April 2017 Family Updates – Shannons and Valientes

The Shannon Family Update

 It is with great joy that we announce that we are expecting another child!  Christy is pregnant and baby is due to arrive in October.   While celebrating this great joy, we also were faced with one of the darkest tragedies we’ve ever walked through as over 200 people were trapped in a landslide at the garbage dump just 100 meters from our home.   This led to a season of trying to mobilize resource while also grieving with people in this community we have called home for the past 6 1/2 years.  

The reality is also sinking in that soon our time is coming to say goodbye to this
country that we love.  On May 15 we leave Ethiopia for a 6 1/2 month home assignment in the US.  We will then return the end of November for about 2 months to Ethiopia and then move on to Istanbul.  So, we are in full transition and trying to take in as much Ethiopia as we can on our way out…like seeing the Ethiopian Wolf in its Afro-alpine habitat and driving to the top of Tulu Dimtu, the second highest mountain in Ethiopia at 14,400 Feet! 

Here’s what’s happening the lives of our family members…

Christy is busy packing up as much as possible.  It is hard to pack 12 years worth of home school books into luggage that can be dropped off in Istanbul.  But, she’s trying hard.  She also spent much of this last season homeschooling the children to finish the year strong while doing the hard work of having a baby develop inside of her and collecting and sorting donations for those who lost everything in the landslide.

Jerry has been busy at the church, trying to raise up new leaders,  making the transition ready for his replacement who arrives in August and also setting up ministry for the 6 months we’ll be away.  He also has been arranging our home assignment including our Coast to Coast Road Trip and working on support raising for our next adventure in Turkey.  He also spent a lot of time in the community in the weeks following the landslide, trying to grieve with those who grieve. 

Joshua is finishing up 12th Grade and will graduate in May.  He has been the starting Keeper (Goalie) on the U-19 Bingham Academy Soccer Team and he is having a great season.  He is saying goodbyes to this place he has called home since he was 9 years old.  Joshua is also gearing up for the next year that he will spend at Friend Ships in Lake Charles, Louisiana, doing disaster relief.  He will be living on a ship and is looking forward to being deployed into action somewhere in the world carrying the Peace of Christ with him.

Micah continues to work hard at his school and is finishing up Grade 9 very well.  He continues to love photography and art and was in heaven during our recent trips outside of Addis as he filled up the SD Cards with beautifully stunning photos of God’s creation.   He is enjoying the times he gets to attend youth group at our church.  He and Joshua recently attended the High School banquet – you can see our handsome young men here.   He is looking forward to our Road Trip and seeing new places coast to coast.

Caia is soon finishing up Grade 7 and will celebrate her 13th Birthday in the US soon after we arrive!   She loved seeing more of Ethiopia recently and found a new love of kayaking 🙂   She recently also enjoyed making  new friends from Black Forest Academy in Germany.   She is so social, that give her some new potential friends and she is in her element!  She is looking forward to seeing family members soon.

Hanna is super fast at her school work and will beat everyone else to the finish line as she finishes up Grade 3.   She loved our recent adventure and all of the great animals we got to see throughout the country.  She even took the plunge off of Goliath, a 10 meter jump off a platform in a harness at a high ropes course!  She is looking forward to visiting Istanbul again, seeing family and also getting a Sheetz Dog with Daddy.  Its a great tradition 🙂

Kidist continues to thrive as she grows physically and socially. It is hard to believe that in a few short days she will turn 6 years old!  She is completing her first year of Kindergarten and loves doing school.  She recently finished a book teaching her how to read and she loves to go around sounding out words!  She is busy making recommendations of what our Road Trip soundtrack should be.

Mihiret is doing great and will turn 4 soon after we arrive back in the US.  She is always wondering about this baby that is growing in Mommy’s belly.  She can’t wait to start school herself and is trying to convince everyone of just how big she really is.  She loved getting to know some new friends at a recent Home School Retreat and we think the Road Trip is going to be a lot of fun for her.

We look forward to seeing many of you while we are traveling this summer.  Thank you for praying for us. 

The Valiente Family Update

It is hard to believe we have now been living in Ethiopia for 8 months. During this time we have witnessed and learned a ton! We have enjoyed a lot of laughter and building of new friendships as well as cried and experienced some of the pain of those living in the Kore neighborhood that were impacted by the recent landslide. We have experienced God’s faithfulness and are constantly impressed by how the EHE staff tirelessly serve the families in their program. We are looking forward to living in Addis for another year and seeing how we can learn from, and serve with, the EHE staff.
While at EHE, Carlos spends most of his time working with Alayu and training staff. During the past month, we have been focused on gathering pictures and information for the semi-annual updates of all of the families. Carlos is also working on identifying funding from additional organizations and is developing materials that can be used to train the staff in child development.

Natalie loves living in Ethiopia. She is learning Amharic and often uses it when shopping for the family groceries. She is also enjoying being a part of the community and getting to know her neighbors. Recently our family was invited to a traditional graduation party at our neighbor’s house. Natalie has especially loved this piece of living here. She stays busy homeschooling the kids and spending time with them.

Isabella is enjoying a new bible study with friends and had a great time showing her Aunt around Addis and southern Ethiopia. She continues to enjoy home-schooling and her art work is beginning to fill out home – which is really nice because our house is in need of decorations!

Abigail has blossomed in her Amharic studies. She has a true gift for language and it comes in handy when we can’t remember certain words! She is reading and writing in Amharic and loves playing with her siblings. Recently, she also enjoyed getting to take care of a very premature baby.


Asher had an absolute blast when we took a few short trips outside of Addis. We were able to see monkeys, camels, baboons, and hippos. Friendly note: don’t stop to take pictures of the camels! Trust us on this one? He is our resident animal expert and continually surprises us with his knowledge of animal life.

Gabriella is having fun walking around the neighborhood and playing with new friends. She is doing great in school and loves learning to read new words.

Samuel is enjoying exploring the neighborhood and is looking forward to when we buy our first sheep. He enjoys building his train tracks, playing with cars, dancing, and making us all laugh.