How many times have you been to Ethiopia, including this trip?
Kristi: Seven times including two trips for adoption.
Jane: Many, many business trips for my former employment, but this was my first trip solely for the purpose of visiting and supporting the ministry of Yezelalem Minch (YZM). I had met Nesibu and Birtukan on earlier trips. Now I was eager to actually see their ministry in its entirety.
What made this trip different than the others?
Kristi: My 10-year-old son and my mom came, along with my best friend. It was so great to share this experience with them and have them understand firsthand what is so difficult to put into words.
Jane: I was there strictly for the orientation to and support of YZM. I saw firsthand the full operation of YZM. Two of my daughters and two of my grandchildren were with me.
Where did you see God at work during your trip?
Jane: Everywhere, but particularly with the help we were able to get for a sick girl and how that experience impacted all of the members of our group.
Kristi: Literally everywhere. As a leader, I love seeing the trip come together from the first conversations to the ride home from the airport. God’s hand is in it all. While we were there, God brought us to the home of a child who was devastatingly ill. It was so hard to see but God worked through Birtukan and the YZM staff to get her admitted to a hospital to receive life saving treatment.
We did not know that she needed us to come to her home, but God did. I am leaving out a lot of details but one detail that sticks with me is that earlier that day, we read something Martin Luther King, Jr. preached about the good Samaritan. As we were driving this child to the hospital, we learned that her name means ‘Samaritan.’What advice would you give someone considering a trip to YZM?
Jane: It will be the experience of a lifetime; don’t hesitate. You will experience God mightily at work.Kristi: Just go. Say yes, take a leap, and let God work out the details.
Are you planning on another trip in the near future?
Jane: I’m planning to lead another group. Anyone who may be interested in participating should contact me. We’d love to have more people.Kristi: Yes, I hope to lead a trip annually.
Anything you would like people to know about YZM?
Kristi: The devoted staff are the hands and feet of Jesus. They do lifesaving work. They bring hope to the hopeless. They are God’s love in action. It is truly remarkable how they give their lives to the children and how the children are blessed as a result. Walking alongside them as they work is one of the greatest blessings in my life. It is like a window into God’s heart.
Jane: YZM is Jesus Christ in action in Ethiopia! His love shines through in absolutely every experience of the week. I can’t wait to go back.
Want to learn more?
Yezelalem Minch (YZM) is a ministry in partnership with Helps Ministries. Helps Ministries (Helps) is a non-profit, inter-denominational Christian ministry headquartered in Asheville, North Carolina. Helps Ministries’ founders recognized a need for a practical and professional, hands-on type ministry willing and able to help other Christian ministries and missionaries in pragmatic ways. Therefore, Helps was launched in 1976 utilizing the spiritual gift of “helps” found in I Corinthians 12:28 to identify the unique purpose of our ministry.
Since then, Helps has started, strengthened, and served alongside hundreds of front-line ministries all over the world.Partnering with the global Church to build ministries, serve field workers, and defend the vulnerable for God’s kingdom purposes worldwide.Our vision is to be a dynamic and innovative, international ministry leader ensuring that Christian ministries and missionaries are empowered and equipped to fulfill their unique ministry calling.
Yezelalem Minch (YZM) is an Ethiopian non-profit, non-government organization providing comprehensive care for orphaned and vulnerable children in multiple communities in and around the capital city of Addis Ababa. Started in 2001 by Birtukan Sinshaw and her husband, Nesibu Kebede, YZM has grown tremendously. There are currently over 1,500 children enrolled in the program.