September Update From Nega - Salvations, School's In, and more

Each week I, Joe Bridges, talk with Nega Meaza, Director of Onesimus, to discuss important matters affecting him, the ministry, and the children both The Forsaken Children and Onesimus exist for. I am often privy to some very encouraging news on such calls that I would like to start sharing with you each month. These updates will be brief, containing only the details I have a chance to hear in my limited time with Nega, but I hope you will be able to see in them the undeniable hope that TFC and Onesimus are bringing to the street children of Ethiopia.


A few weeks ago the Onesimus Children’s Development Association shut down for 3 days of staff training. All Onesimus staff, 5 beneficiaries, and 5 beneficiaries’ parents attended the 3-day event. There, they were trained in three specific areas: Teaching Children, Understanding Street Children, and Evangelism. Nega described the time as a revival for all who attended.

“This training was so amazing that I’m certain it will fuel the staff for the entire next year or more of ministry.” ~ Nega Meaza

On the final day of training the staff and other attendees were broken up into 3 groups. One group stayed at the office and prayed for the other two as they went out to preach the gospel on the streets. I anxiously listened to Nega as he told me about the 6 different places near the Drop-In Center that the 2 groups of evangelists went to share Jesus to street children and street families.

At the end of the day the 3 groups came together and celebrated. The main focus of their celebration was the 30 children and adults who accepted Jesus as their Savior due to the teams' bold preaching on the streets of Addis Ababa! Since that day, Alex, Onesimus’s Ministry Coordinator has been busy meeting with this group of new believers to help them begin the process of discipleship. In the coming weeks, the Onesimus staff will be working to connect each of these new believers with local churches.

Schools In!

Girl's Halfway Home Bags
Girl's Halfway Home and Desse ready for school

School started for most of our beneficiaries on Monday, September 20, 2010. As probably any organization or ministry working with children in Ethiopia will tell you, September is the busiest and most challenging month as they prepare to send their beneficiaries to school. Onesimus is no exception to this reality.

Nega, Seblay, Mesfin, and Alex have worked tirelessly to get Onesimus’s beneficiaries ready for a successful school year. They distributed over 100 bags, fitted over 100 children for their uniforms, distributed exercise books, pens, and pencils, and registered approximately 130 children for school. If you think that sounds exhausting, you are absolutely correct especially as you consider doing it in Ethiopia where things don’t usually go as planned!

Kota Ganate Nega spent last week in Arba Minch and Chencha working with Terekeign, Kota Ganate Project Manager, to fulfill reporting requirements from the local government there. He said it was very tiring but worth it, because by the end of his trip all reports had been reviewed and accepted by the local government. Now, additional land acquisition will be much easier than before.

Hatchery – Pending funding, the current land that belongs to Kota Ganate will be turned into a Hatchery Operation starting in the coming year. This is exciting as it requires a very small piece of land and the expected profits that will start as soon as next year will be enough to cover approximately 4 months of Onesimus’s current operating expenses.

Children Updates Eleven beneficiaries from Onesimus, including the Halfway Home girls and Desse, went with Winners Chapel on a youth retreat two weeks ago. Upon returning all the children were excited to show off their “promise rings”. The Halfway Home girls were especially proud to announce that they had made a covenant with God to remain pure until marriage.

Fekadu at the Halfway Home
Fekadu (a.k.a. Abi) at the Halfway Home

Fekadu – After running away from the Halfway Home and then also from his family’s home two weeks ago, Fekadu came to the Drop-In Center this week to ask for forgiveness. It turns out that he felt discouraged, because he doesn’t feel like he will ever change. Pray that he will see the change that is evident to others in his humble and repentant response to his mistake of running away. He is back at the Halfway Home and started school with the others.

Esayes moved into the Halfway Home this past Monday. Nega asked for special prayer for Esayes, now 18 and in grade 10. Nega says that Esayes’s future is full of hope now as he is in a healthy environment. Grade 10 is very important in Ethiopia as it determines the future opportunities for students. For Esayes, who has not performed well in school up to this point, this year will be pivotal in his future opportunities.

Please Pray...

  • For funding for a new Drop-In Center facility. The current facility is too small and the rent is set to increase soon. The new center needs to stay in the same area as it is the most strategic location for working with street children, but since it is in the center of Addis Ababa, rent is very expensive. Pray that another facility will be found that is bigger and affordable.
  • For the Holy Spirit's guidance. Many extremely poor families have been coming to Onesimus this month to request assistance. Nega and his Management Committee have decided to accept 10-20 new beneficiaries. Pray for wisdom as they choose which beneficiaries to accept.
  • That Kota Ganate’s project site will receive the additional acreage it has been promised.
  • For the start-up funding (approximately $20,000) for the Kota Ganate Hatchery Operation to come in before the end of this year.

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Onesimus Soccer Team Street Ball - Ethiopian Style
Onesimus's Soccer Team Street Ball - Ethiopian Style