We want all of our Project 61 friends and supporters to know a little bit more about each of our families that are about to be on the ground in Ethiopia. We asked them all a few questions and here are the responses we received from De and Katie Jellum. Thanks, Jellums, we are praying for you both!
Tell us a little bit about your family…where are you from originally and where are you currently living?
Katie-I am a native Minnesotan. Although I’ve lived in different cities, I’ve never lived in any other state. My parents are Blaine and Laura Eggum. I have an older brother, Blake, a younger sister, Aliya, and two younger brothers, Mihiretu and Misganaw. The three youngest were adopted from Ethiopia.
De-I was born in Ethiopia. I was raised in a Muslim family where there was little love shown to me. My uncle saw this and rescued me from a bad situation and after a long series of events I ended up in Minnesota in the foster care system. My dad adopted me when I was 15 years old. He adopted so many children and they are all so spread out in age that I can only estimate that I have about 15 siblings. I also recently found out that I have two younger biological sisters who are still in Ethiopia.
How many kids do you have and what are their ages?
We have no children yet. In the future we’d love to have children and we also have a future dream to adopt. For now, we have a beautiful one-year-old Rottweiler, Kaisha.
We’d love to hear your story. How did you come to know Jesus?
Katie-I grew up in a Christian family. My parents always showed me the love of Jesus in how they treated each other and me. I chose to accept Christ into my life at a young age in Vacation Bible School. It wasn’t until I went to Ethiopia for the first time to adopt my two brothers that my relationship with the Lord became apparent and real in my life. I knew from that time forward that Ethiopia was where God wanted me to be some day in my future.
De-My first experience with Christians was my last foster home. My foster dad was a wonderful Christian man who took me to church and sent me to Bible camps. I wasn’t yet ready to accept Christ but these experiences put a positive picture of Christians in my mind. After I was adopted, I met Katie in high school and she welcomed me into her family. She was the first person who actually asked me if I knew what it meant to truly be a Christian. I told her that I didn’t and asked her to explain it to me. After I listened to what she said I asked if I could pray and accept Christ. Ever since then my life was changed forever and the anger I once had about my difficult past began to fade away.
We know you’re actively involved in your local church. What can you tell us about your church family and how you are serving and growing in the Lord?
We recently started going to a new church, River Valley Church. Through our whole mission journey they have been very supportive and have taken time to meet and counsel with us. They are an extremely mission oriented church. We work every night during the week so although we’d love to be more involved our schedule doesn’t permit it. We do attend a Bible Study on Saturday night.
The Lord has obviously done a mighty work in your lives to call you to the mission field in Ethiopia. Describe that calling and when you stepped out in faith to say YES!
Katie-When I was in Ethiopia in February of 2007 to adopt my brothers I felt the Lord calling me back to work with the people of Ethiopia. Ever since we started dating, De knew the call that God had placed on my heart and once we were knew we were going to get married, he began to pray and ask God about his future in Ethiopia.
De-Because my life in Ethiopia was so painful I had a fear of going back. I found the courage to go back on two different mission trips. On the second trip God changed my heart and took away my fear. He gave me a peace and an excitement for my people and my country. I finally understood what purpose He had for me in coming to America. Because I have personally lived and felt their pain I know I can relate very well to the kids in Korah. Because of God’s perfect plan, He used my pain for something beautiful for His glory.
How did you first hear about Project 61?
Our first exposure to Project 61 was in June 2010. It was the first year the summer camp started up in Korah. We met Sumer on that trip and worked along side of her. We had a wonderful experience and couldn’t wait to return!
Ethiopia life versus American life will be VERY different. What is your favorite luxury here in American that you will NOT have in Ethiopia?
Katie-Having been to Ethiopia four times, I know their dairy isn’t like ours here in America so I will miss cheese, milk, sour cream and all those yummy things. Overall what I’ll miss most is being with my family and being able to call my mom and ask any simple question throughout my day.
De-I will miss reliable electricity, my Serta Perfect Sleeper mattress and being able to work out every day with my father in law.
How can we pray for your family as you prepare to head out?
Pray for wisdom for all the decisions we have to make before we arrive in Ethiopia and for wisdom while on the field to make the right choices for the children there and for Project 61.
Pray that God would lay on the hearts of His people to be great senders. Our desire is to be in Korah as soon as we can this summer. We know that we will be there in God’s perfect time and in order to do that we need lots of prayer and financial support.
Pray that while we are there we can be effectively disciple and train the kids in Korah to be great leaders in their community. We want the youth of Korah to be excited and motivated to help their people and realize that God can and will use each of them to do great things in His name.