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home : news : news August 27, 2015

8/26/2014 3:41:00 PM
Florentines share love with children in Ethiopia
This is the first in a series of articles looking at Florentines who traveled far, sacrificing their time, talents and treasures to help others less fortunate.
JENNIFER DANFIELD, TOP RIGHT, SURROUNDED WITH CHILDREN IN ETHIOPIA
+ click to enlarge
JENNIFER DANFIELD, TOP RIGHT, SURROUNDED WITH CHILDREN IN ETHIOPIA
MARY FALCONE HOLDS LITTLE GIRL DURING PLAY TIME WITH KIDS
+ click to enlarge
MARY FALCONE HOLDS LITTLE GIRL DURING PLAY TIME WITH KIDS
By BRENDA HARRISON
Editor

Imagine traveling halfway around the world to hold babies and play with children in orphanages. A group of caring people with a heart for missions did that. Sponsored by America World Adoption and led by Jennifer Danfield of Florence, ten people from Florence, along with four others from New Jersey, Tennessee and Michigan, made up a team that traveled to Ethiopia, Africa, June 21-30. While there they visited seven orphanages in five days, interacting with almost 800 children. They played games, music and crafts, and they held and loved on babies. “We sang to them and prayed over them,” said Jennifer.

The other participants in this group included Jennifer’s 12 year-old daughter Jordan Danfield, Mary Falcone, Beth Beling, Jeanne Bollinger, Jackee Johnston, Justin Baird, Cassie Hughes, Rachel Keefe, Tracey Craven and Dayna Slaughenhoupt. This trip to Ethiopia, including airfare and accommodations cost around $3,400 per person. Participants paid their way. Some conducted fund-raisers to help with the costs, such as Jennifer’s daughter, who sold painted canvases. Some raised support by soliciting donations. “Making a contribution to help others go is a great opportunity for people who want to participate but can’t go themselves,” noted Jennifer. When you visit a third world country, such a Ethiopia, you leave your comfort zone and normal routine behind, Jennifer said.

They do things differently and they don’t have as much as we have. “We were not there to feel sorry for anybody,” she stressed. “We were there to love on the caregivers and the children, and to share Jesus.” One of the orphanages they visited cared for infants and children up to age seven. Due to poor conditions, babies were only allowed one diaper change a day. Mission participants endured some discomforts, including bumpy roads in the mountains of Addis Ababa where they stayed. “There are no smooth roads in Ethiopia,” Jennifer noted.

During their mission trip, the group visited the homes of children sponsored by America World Agency. These are children who live in extreme need. Individuals can support a child with a $21 monthly donation and many of them are surviving thanks to this support, said Jennifer. “This is a huge way to help with the orphanage crisis,” she said, explaining that many of the children in the orphanages were relinquished because their families could not take care of them. “These sponsorships are helping families stay together.” Jennifer noted that their guide, Israel, had been a sponsored child when she was young. To find out how to sponsor a child, go online to www.awaa.org/give/child/sponsorship.

The mission trip participants were also asked to advocate for children waiting to be adopted by the agency. Their group had 12 whom they were looking for homes and five of them have been matched with families. These America World Adoption trips are not just one-time visits, There are mission trips planned for the rest of the year and more next year. America World Adoption also sponsors trips to other countries include Uganda, Romania, China, Kenya, Haiti, Honduras and El Salvador. Jennifer has participated in mission trips to other countries, including Mexico, Romania, and Kenya, as well as Buffalo, N.Y.

She became acquainted with World America Adoption, a Christian adoption agency, when she and her husband Kendall adopted their daughter Anna from China at age 17 months. She is now 5. In addition to Jordan, they have another daughter, Lydia, age 6. God ignited a fire in her for people around the world when she was just a young girl, Jennifer said. “While others worried that God would send them to Africa, I was always willing to go,”she said. Leaving your comfort zone and going to another place allows you to experience God in a way you can’t here, she said. “It is almost like a shock that gets you to refocus and change your perspective. You see things thru a new set of eyes,” she said.







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