1. When did you visit Onesimus in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia?
2. Did you visit with a team or individually?
I visited with a team.
3. What was the purpose of your trip?
It was a Short Term Missions Trip (STMT) from my church.
4. Was this your first trip to Ethiopia?
Yes, this was my first trip to Ethiopia.
5. If yes, did it meet your expectations? If not, when did you visit previously?
Quite frankly, I wasn't sure what to expect. I went with a somewhat open mind. I was impressed with the staff and what they provide for the children that are served. I was especially impressed with the love they showed for the children and it was clear that the children felt loved by the staff.
From a physical environment perspective, I was very surprised at the level of under-development in the city of Addis Ababa. As a city that has existed for centuries, I expected the infrastructure to be far more advanced than it actually was.
I knew that Ethiopia was a poor country, but I was not ready for the depth of the poverty. The poverty was palpable. And this is coming from someone who grew up poor in a Third World country.
6. Did you have to raise support money for this trip? If so, how was that process?
Yes, I had to raise support money for the trip. Raising money for the trip was not as difficult as I thought that it would have been. Additionally, some of the people that I did not expect to give are the ones that gave. The most amazing thing is that I feel truly blessed by God’s provision because He provided all the funds necessary for the trip. Approximately two weeks before the funds were due, I had basically no money. I was a little concerned, so I really started praying. And, the Lord answered my prayers and provided all the funds I needed for the trip!
7. Describe an experience you had while at Onesimus that impacted you.
It had started raining one afternoon, as it did almost every day. One of the younger children, about 3-years-old had to go to the restroom. One of the older girls, she couldn’t have been more than about 9 herself, picked up the younger little girl, removed the hood of her jacket from her head, placed it over the head of the younger child, and took her to the restroom. It brought tears to my eyes. It got me thinking, do I display that kind of selfless love to people I come in contact with? Am I putting love in action like that? It was one of those “look and learn” moments that will stay with me for a very long time. Indeed, I do not expect to forget that moment, ever!
8. What did God show/teach you during your time at Onesimus?
That I was not doing my part in “…go and make disciples in all nations…”
9. What is one thing you want everyone to know about Onesimus?
Everyone who has hope has a responsibility to share that hope and Onesimus is a great place to start. Jesus came to earth as a newborn baby. He healed a number of children while he was here on earth. The Bible tells us we must have childlike-faith if we want to go to heaven. It also tells us that children are a gift from God. Onesimus is a great place to start taking care of those gifts - to give them “hope and a future…”
10. Is there one Onesimus staff or child that you really connected with? If so, what drew you to him/her and what did you learn about his/her story?
Nati is special to me. As a mother of boys, my heart just melted every time I saw him. He gave me the honor and privilege of him falling asleep on my lap one day and I am still overwhelmed by the experience. I cannot say that I know his story beyond this --- Nati had on the same clothes for the entire week and in some places, the dirt was so thick on them, you could literally scrape it off; but that did not prevent me from loving him and giving him (and accepting from him) all the hugs that I could give him (and he me). I love this kid.