Hey all,
This is just a quick update to show that I have not forgotten about my blog. I know it's been like two weeks since I last posted. Sorry! Last weekend I was home for my birthday and I also spoke three times at two churches presenting my trip to Ethiopia. It was such an encouraging day. People where so supportive and it was great to reconnect with the churches that I grew up in. So many people committed to pray for me some even daily and many people prayed for me right then and there. So encouraging. I feel like God has to be doing something big through this whole thing. 

This week I'm in the Poconos in PA with my family on vacation. This afternoon I had the opportunity to take a row boat out on Arrow Head Lake and spend some time remembering how good God has been to me over the years. I'm so looking forward to this next adventure he has for me.

Arrow Head Lake
Every evening our family has been doing devotions together and then taking some time to affirm a different member of the family each night. It has been so great to spend quality time with my family as I have only seen then for brief times and usually only during the holidays. And of course it has been great to meet and hang out with my four month old niece! She is so adorable. 
Charlotte Elizabeth Giordano
Please keep up your prayers as my departure date (August 25th) is soon approaching. Support is still coming in in incredible ways. Pray that God continues to prepare my heart and my trip. Thank you all so much. Your prayers are the most important part of my trip!
Grace and Peace~

Last night I spent some time researching some different things about Ethiopia such as the language, culture, and church history. I've determined that this is something that I need to do a whole lot more of before I leave. I would like to get a head start on learning the language, if only to know the common greetings and questions. This seems as though it's going to be a lot harder that I had originally though... but doable. 

As far as the culture and church history goes, there is a lot I have to learn. I knew that the country of Ethiopia is about 50% Christian, so I though that I would be entering a pretty safe environment. But it turns out that this per cent is predominantly composed of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church which is actuality hostile to the evangelical church in Ethiopia. Here's a link to an article documenting such hostility published by the CIC (Christians in Crisis). From what I've read the relationship between the churches seems a lot like the relationship between the Pharisaical Jews and the early church in the New Testament times. This is both exciting and scary considering there might be persecution which means that God is working and the Christians are doing something right. Besides, persecution is one of God’s many promises to us. It’s to be expected if where doing things right.

I will definitely keep up my research. It’s good to have a better understanding to the environment that I will be entering. Plus I've been finding some cool things like this Church. It is a monolithic building, which means that it is carved out of a single rock.

The Church of St. George in Lalibela, Ethiopia

Hey guys! Here’s a quick update to let you all know about something incredible that happened to me this past week. Most of you might already know this because it's all I've been talking about, but I thought it necessary to actually get the word officially out and documented.

In one of my interactions with the Project Mercy administrator I was giving her an update on the status of my preparations for the upcoming year. Besides telling her that I had my visa, and that support was coming in and the like, I asked her when my room and board was due. Room and board is about $20/day for my year in Ethiopia which is about $7,000 total and all due in advance. So it’s kind of a big deal.  Her response was this, "Since you will be volunteering for a year with us, your Room and Board charges are waived." Wow! So this means that rather than having to raise $12,000 for personal expenses I only have to raise $5,000. I still plan on raising $10,000 total; 5K for me and 5K for seed money to fund the ministry in Ethiopia in various capacities. 

Isn’t God so cool how he provides so abundantly?

Ethiopian Landscape