By Randall Johnson, TFC Board Member When asked to share something that applied to this Christmas season, I could not think of any better story than that of Metu's. Her story encapsulates the beauty of Jesus' work in a desperate life through God's gift of salvation.
Her real name is not Metu, but that is the name she has adopted because her own name is still too painful to use. I don’t know why, but when she lived on the street and experienced the abuse that comes from such a life, the use of her real name was something she felt compelled to give up and took on the name “Metu” instead.
I made my visit to Addis Ababa in 2009 with my wife and one other Central Church member for our short term ministry trip. Our drive from the airport with Joe Bridges was a time for him to download about a little girl, Metu, who was coming to the drop-in center but who was causing disruption when there. Joe was concerned about her. When her grandmother, some years earlier, had come up completely empty in terms of providing for her grandchildren, she dropped Metu off on the streets of Addis Ababa. The belief, desperate hope we might rather term it, was that somehow God would take care of this child when the grandmother couldn’t.
I remember feeling that I was going to meet Metu and that she was going to respond to the gospel. My prayer partner had told me before I left that he had experienced the strangest vision of a little girl coming to Christ as a result of my ministry there. I began praying for Metu.
I did meet her and as we spent the next several days doing a modified vacation Bible school with the children at Onesimus I grew to love and enjoy this diminutive girl with the painful past. It was hard for her to trust that people loved her instead of just wanting to get something from her. Our team poured out the love of Jesus Christ in great huge buckets on all the children, including Metu.
On our last day I presented the gospel and told the children that if any of them wanted to talk further about how to become a follower of Jesus Christ, to ask one of the Onesimus staff to meet with me. Not much later Metu brought our translator to me and he told me that Metu wanted to follow Jesus. I explained the gospel again and asked her if she was sure she wanted to commit her life to Christ, and she said she did. Oh, the joy!
My heart has been knit to hers ever since. She continued to have struggles but became more and more trusting and obedient to her caregivers. She entered the halfway home and got off the streets. One day she will hopefully be united to a family who loves her. I fully believe that God is going to use her to reach others with the message of hope she has received. Yes, there is much growing to do. But her great pain is going to be her great ministry.
I accepted Jesus when you were teaching about Ten Commandments and you asked what we were learning. I answered to you, “all people should accept Jesus.” Then you asked me, “are you willing to accept Jesus Christ as your personal savior?” I said yes, and you prayed for my life. That was the first day in my life that I made a decision to accept Jesus!
There are many changes in my life: I was sleeping outside on the street but now I am staying at a house, I did not pray before I accepted Jesus but now I pray, I did not read the word of God before but now I read; when I make mistakes I repent for my wrong doings; most of my time I think about God’s kingdom and now I obey for the staff and Fetile. [Fetile is the house mother for the girls’ halfway home]
Thank you for asking me about this and praying for me. Nega tells me about you.
With much love,
Your daughter in Christ,
Makes a father’s heart proud!