About Mike Rusch

Based in Downtown Bentonville, Arkansas, Mike is the Chief Executive Officer at Pure Charity, a nonprofit dedicated to building world class technology solutions for Nonprofit Organizations, Individual Fundraising, and Community Advocacy.

Mike currently serves on the Board of Directors for Help One NowMercy House GlobalCanopy Northwest Arkansas99 Balloons@HopeMob, Laundry Love, and Serve Northwest Arkansas.  

Prior to Pure Charity, Mike worked for Nickelodeon, The Walt Disney Company, Hershey Foods, and served in the US Marine Corps. Mike is a husband of 22 years, father of 4, a lover of a great story, and never too far from a fly-fishing river.  

Ethiopia Day 5

…5:30 a.m. and a little more sleep than the night before.  My mind, heart and emotions are at capacity (to say the least)

Today we travel to see St. Mary’s Church to learn about some of the custom and celebrations here in Ethiopia and then to the US Embassy for our Visa interview.  Pray all goes well as we expect our Visa approval tomorrow morning so we can leave tomorrow night.  I can not believe this is almost over…

…10:00 p.m. and trying to record a few thoughts of the day.

Belay, our in country Gladney representative, served as our tour director as we spent the a few hours walking the grounds of the St. Mary’s Ethiopian Orthodox Church.  However, Belay was no stand in tour director as what he shared that day and his relationship to the church is truly something that is hard to comprehend.

With great passion Belay shared much about the richness of the Ethiopian Orthodox history, traditions, meanings behind every painting, window, and symbol.  It is a rich culture and the symbolism and meaning behind what he shared is truly beautiful.  It is obvious that his faith is true and the strength of how it is embraced by the history

Then Belay began to share the history of the Communist party take over of Ethiopia in 1974.  He shared of how the Emperor of Ethiopia was a descendant of King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba, and with the Emperor’s execution the blood line was cut off forever.  This was Ethiopia’s connected to the blood line of the tribe of Judah.  Belay also shared how when the Emperor was executed approx. 60 of the highest ranking government officials were also imprisoned and how they ultimately faced the firing squad of the Communist party. 

And they Belay shared that one of those men was his father…

As Belay shared this from within the memorial dedicated to these Ethiopian martyrs, we turned to see a picture of his father on the wall behind us.

I can only imagine what Belay had gone through as a child of 11 at the time of his father’s execution, but as he spoke of the events he did so with a quiet strength and pride assembled over many decades of retelling this story. 

Our time at this place was a gift…

Ethiopia Day 6

(meanwhile, back at home)