November 28, 2007

Interview with Anthony Mathenia: Missionary to Ethiopia and Adoptive Father

Anthony and EllieAs the result of one of our first adoption interviews, I had the opportunity to meet (via e-mail) a missionary who serves in Ethiopia. It did not take much interaction for me to sense a kindred-spirit. Anthony Mathenia is passionate about the gospel and loves the people of Ethiopia deeply. He and his wife, Amber, have served in Ethiopia as missionaries for two years. My interaction with Anthony through e-mail and this interview has served to deepen my love for the gospel and Ethiopia's orphans and to add to my enthusiasm for our Ethiopia orphan care and adoption programs. You can learn a little about the exciting kingdom work Anthony is doing in Ethiopia here and here.

As you will see from the pictures below, Anthony and Amber are also adoptive parents of a multi-ethnic family. You'll enjoy reading about their two adoptions.

Cold Water News is Anthony's personal blog.

1. Anthony, tell us a little about your family and what you do.

I have been married to Amber for six and a half years, and we have two children. Our first child Ellie, who will be four in December, is adopted from Ethiopia. We adopted Ellie when she was six-months old. Our newest addition is our son Isaac, whom we adopted in October 2007 domestically at the age of three months.

We serve as missionaries in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia working there to theologically train local pastors and church planters. We have worked on a short-term basis for over seven years, and moved to Addis just over two years ago.

2. Why did you choose to adopt trans-ethnically in general and from Ethiopia in particular?The decision to adopt came to fruition as a result of a strong desire to do so within both Amber and I. For more than a dozen years, I have been close with a family who had previously adopted (18 and 11 years ago) and seeing this family and what God had done and is doing within their family increased my desire to pursue a family via this means. For us, adoption is a God ordained method of growing a family. Not only that, but we are also convinced that adoption is included in the scriptural commands that are part of the gospel, like "love your neighbor" and "do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with God". The trans-ethnic decision merely grew out of a love for Ethiopia, having been there, as well as being acquainted with the need that exists there. We want our lives to be gospel-focused, and that particularly in Ethiopia. So, adopting from Ethiopia makes that even more of a reality for us.

Round two for us was somewhat different. We basically received a phone call and email about a need for a 3-month old baby boy and five weeks later God gave him to us!

3. What kind of responses have you received from extended family and friends about your decision to adopt trans-racially?

ambermathenia275Our family and friends could not be more excited. Actually, without their unceasing support it would not be possible for us to have adopted either Ellie or Isaac. The children are part of our family and they are accepted to the same degree that Amber and I are among our families. However, it did not begin that way. There was some animosity leading up to the first adoption and even shortly after Ellie's arrival from a couple of family members, but it only took them actually seeing her and how everyone around her was so accepting of the idea to come around completely The same family members were supportive of the second adoption.

4. Can you tell us about Ethiopia's orphan situation and what you think the church can do to serve Ethiopia and its orphans?

The situation in Ethiopia is astounding concerning its orphans. Five percent of the population is made up of orphans and that is expected to drastically increase in the near future. Over one-half of the population in Ethiopia is under the age of sixteen, and in just a couple of years it is projected that one-half of all children under ten years old will be orphans. These digits are staggering to say the least, but disease among the younger middle age is a rampant reality with no genuine hope in sight.

The opportunity that the church has to serve Ethiopia is multi-fold for sure, but I will just mention a couple of them. First, the chance to influence and affect Ethiopia with the gospel through adoption and caring for these children by bringing them in and raising them is becoming increasingly simple. And second, the orphan dilemma in Ethiopia is a result of the obvious lack of gospel influence in Ethiopia. So, to help curb the situation, we can take and/or send the biblical gospel there.

5. Would you encourage others who are pursuing trans-racial adoption to seriously consider adopting a child from Ethiopia?
Without a doubt, I would enthusiastically encourage anyone pursuing adoption to seriously consider Ethiopia. This strong urging is a result not just of the immense need, but is also due to the great love that I have for the Ethiopians and God's glory among them. Though adopting from Ethiopia is not the only way, I do think it should be honestly considered by those pursuing trans-ethnic adoption. Some practical reasons to consider an Ethiopian child include, but are not limited to, the ease of the current process and the cost in comparison to most other countries.

0 comments on “Interview with Anthony Mathenia: Missionary to Ethiopia and Adoptive Father”

  1. I'm so sorry to report that we lost Anthony's wife, Amber, last night in a tragic car accident. The children were with her but are reported to be doing o.k. Please keep this family in your prayers. It is so sad to know the world has lost such a loving and kind person. However, I feel comforted to know that she is praising God in heaven and I'm truly blessed to have had the opportunity to know Amber. I wish everyone would have had this chance!!

  2. I was searching for info on this family and ran upon this interview. I thought you might want to know that Amber was killed in car accident yesterday and the 2 children are in critical condition. I do not know them, but recv'd an email asking for prayers for this family. It's my understanding that Anthony was arriving back in the states today...and she and the children were in Memphis so they could meet him.

    This touched my heart, and I wanted to find out about this family, so I am happy I came upon your article and especially the pictures.

    I will be praying and knew you'd want to pray also.
    Betsy in Jackson, TN

  3. Thank you, Somer and Betsy. (Because of my delay in approving Somer's comment, Betsy didn't have the chance to see it when she posted her own.)

    We grieve with Anthony and the family, and we offer our prayers for him and his children.

  4. I do not know this family, but heard of them through a dear friend. My prayers and deepest condolences go out to the family. Please post to let us know of any memorial gifts that may be may in Amber's name and to what ministry/organization.

  5. I go to church with the family. They certainly need our prayers right now. The children are doing well, probably at home with their grandmother by now. Mr Anthony flew in to Memphis today and some of the church elders met him with the news (no one could get in touch with him before that). The family decided to let him tell Ellie (the older of the children). Please keep them in your prayers.

  6. If you did not know Amber, she was a great friend, mother, wife, teacher and child of God. I taught with her our first two years of teaching. We taught together at Woodstock. We helped each other make it through some really tough times. Even though it was tough, she always had a smile on her face. She was the best! She came to see me last year and we talked about old times, and all the wonderful things going on with her and Anthony. We looked at pictures of our babies and talked about how they are such a wonderful gift from God. She was so ecited to be a mother, and just glowed when she spoke of Ellie. I am so sad that she has left us, but glad the I will one day see her again! I pray for Anthony and the babies and hope that you all keep them in your prayers. The days , weeks, months to come will be very difficult for her families. Lets continue to keep them lifted with prayer and ask God to ease their pain. I received information, for those who do not know, that her viewing is Friday, Jan. 25th, from 5-8 at Munford Funeral Home. The funeral is Saturday at First Baptist in Millington, 2p.m.
    God be with you,
    Jenifer Ryan-Brighton, TN

  7. [...] Pray Without Ceasing… Please pray for Amber’s family that was left behind.  She was a treasure, a servant of the Lord, a mother, a teacher, and a missionary.  She touched everyone that ever came across her in life, as anyone who knew her can testify.    You may wish to read more about Amber and her family who have requested much, much prayer.  They have a blog dedicated to their mission work in Ethiopia.  Click here for their blog and about Anthony (her husband), Ellie, and Isaac (her kids). Another link you may wish to check out on the internet:Link 1  [...]

  8. Gary and I were so sorry to hear of this terrible accident. It is such a comfort to know that Amber was ready to meet her God and Father. We will pray for God's comfort, strength, and constance presence in your life and that of your children, now and it the time to come.
    Ms. Dale

  9. I will add this family to my family's prayer request list and pray for them daily. God bless!

  10. Amber Mathenia: Religion that is pure and undefiled before God » from hope to reality » the adoption blog of carolina hope christian adoption agency says:

    [...] November 28, 2007, Dan Cruver interviewed Anthony Mathenia about trans-racial adoption and about Anthony and his wife Amber’s own Ethiopian adoption [...]

  11. Amber will truly be missed! She was and is an angel from God. I grew up with Amber going back to elementary school, my mom baby-sitting her and April, cheerleading, high school, I remember lots of things we did just like it was yesterday. My prayers go out to the Donovans, Mathenias, Sawyers, & Tuckers. I miss you Amber!!!!!

    Jami Wendel Harris

    Olive Branch, MS

  12. I am so sorry to hear about Amber's tragic accident. My daughter, Cindee, who died in a tragic accident at the age of 21, went all through school with Amber. Amber was a beautiful girl inside and out. She will truly be missed. My deepest prayers go out to the families.

  13. I am truly sad to hear of Anthony's wife's passing. I have know the Mathenia family for a long time. They are all wonderful, loving and compassionate children of God. I am praying for each of you in my daily devotional.

  14. Betsy from Jackson Ten,
    I am Anthony's cousin and I am in Colorado however we have been in contact with family out there. I just want to set something straight everything we have been told is that the children are o.k. I just felt that you and everyone else would like to know that the kids are not as bad as you were informed.

    I want you to know you all are in my prayers. Let me know if you need anything.



  16. Anthony,
    I think of you and your precious children often. I continue to pray for you and know that God will continue to bless and protect you.

  17. Greeting in the Name of the Lord Jesus. I am so sad when i heard this terrible accident. I do not know her but she was in my Home town Ethiopia for the word of GOd and that is where God gave her those cheldren.
    I am so very Sad but the is the will of God Father.Anthony let God give you stranth.
    I know that the pain is too strong but hand over to the Lord he will get you confert.
    We will pray to the Anthony and the children.
    by Aman

  18. Sorry to hear about the tragic car accident, and our prayers our with you. Also, could you please pray for my family as well, my brother is in the final stages of adopting to Children from Guatemala and we are praying that God will help everything go smooth despite the Guatemalan Government.

  19. I came up to this site searching information about international adoption and read about the story that really touched my heart. I am really sorry. God has a purpose for everything. I pray that you and the children be comforted by His presence. I am an Ethiopian to know that these children came to your life and they are save makes me appreciate that God has reason for you to be who you are now. be strong find comfort through Him, give everything to God.

  20. Anthony, your family is in my prayers! I'm sorry to hear about your wife's passing, but to be absent from the body as a believer in Christ Jesus is to be present with the Lord. Also, God bless you for your love for the orphans; adoption is the heart of God!

  21. I cannot thank you enough for the blog article.Really looking forward to read more. Much obliged.

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