God was on the move in 2016 in our little corner of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia! Come with us for a journey in pictures as we remember, celebrate and continue to pray about what God did in and through The Forsaken Children and friends like you, in 2016!
We started 2016 celebrating Metu. This young lady continues to radiate the hope she did one year ago. She amazed us a month ago when she boldly stood before 10 boys about to be restored to their families and gave her testimony. She shared how she, like them, had lived on the streets, indulging in the freedoms found there. BUT, her story changed because of God, Onesimus, TFC, and many of you. Way to Go Metu! We celebrate you as we begin 2017.
There is always a good reason to celebrate these two, Beziyu and Nati. This brother and sister spent many of their formative years wandering the streets of Addis Ababa. We celebrated Beziyu and Nati last February and are thrilled to say they both continue to be the strong and resilient children they were then. We are proud of you, Beziyu and Nati. We pray that 2017 can be a year of continued restoration for both of you.
Last March we highlighted a training to many of the parents we minister to through the SAFE Project. These parents represent hope for Ethiopia. Here Nardos' mom joyfully expressed how grateful she is to friends like you, who provide the means to rebuild their families. We celebrate Nardos' mom and all the other parents involved in our SAFE Project today as we step into another year of serving and learning from them.
In April, 2016 we were privileged to welcome more than 250 women, children and men from the streets to hear and experience the Gospel. The Onesimus Street Conference is worth celebrating because it is a place of healing and hope for many who have previously given up on any other life than one on the streets. As God changes hearts, we see many leave the streets for good. Over 30 people have been reunified with families they left years before after hearing about and embracing Jesus.
We may be biased, but we think Berikut (young man in the black bow tie) is pretty amazing. We celebrated him in May and continue to do so today! His name means "blessing" and that he is. You would never now that he spent much of his young life on the streets. He is now in 8th grade and loves singing, drama, and of course, soccer. Berikut, thank you for being a blessing to us everyday of 2016. We pray 2017 will continue to shape you into the blessing you were created to be.
Last June we introduced you to Amon. This young man lived on the streets for many years. He came to the Onesimus Street Conference in 2015 to simply make fun of the event and to get some free food. Well, that day God called him by name and EVERYTHING changed. He had multiple addictions, all of which God delivered him from that day. Now, Amon is part of our Drop In Center team. He is able to truly understand the children we minister to because he has been there. We celebrate Amon and how God uses us despite where we came from!
Every summer we are blessed by Central Church's investment in our on the ground ministry in Ethiopia. Since 2009 Central church has been our partner, sending teams to minister to the amazing children we exist for. In July, 2016 Kelly Dawson led the Central team, celebrating her 7th year partnering with TFC on the ground in Ethiopia. So, today we celebrate partnership. Without partners we could not be a part of sharing lasting hope with the children and families of Ethiopia.
In August we celebrated a successful end to the school year in Addis Ababa. This pic of Tigist receiving her reward for performing so well in school is priceless. Why? Because the gift giver is her father. We celebrate Tigist and the fact that she has a dad who cares deeply for her.
How can we not celebrate our wonderful team on the ground in Ethiopia. Here is a pic we shared of our Ethiopian team in September. These men and women are the hands and feet of Jesus. Thank you team!
In October our new Executive Director, Kelly McGugan visited our Ethiopian director, Nega Meaza and the team there. We are thrilled to be under the leadership of these two men who care so deeply for each other and for the street children of Ethiopia. May God bless you both in 2017!
In November we shared this picture of youth surviving on the streets. The man in the blue shirt - he's the one talking with his hands - is one of our team, Amon. Today we want to celebrate Amon and our other team members who go into places most of us would run from. We also celebrate the street children of Addis Ababa. These boys and girls are full of gifts and we are extremely blessed to be able to know these children.
You may remember Kenela, because we just shared his pic with you in December. Praise God that this young man was restored to his family (after being away for 4 years) just a few weeks back. Kenela's story is the perfect way to end our year in review, because he represents the children we serve and the outcome we strive for... He was RESCUED from the streets; He has been RESTORED to his family; We are diligently working to REBUILD aspects of his family that pushed him to leave home years ago. We celebrate Kenela and the future he has because of our work together.
These beautiful stories are possible because friends like you are willing to #MakeADifference through financial and prayer support. THANK YOU for an amazing 2016