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Andy and Jill Lehman family

Entries in Ethiopia (64)


School in Full Swing - Lifesong Ethiopia

We invite you to share a word of encouragement to our staff at Lifesong Ethiopia. To do so, please leave a comment or comment on our Facebook wall and it will be forwarded to our staff. Thank you in advance for your kind words of support! 

Please enjoy this update on Lifesong Ethiopia from Gary Ifft,

"After some hectic and stressful days, school has started up once again.  The last minute crush of registering students, hiring teachers and other staff, purchasing large quantities of food, purchasing and placement of desks and other furniture, in addition to trying to get the two new school buildings completed and ready for our occupancy is not something we looked forward to.  But we survived all that and school is in operation.  

With all three campuses combined we have 760 students.  And it seems we also have about 2,000 upset families because there was no room for their kids in our schools.  That is the problem (and the blessing) of having the best facilities, the best teachers, and the best reputation for many kilometers in any direction.  We've been threatened with lawsuits, tried to be bribed, been cried in front of more times than we could count, been cursed, and been accused by government officials of corruption simply because we didn't enroll someone's child.  Never did we suspect this was part of our job description!

In Adami Tulu we suddenly find ourselves with 300 students (these are included in the 760 above).  As opposed to the two Ziway schools, they don't yet have a nice modern feeding facility like both schools in Ziway have.  Our kitchen staff is doing an outstanding job with the facility they have to feed all these kids breakfast and lunch each day.  But for next year, it is definitely a priority to get them a dining facility equal to or better than the standard set in Ziway.

Enjoy these pictures..." 

 Our new two-story 14-room building at Ziway



 Morning flag pole ceremony at Ziway 


Kids eating lunch at Adami Tulu
Please keep our precious children at Lifesong Ethiopia in your prayers as they spend their time at school. 

Family Friday: "Adoption is hard...and worth it"

We find ourselves at yet another Family Friday! Please join me in praise with Greg & Charisa and their growing family and as they share the pure FAITHFULNESS God has shown them in their journey...


This adoption was an adoption of faith almost from day one!  We signed on with our agency in February and were excited to again add to our family through the miracle of adoption. Greg found out that his position was being cut and he would lose his job, along with the $5000 adoption credit his company would give. Yikes!

There were so many questions at that time—where would he find a job? Would we have to move? What about the adoption? Did we hear God wrong?  We chose to have faith and believe God had something in store for us and He did! Greg was offered our job with our local food bank which lines up with his heart for helping the vulnerable! We were blessed as he only had to go two weeks without a job.  

In March we received the referral of a beautiful baby boy whose name means “Praise.” We were excited and quickly fell in love.  The Monday of the week we were leaving, I received that DREADED phone call.  Our little one’s mother came to court and changed her mind and took him home.  My first emotional reaction? I am done. Adoption is too hard. I can’t stand the emotional roller coaster anymore.  I AM DONE!  

Even in the midst of this God was working and moving. My caseworker called my husband first and told him to come home. We cried, prayed, asked many why’s and just sat in silence.  

As we continued to pray God asked me, “Who is adoption about? You or the child that needs a home?”  I began to realize, (I knew it down deep but it finally rose to the surface of my heart) that this was a good thing.   If this little baby’s mom changed her mind and could raise him—than that is who he should be with! How could I be upset with that?  Was I grieving?  Yes—for the loss of the child who we thought would be our son. However, I was so happy that this child could be raised by the mother that carried him, named him, and loved him.  

Fast forward a couple of days and we received another referral of a tiny little boy, Teshale, whose name means “Better One.” I can’t even begin to tell you how that confirmed everything for us. God has blessed us immensely and looking back we can see how everything worked according to His plan.  

July 15th we were in Ethiopia for court and met our son. He was our son! The bond was immediate and we knew this was the child God had for our family. We came home September 10th 2011 and are doing well. We are more than blessed.

Adoption is hard. It is emotional.  It is full of bumps, curves, and road blocks. It is worth it. 

I now have so much more of a picture of what Christ endured for me.  I have a glimpse of His heartache and passion.  As I sat and cried over that first little boy I imagined how God weeps over those that He longs to have as His children.

Thank you Lifesong for being part of our story. Your encouragement and affirmation played a vital role in our adoption journey.  We appreciate you so much!

-Greg & Charisa


Back to School! - Lifesong Ethiopia

**New Opportunity** We invite you to share a word of encouragement to our staff at Lifesong Ethiopia. To do so, please comment on this blog or on our Facebook wall and it will be forwarded to our staff. Thank you in advance for your kind words of support!  

Please enjoy this update on the upcoming school year in Lifesong Ethiopia from Gary Ifft,

"For the upcoming school year, we will be registering approximately 150 Nursery School students, as well as other students to round out a couple of classes.  

When registering students, we take the orphans and most vulnerable children first.  Then we make sure there are half boys and half girls.  On top of that we seek a mix of Protestant, Orthodox, and Muslim children.  We are a school with Christian values with the students memorizing Bible verse, having daily prayers, Bible readings and scriptural lessons each morning.  With this Christian influence, many of our Muslim and Orthodox students become Christians and even take the message of the Gospel home to their families.

With this large increase of approximately 180 students, we need to hire more staff-teachers, feeding program workers, aides, etc. And, thanks to some generous benefactors, we should have a computer lab outfitted with 19 laptops in the near future.  Our students will be the first in our part of the country to have computer education. 

The construction work continues to proceed on schedule both schools in Ziway and Adami Tulu (see pictures below)."  

Adami Tulu School

Ziway School  

Please continue to pray for Lifesong Ethiopia and the students as they start a new school year!


Love Made a Hard Decision - One Changed Life

The rusty old door in the fence was opened by the little girl with huge brown eyes.  Maybe it was her warm coat that she wore on this hot day that hid any fears that she might have had.  Did she know that her life was about to change forever?

Elshaday is a small six year old girl in the Upper Kindergarten class at the Lifesong School in Ziway, Ethiopia.  She has lived with her elderly grandparents ever since she became an orphan at two years old.  Her favorite subject is English and she spends much of her free time jump roping.

Her elderly Grandpa’s love for her was evident, but his poor health kept him in a bed or chair.  The meager wage her Grandma makes washing clothes by hand and spinning cotton has the family still depending on charity to survive.  

The Grandpa begged us to find a home for his granddaughter.  He was old, unemployed and felt helpless to care for dear Elshaday.  Academically, Elshaday was  at the bottom of her class and the Grandpa told us he couldn't teach her things he didn't know himself.  He desired his granddaughter to get a good start in life, but he knew he could never provide food, education or health. 

Love made a hard decision.

Elshaday has now moved into a forever family with a new Mom and Dad to love, protect and provide for her.  She is now living at Samuel’s Home, a vision project by Misgana Ministries, with nine new siblings.  Samuel's Home is designed for vulnerable children, like Elshaday, who no longer have family that can care for them.  She now has a permanent, Christ-following family and hope springing into her future.

Elshaday...One Changed Life!

"God places the lonely in families..." Psalm 68:6

(Thanks to Ann Meyer, Ethiopia Vision Team Member, for relaying this story)


Family Friday: Justin & Bonnie

 I'm excited to introduce to you Justin, Bonnie, Asher and Hosanna, a family we were so blessed to partner with in their 2 year adoption process from Ethiopia.  Lifesong for Orphans along with Immanuel Baptist Church partnered with this family to help bridge the financial barrier of adoption through grants and fundraising support! I invite you to listen in as they share their journey to their two little 'treasures'.


We started our Ethiopian adoptions in April of 2010. We knew the Lord was calling us to adopt, but we honestly did not have the financial means to do so.  We received both a direct grant (through our church) and a matching grant from Lifesong during the Fall of 2010.  These monies came at the exact time that we needed in order to pay for our referral fees. 

God provided manna in the desert for the children of Israel one day at a time, and He likewise provided for our daily adoption needs through Lifesong.  It seemed that whenever a bill was due, we would receive a notification from Lifesong telling us that someone had donated towards our matching grant or our account fund.  These notifications continued throughout the duration of our adoption process! We praise God for Lifesong and do not know how we would have funded our adoption without their assistance.

We learned two amazing lessons throughout our adoption process.  Firstly, our Lord is a God who grants justice to the fatherless.  Secondly, He richly supplies all that we need when we chase after the things His heart breaks for.  After years of prayer and tears we saw Him grant justice to our children in miraculous ways; and through Lifesong He provided abundantly for all of our financial needs.

--Justin & Bonnie