Hometown: Germantown, TN
1. When did you visit Onesimus in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia?
I have visited Ethiopia twice: once in 2007 and then again in 2010.
2. Did you visit with a team or individually?
The first time I was ten years old and visited with my dad and then the second time I was 13 and visited with my whole family.
3. What was the purpose of your trip?
We went over to see how God was working and using the people we support. Also, my aunt and uncle used to live in Ethiopia so we were able to experience some of their life they lived for 20 years. But most importantly we came to share and love on the kids.
4. Did you have to raise support money for this trip? If so, how was that process?
For both trips, the Lord with the help of Central Church and my grandfather made it possible for us to make the trip. For the trip I will take in the summer of 2011, I will have to raise support money. I am trusting in God because I know that He will provide the money needed to go! I will send out support letters asking people if they would like to contribute either money or prayer support to help me go spread God’s love and Word.
5. What were your first impressions about Addis Ababa and Onesimus?
When I went to Addis Ababa for the first time, I was 10 years old. I was very overwhelmed and was very shy and I didn't talk that much. But when I returned in the summer of 2010, I was so excited! I was talking and soaking it up so much. It can be a scary place, but it is a place that really needs Christ. I loved being there and I felt that I had lived there for a long time. I was so blessed to be there and a little overwhelmed with the huge need for Christian homes and basic needs.
6. Describe an experience you had while at Onesimus that impacted you.
The girl that really touched my heart was B*. She is my age and is filled with so much joy. She has had a hard childhood and has been through a lot but is still smiling and joyful. The trip always convicts me and shows me that I am so blessed so why am I not more thankful. I also was able to share my personal testimony for the first time to a group of teenage girls at the Deborah House, which is another project located in Addis Ababa. I was so excited because I was sharing to girls my own age and was able to share what the Lord has done in my own life.
7. What did God show/teach you during your time at Onesimus?
The trip changed my life! I love all the kids and seeing how happy and grateful they are, even though they have nothing. The trip always convicts me and shows me that I am so blessed. I always leave Ethiopia with a joy because I know I can bring back home what I have learned. I always want to come back and tell people what I have learned and be a missionary where I live. It is also amazing to see how different people worship and live for Christ in other countries. God is working all over the world and we as believers are a part of His big mission and plan!
The trip in 2010 really prepared me for high school and being a light while stepping out of my comfort zone. I am attending Germantown High School filled with so many unbelievers and people focused on themselves. I have been able to reach out to the kids around me.
8. What is one thing you want everyone to know about Onesimus?
Everyone should know that Onesimus is a refuge and a place where kids on the street can come and be safe. The workers incorporate Christ into everything they do. They provide food and clothing for all the kids. It is a very loving and enjoyable place. They encourage the kids to participate and attend school. Many children are being ministered to and are accepting Christ in their hearts. The kids are precious and filled with so much joy.
Onesimus is a place I will never forget and a place I will come to again and again!
9. 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?
B* is the girl who I was drawn to. She is a beautiful girl filled with so much joy and is my age! She was raped when she was 11 and as a result has a fistula problem. Because of this, she smells and cannot hold her bladder. The part that impacted me the most about B was her love for the Lord and her huge smile that made me smile every time I laid eyes on her. She was very thankful even in the mist of her problem. She would come and give me hugs and sit by me when I was there. She spoke pretty good English, so we had a few conversations.
She has changed my life more than she could ever know. Thank you B! B is one of my heroes because of her courage and strength.
* B is used instead of the full name to protect the privacy of the child mentioned in this interview.