Friday, September 28, 2012

soccer saturdays.

 Whew!! Soccer practice & games have been filling up much time over the past few weeks!! These two are loving soccer!! We've been blessed with beautiful Saturday Morning games!! The weather couldn't be better for watching these 2 for a couple of hours:) Tomorrow they each have jamboree's!! And, the forecast for tomorrow looks incredible!! Makes this warm weather momma very happy!! Love watching our children explore new things...whether it's sports, music, helping someone out etc.
              What are your weekend plans??

                                                                       love this boy!
                                                                     nana & Tes:)

                                                                     {sweet sisters}
                                                        coach Kasey & the boys!

                                                           love this one!! GOAL!!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Jemo in our hearts

Recently our church, Bismarck Community Church, partnered with a church in a community located in the slums of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia called Jemo through Children's Hopechest.

Jemo... what to say about Jemo.  I have struggled with this since I tend to be a person that feels things so deeply, internally.  I so badly want to express it to people but feel like I fall way short when trying. When Kristen asked me to blog about my visit to Jemo in June, I was initially so excited.  See, as you will find, words don't flow out of me quite as smoothly as my wife.  She can feel an emotion and sit down and 10 minutes later it's eloquently laid out on her blog.  Me, I agonize over it for hours.

As you know, Ethiopia has a very special place in our hearts and when I heard that I would have the opportunity to visit Jemo and get to know the children and leaders of the community I jumped at it. When I arrived at Jemo, the children surrounded our car and couldn't wait to greet me. It is so hard to look into these kid's eyes and not fall instantly in love with them.  They have such a pure joy that exudes out of them even though they're facing circumstances that you and I couldn't even fathom.  And that is the thing that gets you.  Everyone always says to Kristen and I, "it is such a great thing you guys have done for those kids".  Referring to Ariyat, Ageze, and Tesfa whom we have adopted from Ethiopia.  The thing people don't understand unless they have been there, is that our family has gotten so much more from these kids than we have given them.  I look at the transformation it has done in Grant(10) and Kate(8), and it can literally bring me to my knees.  Just today Grant wrote in his journal and I will share it with you because it shows what the transformations can do to your family (and yes, i did get his permission to share).

He gets it and he is 10. I look at what Ethiopia did to his heart and I am so thankful.  And it is not because it made him appreciate all the comfort things he has in America but because it made him see a joy in living for God, and being His hands and feet.  Grant now challenges Kristen and I, do we have what it takes to serve.  I don't write all this to brag on my son although I am proud.  It's because I want you to see what this relationship with the people of Jemo can do in your heart and your families. Because we have gotten comfortable and it is so easy to read this next part and think, "well, someone else is going to step up".   So please read the remainder of this post with an open mind and take the time to watch the 2 videos at the end. (don't forget to turn off the blog music before you watch the video). Yes I know, 2 videos may be a little overkill but I think it is needed.  We need to get uncomfortable and stop waiting for someone else to do it.  That is what we are called to do...  I love Jeremiah 22:16, "He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well.  Is That not what it means to know me?" declares the lord...

This past Sunday, Wil Crooks from Children's Hopechest was at our church for the launch and he said something that really hit home. He talked about psalm 10 and 12 and how the wicked prey upon the weak.  He talked about how at areas like Jemo, the weak get preyed upon, and yes I am talking about trafficking, slave labor, orphans being lured with the promise of work, and Addis Ababa having the largest red light district in the world were girls are being serially assaulted up 40 times a day... Yes, it is real, it is happening, I HAVE SEEN IT... and what we are saying by supporting this community is "not at Jemo!"

Our Church, Bismarck Community Church, is working with Children's Hopechest at Jemo to get 150 plus children that come to the Church in Jemo sponsored.  It literally only costs $34 a month which will give the child hope, food, health care, and a Christian education.  Your support will help build a bridge in Jemo where these children have to cross to go to school and every year kids die during the rainy season trying to get to school over this handmade stick bridge that if I described it, would not even give you a sense of how dangerous it really is.  Here is the awesome part, we have already sponsored 100 of the kids at our church and so we only have 50 children who need sponsors.  Not only will you have communication with the child, which is a huge deal for these children to have someone who cares about them when a lot of the children at Jemo have no-one.  But, you will also have the opportunity to visit Jemo with our church led trips. If you are not from Bismarck, don't worry, we can work out the logistics when the time comes.  Below you will find the link to look at the Jemo children and you will see who still needs a sponsor.  Please check it out and be His hands and feet...


Friday, September 7, 2012

{school. ariyat update. children's hopechest... will you come?}

Busy!!! that describes our house lately!! We've officially begun homeschooling, which we are all loving:) The kids went to their first gym class this it was! They thoroughly enjoyed it & can't wait for next week!
Tesfa is really loving kindergarten...he comes home with a smile on his face & many stories to tell!

Soccer has begun....Grant & Ageze are both playing soccer this fall & are learning more each practice & loving it!! Bonus for Grant...Kasey is his coach!! So fun to see my boys out there together.

Ariyat continues to do very well...not that we haven't had our up's & downs, we have. But, she seems to be adjusting in a very healthy, appropriate way. We keep very close to home, she doesn't care for too much noise or too many people. And, that is ok. That smile of hers lights up our home on a daily basis:) She & Kate seem like they have never been apart, they are two peas in a pod. Lately, Ariyat has been trying to teach the other four Amharic. Amharic songs. The alphabet. How to write each letter & how to sound out the letters. We are learning as much from her as she is learning from us!! We love that!!

What an exciting weekend we have in store!!! Want to join in?? Wil Crooks from Children's Hopechest will be in Bismarck!!

So excited about this opportunity to love on & care for this precious community in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia!! Wil Crooks with Children's HopeChest will be in Bismarck this coming weekend...Our church has partnered with Children's Hopechest & t
he community of "Jemo" in Addis. We are so thrilled that not only our church, but ALL OF YOU will be able to make a difference in the life of one of these children. Children of God. Please mark your calendars for this coming Saturday...September 8th @ 7 pm for a "meet & greet" with Wil...3817 Poseidon Loop, Bismarck!!! Also, Plan on attending our Sunday morning church service at 10:15, Bismarck Community Church...1617 E Michigan Ave. Bismarck!! Hope to see you all there!! This is a short video that Kasey put together from his time he spent at "Jemo!!"

Here is the link to the sponsorship page!! You can make a huge difference for one ( or more!) of these precious children...providing them with education, healthcare & basic needs:)

Well, that's whats been going on at the Gilliss house!! Hope your days have been filled with laughter & love!!                                                           xo