Nagaan gooftaa keenya Yesus Kiristos siif haa ta’uu! (That is Oromiffa for “Greetings to you in the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ!”)
Welcome to iCARE’s home on the web! This site is designed to be informative to sponsors and others interested in the iCARE ministries of the Shenandoah Presbytery.
Thank you for visiting here.
A Brief History
At the request of Illubabor Bethel Synod, in the Illubabor region of Ethiopia, the Shenandoah Presbytery sought to find up to 50 sponsors for 50 children in the summer and fall of 1999. The children we were asked to sponsor were in dire straights in Ethiopia. We were told that the children, many of whom would be orphans, would be brought to the Gore Children’s Home in the town of Gore, where they would receive reliable nutrition, clothing, access to the local public school, a spiritual lifestyle and a modicum of health care.
The Presbyterian Christians of the Shenandoah Presbytery responded quickly and by January 2000 all of the sponsorships were in place. From that time to this we have had extraordinary faithfulness on the part of sponsors.
The Gore Home has been in service as a children’s home since 1985. Sponsorships before the Shenandoah Presbytery became involved were from Germany. The home currently houses approximately 125 students. Brian Gilchrest from the Shenandoah Presbytery served as a missionary with the Gore Home for two and a half years. He was instrumental in putting in place policies and practices that have contributed to the quality of life of all the children in the Home.
In addition to work with the Gore Home in 2002 the iCARE committee received a request to help raise funds to build student shelters in two Presbyterys in the Illubabor Bethel Synod. Most regions of Ethiopia have only one high school. If a child comes from a more rural part of the region and does not live within walking distance of that high school, or can not find residence with a family member or other who lives near the high school, they simply do not have access to school beyond the primary grades. Once again, through the generous donations of the people in Shenandoah Presbytery shelters were built in the Algae and Alito Presbyterys.
iCARE stands for Illubabor Children’s Agape REsponse.
Sponsorship is $925 dollars, per sponsored child, due in September in time for the new school year.
iCARE Steering Committee
The iCARE steering committee is part of the Ethiopian Partnership Committee which serves under the Committee on Mission and Outreach of the Shenandoah Presbytery.
In the spring of 2002, the Partnership Committee recognized that the level of work required to manage the iCARE program would best be served by a special subcommittee whose primary task was to manage this important ministry. Since this committee was formed to answer needs of children in the Illubabor Bethel Synod members have been fortunate to visit the Gore Home. They return inspired with photos to share and information about the needs. Committee members have developed a presentation and they enjoy sharing their personal experiences with church groups. Contact a member to make arrangements for a visit. The iCARE Steering Committee currently has five members; their names, church homes, and email addresses are listed below.
The iCARE Steering Committee was established to manage the “sponsorship end” of the iCARE program. The subcommittee’s primary responsibilities include:
1. Serving as a liaison between the sponsors and the Management Committee of the Gore Home
2. Responding to questions and needs of the sponsors
3. Responding to questions and needs of the Gore Home and iCARE sponsored children
4. Praying for, and acting as a catalyst to generate prayer for the children, staff, and overall ministry of the Gore Home
5. Initiating questions and ideas, with and between the iCARE Steering Committee, the Partnership Committee, the Management Committee of the Gore Home, and the administration of the Gore Home, to constantly seek solutions and initiatives that will enhance the lives of iCARE sponsored children and the overall effectiveness of the iCARE ministry.
6. Facilitating planning, resources, processes, and follow-up for the annual collection and distribution of iCARE Sponsor funds,
7. Maintaining a master list of iCARE sponsored children and corresponding sponsors,
8. Providing for the general promotion and education, related to the iCARE ministry, for churches, organizations and individuals within the Shenandoah Presbytery.
iCARE Steering Committee Members:
Lou Dolive, chair
Covenant Pres – Staunton
From the Gore Home
Report of My Visit to the Gore Hostel
Lou Dolive, iCARE Chair
On Tuesday, May 10, the whole Covenant Presbyterian Church Team of 5 traveled first to the farm*, then to the Hostel. We were accompanied by Kes(Rev.) Ayana, his driver, and Alemu, our driver. We were having a light rain and it rained the night before, so about ¾ of the way to the farm (after getting off the main road), we left the new BSCO van (2WD) to travel the last, steepest part in the iCARE 4 WD.
Upon our arrival, two men were plowing with ox teams in the lower field to the right. We hiked past the maize and saw coffee growing, ginger, cardamom, and an apiary (bee house). We heard about planting maize and sugar cane together. We were impressed with the good care of the land and the obvious attention to detail.
I don’t know about markets here, but work and planning seem to be going well.
We returned from the farm to the hostel for a tour and lunch. We met a few students, but most were at school while we were there. We brought 30 blankets, 2 soccer balls, 2 volleyballs, a hand pump, and needles. Kes Ayana met with us and answered our questions well.
On Wednesday afternoon, May 11, Kes Ayana and his driver picked me up at the Mettu compound and we all returned to the Gore Hostel. They had been buying supplies in town and timed their trip accordingly to pick me up. I delivered $150 from the Covenant Choir for materials for children’s choir robes. He had requested this when I asked. I also delivered to him the remainder of the $571 donated by the Presbyterian Women of Shenandoah Presbytery– some $123.
That total gift was used as follows:
$571 = 9588.35 ETB (Ethiopian Birr)
– 6442.53 ETB for 30 blankets (we bought in Addis)
– 1048.67 ETB for 4 balls, pump, needles (brought from US)
2097.15 ETB donated to iCARE (remainder)
I delivered letters and photos sent from sponsors; Kes Ayana and I checked through these. I also notated on my own child list the correct pronunciation of the children’s names.
We talked about the new computers donated last year. I asked whether a computer program had been found to assist in learning English. This was a question of the donors. The answer is “Not yet.”
I met the new computer instructor, the new woodworking instructor, the new English tutor. It is good to have these positions filled. I also saw the barbershop and took a picture of a new blanket on a young lady’s bed. I saw 6 sewing machines that had been refurbished and returned to service.
Late in the afternoon I photographed the iCARE students (all but one) while Kes Ayana wrote down their names.
On the ride back to Mettu we discussed the following points:
1. The iCARE committee needs early notification of new students coming because new sponsors are mostly found by presenting a talk to a church. Invitations to churches take time to set up. Kes Ayana told me he’s hoping to add 7-8 in September. This is good to know.
2. The iCARE committee needs to know changes in a student’s status quickly – email is fine. Sponsors can understand a student’s leaving, and most gladly switch to the replacing child if given the choice in a timely manner. The committee is trying to establish a caring relationship between a sponsor and their child. Thus the committee encourages sponsors to send letters and photos.
4. I encouraged Kes Ayana to have his new computer person to look for suitable English learning software. She could review the available programs and make recommendations for him to approve.
I was very happy for this time to visit and to establish a personal relationship with Kes Ayana. We got along well together. I found him warm and caring, and he seemed to be interested in his work. He has made improvements at the farm and is taking good care of the land.
He has found new teachers, had six sewing machines refurbished, and is interested in moving ahead. He seems able to spend money wisely. Of course, spending money wisely is very important. I was pleased with Kes Ayana’s ability to solve problems.
I like having the many choices for students at the Gore Hostel. In any group of students, some will go to university and others will find trades that suit them better. A school’s job should be to encourage students to find their own path and offer them chances to try out different skills to see what they would like to do. No one program is going to satisfy the needs of all the students.
I am very glad for this opportunity to visit the Gore Hostel and I think that Kes Ayana and I have a good start on a strong friendship.
iCARE Committee Chair
• The farm is intended to help support the Gore Home both by producing products to sell and food for the children.
iCARE Shelter Ministry
I was standing beside Yonas at the Banquet this fall when an anonymous donor approached him, and stated they had a substantial donation they would like to make to children’s work in Ethiopia. Yonas began to tell the prospective donor about a request from the Alge Presbytery, of Illubabor Ethiopia.
The region of Alge has one high school. This is true for most regions of Ethiopia. If a child comes from a more rural part of the region and does not live within walking distance of that high school, or can find residence with a family member or other who lives near the high school, they simply do not have access to school beyond the primary grades.
The Alge Presbytery has built a small building that currently houses up to 12 students who come in from the more rural part of the region and reside in this simple “Shelter.” But the demand is much greater. The Congregations of the Alge Presbytery can sustain the children but did not have the means to build a larger Shelter.
The exciting news is that through a few generous donors, $9,000 has been raised since the Banquet in October to build not only the Alge Shelter but to complete another shelter, the Alito Shelter, in the Alito Presbytery. Both shelters will provide simple but adequate and safe housing for rural students to attend high school in their respective Presbyterys.
An account has been set up at Presbytery to receive donations for future Shelter ministries. If this is a ministry you feel led to support, donations should be mailed to the Presbytery Office and the designation clearly made “iCARE Shelter Ministry.”