6.1.24: LT w/ Grace Center Foundations Marcie providing update on the center in Ethiopia Pray!

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Summary

➡ The Grace Center Foundation in Ethiopia, started by Marcy Erickson, has grown from serving five foster children to over 50,000 people annually. Despite attempts by government officials to shut it down, the organization has gained recognition as the top charity in Ethiopia. The foundation provides care for orphaned and abandoned children, and also offers a variety of services to meet the needs of the community. Despite challenges such as war and famine, the foundation continues to expand and serve more people, demonstrating the power of love and service.
➡ A charity called Grace Center helps children and women in need in Ethiopia. They started by helping a group of children who had fled their villages due to danger. The charity grew and gained recognition, even though they faced challenges from corrupt officials. Now, they’re expanding to a new city to help even more people.
➡ The Grace Center is a faith-based organization that helps mothers, children, and others in need. It started as a daycare center in Ethiopia, the first of its kind in the country, to help mothers who felt they had no other option but to abandon their babies due to their inability to work and care for their child simultaneously. The center has since expanded to offer a variety of services, including medical care, education, and even a well for clean water. The Grace Center aims to help individuals live out God’s gift and call in their lives, and plans to expand to other locations in the future.
➡ The text discusses a community’s efforts to provide clean water, education, and support for local businesses, despite challenges like power outages and war. They also have a prison ministry, helping children who live in prison with their mothers and supporting them even after release. However, a recent war led to the release of all prisoners, causing a rise in crime. Despite this, the community remains committed to prayer and counseling, offering spiritual support to all who come to them.
➡ In Ethiopia, a place where many people are in desperate situations, prayer and faith play a significant role in their lives. A woman named Mulu, who was extremely worried about her missing son, was helped through prayer and support at the Grace Center. After praying and receiving reassurance, Mulu was able to regain her strength and even received a call confirming her son was safe. The Grace Center, which also provides food, medical care, and even an adoption program, relies on donations and support from people around the world to continue helping those in need.
➡ The organization helps abandoned babies by trying to find their birth families and reunite them. If this isn’t possible, they facilitate adoptions. They’ve also started an emergency hotline for mothers considering abandoning their babies, offering them support and alternatives. The organization also empowers women by helping them find ways to provide for their families, and assists pregnant women in need, encouraging them to choose life for their babies.
➡ The text talks about a community that helps each other become self-sufficient and give back to others. They recently faced a fire incident but managed to control it with everyone’s help. They also have a special needs program for children with cognitive and physical disabilities, providing individualized care plans. The community is grateful for the support they receive and attribute their success to divine intervention.
➡ The speaker expresses gratitude for the opportunity to serve others and shares a powerful experience from their past. They recall a time in the Marine Corps when they helped a community living in a city’s trash heap, which deeply impacted them. They express a desire to continue making a difference, particularly in Ethiopia, once it opens up. The speaker ends by thanking Marcy for her efforts and expressing hope for future updates.

Transcript

Pure religion and undefiled before God and the father is this to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction and to keep himself unspotted from the world. During that time, this government official and the person that was running this organization kept trying to have our organization shut down. So they would send all the government officials to basically search and find something wrong with what we are doing. And I love how God works because every time we had this group of officials coming through, we would show them our center and they would say, there’s something like this in Ethiopia.

Like, these children are so well loved, they’re so taken care of, these women are happy. These kids are thriving. They said, we need this everywhere in Ethiopia. So it totally backfired for these people that were trying to get us shut down. And instead we ended up getting recognition basically through the whole country of Ethiopia as being the number one charity. Well, it’s been approximately six months since we discovered and interviewed Marcy with gracecenterfoundation.org. in Ethiopia, Grace center began with a vision to serve children who are orphaned and abandoned. What began with five foster children now serves over 50,000 people annually in a large variety of ways, always seeking to share the love of the Lord as the needs of the people are being met, Grace center is poised for significant growth with two major expansion opportunities.

We are going to discuss this and more about their center in this amazing update. Well, folks, so excited to have Marcy Erickson with gracecenterfoundation.org back with us again. What a great time. About six months ago where we had an interview with you to share all of the work that’s happening in Ethiopia, how you started with just a vision and it ended up to, I believe, 20 to 30,000 people that you’re helping now and your ministry continues to grow. And we’re so grateful to have you here. Your website’s been updated quite a bit and I wanted to show that off here, gracefoundation.org dot folks, you go below this video, you can click on that particular website and everything that you need to know about this entire missions project that is growing leaps and bounds will be there for you.

So many things. Women at the well, baby rescue poem by a child in prison, growth and expansion just right away. You’re already grabbed with the visuals there and it’s amazing. So what’s been going on, Marcy? Any updates since our last time? Well, maybe we’ll just start with again, how did this all begin? For those that might be new to hearing about you, sure. So I was born and raised in Naples, Florida. And as a senior in high school, as people were praying about or thinking about what they wanted to do with their life, I heard God’s voice telling me to be a missionary.

And I had never met a missionary, but in my mind, I pictured Africa, and I ended up at 18 years old, being serving in a children’s home in Guatemala. And then at 19, I went and spent my first year in Ethiopia. During that time, it was in the middle of a five year famine. It was a very difficult time in Ethiopia. There were hundreds of people that were starving, that were coming to the gate every day where I was working, and I was just volunteering as an english teacher. And we ended up having just so many people that were needing food that the place where I was serving, they ended up feeding people.

At the end of the day, there would be babies that would be left outside the gates and the doors, and they would take in these babies, even though they didn’t have a children’s home, they just had a school. But it was a very difficult time. But at the same time, just seeing God’s love and his blessing and just caring for the people as much as I could and really coming to an understanding of how can I walk alongside these people to see them live out what God’s called them to do in their life? So that began at 18 years old, and I’ve been in Ethiopia most of my adult life, as well as other parts of Africa.

And so in 2000, that’s when you ended up there. You started. I mean, it’s a strange age to begin, right? 19 years old, you just head to any country. Why Ethiopia? I mean, what was. What was going on there? Yeah, it was. I guess it would be a strange age, but at the same time, I knew that was what God was calling me to do. And I remember the line of a song that I had heard once or twice as a teenager, which said, if God calls you to be a missionary, don’t stoop to be a king.

And I’d love to even quote where that line is from, but I have no idea what the song is. I just heard it once or twice and it always stuck with me. If I was to do anything else else with my life, I would be lowering myself from what God had called me to do. And I encourage anyone who’s listening that feels that call to serve, to follow through with that and to say yes, because there’s just no greater life, to be honest. Amen. Amen. And so now, I mean, we since our last update, we’ve gone through quite a bit.

You’ve had so many people reach out to you after, after all of that, the conversation, and folks got a chance to see this growth of your ministry since that time. You’ve adopted how many children and what’s going on with their lives now? Well, you know, lt, I want to say that your listeners and you specifically are absolutely amazing people. I was so blown away and so very touched. And I thought, you know, what greater people to partner with than people that are so like minded that they just responded in a way that just blew me away completely.

And I’ve been so moved by it continually. And it’s not just that they responded once. Many of them have started giving monthly, which has been absolutely amazing. And so we’re just so very touched and so very grateful for all that you and your wonderful listeners have been able to do in changing the lives of the people over in Ethiopia. Thank you for that. Yeah, it’s amazing. I mean, the things that you guys have experienced, I mean, since 2000. Now you’re heading into what I noticed with 2021, there was a war in northern Ethiopia, beginning with a militia group and the north fire and missiles in the Bahur dar.

And so there’s that. You have this update. Over a two week period, ten missiles were dropped in this area within a mile from the gray center. I mean, you’ve grown and grown and then all of a sudden you just see this intensify in that particular area. And so many things have happened since then, correct? Yeah, absolutely. That was actually a previous war. That was a few years ago. You know, well, it says 2021 on the website. And, you know, Barhadar at that time was just a peaceful city with, you know, still with extreme poverty, but at the same time, this, you know, just, just peace.

And all of a sudden these missiles were dropped. And actually, our on site director, Amy Menard, who, you know, you’ll find her information on our website under our team. She also loves hearing what you say and tunes into you all the time as well. But she was over there during that time and it’s just suddenly out of nowhere, missiles dropping. And one thing she said was, she said, I never thought I’d be saying this, but when they drop the missiles during the day, it’s a whole different experience than when they drop it at night. And at night you’re jarred and you don’t even know where it’s located.

But during the day, you can at least look in the distance and see something. But the missiles were also very, very, very close to her house. And she said, just the noise is just something you can’t even explain, was, I think, how she said it. And she was there with her two young children. She’s been with us for almost ten years, serving there. And she just said at night when one of the missiles that was the closest to her hit, she woke up, they crawled, they were kind of on the ground in a corner. And then her kids, after a few minutes, said, mommy, can we go back to bed? And she just went, okay.

I guess God is really protecting us because my kids just went right back to sleep. And so she really felt just God’s protection through all of that. And after those ten missiles, it became peaceful again in our area for a good while. But what we were seeing during that time was actually refugees that were coming, that were fleeing from that northern area where the war was ongoing. And they were coming to our area, to Baradar. And we began feeding many more people. There were people just sleeping in these kind of warehouse type buildings. And so we were bringing lots of mattresses and blankets and soap and just doing whatever we could to reach these people.

And it was interesting that while we were doing that, we actually came across a group of boys, young boys, inquired about them, who are all these children? And they said, oh, they’re just children that left by themselves, that basically fled on their own for their own lives. And I remember one boy in particular, his mom was diabetic. She said, I won’t be able to survive the journey. He said, please let me take my sister. His sister is six years old. And she said, no, she’ll give you away. You won’t be able to make it. If she makes any noise, you know, leave us and run.

And so this group of kids just ended up all in our area after fleeing their, their villages. And we saw them and we said, absolutely, we have to help these children. And so we ended up becoming family to these kids until we could have them reunited with their family. So we took them in and they spoke a different language because they were from a different area and we cared for them. And once things became peaceful, it was actually very clear right before ethiopian Christmas that year that things were better in their villages. And the kids came and said, can we please go? Go back home.

And we inquired and found out that it was peaceful and reunited the children with their families. And that’s what grace center really does. It’s really always about taking that individual and saying, how can we help this child or this woman or this person live out God’s call in their life, because I truly believe that God has called every person on this earth. He created every person, and he’s called every person to follow him and to do his will. And so it’s always about how can we just help this person to live out that call? Amazing, folks, this website, gracecenterfoundation.org dot if you’re listening in, there’s amazing.

One of my favorites here is the our stories page. And you have just one story after another. Beginning of grace. My story freed from the enemy’s attack, gasping for you’ve got fresh start after prison, growth and expansion, baby rescue hotline adoption, the wells at Grace, the water, how grace center serves. And it just seems like this goes on and on. You started as just a 19 year old going into a country, and yet it’s grown to all these different services that you guys provide. And it looks like you expanded into another area, if I’m reading that correct.

Is that right? You’ve expanded into what would be called the, is it Deborah Marcos? Yeah. So that’s part of what I wanted to share with you all tonight was that, you know, we’ve, we’ve been very blessed in that we continue to just do the best that we can in grace center in Bahradar, and we’ve gained a lot of recognition. And I don’t know if I shared this story last time, but it all started with basically a corrupt government official in an orphanage that was more or less buying and selling children. And we became this almost an intervention because people were accidentally coming to our gate instead of that gate of that orphanage.

And they would say, you know, I heard that we could leave our children here, that you would give us some money. And, you know, I said, we just don’t do that. And we quickly realized it was because they thought we were this other place. But during that time, this government official and the person that was running this organization kept trying to have our organization shut down. So they would send all the government officials to basically search and find something wrong with what we were doing. And I love how God works because every time we had this group of officials coming through, we would show them our center and they would say, there’s something like this in Ethiopia.

Like, these children are so well loved, they’re so taken care of, these women are happy. These kids are thriving. And they said, we need this everywhere in Ethiopia. So it totally backfired for these people that were trying to get us shut down. And instead we ended up getting recognition basically through the whole country of Ethiopia as being the number one charity we stayed at that level for. Yeah, it was just amazing because, you know, again, what the enemy makes for evil, God takes and makes for good. Right. And, you know, it’s. It’s. It’s just so amazing.

And so we, we ended up getting that recognition and we kind of joke between ourselves that I think we have more awards than anyone in any organization in Ethiopia. And it’s just, it’s, it’s kind of funny just how it came about because we were never putting ourselves out as being the best, but it was just about saying yes to God every day and, and then watching God use all this evil and turn it around for good. Amen. You wanted to show this video, right? You want to show this video? Growth and expansion. Sure. Sure. Grace center is poised for significant growth within the next year with two major expansion opportunities provided the violence in the region dissipates.

First, the deputy mayor announced on tv his commitment to allocate land in various city sections for Grace Center’s new daycares. Oh, wow. This expansion will dramatically increase our capacity to support women and children in need. We have also been asked many times to expand Gray center by government officials. This confirms our belief that our mission extends beyond a single location. A team, including my husband, Sefu, assistant director worku, and new employee Mesfin, visited the city of Bevermarcos. There, they were immediately able to meet with city leaders, sharing what God has done in Bahradar and exploring opportunities to serve Deborah Marcos.

With a population of over 300,000 people, the city, lacking similar programs, welcomed our initiative. They said that in the entire history of the city, not once has any organization come to offer help to the people there. So we go on a journey to Ethiopia and then Bahradar, you can see Grace center and then a four hour drive south to Debra Marcos. Just like there weren’t programs in Bahradar before 2006, now it’s the same in Deborah Marcos until now. And this is our land where the trees are, south of that dirt road. That is amazing. Oh, wow.

It is. It’s really amazing. And we actually just. They just sent me photos today. They just started building today. We did the brown groundbreaking. Excuse me, the groundbreaking a while ago, but with the war, we were struggling to continue the building. And also, it takes a while to get the building approved and everything, so they just started the buildings. And it is. It’s really exciting. And it’s one of those things where it’s, you know, why has our organization grown and thrived, even, even during this war. So now this is the next war, which started in August, which I had shared about last time we were together.

Just, you know, one thing I like to tell people is that, not that I like to tell them, but that I do tell them, is that when you compare what’s happening in Ethiopia with the rest of the world and you put it in context, you think about how in Ethiopia in August, basically in one day, over 2000 people were killed just in the neighborhood surrounding grace center and in Gaza on that one day, I think it was 1400 and I think September 11 was about 3000. Right? And to me it’s that every soul is important. But what happens in Ethiopia doesn’t even make the world’s headlines.

Most people never hear about it. And so we are living through this ongoing war that started in August. And it’s amazing to know how our staff over there are just so dedicated and so brave. They just, they say, what are we going to do? We can’t stay home. We continue this work. And so when all the other organizations have basically shut their doors because they’re afraid to go out, Grace center is basically the only organization that I know of that’s still operating in this way, still feeding the people, still providing for their needs. And actually our assistant director who’s running everything while Amy and I are in the US because of this war, I asked him one time how he feels about doing this and he responded, and I want to read you his response because it’s so beautiful.

So, you know, I said, you’re doing such an amazing job and I can’t imagine where we would be without you leading in this moment. And this was his response. He said, grace is my life school. I keep learning every day. And it’s amazing what God is doing and truly knowing why God created me and what he expects from me. This is a great opportunity for me and my children because many people do not know or do not want to know why God created us and what he expects from each of us. And he said, last Friday in our staff Bible study, we are reading two Thessalonians, chapter three, verse 13, which says, as for you, brothers, do not grow weary in doing good.

I was sharing with our staff how many years most of us have been with Grace Center. I asked, do any one of us feel tired? And we said, no. I said, because all are working the good work for God. Yep. If we are working for someone, we might feel so tired and keep changing our work. So we have to keep working to serve God for this short period while we are here. Until we go to be with him forever. Grace is not just helping and saving children and their mothers. It is also a life school for many mothers, employees, visitors and more.

So that was his response from walking through gunfire to get to work. You know, it’s amazing. Is he, which is he here on the show and on the website here? So he is the top work who? Asab assistant director. Okay, there he is. Wow. Beautiful family. So he’s been there since 2010. And a vital part of the inner workings of Grace center. Absolutely amazing. Oh, yeah. Absolutely choked up there for a moment. You had both, a lot of these. So many pictures, tell so many stories with this, with your, the growth and ministry. I think you wanted another, you wanted Debbie Graham to be recognized also correct.

For all the work she did. Well, she, she knew me since I was a teenager. And she came on the grace center board when we first started. And she became board chair shortly thereafter. And she really became a mentor for me, a best friend. And during her time in leading Grace center, she knew everyone’s names. She prayed for everyone by name. And she was just this amazing leader that really grew us from serving, you know, a few thousand individuals to now over 50,000 individuals. And that was because she had the faith to act, to continue, and to take one step after the next.

And so a little bit over a year ago, she actually passed away quite suddenly. And I always like to recognize what she was able to do. And so this video here, which is on our website, shows her in her time with us at Grace center. What are some of the things that you’re hoping for in the future for Grace Center foundation? So, you know, we’ve always known that grace center wasn’t just for one location. And that’s why we’ve been very excited about this expansion to another location. And to be honest, we’d be happy to be anywhere that the Lord leads us.

A lot of people always ask me, why Ethiopia? And there were specific answered prayers that God showed me, that he was calling me to Ethiopia. But he also has shown me that he’s called me to many places. And I think the wonderful thing about what we do at Grace center is, is that we take that individual person and we say, how can we help this person to live out God’s gift and call in their life? And so it allows us to not formulate programs around a specific group of people or a specific need, but instead care for this person as I believe that Christ would do.

You know, when he was here on the earth, he didn’t. He. He ate with people. You know, food was not non existent. You know, it was important. There were many things he cared for, all their physical needs, healing people. To me, one of the most important things is praying with people and seeing them healed. And that’s through the power of Jesus and his saving power, his grace. And so I think the neat thing about grace center is that you could really take it and have it anywhere because it is truly all about God’s grace. And then all the programs follow that.

So, you know, we realized that in Ethiopia, women were abandoning their babies or feeling like they had to abandon their babies because they felt like they had no hope. They couldn’t feed their child and feed themselves and take care of themselves because they weren’t able to work and hold their child at the same time. So that’s when we said, well, why don’t we start a daycare and explain to them what daycare is? And it was only after starting the daycare that we realized a couple years into it that we had the only infant daycare in the entire country of Ethiopia.

Oh, wow. You can imagine, right? You can imagine how many babies stay with their moms when the moms say, oh, I have an option. And so what we realized was that no one, none of these moms wanted to abandon their child. They just felt like they had no hope and no other options. And so the daycare program formed out of that, that need that helped these moms in such a huge way. And now, since then, we’ve actually seen a lot of daycares open up in Ethiopia, which is a good thing. There’s a lot of different employers, like universities, that have daycares for the employees and things like that.

So that’s been very good. But prior, when we first began, we were it for many years, and people would come and visit our center and they would say, oh, I want to start a school or kindergarten. And I said, you know, look at starting a daycare because that’s the need. And to be honest, a lot of these children, these babies don’t survive if they don’t have assistance because the moms just don’t, aren’t able to make money to feed themselves and then they don’t have the milk and they’re not able to feed their children because they’re not eating themselves, you know, so it’s, it’s been really amazing to see how just these simple steps and God’s provided all the way, definitely through amazing people like you and your wonderful listeners just providing for every step.

And that’s why we always have the ability to say yes when people come to us and they’re genuinely in need. Yeah. Macy list went on your website on about us and our buildings. I thought, you know, just scroll down a couple of, you know, maybe just a little bit. And there’s maybe three things. Oh, no, it just keeps going and going. I want to read some of these for those listening in. First you have this hope memorial medical, you know, then you go to Grace daycare. There’s the, the next part that you have showing children’s home.

And then you get down to the dining hall and meeting room. Well, that’s a lot of work in itself, just running a dining hall with the amount of people needed for that and food for soul kitchen. I mean, folks have to cook, you have to bring the food in, you have to wash the dishes, and you have to make sure that everybody has the proper dining ware. I mean, it’s not just, you just did, just put this all together and say, here you go. I mean, there’s a lot of work in that. Roofs at Grace, you have to build, have to have buildings.

A grace chapel. Amazing. That’s a great thing to have for a visual folks, for, for many right there that might not see chapels in that area. And then, well, you got to have a wall. So for protection. So, well, we’ve got to build one of those two. Grace Academy k through five. And then it goes, you have the well at Grace. So water is important, right? 300 foot deep well and center point community church and Covenant Church in Naples for funding the holding tanks. And that’s a big deal and might sound like it’s something simple, but I know there’s a lot of work and a lot of costs, a lot really to dig these wells and make them perfect for these communities.

And what I’ve seen and heard about these type of wells is a lot of these folks and communities would have to, you’d see them walk for miles to get down to water, just to find some good clean water. And then they’d walk for miles with it back on their head. Correct? Am I wrong on that well? The well is actually really amazing because the water has been shut off in Ethiopia, in that area for, I mean, in some neighborhoods for over a year and a half now. So imagine there’s not been any running water. We do live near a lake, but the lake is filled with diseases and so they can’t just go draw water from the lake.

There’s really actually no place that they can get water. And we were told for many years to not even bother trying to dig a well because the ground was too hard. There’s other people nearby that had tried to dig deep wells and it didn’t work. And we finally said, well, we need water. God knows we need water and let’s do it and let’s trust in his provision. And when we dug down and we brought the machines in and it is quite an expense, but obviously totally worth it, we brought the machines and we dug down and the water just came shooting out.

And so our well actually provides 35 gallons of water per second. So we realized it was enough to care for the entire city. And I’ve. I’ve talked to other people that specialize in water and they say, oh, be careful because once you tap into that, that amount, you know, it’s not. It’s not going to be there forever. But at the same time, I do feel hundred percent that God knows that we need this, that his people need water, you know, and it’s. And because it’s so deep, it’s fresh water. It doesn’t have to be boiled or treated.

And we were able to build these, these tanks that hold the water so that we have. Even if something were to happen, for example, the pump runs off of electricity, right? So sometimes the electricity will be turned off, but as long as it’s not off for longer than five days, we have that holding tank that will provide the water that’s needed for those days. Right. Right. Now we’ve also been trying to get a solar panel to be able to run the pump. But because of the war, all the streets have been closed and there’s just no way to get it in.

So we’re planning that. That’ll be the next step. But again, to me, so interesting that people said, oh, don’t bother. It’s, you know, and then the water came. That reminds me when you’re talking about, like, Elijah, when he went over and he said, hey, I need some. I need something to eat. And she says, I only have enough oil left to make bread for my son and I, and then we’re gonna die. Like, this is it. We’re done. And he’s like, no, go ahead and make it. It’s gonna be fine. And by faith, she. But okay, she sensed that something was going on.

And then guess what? Her oil stayed full. So anyway, absolutely. Then we go to the small business center. If that’s not enough, let’s, you know, we’ll have, you know, some daycare. We’ll have food, we’ll have Grace Academy. We’ll dig wells. And then, you know what? Why don’t we just help folks with the businesses and have a sewing factory building and administrative offices? So you’re helping folks understand and grow so that they can make an impact in their own lives and communities. And then you went ahead and said, well, let’s have a grace academy, 6th through 8th grade.

That’s what I’m assuming. That’s 6th grade grade, 8th grade there. And I mean, this just goes on and on. You guys are growing leaps and bounds. God’s just blessing you. And it’s just amazing to watch all of this. And then, of course, when I click on programs, you have the prison ministry, which we talked about before, and how you have a prison outreach ministry there. How is this, what is going on with the prison ministry? Again, I’m sorry, I didn’t hear what you said. The prison ministry, what is this all about again? So, yes, so in Ethiopia, when a mother goes to prison, her children actually go to prison with her.

And one of the reasons these children are in prison is to protect them from being killed in revenge of the alleged crime of the mother. So in some ways, it’s a protection for them. But up until the time that grace center was started, began helping these children, there was actually no one that was helping these children. And what the government was finding was that these children would age out of this system of living in prison, and they would do whatever they could do to get back into prison. So they would commit whatever crime they could and come back into prison.

And they came to us. The government approached us saying, you know, you pick up people off the side of the road and you help everyone that comes to you. And what about these children? And we just didn’t know that they even existed. In fact, I tried to go to the prison before just to visit the prisoners, and I wasn’t allowed in. And so once we learned about these kids, immediately we began helping them. And we send all the children that are growing up in prisons throughout the region. We send them all to schools, we minister to them, we visit them.

And the amazing thing is that prior to Grace center, when these families would get released from prison, many of them can’t even go back to their villages because they still have this revenge over their head. They would leave the prison. And, I mean, imagine you’re spending a decade in prison, and then you come out and what do you do? Where do you go? And they were basically shut out from society completely. No one would hire them. And we’ve been able to walk alongside all of those families as well, helping them to get jobs, helping them to rent houses, teaching them skills, continuing to send their children to school.

So even after these prisoners are released, we help them. Now, interestingly, there is an update. So after this war started, there were some people that broke into the prison to release all the political prisoners that were there. And during the time that they released the political prisoners, they also released the women and children. So that is just for our prison in Bahradar. That’s not all the other prisons. So we still send all of those other children in the rest of the region. We still send them to school and do everything for them. But the ones in the Bahadar prison are currently not there.

They’re all doing okay. We just know that they are laying low so that they don’t get sent back to prison. Right now, unfortunately, what happened after that was that someone else broke into the prison and released all the prisoners. So now we have a city that’s heavy in crime because all of these people have been released, and there’s. So there’s a lot of theft. And, you know, it’s very sad because it’s such a beautiful city. It’s just such a beautiful place, beautiful people. And it used to be the type of place where if you walked through carrying your camera or your bag, you know, people would want to walk with you to make sure that no one bothered you, you know, they would protect you.

I remember one time, one of our volunteers was walking through with her bag open because her camera was broken. And she thought, well, if someone takes my camera, maybe they’ll fix it or I can get some insurance money. I forget how it worked, but, you know, so we’re walking through this busy market, this busy, bustling market with this bag open, and she’s actually hoping that someone will take her camera. And everyone kept coming up to her saying, you need to close your bag. Someone’s going to take your camera. You need to close your bag. You know, there were just such good and kind people, and unfortunately, now with that prison being opened, with the war, with the police not doing, you know, they’re not running their offices now there’s just a lot more crime.

So we have to pray constantly for protection, for our staff, the their families, all of our kids that we serve, all the women. Yeah. When I notice that you on your site, you have a prayer and counseling under physical and spiritual needs, under programs. And it says here at Grace center, we offer prayer and counseling for every person who comes, including all our employees and students, as well as those just coming for water. The day begins with prayer among our staff, and then throughout the day, every person who comes in is offered prayer and counseling. And then you ask them about their relationship with God and share the story of Jesus life, death and resurrection and how he died for them.

People are overjoyed to immediately pray. We also have an in depth healing prayer program where we see many miracles of both physical and spiritual healing. And this is just amazing. I mean, we go through these pictures and we notice just lives that are touched, smiles and every, just about every single photo. And I love this one here where everyone’s holding hands together in prayer. So important. It is. It’s absolutely essential and vital. It’s the most important thing we can do. And, you know, many times I tell people that I’ll pray for them, which lt, I pray for you and I pray for your staff every day, almost, and, and all of your listeners and all the people that have given through grace center.

And I think a lot of people think sometimes that when you pray for someone, it’s just, you know, it’s almost kind of flippant, but it’s actually like, it’s so serious and so important and so vital that, you know, God, I feel like God is just desiring to have us work with him through prayer. You know, he wants us to pray so that he can answer those prayers and he can be the one that’s glorified. And. And so sometimes I say to people, you know, I’m happy to pray with you. And they think I’m talking about like a two minute prayer.

And I say, well, usually the sessions with me take about 2 hours to start, and they go, really? I say, yeah, that’s good. But it’s, you know, it’s amazing being in a place like Ethiopia where they really have this, this wonderful understanding of prayer to the point where they just, you know, many of them come to us so downtrodden, so destitute, so sick that they think my only way out is if God completely heals me. So that when they hear about Jesus and his desire to heal them, I mean, so many of the miracles are so quick.

I pray with someone for maybe 8 hours, which sounds like a long time, but when you think ABOut the fact that you’re going to spend days and days sending them to doctors, you know, sending them to the capital city to go to the hospital, sending them here, why not spend 8 hours praying with someone and see the Lord move and watch them, you know, walk away and all glory goes to God, you know? And so it’s just been such an amazing thing for me that I prayed for so many years because I knew that this was God’s will to heal these people, to see them whole, to not have premature death.

And so it’s just been such an amazing, amazing time to be able to work with them, to pray with them, and to see them living out their call when they thought, maybe this is the end for my life. And now God gives them this. A single mom of two, she arrived at Grace center in dire condition. This tiny, frail woman sat in a chair, barely able to hold her head up, wheezing and gasping for air. We offer to pray with her. Oftentimes people come to us seeking healing for their physical ailments, but we are able to help them receive healing for their soul.

We immediately began to pray with her while also giving her food. The Holy Spirit quickly revealed the root fear, panic, anxiety. Over a year ago, Mulu woke one morning to see that her 14 year old son was missing. She finally found her sons friend who told her, you didnt know he went to join the military. Mulus heart broke. Her son had lied to the recruiting officers about his age. In a country without birth certificates or government records, there’s no way to know how old someone is. Mulu hadn’t heard from him in over a year. She spent every moment worried about him, panicked to the point that she barely ate, couldn’t breathe, couldn’t sleep, and was almost dead.

In Ethiopia, soldiers whereabouts often remain unknown and the families are left in the dark about their loved ones. We spent about 2 hours praying with Mulu that first day. We all watched this woman literally come alive. Almost immediately after we began praying, Melishu, who is our longest serving employee and now our head of staff, encouraged her that her son likely has no cell reception and couldn’t reach her. You can hear Melish you reminding this mom that we belong to God. God gave us our children, right? Mulu said yes. God created them in us, right? Mulu said yes.

You understand? Let’s pray. By the end of the day, Mulu left our office with a smile, breathing easily. Here she is with her youngest son who goes to our school, grace academy. At the end of the first day of prayer. What a miracle. Then another miracle occurred. Just a coincidence. And I don’t believe in coincidences, only God incidences. By the time Mulu had reached the front gate of Grace center, she received a phone call from her son’s friend, confirming that her son was alive and well. By the way, the tattoos show that she is from the Amara region and that she’s an orthodox Christian.

Just a few weeks later, she joyfully came running to share more good news. Debbie was there, and this is what Mulu had come to tell us. Last night, my son called me. I was filled with joy the entire night. I am filled with joy. My son called me. I want you to share this in joy. My youngest son said, mommy, go tell them. Go tell them that he called. She heard her son’s voice for the first time in over a year. And without even knowing what Mulu was saying, Debbie said, I love how she came running to tell us because she wanted to share the news with those who would truly share in her joy this miraculous healing.

And my assumption is then they run out and tell others what’s going on. And that’s why you’ve grown to so many thousands, because the Lord’s using it to bring the message of hope and grace through Christ. And it’s just amazing. I mean, the feeding program picture that we have here, food is not, it’s just a great source. But you have to have the ability to feed these thousands and thousands of people that are coming through now. And it’s just amazing how God has been working out for you guys. The ability to provide that, and then you have the medical care, the support that’s happening with doctors and nurses and more especially with the babies we’re looking at a child there just breaks your heart.

But then you watch the changes in these families and the hope that you’re bringing them and that. And of course, we talked about the water. I mean, this is just amazing. And I thought I saw something here. Stewardship, right? As you go through, you guys have your financial stewardship on your website showing what it takes to run this ministry and how God’s providing for you guys through many who, who simply give to you through your website. Is that correct? Yes, absolutely. And so this here would be the fundraising, the management in your program and how much it takes to run this.

And that comes from folks that actually go to your site and then they’re able to give. And that’s on your donate portion on the top right of your website. Right. So if you click on donate, donate in the USA, donate in Canada, and donate in Australia, and to donate stocks and to make a direct wire transfer, you’ve got all of that here in your 501 c three. And so that is amazing. Just to remember, folks, gracecenterfoundation.org, you have the opportunity to pray for Marcy Erickson Grace center and also to give. And just reminds me of the song, one of the favorite songs that I loved in a church that we attended in Germany.

They’d always sing, you’ve got to give, and it’ll come back to you pressed down, shaken together and rolling over. And I used to love singing that song. And it’s just an amazing, you can’t outgive God. And so what an amazing opportunity for all of us to participate in what’s needed in Ethiopia for Grace Center foundation. So what are your needs? If we can go to that? Excuse me, right now? I’d love to hear that. Sure. You know, we always need the funding to be able to continue the expansion. And I think the people, the thing that people love to know is that on the us side were few, and on the ethiopian side were many.

So weve been able to have we provide employment for over 200 people now, and thats going to continue to grow. When we first started grace center, and it grew so quickly, we actually realized we were the second largest employer in the city. And at that point, the city, I think, had about 3350,000 people. Now it’s about half a million. But, you know, to think that we were the second largest employer, and we just continue to grow, and that takes everyone, you know, that takes the help of many, many people just saying, I want to give. And so, for example, you know, some people give dollar 500 a month, and that goes a long way in fees, feeding babies that have been completely abandoned in Ethiopia.

Unfortunately, child abandonment is not uncommon. We see it often. So, actually, you’re on our adoption tab. And so one of the things we were able to do was start an adoption program in Ethiopia. So prior to Grace center, the ethiopian people thought that adoption was really something that only foreigners did. And we were able to have meetings with government officials, with church leaders, and with various different people saying, this isn’t something that foreigners do, this is something that God does. And God has adopted each one of us. And we need to be prayerful in saying, is God calling me to adopt a child, to raise this child as my own? And we’ve just seen it flourish and grow.

When we wrote all the protocol for adoption, actually, Amy Menard, our on site director, who I told you about, who really appreciates you as well, she wrote all the protocol for the adoptions in Ethiopia, including follow up visits, just so that we can continue to walk alongside these families. Because sometimes life changes. You know, when they adopt, they have a great, great job, they’re doing well, and then a war comes, and we don’t have our job anymore. And so how can we help? But at the same time, we have seen just nothing but success when it comes to these adoptions and the people just receiving their children and crying and saying, you know, I knew.

Now I know why I was never able to conceive because I knew that God had this child in mind for me. Just these beautiful stories where, you know, people never thought about it before we were able to implement it. And. And it is sad that we continue to see abandoned babies, but one of the things we always do is we try to find out why this child was abandoned in the first place. You know, I was thinking today about, we have one employee that we sent him out like a detective, and he goes and searches for the families, the relatives.

And in one case, we sent him out with a photo. We actually had a photo of the birth mother. And we said, we have. We know that she’s from this village or this area. Just go in with her photo and see if you can find out where she is or find something. And he went to a bus stop to catch the bus to go to this village. And he stood there for the entire day with this group of people that were waiting for the same bus to go to this village, and the bus never came to bring them to the village.

And the guy that had been standing next to him most of the day said, why are you even wanting to go to this little village anyway? And he pulled out a photo and he said, I’m trying to find this woman. And he said, that’s my niece. And it turned out that we were able to reunite this child with the uncle, the aunt, the cousins, and the mother. The birth mother had been very young when she gave birth. I mean, I think she was maybe 13, conceived her child through rape. She said she was going to get water in the middle of the night and was attacked.

But there’s these other relatives that are overjoyed. And, in fact, they were so excited because they didn’t know what happened when she left. And then when they found out she had a baby, they thought maybe she abandoned the baby and left it for dead. And then come to find out this child’s been growing healthy and doing well. And so they were just so overjoyed to have that opportunity to raise this child, you know, so it’s amazing how we. We just try our best to take those steps to find the birth families, but when we can’t, then we have this.

This adoption now. And one of the things we’ve done, which I did share last time, but one of the things we’ve done is start an emergency hotline. And this all started a few years ago when I was in the US and I was driving down the interstate and I saw this large billboard sign that said, don’t abandon your baby, please call this number. Number. And I went, you know, why have we never done this in Ethiopia before? And I very quickly realized why. And that was because up until probably about five years ago, no one had cell phones, no one had a way to call a number.

People wouldn’t see a billboard. And so I thought, well, now is the time we’re going to put up billboards, you know, throughout the city and people are going to know that they can call this, this emergency number. And God stopped me literally in the middle of that thought and he said, said, you’re going to send text messages. And I went, okay, God. And so we were able to make basically an agreement with the local telephone company that for free, they’re sending out these messages. And we started off by sending out a text message to over 5 million phones in our area saying, don’t abandon your baby, please call this number for help.

Within a few days, we had over 500 phone calls. And it’s just been continuing. We continue to get the word out about what this phone line is doing. And I think that this is actually going to be the largest change that we’re going to see. Because the reason why these women are abandoning their babies is that they have no hope and they have nowhere to turn to. But if they know they have a place to turn to, then it changes everything. Oh, 500 in one day. You said they hear that, right? About. It was about three days.

Oh, three days. The first. The first weekend, yeah. They sent out the text message on a Friday evening and by Sunday, I think it was over 500 phone calls. Somebody asked, monitor those, right? Take all the notes and make sure we get the information. Put together a lot of work. Absolutely. It is a lot of work. And it’s been a, it’s been a whole learning experience for Ethiopia, because to be honest, Ethiopia has no emergency numbers. There’s no 911. I was thinking about how quickly in the US, if something goes wrong, you say call 911. It’s like it’s ingrained in our mind.

They don’t have that to their advantage. They say call God. At the same time, we’re trying to start this emergency number and make them realize that they can call. And interestingly enough was, I felt really convicted that the next step would be to send out messages to women who are pregnant. If you’re pregnant and need help, please call. Because of the foreign governments like the UN and who all of these things, abortion has become common. And prior to this, Ethiopia was a very pro life country. And I found out that abortion is just. It’s. It’s very common.

It’s so sad. So sad. And so I felt like God was calling me to send out another message and that would be the message. But what I realized was that God used the first message and we already have all, all the pregnant people calling us as well, asking for help because many times they think that we will help them to get an abortion and we’re able to say, no, we don’t do that, but we will help you to raise your child, we’ll help you to keep your child, will help you to get jobs, you know, have a place to live.

And to be honest, we asked them, why would you want to have an abortion? And they say, well, that’s what the doctor told me or that’s what the nurse told me or that’s what the counselor told me. And they thought that that’s what they had to do. And we explained that, you know, you have other options and. And so it’s been really amazing to see that actually every single pregnant person that’s called us has decided to choose life for their baby. Wow, that’s amazing. I feel like we can go on for hours and hours with every program that you guys are running.

I mean, what the Lord has done since, you know, we started with 19 years old, I just decided to go to Ethiopia. And I was reading in your book how you’re like, you know, it’s 150% taxes on getting a vehicle. So I had to get a vehicle. And, oh, by the way, I found three, you know, of three, what is it called, the car seats for the children, the only three in the entire area. And you’re like, you know, what in the world were you thinking? And folks probably thinking you’re crazy. But, you know, you start there, you move through your life.

And here we are now just talking about what the Lord is doing through so many people there in Ethiopia, through gracecenter foundation.org. and then, you know, as we click around, we just see so many other things that you guys are doing, including the women empowerment, helping women to find ways to provide for their families. I mean, you, you’re not. You’re not taking the child away from the family. You’re not taking the family and saying, okay, we’ll take care of them, you know, goodbye. And we’re going to ship this child to somebody in America, you’re saying, look, we want to help you.

We want to make sure that you are provided healing. We want to tell you about our Lord and savior Jesus Christ. We want to help you with business. We’re going to take care of your children and we’re going to rebuild your family. And they’re starting, you’re starting new family trees and you’re bringing smiles to communities where they haven’t been smiling for a long time. Yeah. And it’s just so amazing to see the drive that the people have when we say, you know, what do you think God is calling you to do with your life? Well, I always thought I’d be a teacher.

Well, how can we make that happen? You know, what kind of education does that take? Let’s help you go back to school. I mean, they’re just so overjoyed or. I always wanted to have a small shop and sell, you know, fruits and vegetables and. Okay. And I always wanted to have a garden. Okay, let’s. Let’s do this. You know, and it’s, it’s like, it’s the coolest thing because it’s seeing these people who were so, felt so lost and forgotten and watching their dreams come true and seeing them have ownership. So we give things to people, but we do it in a way that inspires them to go forward and give.

And we do it in a way that inspires them to want to help others and to also continue to become self sufficient for themselves, doing so under God’s design. And so it’s, it’s really neat. We, we often have people that come to us saying, you know, thank you so much for all the help that you’ve given me. I’m so grateful. Now I can go back to my village. I can continue sending my children to school. I can even start a business because I’ve been able to save this money. And, and, you know, sometimes we’ll get reintroduced to them because they’ve started helping so many people and they need a little bit of extra support, you know, so it’s just, it’s such a neat culture, a wonderful people.

They’re just such lovely, wonderful people. And actually, just recently, a couple weeks ago, maybe, it’s been about three weeks, we, we had an unexpected fire at Grace center and the barn where we hold our cattle. We have about ten cattle for milk for the kids, the barn caught on fire. And this community that surrounds us knows that we have given them everything that they need and helped them, helped lift them up and help them to become self sufficient. And people, hundreds of people just came running to put out this fire. And people were going into the building to get out the cattle.

They were standing on the tin while it was burning, you know, almost burning their feet through their shoes to put the fire out, handing each other buckets and putting the fire out. And our assistant director wanted to make sure he told us over the phone what happened, because he said, it looks really scary. It looked really bad. But he said, the way that everyone came together, it could have only been orchestrated by God. And it was because. Because we have provided for them in ways that they never imagined. And when we provide, they don’t see us.

They see God. You know, it’s. This is. This is the lord doing this. We’re just his hands and feet. And so, yeah, so they were able to put that fire out with very little damage. We don’t really know how it started. We think maybe it was an electrical issue, but it was such an amazing miracle to have all those people stepping in. And as I go through your site, of course, I’m getting more surprises than you can imagine. Special needs program, you just. That fell into your lap also. This is. The children have special needs that have cognitive and physical disabilities.

They’re each on individualized care plans that help them to reach their goals. So you serve children with physical disabilities through, too. That’s amazing. Well, how could you. How could you receive other children and not them? You know, it’s. And that. That happened in a few different ways, but initially, we came across a young girl that was just being locked in her hut, and this is quite common. We’ve come to find out that when the person has special needs, the child has special needs. The mom will lock the door in the morning and come back at the end of the day after she finishes work.

And the child has no food, no one has changed this child, no one has moved them, talked to them, anything. And so these families are especially desperate for help because they want to see their child doing well. And we actually have, from what I know, the only program that does what we do, where we have the daycare for children with special needs, we have a school, and we have a full time care for those that have been abandoned, that have different special needs. And it started with this one girl, and we decided to hire one caregiver just for her.

And it went from there, where we realized we had to have a lot of caregivers for these children. And that’s fine, because the people that were caring for these children, the caregivers were getting so much joy out of helping these children. And so it became this ability to see the gifts that these staff have and the love that they have for these children. And so Amy, our assistant director, actually, before she went to Ethiopia, she had a program that helped work with adults that have special needs, the US. So she specializes in that. So she’s brought a lot over there, different therapies and different things that the, the women can do to play with them, to teach them and to help them grow.

That’s Amy Menard there, the director there. Yeah. Yeah. Just. Is there anything else that’s going to surprise us after school care academy? It’s just, just amazing the amount of things that you, that God is doing through this amazing foundation. Oh, praise the Lord. Yes. Yes. I want to go to just real quick, our team and I want to, I promise to play this video for you. So we’re going to play this before we close in prayer today. Okay. Thank you. So good to meet you. I’m going to cry. I know I’m going to cry when I.

If you take, if you look to your right, you will see cattle jumping off the bridge and going down the trail. There you go. She’s the tour guide. Yep. Always wanted to be a tour guide. Oh, and there’s a donkey. And Grace center is here to the left. Okay. I can meet Grace center for children and families. There’s a sign. It says, dear Debbie and your entire team. There it is. We and the board love God. Love you. Thank you so much. Yeah. Mehda. Amazing. That’s a memory of Debbie, board president since 2006, and she’s gone to be with the Lord now.

And the, just to see the response of the people, the smiles, that’s the part that always gets me. It’s just one smile after another. And I’m just overwhelmed with that particular. Just to see you guys all together and there’s a picture of you with your family and just want to thank you, Marcy, for all that you’re doing and continue to do tears, too. All right, let’s pray. Heavenly Father, thank you once again for how you continue to guide and direct our life and bring us together with so many on this earth that you’re using to not only heal lives and bring joy to so many, but to also have the ability to have the message of Christ, your son, who gave his life for us and is alive and well now doing just a great work through Marcy, through her family, through grace center foundation and all of the hundreds of peoples that are working there for continued protection for them during this war.

And we certainly hope that this war would end soon. So many could continue to fly in from outside and see and be a part of this ministry. We thank you for all the growth that we’re seeing. We know that all the honor and glory and praise goes to you for that. And so we ask that you continue to just put on the hearts of the minds of the people that give, Lord, that you would just inspire them through the Holy Spirit and encourage them that in providing for them that the joy that will come in all of our hearts in this, we just know that you’ll provide and so continue protection for them for all those that end in danger.

We know that if you could just open the eyes of those there to see the mighty angels, the chariots surrounding them, so they would be just overwhelmed with your power and just in this day and age of so many things that are going on there, that would be overwhelming for all of us to hear of that update thank you for Marcy and once again we thank you for all that you’re doing in and through us. In Jesus name we pray. Amen. Amen. Amen. So thank you so much, Marcy, I was going to ask you to pray but I was worried we’d be here for another 8 hours.

So anyway, thank you for that one in there. I can keep it short if you need to. I would love to hear you pray. I really would. I like to pray, but it just. I just would love to hear your prayer and then we’ll close out today. Dear heavenly Father, we just thank you and praise you for who you are. We thank you and praise you for this time. Lord God, we know that when we follow you, you ordain our steps. And Lord, there’s nothing greater than knowing that and being a part of what you’re doing.

Lord God, we just thank you and praise you. Lord, I pray for Lt. I pray for all of the staff that work with him, all the people that help him, all the listeners. Lord God, I bind the hand of the enemy that’s upon them in any way, shape or form, and I forbid him from touching them or influencing them in any way. And I pray for your hedge of protection around them, that you surround them with your holy angels. And Lord, I thank you for this great opportunity to just see more people coming to serve you and know you.

Lord God, we just thank you for your love and your great provision for us. Lord, we thank you for your son in Jesus name, amen. Amen. Again folks, gracecenterfoundation.org dot, that’s where you want to go. It wasn’t 8 hours long. It wasn’t 8 hours. That was good. Amen. I’d love to be a part of that someday. If Ethiopia ever opens up, what a great time that would be. I just feel like it would just be an amazing time for all of us, especially. And we know, team, if we could head out there, as soon as that opens up, I’d love to hear about it and get over there.

I’ve been in those situations when I was in the marine corps, we went to a third world country, and I will never forget. I’ll never forget going into Thailand with. We were some chaplains, and they said, hey, if you’d like to go with us, we’d like to head out. We’re going to go help a small community. Well, the small community was built on the trash heap of the city, so they lived on top of the trash because that’s where all the folks lived that they didn’t want anything to do with, but they were safe there. And I just remember the little child that ran up to me, and we were handing out food in small, little ziploc bags.

That’s all it was. And the child that ran up to me had just underwear on only. And I remember when he smiled, the teeth, there was no teeth. It was just black, rotted out gums. And that just really had an impact on me. And from that day forward, I just felt like, man, there’s got to be a way that we can make an impact in these lives that are, you know, that are affected. And you’ve done that, Marcy. And I just want to thank you once again for joining us. We’re looking forward to further updates. Thank you.

And we will pray that it opens back up very soon. And we’ll get that team over there. Yep. If you all definitely want to go. All right, well, God bless. We’ll look forward to talking to you again soon. All right, thank you. Thank you so much. Make me take me home.
[tr:tra].

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