Our Inspiration....

We thought it only logical to have our first blog post about one inspiring family that helped us start on our journey to help Ethiopia smile - Team Alexander.  I met the Alexanders briefly in Hermosa Beach, California in August 2008 during an Ethiopian adoptive family event.

Hosted by this amazing family - Drew, Carey & Zoe (who are spearheading the Wheelchair part of our trip and traveling with us to Ethiopia)!

At that point, the Alexanders had four wonderful biological children and were anxiously awaiting their trip to Ethiopian to pick up their new baby, Abe.  Since then, both Abe, a beautiful little boy with a smile as bright as you could ever imagine, and Eyasu, their newest son with a sparkle in his eye and the sweetest face, have joined Team Alexander.

Their trips to Ethiopia to pick up their sons have changed their lives as well as those of SO many families around them.  They have raised over $400,000 to transform the village where Eyasu spent the first months of his life, and started the Ethiopia Smile mission trips to bring dental care to Ethiopia.

In their words....

Four years ago, our family began a journey that none could predicted - nor had we planned on - but God did.
Our dear friend Kristin went on a mission trip to Africa and sent us a video of highlights. As our family watched the beautiful work she and her team did in the orphanages, our children began asking if we “could bring one home”. Then they began to ask us if we you pray about it. That was the winter of 2007. 15 months later, we received an email with a beautiful picture of our son Abe, wearing a Texas Tech T-shirt. We knew God has His hand in this journey. Three months after that, our family, traveled to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to bring home Abe. That is when we first began to fall in love with the country.
Kristin chronicled the trip through pictures and made a beautiful video of the day we first met Abe, using the song “Mighty to Save”. Because of that, the song has become our anthem. Abe immediately became our “ripple maker”. I like to say that Abe is the large boulder that came crashing into our otherwise very calm pond. Those ripples reached new heights six weeks later, when we received the devastating news that Abe had a severe brain injury from an inutero stroke. Those were hard days of suffering, but we have a God who is faithful, whose love and grace sustains. Good friends and family walked through those days - our faith grew deeper, our love for Ethiopia grew deeper and our desire to give something back to this country grew.
In November 2009, Emily and I went back to Ethiopia to bring home our son Eyasu. We had the privilege to meet his biological uncle who cared for him after both of his parents died from TB. The uncle cared for Eyasu and his biological brothers until he was 23 months old, and on the verge of dying from sickness and malnourishment. Also on this trip, we first met the staff of A Glimmer of Hope and began this beautiful relationship. From the very beginning, we had been looking for an organization to partner with. Once we met these guys, we knew this was the group doing big work, effective work and sustainable work.
Emily traveled back to Ethiopia in June to see completed projects of Glimmer - and the dream of returning to Eyasu’s village was born.
Another reason, Emily traveled in June, was to lay the ground work for EthiopiaSmile. In the spring of last year, the idea came to return to Ethiopia and use the gift of dentistry to love the people of Ethiopia, God moved in the hearts of over 60 people to join with us. Abe’s ripples just exponentially increased! So this passion for Ethiopia and it’s people reached out to our community.
In October, we visited Dube Bute, Eyasu’s village, we saw the need, we saw the extreme poverty, we saw the lack of clean water, the delapidated schools, the lack of basic health needs. Trusting God to do big things, we partnered with Glimmer to bring hope to Dube Bute.
This journey is a beautiful story of redemption, taking a dear orphan out of a dire situation, using him to inspire a community to make a difference in the lives of people a world away.

You can see more of their story here.

I am humbled and honored to be able to join them on their next mission to love and serve the people of Ethiopia.  I can only hope that what started as a "great way to spend my 40th birthday" will turn into a lifelong mission of helping Ethiopia smile!