Control and Crunchy Cinnamon Bagels

The Real Experts - The Onesimus Children's Development Association's team

Today I drove around snowy Kansas City, where I’m visiting family, looking for a place to get some work done. I felt a jolt of excitement watching all the big, expensive cars passing by and the shopping centers slipping past one after another.  I wanted the things I saw – the nice cars, the shiny gadgets in those stores, the rich food at all the restaurants, and basically the convenience, comfort, and fun I perceived having them would bring. Do thoughts of new things ever exhilarate you like that?

As I sat down in the nice café I chose as a workspace I felt a thud of anxiety in the pit of my stomach when I thought about an Onesimus beneficiary – a 13 year-old former street girl – that is currently facing some overwhelming challenges in Ethiopia. Oh how I wanted to escape back to my pointless daydreaming.

I did briefly forget about the child as I enjoyed the taste of the comfort food I had purchased. But as I swallowed my last bite, her face raced back to the forefront of my mind. An emptiness accompanied as I realized how shallow I can be. I needlessly bought a crunchy cinnamon bagel to in essence help me forget about a little girl halfway across the world in Addis Ababa, probably hungry, who has decisions looming that are too big for even an adult like myself.

Let’s face it; we’re all in the same boat as Westerners (most of us anyway). We want what we want when we want it! Our consumption is how we control our lives – and others for that matter. We do what we want, buy what we want, eat what we want, destract ourselves how we want, and even expect others to give us what we want.

That last point – we expect others to give us what we want – hits me at my core. As I consider my relationship with Nega Meaza and the ministry of Onesimus I can see how on so many occasions my big head has gotten in the way. I have thought I knew best and used my “education” and “resources” as my right to take charge. At times, I have even let my desires dictate what I expect/want from a fruitful ministry to the neediest of children, distracting it from its true potential.

Are you in partnership with an Ethiopian ministry or organization? Take it from me; it’s time to take a step back and let the experts, the Ethiopians, lead the ministries to their vulnerable and hurting children. We can come alongside them and offer support, encouragement, and yes, when appropriate, resources/training along the way. More than anything we have to learn to trust someone other than ourselves - giving up our control!