How My Family Fell in Love with Ethiopia

Hi! We’re the Dietz family.

Our family of seven: Travis, Shonda (me), plus our five teenagers just returned from another amazing trip to work with Lifesong for Orphans’ schools in Ziway and Adami Tulu, Ethiopia.

We’re often asked how we first got involved with Lifesong, so here’s an as-short-as-possible answer to that question.

The Dietz family in Ethiopia in 2015

Our first trip to Ethiopia

Travis and I first traveled to Ethiopia in 2010 to adopt our youngest son.

We knew immediately that God had called us to invest in orphan care in this beautiful country. But how? We didn’t know exactly.

So we began researching many different organizations, and some fellow adoptive parents introduced us to Lifesong.

Our priorities in Ethiopia

I wanted to find an organization that invests in family preservation.

During our trips to Ethiopia, it was gut wrenching seeing how many children were relinquished to orphanages simply because their parent didn’t have the ability to feed them. This was (and remains) injustice of the highest magnitude, and seemed like an “easy” place where we could step in.

Travis was really interested in partnering with an organization with a solid business model as well as ministry accountabilities in place.

So he was really impressed with the fact that the TMG Foundation pays all of Lifesong’s admin fees. 100% of our donations go directly to orphan care in Ethiopia.

Sometime around 2012, I sent some emails to Lifesong, introducing myself and basically inviting myself to go to Ethiopia with them to see their work first-hand.

They cautiously said, “Ok,” and the rest is history.

Our first trip with Lifesong

That first trip with Lifesong I was immediately in awe of the work God was doing through them, and I knew this was a place our family could partner with to make a real impact.

Over the last decade, we’ve had the privilege of traveling to the Lifesong Schools in Ethiopia nearly a dozen times. We’ve made many lifelong friends and seen many buildings built and schools expanded, but my favorite part is helping coordinate the sponsorship program.

“What an indescribable blessing it is to see first-hand how lives are transformed, families are kept together, and cycles of poverty and despair are broken, through something as ‘easy and simple’ (on our end) as child sponsorship.”

The Dietz family in Ethiopia in 2022

Our joy and privilege to serve

Now we have the unbelievable privilege of getting to know these kids, pray for them, and see their beautiful faces year after year. We get to watch them go through all the fun, awkward developmental changes all kids go through. And we get to see them grow physically, spiritually, and academically.

We get to be a witness to that! What a privilege.

I’m not sure why God saw fit to bless our family in this incredibly special way as to have a front row seat to His redeeming work, but I’m so thankful for it.

If you want to see God create beauty from ashes, please consider sponsoring a child in Ethiopia with Lifesong.

Someday you may even get to travel and meet them and see what your sponsorship means firsthand. In the meantime, please take my word for it when I say it’s one of the single most impactful things you could do with $34 per month.

Want to reach kids in Ethiopia?

Through child sponsorship, you can help shape a child’s future. With sponsorship, you provide holistic, Gospel-centered care, food, education, and discipleship.