. When we began we thought our call was to try to assist the staff at Ajuuja Children’s Home with resources for the 13 children that were living there.

We quickly discovered that Ajuuja was staffed with very special people who did more than show up and tend to daily duties at an orphanage and it was also evident God had a bigger plan than we thought. We found a group of very talented people who truly loved the children in their care and who served those children sacrificially.

Beyond that they were involved in the surrounding communities providing support to the most vulnerable and overlooked people.

It is like coming home when we arrive at Ajuuja and are greeted by the staff with laughter, hugs and excitement. There is no pretense or tension just peace.

On this particular trip the team was able to spend some unplanned time at Ajuuja. We sat in a common area with the nannies, nurses and children while time passed slowly. We played with the children and were served coffee and kolo in relaxed atmosphere at a slow pace. It was like being with family. The nannies watched the kids and corrected them if necessary, they played with the children, blew bubbles, laughed, acted silly and shared life. The sense of community was strong and we felt […]

By |November 16th, 2015|Awassa, Ethiopia, FIG Awassa|0 Comments|

Privileged to Serve

Greg continues to share about the trip.

We set out for Aleta Chuko Wednesday morning loaded down with bags full of donated shoes and letters from FIG families to their sponsored child.  I was able to meet with each family (more pictures and details to come to each of their FIG family sponsor soon!)

We then had a time of earnest prayer and though the languages were different– the Spirit was the same.

Then we had some training. After learning of a condition called “mossy foot” that had stricken several in the area, Charisa did some research and made contact with health care professionals who had knowledge of and experience with the disease. Mossy foot is a form of elephantiasis that manifests itself on the skin with a rough mossy like texture and swelling of the affected area. It comes from small shards of silicates found in volcanic soil that work their way into the skin. As the condition progresses the swelling becomes worse and causes much pain and begins to give off an offensive odor. One of our sponsored girls had the condition which had progressed to the point that she could no longer wear shoes and was so ashamed (she was teased by the other kids) and had such discomfort that she had stopped attending school.

I had the task of discussing the condition with the group to explain what it was, what causes it, how to treat it and most importantly that it was not because of anything they had done wrong nor was it the result of any curse. The treatment is quite simple and inexpensive and we had made plans to equip each affected family with the supplies necessary to treat it.

The other […]

By |November 10th, 2015|Awassa, Ethiopia, FIG Awassa|0 Comments|

Project HOPEFUL, talks, and goats!

Greg (Awassa Director)  writes about one of the days of the October trip— More to come soon!

As we arrived in Hawasssa Zuria many of the area’s FIG sponsored awaited us and greeted us with warm smiles, hugs and great excitement!  We exchanged hugs, handshakes and greetings and talked  for a few minutes while the rest of the group trickled into the room.

Fekadu then spoke to the group delivering his testimony and life story as the group anxiously listened. He spoke in Amharic so we didn’t understand all that he said but it was evident he was making a connection as he explained that he too was sponsored as a child and that there was HOPE!

The group was fully engaged and listened as he told his story of overcoming difficult circumstances which were much like their own. His passion and love for the group needed no translation for us to understand.

Coach Frank then presented the group with t-shirts and most of the group headed outside with the rest of the team to play some soccer.

I remained back and began to spend a few minutes with each sponsored child and their caretaker. We talked about how they were doing and how the FIG sponsorship program has changed their lives. It’s always a treat and of course a privilege to listen and make notes while hearing mothers and children thank and praise God for Family In the Gap sponsors who sacrifice for people that they do not know personally yet give anyway.

I stay at the edge of tears as I listen while mothers and caretakers speak of the changes they have experienced.

Things like:

“I am in school”

“We have food”

“I have animals now”

“Thank God for you”


After spending […]

By |November 9th, 2015|Awassa, Ethiopia, FIG Awassa|0 Comments|

Help bring clean water to Ethiopia!

UPDATE:  $1925 $1505 needed! Donate here today!
We are really excited to begin our next water project in  Ethiopia!!
This one will be in Hula Woreda.  The June 2015 team was able to visit the site recently and meet with the local government officers about the water project.

The “hole” where the water gathers.  The spring water is actually clean but as it sits in the ground, is walked through by people and animals, it becomes contaminated.
The plans will be to dig back to original water source, pipe out  and have an area fenced in with stairs leading it to it. There will also be wash basins where clothes can be washed in clean water as well instead of on the ground in dirty water.

And as God would have it, we saw 2 little guys coming down to get water.
The local water authority told us these little ones would walk 1/2 hour to get water,  4 times a day—more often if they were in the dry season.

These are the little guys you will be giving clean water to.

Around 600 people use this spring.

About 320 of those are children.


43.4M people in Ethiopia don’t have access to safe water. This is over half of the population.
Over 67 million people don’t have access to adequate sanitation in Ethiopia, almost four-fifths of the population.
Around 33,000 children die every year from diarrhea caused by unsafe water and poor sanitation in Ethiopia. (statistics from

This is the chance for YOU to change that.

We still need around $2000 to complete this.
Want to #behope with clean water? Will you help us raise the remaining $2000?

 Donate here today!
Hear from a local community leader on how clean water changed the of the people in his village.


By |September 29th, 2015|Awassa, Ethiopia|0 Comments|
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    “Just call me ferenji” and “habesha” shirt pre-order!

“Just call me ferenji” and “habesha” shirt pre-order!

Preorder until Aug 22 only!
Kid shirts are $20 and adults are $25.

Just add up the amount and place it in the box and put what sizes/shirts you need in the comment section that will appear as you check out. (Make sure your address and email is correct on the info!!) This will save people from having to make multiple transactions.

All the proceeds from these shirts go to funding our Awassa directors’ trips to Ethiopia.

If you have questions on sizes, let me know. (email

PS (logo is on the side of the arm not the front)

These are fitted unisex shirts. Order your normal size.

Go to this link to order!

For those that don’t know: ferenji  means foreigner in Ethiopia and habesha means Ethiopian


Bensa Water Project Completed!

We are very excited to share that the Bensa water project is now finished!!  Hundreds of families will now have clean water thanks to your partnership!  Thank you!!

Clean water literally changes and saves lives!

If you’d like to donate to clean water in Ethiopia, click here.

Below is an interview with a village leader on the difference clean water made in his village:


It’s A Girl Thing!

Here’s the deal…in many countries girls are not as blessed like we are during their period.

Blessed. Not many of us think of that “monthly” time as being blessed.

Imagine though not having the items you use during that time. Imagine missing out of school a week each month. Imagine using what you have available—leading to infection at times. Imagine.

Their monthly supplies are not available or not affordable if they were available or way too far away to even get to for purchase. (how is that for something unusual to be thankful for? seriously? can you imagine?)

Because of this girls miss out on a week of school each month—which also can lead to them being behind. This also leads to a host of other things such as infections and worse.

Project HOPEFUL Awassa teams have been privileged to be able to take pad kits each trip and give them to the women in our programs. We still have a long way to go though to making sure they all have one.

Becca U shares her thoughts on being able to participate in giving these out on a trip:
When the team delivered reusable pad kits to the women in and around Awassa, I knew they were needed and I assumed they would be appreciated. I did not anticipate the deep level of joy that was expressed through streams of tears, beautiful smiles, and huge hugs. Giving a pad kit is giving a gift of dignity.
We are so glad that CEN-TEX Roller Girls is choosing to #behope into the lives of women and girls in Ethiopia by raising funds to purchase reusable pads. These pads will then be put into a drawstring bag with underwear and soap and given to […]

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    Enabling Independence Program in Awassa, Ethiopia! 2 new groups ready!

Enabling Independence Program in Awassa, Ethiopia! 2 new groups ready!

Exciting news!! We have a $2500 match through June 5 for any donations to our Enabling Independence Program!!

The Enabling Independence Program is one of our favorite programs.

Vulnerable women with a desire to work and support their families are given an opportunity to receive business training and form a cooperative group within their local community with other ladies. The ladies encourage one another and form strong bonds with each other. Each lady, with guidance from Ajuuja staff, determines a business based on what they would like to do coupled with their skills.

We have seen amazing and wonderful things happening with these programs.

We have watched these women celebrate with each other and take care of each other.

We have seen their lives completely transformed as hope takes root.

We have seen women with dull eyes that wouldn’t look at you become women filled with life and hope with big smiles.

We have heard them tell how their lives are changed and how they can now send their children to school.

We have seen them with such pride show their bank books with their savings account that was previously not even a dream for them.

We are excited to announce that we have 2 new groups that are trained and ready to go!

All we need is funding!  $250, one time, per woman is all it takes!

They start in groups so we need to have a group fully funded before anyone can start.  You can give any amount… and it’s great opportunity for a group of women to come together and give a business boost to woman in Awassa, Ethiopia!

You can see more about the program in this video:

Let me introduce you to the women who are ready for their lives to be […]

By |May 30th, 2015|Awassa, Ethiopia|0 Comments|

A Desperate Plea

For me they all have a name and a story.

They are not just children in a Facebook album or a blog post.

They have each been created by God and in His image according His plan and purpose for each of their lives.

They are children that we have held, prayed over and advocated for.

Children that we have longed for to have a family.

Children we have worried about, wept for, and lifted in prayer in the middle of many sleepless nights.

Children that our teams have rocked and held and fed and loved.

Children that we have placed our hands upon and cried out to God for.

The staff tirelessly cares for these children and love them deeply. It’s not just a job.

Currently the financial struggles are overwhelming.

Last month (January) the staff worked without being paid because there simply were no funds left. They are actively seeking local support in country and we know some local supporters are making donations.

They work hard to keep costs low. They have moved to a new location to save on rent, they have reluctantly had to let some of the nannies go out of sheer necessity to cut spending.    But it is not enough.

Formula and food costs alone are staggering for 40 plus children.

If you had any inclination at all to sign up for sponsorship for one of the children or give direct donations support to the operation of the orphanage through the sponsorship of a nanny’s salary……PLEASE jump in.

Email me at to be connected with a child to be a FIG for or any other questions!

Children’s lives literally are in the balance… well as welfare of the families of the nannies and guards.

Remember:  international adoption, other than special needs, is not […]

By |February 12th, 2015|Awassa, Ethiopia, FIG Awassa|0 Comments|

Shopping with Purpose

The following post is from Charisa Knight our FIG Awassa Director.  Thank you for considering Project HOPEFUL Awassa during your gift giving!
This Christmas, give a gift that lasts past the newest fad or batteries. Give a gift that impacts lives of children and families in Awassa, Ethiopia!
Below are Project HOPEFUL Awassa’s Christmas gift options.
Click on the links to give and then email to receive a personalized jpg or pdf that you can print off to give to the recipient. You can also give gifts in honor or memory of someone.

How about buying a can of formula for $12? Formula is one of the biggest expenses at the orphanage.  Or make sure children are loved and taken care of by sponsoring a nannies’ salary for a month for $53?

You can also provide training, support, and start-up costs for a business for a widow in our Enabling Independence Program: $250  We have seen the remarkable difference this makes in women’s lives and one of our favorite programs. You can give any amount towards this.

Give the gift of a cow to a family to provide meat and milk for a family: $120   This is a huge gift to families and can be life changing.

A goat can be purchased to provide meat and offspring: $45  This is a gift that keeps on giving!

Save a life by preventing malaria with a mosquito net: $10 each

Give the gift of fresh, clean water. A donation of any amount will go toward our spring water project in the surrounding woredas of Awassa. Our next water project to be funded is in Bensa.

Give the gift of God’s word—an everlasting gift that changes lives.  $5 for […]

The house you are building in Awassa, Ethiopia!

Hear more from Greg (Project HOPEFUL’s Awassa director) about his trip!

We had the pleasure of visiting some of Ethiopia’s newest business ladies who are in the Enabling Independence Program in an area called Boricha. We met in the home of a lady named Ashile who some may remember as the lady whose home was run down and not secure which created her greatest fear that hyenas would get her children as they slept at night. Charisa and the team had the pleasure of meeting her in May.

You can see the video from that visit here:


We were met by the five of the six ladies that are part of the EIP  program along with Ajuuja’s representative who champions the EIP initiative and a local government official who also provides oversight. About 15 or so of us huddled into Ashile’s small house as the rain began to pour. The group’s leader Hannah (with the Ethiopian scarf) praised God for all He is doing and hugged and kissed us as we were introduced to the group.

The other ladies and their children all greeted us with warm smiles and we then heard from Ashile on how the program was changing her life. The word change was used over and over.

The roof sheets rattled and lifted with the wind as the storm grew and rain poured downs the inside walls and sprayed in through the open spots above us as we shared a coffee ceremony and kolo. I couldn’t imagine living in the home that she currently lives in with her children.

Before leaving we went behind the home where Ashile’s new home was being built. Funds from generous PH Awassa donors are being used to build her a new, […]

By |September 30th, 2014|Awassa, Ethiopia, FIG Awassa|0 Comments|

Does it really matter?

Greg Knight, one of our Awassa directors, shares below from his recent trip.

Some of the most vulnerable people we meet in Awassa are the older students who are orphaned. They are old enough to care for themselves but they have not finished their education and many times have no one to look out for them and encourage them. As we were finishing the worship time at Ajuuja, an opportunity was given for those present to speak. One of our university students had prepared a letter to read to us. He asked we forgive his weak English but I think you’ll agree it is perfect! In the letter below he is addressing Pastor Rob and I because we are present, his FIG family specifically and the rest of the Project HOPEFUL Awassa supporters in general. His letter is below.
“First of all, I want to say welcome our loved and blessed family.

I’m so happy to see you here and for my being with you today. On behalf of me, when we say “AJUUJA”.

AJUUJA is my mother’s my hope and my power. AJUUJA is my refuge and my trust;

In help and assistance I get from you made me a human being. Your help and assistance made me to be equal with my friends whose parents are alive.

Your support and assistance gave me the strength to continue my education; helped me to be a university student.

I was naked, but you clothed me.

You brighten my day; gave me a hope.

The death of my parents had put me in a chaos; but, your effort strengthen my heart, gave me a pleasure and a satisfaction. If it hadn’t been your assistance, where would I have been?

For all what you have done […]

By |September 16th, 2014|Awassa, Ethiopia, FIG Awassa|1 Comment|