Team Ethiopia is a short-term missions group from Central Church in Collierville, TN. They partner with our Ethiopian Team on the ground in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia for about a week. Here is their daily update regarding their experience in 2017 and the way God moves in and through this ministry. We thank them for their service!
Written by Karen Miehe
Day 2 started with rain showers and we all seemed just a little tired. We made it downstairs and had breakfast. However, today we did our devotional in the car because somehow the time just seemed to be flying by. Nevertheless , when we made it to The Forsaken Children's Ethiopian team, Onesimus headquarters, even through the clouds and the light showers, we were reminded of the beauty beyond the metal gates when we pulled in and and got right to it.
Due to the rain, we moved the activity stations indoors. The team came together and transformed one room into two. Starr's station was moved inside the building and she shared a space with Karen and Diane. Howard's sports were also moved inside and Liz had to switch buildings. We basically flew to our new spaces in order to prepare the classroom before the children came in.
It was amazing actually. On the right side of the room, there was Starr and Meme pulling out chairs and shuffling them under tables. While on the left side of the room, Diane and Karen were counting popsicle sticks and pulling off masking tape. It was amazing to see the team come together to prepare for the kids.
The gates opened again and the bus transporting God's masterpieces (our kids) pulls in. We watched the kids run with joy into the building where the main session would be. And their excitement confirmed again that we are supposed to be here. . .
This morning, as I looked around the room full of children, I realized that children are all the same. No matter what country or culture or economic situation, they all desire to be loved. This is Jesus' commandment for us as His children, to love others.
Howard started the day with an engaging story about Joseph! And the kids were thrilled by the use of puppets! There were 'old' faces in the group today. The team was excited to see former students in the rotations because it brought a special zeal to the group. And by God's grace the stations were wonderful. Students were engaged and interested to learn about Joseph. The students went more in-depth about Joseph in Liz's station, created a craft that was Joseph's colorful coat when they were with Diane and Karen, played indoor games with Howard, and wrote love letters to God in Starr's station.
During Starr's station, the kids quickly reviewed Joseph's relationship with his brothers. And evaluated Joseph's response. However, when the question dealing with Joseph's response was asked, there was utter silence. So it was a chance to share that through everything Joseph went through (the abandonment of his family, the stress of slavery, the despair of false witness and accusation, etc), Joseph realized God's hand over his life and Joseph forgave. And we all need to forgive because God forgave us and we did not deserve it.
So the kids were given a piece of paper to write letters to God, thanking Him, and asking Him for forgiveness for things in their own lives. Wow. The letters were mostly written in Amharic but occasionally, you'd see someone writing in English and it would blow your mind away. The confessions and the questions followed by praise. I mean it was absolutely beautiful.
Diane mentioned that it was evident that many of these kids know Jesus. The message of Jesus Christ is clearly shared with The Forsaken Children beneficiaries and we are excited to be able to be a part of continuing that Gospel message provision. The children were able to communicate His attributes and His scripture. During their craft, one of the boys wrote John 3:16 on his popsicle stick. And that was a sweet reminder that we are here to love on these kids. Another kid made an American flag on his popsicle sticks which is also a sweet reminder to us that they love having us here.
Once the stations were over, it was time for music! We made sure to sing an all time favorite song, "Today is the Day" that the kids loved! It was beautiful to see the kids enjoying praising God! But, when we played "Mighty to Save" there was something wonderful about declaring the truths of God while using hand gestures. Each time we stretched our hands out like Jesus did on the cross, something in my heart was activated and my eyes began to fill with tears while reflecting on His truths! And to see the kids declare these things out loud and dance with us was special. God was praised and glorified in that moment! Amen!
After that, we were able to join the kids during and after lunch. The sun peaked through the clouds and smiled on us.
And once lunch was complete, we had a great time focusing on building relationships with staff and kids. At one point, Kelly stole the show! She had kids lined up trying to "take her out" with the Karate moves she had taught them. We stayed there until the bus carrying God's masterpieces pulled out the gates . . . a sad moment until we remembered that we will see them again tomorrow.
What a delightful day that God has made. Continue to pray for us. We love y'all and we are so grateful for your prayers and love. We feel God's grace and love as we go throughout the day!