Sunday, December 19, 2010

Merry Christmas!

2 Corinthians 9: 6-15

6 Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 7 Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. 9 As it is written:
   “They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor;
   their righteousness endures forever.”
 10 Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. 11 You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.
 12 This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. 13 Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, others will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else. 14 And in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has given you. 15 Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!

Tulio and I are pausing this Christmas season, thanking and praising God for the generosity that YOU have displayed for the orphaned children in Ethiopia.  Our vision for Into the Streets of Ethiopia is strong; steadfast in our desire to obey God's command of taking care of widows and orphans.  

We pray God's abundant blessings and grace upon each of you!  Merry Christmas!  The Portilla Family

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Does Jesus Live in Africa?

I have been home from Ethiopia for a little over a week. A week to ponder and process. To try and figure out how to convey to you, the reader, how I am feeling. To give you a glimpse of all that was mine to experience in Ethiopia.  I have played my days in Ethiopia over and over again in my mind, wondering where to begin and how to explain what I saw; what I touched and felt and oh, the smells. When asked by friends and family how my trip to Ethiopia was, I have been reduced to a automatic sentence, "Yes, my trip to Ethiopia was wonderful."

But, I am not being completely truthful.

I respond in a way I think you want me too. An automatic, feel-good response that is blurted from my lips because I am uncomfortable and don't want you to think less of me. 

There are parts of my journey to Ethiopia that were wonderful and lovely; but, it was also hard, discouraging and filled with sorrow and pain.  Joy was present but it was jumbled and mixed with tragedy and things that no man should ever become comfortable with seeing.

I craved my comfortable, American lifestyle and felt tremendous guilt along the way.

I desperately sought to be strong and courageous but inside I was pleading with Jesus to replace my own inadequate feelings with his strong and perfect love. I am thankful that God was faithful and used my body and my words for his purpose and his glory.  I learned many times that when I am weak, He is made strong.  I learned that when I am willing to whisper a simple "Yes," Jesus will step in and take over.  I am thankful that God allowed the opportunity for my sweet momma to go with me on this journey. I needed her shoulders to lean on {more than once} and needed her wisdom on several occasions. It was a divine appointment for her to go, this I am sure!

As I was getting my daughter, Berhanesh, dressed for school one day last week, we began to talk about Ethiopia and my recent trip. She was excited and there was a deep connection in our joined words.  We often talk about her birthplace and I was already feeling pretty emotional that morning when the conversation turned  more serious and she asked this:
"Mommy, does Jesus live in Africa?"
"Yes, of course, Jesus lives in Africa, Berhanesh." 
She then stared intensely in my eyes, grinned and said, "I know." 
"How do you know, Berhanesh?"
 "Because, Jesus knew my name mommy.  Jesus called me by name while I was in Ethiopia."
"What did Jesus say to you B?" I asked. 
Berhanesh replied, "Mommy, Jesus told me you were coming for me and that He loved me." 

Oh boy! The tears begin to flow and I immediately thought of all the children that I encountered while serving in Ethiopia.  How many were without a mommy and a daddy.  Who is telling them that it will all be okay? Where was the reassurance and safety?  As I was wrestling with these thoughts and the unfairness of our fallen world, I felt the presence of the Lord speak to my heart and say,  "I know their names. I am the father to the fatherless. I am the defender of the weak."

"D" is a special little boy that I was honored to spend some time with at the YWAM Widows and Orphans Home in Adama, Ethiopia.  He has been at the YWAM orphange for a little over a month and because of donations that YOU helped provide,  little "D" is gaining weight, happy and content {and Lord willing} will be adopted into a wonderful christian family. I am resting in the knowledge that Jesus not only knows this child by name but He has great plans for this precious child!

Over the next few days, I will share with you the things I was priveledged to take part of while I was in Ethiopia. I will introduce you to some new friends , share miracles that took place and pray that through my inadequate words, God will shine through and be glorified. 

Thank you for your continued love, prayers and support!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Leaving for Ethiopia TODAY!

In a few short hours, my mom and I will board a big 'ol plane headed for Ethiopia. I am ready! Ready to see what God has in store for me. I am ready for God to show me big, huge things. Ready for the doors of opportunity to swing wide open.  

Yesterday, I had a last minute chinese lunch date with a friend.  Along with our bill, we were served the usual stale fortune cookies.  My family and I like to make up our own fortunes....well because, the ones that are normally written are just plain stupid! As I read my little crumbled slip of paper, I began to sob, right there at the table. 
 "Sometimes traveling to a new place leads to great transformation." Oh, to be transformed into the image of Jesus is something I long for. To see what God's sees, to cry and weep over the things that He weeps over. May this trip serve as a vehicle of great transformation within my heart and life. May it spread into my family, my community, my world. May I be part of the solution for those that are lost and hurting. 

Would you join with me and the vision of Into the Streets of Ethiopia?  Would you cry out to God on behalf of those that we will be serving over the next 11 days? From the airport staff, airline employees and hundreds of precious Ethiopians we will encounter? It is an honor to represent YOU who have given and prayed for this ministry. YOU are a part of this journey!  

I will try to blog and post photos from Ethiopia.  Please continue to pray for my sweet husband, my wonderful children and my dad. They are holding the fort up at home! To those that are helping with my children and their crazy schedules while I am away, THANKS! Without you, this would not be possible.  You are a part of the work God is doing!

A beautiful new friend gave me a new cd last week and the words to this song have blessed me so much. I encourage you to 
download this song at iTunes


Donna Stuart
Have Your way with my heart
Father not my will but Yours
For I know I am chosen and You’re calling me forth
But Father I am frightened
I’m terrified to fail
God of wonders please remind me that You’re here
Cause there is so much more to the story
Father give me eyes to see
As I wade into Your Jordan
Help me walk upon Your seas
I long to cross over to the land You promised me
I feel the weight on my shoulders
LORD make me brave to believe
Tell me where I must go
And Give me Your strength to fight
In this war I’m a soldier
In this war You are light
Father I am willing I trust You with my life
God of Wonders I’m convinced that You are here.
You delivered them from Egypt to the tune of Miriam’s song
You sustained them in the desert all along
So Father help me be like all the faithful before
The souls You reckoned as righteous
cause they believed You are LORD
Love and Blessings, 

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Returning to Ethiopia!

How can I explain the longing, the need to be in a place that is far from home. When Tulio and I left Ethiopia, 14 months ago, we left behind a piece of our heart and soul. We returned home to familiar ground with a child we barely knew, but loved deeply. Our lives were forever changed and our world was rocked by the knowledge that there is suffering and devastation, at such an intense level, in a place that we love and feel so connected to. Feelings that are almost unexplainable and very hard to articulate.

Berhanesh (in Ethiopia) March 2009 

We have watched our daugher blossom, litrally before our eyes and while that is good and exciting; the stares from the fatherless and the touch of the broken orphan is never far away. We wrestle with the injustice of our fallen world and that at the hands of sin and evil; children are lonely, hungry and dying. 

Berhanesh (home in the US) July 2010

"Orphans are easier to ignore before you know their names. They are easier to ignore before you see their faces. It is easier to pretend they're not real before you hold them in your arms. But once you do, everything changes. So when you and I hear staggering numbers and statistics about the poor and needy around us and around the world, we have a choice. We can switch the channels on our mega-TVs and continue our comfortable, untroubled, ordinary, churchgoing lives as if the global poor don't exist. We can let these numbers remain cold, distant, and almost imaginary. Or we can open our eyes and our lives to the realities that surround us and begin considering the faces that are represented by these numbers."  --David Platt

Tulio and I are just a regular, everyday couple. A family that is completly messed up and dysfunctional! We fight, we yell at our kids, we forget to do homework and we often (very often) question, "what the heck are we doing" in regards to operating Into the Streets of Ethiopia. More often than not, we feel inadequate and lack the skills to "think" that we can make a difference in a very disturbed world.

Our lives have been turned upside down and we choose to be open to whatever the Lord has for our family. It is in this place, we are finding a freedom like we have never experienced.   James 1:27, "Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you." 

"The call to minister to orphans is not an option." -Karyn Purvis.   

In less than 30 days, I will return to Ethiopia. To a land that offered my family one of their very own. It is an honor and joy to be representing Into the Streets of Ethiopia and going on a vision trip with our partner, Adoption Ministry of YWAM-Ethiopia. I will visit and love on the widows and orphans of two YWAM orphanages and witness a brand new maternity home opening in Ethiopia! My luggage will be packed full of life-saving formula that you have graciously provided! I will network with local missionaries and visit with dear friends. I am excited and scared all at the same time!   

Would you commit to praying for Into the Streets of Ethiopia and YWAM-Ethiopia? We need your support! More than anything, I want to let go of any preconceived thoughts or notions and allow God to use me in a way that pleases him.  

***  I am still needing to purchase 25 cans of formula to fill my extra suitcase! The more I take with me, the more Into the Streets saves on later shipping fees. Would you consider giving $12 to feed an orphan? Your financial gift is tax-deductible!  ***


Friday, October 1, 2010

ANNOUNCING!!! Into the Streets Etsy Shop

Come shop with us!

We have blessed by generous people in the crafting community who want to support Into the Streets of Ethiopia and our mission. Many unique items have been donated to our ministry for the cause of aiding starving children.  We have opened a online shopping site at  Every item that is featured in our online store is both unique and hand crafted. 100% of the proceeds go directly into the feeding of orphans in Ethiopia.  

Into the Streets Shop is a great place to start your Christmas shopping.  New items are added regularly. Buy a gift, feed a child!

Do you have a handmade item you could donate to our store?  If you would like to donate, please contact us at  

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

600 cans of liquid GOLD is on its way to needy babies in Ethiopia!

In July 2010, Into the Streets of Ethiopia teamed up with We are That Family and one of the greatest pro-life leaders, Dinah Monohan to meet an urgent need in Ethiopia.  Formula was desperately needed to reach remote orphanges that are operated by YWAM Adoption Ministry.

The need was presented and you gave.  You were gracious to the needy and it honors Him. 

Cans of formula, gifts cards and cash begin to gather at the pro-life warehouse in Arizona.  Potential leads for big donations were given, phone calls were made and God answered our prayers.

Catholic Charity Medical Mission in New York donated 600 cans of Similac formula to feed these precious babies in Ethiopia.  The formula was shipped successfully from New York to Arizona last week.  Over the next two weeks, this liquid gold will be packaged and shipped in 100 pound incriments to YWAM adoptive families that are traveling to Ethiopia in October.  It will be hand delivered to needy orphanages upon their arrival in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.  

This huge donation will only sustain these little ones for a while.  More and more babies will be found abandoned or reliquished by a grieving relative.  Into the Streets of Ethiopia will continue to look after the widows and orphans.  We will answer the call.  "Religion that our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this; to look after orphans and widows in their distress and the keep oneself from being polluted by the world."

Will you join us in answering the call?  You can make a difference.


Thursday, August 12, 2010

YWAM-Ethiopia Formula Update!

We received a very encouraging note from YWAM Ethiopia today {from the Gimbie orphanage}: "Change in the babies since they have been getting regular formula is astounding. Growth, chubbiness, more energy, more smiles, better health!"  PRAISE THE LORD!!!  YOU are making a HUGE difference by giving to Into the Streets of Ethiopia!  Babies are being fed and lives are being changed for the glory of God!  Don't stop giving, they need you!  120 pounds of life-saving formula was shipped yesterday to the 4 YWAM orphanages that Into the Streets supports.  PLEASE pray for safe delivery.

"We don't want to simply meet a temporary need but exalt the glory of Christ, expressing the gospel of Christ thru radical generosity."  David Platt

Sunday, August 1, 2010

In The News! Into the Streets teams up with YWAM-Ethiopia!

Into the Streets of Ethiopia is excited to announce a new partnership with Adoption Ministry of YWAM-Ethiopia.  Read what Becky Burns {Administrator of Adoption Ministry} has to say about this new relationship, found on YWAM-Ethiopia's blog--That We Might Be Adopted

One of the many ways God has blessed Adoption Ministry is through our partnerships with other ministries with the same passion - to meet the needs of Ethiopia’s widows and orphans. Recently, we’ve linked arms with “Into The Streets Of Ethiopia” which is a wonderful ministry asking God to show them where they might provide support in the form of finances and practical helps to the children of Ethiopia.

Tulio and Kara Portilla were very much like many of us – busy raising a family, involved in ministry, living life. Then, in February of 2008, God led them to do something that was quite ‘out of the box’ – they were to adopt a little girl from Ethiopia. During that process, God challenged them to begin leading their family in a “no regrets” lifestyle. Their trip to that country in July 2009 to bring their daughter home only reinforced that call. God began to make real to them the fact that they too are adopted – into His family – and they were forever changed.

They came home knowing their mission was to aid vulnerable children in Ethiopia. As they prayed, they also began doing research on how to create a 501(c)(3) non-profit so that they could support ministries already working in Ethiopia who were reaching out to needy children. “Into The Streets Of Ethiopia” was born!

Adoption Ministry’s connection with the Portillas was truly a God thing! You may have seen links here on our blog to the We Are THAT Family blog, which is written by Kara’s twin sister Kristen. After a trip with Compassion International to Kenya, Kristen’s heart was touched for the people of Africa. She read about our need for formula in our orphanages and immediately thought of her sister’s ministry. One thing led to another and now we are receiving financial donations from Into the Streets of Ethiopia to provide formula and to cover some of the cost of shipping it monthly to our orphanages. A beautiful partnership has begun! We look forward to working with them in many more areas of ministry to the children of Ethiopia.

Right now, through the generosity of a wonderful donor, Adoption Ministry pays for one case of formula per month to be shipped to Ethiopia – and that is not nearly enough! So Dinah Monahan’s “Clothing is Optional – Formula is Life” program has been sending 50 lbs. of formula (or a gift card to purchase it) with every one of our adopting families traveling to Ethiopia for their court and embassy dates, as well as with the mission teams who travel with us. Part of the money that would come from Into the Streets of Ethiopia will be used to cover shipping costs or for the purchase of the formula itself. Our goal is to ship one case per week to each of our four orphanages. That’s 16 cases each month and would cost about $1500 monthly.

God’s ways are absolutely amazing! He is linking together people and ministries who have His heart for the vulnerable and needy children in Ethiopia. We are so grateful to Him and to people like the Portillas and the Monahans. If you would like to donate to bring formula to abandoned babies in Ethiopia, go to the website here: Into The Streets Of Ethiopia


Sunday, July 18, 2010

$6 FOR 1 Challenge TAKEN!

A couple of months ago, Angela Wells, contacted Into the Streets of Ethiopia about using our new $6 For 1 campaign in their upcoming Vacation Bible School.   What an honor for us to be highlighted at Graefenburg Christian Church's VBS!  

"June 27th - July 2nd, 38 children attended Graefenburg Christian Church's High Seas Expedition Vacation Bible School.  During the week, we learned that God's Word is true, comforting, surprising, life-changing, and for everyone.  With their adult crew leaders, the children discussed that one way to introduce others to God's Word and His love is to meet their physical needs.  The children didn't just talk about how to demonstrate love to others but through their hands and giving they truly got involved.  Twenty blankets were made to be given to the boys involved in the Children's Future Ethiopia program.  The children gathered with their crews and prayed over each blanket and for its recipient to know and feel the warmth of God's love.  In addition, the children collected $451.15 for Into the Streets of Ethiopia and many committed continual support through the $6 for 1 campaign.  We enjoyed a fun, wonderful, blessed week on the High Seas, but most importantly, the children learned that they could truly be the hands and feet of Jesus and minister to others.....  even those far across the sea!!!! "  *  Angela Wells  *

Check out this video of the Graefenburg kids making blankets for the boys involved in CFE!  Thank you kids--great job!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

URGENT Need in Ethiopia!

 "To be happy with God on earth presupposes certain things:  to love the way he loves; to help the way he helps; to give the way he gives; to save the way he saves; to remain in his presence twenty-four hours a day; to touch him in the poor and in those who suffer."
Mother Teresa

Dinah Monahan, is one of America’s greatest pro-life leaders. Besides setting up more than 30 maternity homes in America and her first in Ethiopia, she is using her pro-life warehouse to ship formula into the suitcases of people traveling into Ethiopia. It is saving the lives of precious starving babies in four of Ethiopia’s orphanages, some in remote areas.  

Dinah is running low on formula and that’s where YOU come in: There are hungry babies in Ethiopia and we can help them.

30, 000 children will die TODAY of hunger and preventable diseases.

"If you can't feed a hundred people, then just feed one.”
Mother Teresa

Your donation of formula will make a difference to one.   The gift of formula can be a life-saving instrument to a lonely, vulnerable child.  

{babies faces have been blocked to protect their privacy}

Would you give?

For the next 24 hours, Into the Streets of Ethiopia, is partnering with We are That, in efforts to raise awareness and support of formula and/or financial donations being sent to Arizona (then on to Ethiopia!) 

Here is how you can get involved:

Please leave a comment with how many of the large cans of Wal-Mart (milk based only, no soy), you can send to this address:
Heritage House ’76, Inc.
919 So. Main St.,
Snowflake, AZ  85937
If you do not have a Wal-Mart near you, you can purchase a Wal-Mart gift card online and have it sent directly to the address above. Please make sure you make a notation that it is for formula in the Notes.
{from Dinah: "We will send the formula with work crews and adoptive parents as they go over.  We have shipped close to 400 lbs since April but are running out.  Check out the Post Office one price if it fits and see how many cans can fit in a box}
You may also give a financial donation to Into the Streets (via our donation link) and we will send the funds directly to Heritage House.
Into the Streets of Ethiopia is starting this off by giving the first $500 from our feed the children budget.  *** What a great summer family project this could be!  Take your kids to Wal-Mart and explain what one can of formula could do for a child living in Ethiopia.  Give them a tangible opportunity to be the hands and feet of Jesus!  ***

Don't forget to leave a comment!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

We need you!  They need you!  

Apply Now!

For more information contact:

Friday, June 25, 2010

Just do it!

A wonderful family and dear friends, Bruce and Jaime Watson, held a fundraising dinner (to benefit Into the Streets of Ethiopia) in celebration of their sweet son, Teg, being united with his forever family for a year.   We are honored to be at the receiving end of this family's efforts and are excited to see what God has in store for the Watson family!

Read this powerful recap of a simple family, being obedient to the prompting of the Lord!

Quit Making Excuses and Just Do It!!!

This is what I had to tell myself over and over.  I had such a desire to DO SOMETHING for the sweet, sweet kids that we had met while we were in Ethiopia.  But I'm just a mom, no special skills, no special talents.  I don't sew, paint, make jewelry, design t-shirts, or any of the other really great fundraising ideas I've seen out there.  I really wanted to do something, but WHAT???? 

The Lord spoke to me and said, "just put the need out there for people to see, and let Me do the rest."  Ahhhh, I could quit trying to rack my brain for something to wow people, and just make myself available and let the Lord do His thing.  It's not about me or what I can or can't do.  So, I talked to my in-laws and secured the location (their backyard).  I talked to my family and closest friends and they became the help.  The Lord brought a wonderful Ethiopian woman to me, and she became the caterer.  Perfect!  We picked a day, Sunday, May 30th and sent out an invitation on Facebook. 

We bought some Ethiopian colored decorations (red, yellow and green), ordered some cupcakes in the ET colors, bought some snack foods and drinks.  The most important part of the day would be making people aware of the kids in Ethiopia and how far their money would go to making a difference in their lives.  We made an information board with pictures and statistics.  We printed out pictures of the people and places we saw in ET, we made bookmarks for people to take home to remind them to pray.  And we put out a box for people to put their money in.  That's it.  That simple.  And people put their money in!  They ate the Ethiopian food.  They drank the Ethiopian coffee.  They looked at the pictures and read the information.  They were moved by what they saw. They loved the food and the coffee.  But most importantly, they loved the kids faces.  They "got it".  They were exposed to a culture and a people and need that they really had no idea about.  God was good and He did His thing.  He brought the people that He wanted.  He inspired people to give to His children. 

In the end, we raised almost $3500.  God is good!  We were blessed.  I learned a lesson.  It's not about any great talent we have or don't have, it's about being responsible for the calling that we all have, to take care of these precious orphans.  

Just do it!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Into the Streets is headed to ETHIOPIA!

Go. Serve. Love.
Ethiopia 2011


Into the Streets of Ethiopia is teaming up with Visiting Orphans for a life changing missions trip to the beautiful country of Ethiopia. 

 We will be visiting the precious kids at Children's Future Ethiopia as well as several other organizations in the capital city, Addis Ababa.

Dates:  March 12-21, 2011

More details to follow!

Will you pray about joining us?  

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Celebrate the FATHERS in your life!

Just in time to celebrate that special man in your life! 

A fellow adoptive family,Vince and Alisa Martin, have graciously offered to team-up with Into The Streets of Ethiopia for a Father's Day card fundraiser!  The Martins, will donate their time and the materials for the cards! 100% of your donation goes straight to ministering to street kids in Ethiopia!  Head over to the Martin's blog and provide  the name(s) and address of the recipients! You can use the PayPal donation button on their blog, to make your donation and provide instructions. The cards will be mailed on Monday, June 14th!

All funds will be devoted to the cause of helping street children and at risk children in Ethiopia.

Alisa and Vince Martin along with Robel Alawi (Children's Future Ethiopia) 

The Martins--complete with sweet Micah and waiting for baby brother, Jude, from China.

Give a gift that will not only make a difference in the life of a child, but also honors your loved one too!

We love you Martin Family!  

***  UPDATE ***

Thank you to all who participated in this awesome opportunity of honoring a  loved one but to aid a child as well.  Over $700 was raised by YOU!    It is with pure joy and delight to report that EVERY child at Children's Future Ethiopia will be measured and fitted with a brand new uniform at the end of July!  Can you imagine the excitement when the children of CFE begin their next school term!  Photos will be taken and posted!  

Also, we were able to purchase a Bible for each child.  For some, this may be their first!  Into the Streets is so proud of their awesome friends.  Thanks for joining with us to make a difference in the life of a precious child!  Many Blessings to you all!