Ethiopia Street Children

Team Ethiopia 2014 Days One and Two

Team Ethiopia, a short-term missions group from Central Church in Collierville, TN, is now on the ground in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and ready to serve! whole team

They've spent the past two days getting to their destination and adjusting to their home for the next 10 days. Here is a report from Cathy on how they're doing.


Day 1: Friday

Travel went beyond smoothly!! Although we had short connections and our flight out of Memphis was delayed about 30 minutes, we prayed and ended up in Houston with time to spare for everyone to go to the bathroom and get some food. Our flight to Frankfurt was smooth sailing, and we arrived with time plenty of time to make our connection. We got a surprise on our way to Addis Ababa: we all got to check Saudi Arabia off of our list of countries to visit! We stopped there to let off about 90% of the passengers, and then we all got to spread out with entire rows all to ourselves for the last 2 hours of our flight. We began to bond more as a team during each flight.

When we arrived in Addis, we got 2 surprises: 1) None of our 26 checked bags made it to Ethiopia, and 2) we were greeted by a wonderful welcome committee of Nega, some of his staff and several of the girls from Onesimus! It was a joy to see their faces and their excitement upon our arrival. We were each given a rose by the girls and hugged (credit elaine). They offered to carry some of our carry-on luggage for us, and we were happy to get them out of our hands after 30 hours of traveling! We took some cold showers and were happy to be clean despite not having all of our toiletries.


Day 2: Saturday

We had a pretty relaxing day getting adjusted to the time change and newness of Ethiopia. Some of us were woken up by a call to prayer from the Muslim mosque in the neighborhood. After we all got up, we had a fantastic breakfast – it was so good it was the highlight of some people’s day!! We had french toast, eggs and fruit.

We also attended a soccer tournament this morning between some of the local teams, and one of the teams was comprised of street children from Onesimus, the drop-in center The Forsaken Children works with. We got to see so many of the kids that are beneficiaries of The Forsaken Children, Onesimus and our Central Church team. They were a joy to watch.


Natalie, along with another couple of Team Ethiopia members, enjoyed playing a little bit of soccer with some of the boys before the game started. Katie and Lauren now have a couple of new boyfriends in the group of Onesimus boys. We also learned that Liz has an extreme love of the game of soccer.

Many people recognize and remember the returning members of our team, like Candice, Joe, Ben and Kelly. And Howard had fun facts for us at every turn, whether it was about Ethiopia or translating a phrase for us.


We enjoyed rest time after the soccer games along with a game of Fish Bowl. Lana did an excellent charade of “photosynthesis”, which Meme put into the bowl! We celebrated Meme’s birthday today!! We had a wonderful cake in her honor. The Freys joined us for dinner, which was another nice surprise!

During our debrief at the end of the day, Joyce told us the highlight of her day was waking up in Ethiopia. My (Cathy’s) highlight goes along with that: walking upstairs this morning and looking out the window at the beautiful view of the mountains and seeing God’s handy work was so peaceful. Despite the poverty and sadness that we see with the street children and so many of the people here, God really is in this place and He sees the beauty that we aren’t always able to see. I was so thankful that was my first daytime view of the city.


As I am writing this blog, the leaders returned with our bags – good news is that Candice’s, mine and Howard’s bags made it, but the bad news is we are still missing 24 bags! Please continue to pray for the bags to arrive along with our team to be effective for God this week! And don’t forget to comment so we can read them in the morning as our “mail”! Thank you for praying for us!

Love you all,

Team Ethiopia!!

Unsung Heroes

Unsung Heroes

My heart goes out to these unsung heroes working, battling, fierce-fully loving these forsaken children every day, but I am encouraged by the strength they attain from The Lord. The work that is done here is a testament for unnatural work the Spirit can accomplish when given freedom to do so.

The Endless Thread of His Love

The Endless Thread of His Love

What happens when people—children—are denied this sense of permanency? When girls and boys are forced to make their lives in the streets where the only thing permanent is the deep ache of hunger, loneliness, and despair?

TFC's Evening with Nega - Results Are In!

TFC's Evening with Nega - Results Are In!

At this year's Lasting Hope Annual Event on September 12 guests enjoyed great food, an AMAZING - seriously, it was awesome - silent auction, and heartfelt and inspiring stories straight from the fieldwork of TFC in Ethiopia. In short, the evening was PERFECT...

This is Christmas


By Rachael Burnett So it’s here. The lights, the trees, the music, the parties and family dinners, the shopping and the gifts. These symbols are the so-called staples of the American Christmas scene, and they seem to ever increasingly blur the connection between Christmas and that dirty Bethlehem feed trough that was graced with our Creator God in the smooth, pink skin of a baby.

This is Christmas

It seems so long ago and far away, doesn’t it? And really, was that “holy night” that big of a deal? Of course, we know that “Jesus is the reason for the season” and that GOD taking on flesh is a pretty big deal. Yet, somehow, we still often manage to miss it—to miss the BIGNESS of that event.

-The backwater carpenter, Joseph, and his unassuming bride, Mary, chosen to parent the God-Man through divine conception

-The Sovereign Creator bringing to fruition His redemptive plan that began back in the Garden when the “s” word severed us from our sole/soul joy and purpose—communion with our Father

-The Servant Son—knowing full well the agony He would endure—humbling Himself from the splendors of heaven to a straw-filled manger and eventually brutal death— bearing the separation for us

Not only did He bear the separation from the Father that we each deserve, but He completely conquered the breach so we could be fully and permanently restored to right relationship with Him—adopted and cherished as our Father King’s son or daughter.

Have you experienced that glorious grafting into God’s family? If you haven’t, you can; and if you have, won’t you just take a moment to revel in the peace that comes through knowing you are fully and permanently His? Nothing—no thing—is able to separate you from the love of God in Christ Jesus.

That fact is cause for “tidings of comfort and joy,” don’t you think? And what if we could let that comfort, joy, and peace spill out of us just a smidge (or maybe more!)? What if that unshakable peace and hope we know is just what our hurting neighbor, or the tired store clerk, or the lonely child needs?

Because, really, just what are we doing if we aren’t sharing the blessings (both spiritual and material) that have been lavished on us? I’m reminded that hoarding is toxic to the soul, while giving of ourselves and our resources allows us to take hold of that which is truly life.


While in Ethiopia with TFC this past summer, God graciously let me be part of sharing His great news of everlasting love with precious children like Metu and David, many of whom have nothing and no one that remains constant in their life. One of the primary reasons I love TFC is because they are committed to changing that norm.

Through the “Permanently His” Campaign and sustainability efforts such as the Kota Ganate Agricultural Project, TFC is working diligently to establish a sense of consistency and hope in street children’s lives by offering them a safe place to gather (recently, our drop-in center location was closed down due to a government reconstruction plan. The need is great for a new, secure facility), quality educational opportunities, healthy family structures and, ultimately, the eternal permanency of a relationship with Christ.

With the freshness of His coming in mind—the Father’s incredible example of sacrificial giving— would you consider partnering with TFC?

And would you consider refusing to give into the seemingly obligatory “holiday stress”? (It’s a worn out cliché anyway.) This is Christmas. HE—our Breach Repairer and Soul Redeemer— is Christmas.

O Holy Night

O holy night, the stars are brightly shining, It is the night of our dear Savior's birth. Long lay the world in sin and error pining, 'Till He appeared and the soul felt it's worth. A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices, For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn!

Fall on your knees, Oh hear the angel voices, Oh night divine, oh night when Christ was born. Oh night divine, oh night, oh night divine.

Truly He taught us to love one another, His law is love and His gospel is peace. Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother, And in His name all oppression shall cease. Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we, Let all within us praise His holy name.

Christ is the Lord Christ is the Lord, oh, praise His name forever His power and glory ever more proclaim! His power and glory ever more proclaim!

Fall on your knees, Oh hear the angel voices, Oh night divine, oh night when Christ was born. Oh night divine, oh holy night, oh night divine.

Consistency Matters

Consistency Matters

By Ed Gillentine, former TFC Board Member and continuous advocate for The Forsaken Children.I met Sossina, who I now call Sossie, when she was 8 years-old. . . For a reason only God understands, the first moment I laid eyes on Sossie – amidst countless other precious children – she stole my heart.

On The Farm Update #1 - Welcome to the Farm


Cow Grazing in the Mist We've drifted into the new year here in Ethiopia. The celebrations are over now, and we are settling into the pace of life in 2005. (That's not a typo - the Ethiopian calender is about 7.5 years behind the Western calender). The rains should stop this week, which signals a time of wait and watch as crops which were planted during krempt (the rainy season) grow to maturity. The end of the year is a busy time for farmers in Chencha. The month of Nahase (August for us) is the time to plow and plant a second round of crops. It is known as the month of “goom” (fog). The rains subside a bit, but, being perched at the top of a mountain, we are consumed by a heavy, misty fog off and on throughout each day as clouds drift by. Nahase was a busy time on our little farm, known officially as “Children, Community Strengthening and Income Generation” project (or CCSIG) - even the acronym is hard to say. We simply call it Kota Ganate (KG), which means “Hidden Garden”, and that is what it is.


The sign and main gate to the farm

When you turn off of the rutted, muddy road and enter the gates, you are welcomed by green grass, flowers, young apple seedlings and fertile beds of vegetables. Some days you may catch the community children playing soccer in our small field. The staff will offer you a seat and some tea in the sunshine just outside the office. As you wander through the site, you'll pass the apples to your right and the poultry compound to your left, with lots of noisy chickens inside clucking away.


Our house and the rest of the farm


On the way down the hill, you'll find my little house, where we love visits -partly for the visit, partly because it makes a good excuse to have a coffee ceremony. After my house are rows and rows of vegetables: potatoes, cabbage, garlic, onion, beets and carrots. Past those, on the far side of the property, you'll find women and children cutting the lush green hay to take home to their cows.



This is the first in a series of updates about our “Hidden Garden”. As we worked through the month of Nahase, I tried to capture everything on film so you can see for yourselves how far we've come.


The Office


The Office - Backside


Aster - Secretary


The KG Staff


Aregahegn - Assistant Coordinator


Tarekegn - Project Coordinator

Tarekegn running with the kids.


The new road


Working on the road

The front door to our house.


I hope you've enjoyed this little tour of the farm. Stay tuned. In the coming weeks I will show you some of the different things we are working on.

Rewards Day!


A couple of weeks ago, we were invited to attend a very special celebration honoring the academic achievements of many of our beneficiaries.  It was a Saturday morning, and, in addition to our beneficiaries, the Drop-in Center's compound was packed by the Onesimus staff, several teachers, and even some government officials. The half-way home kids put on a skit.  We heard encouraging words from one of the local government officials and several of the Onesimus staff members. Soft drinks and special cultural bread were served, and gifts were given to the top academic achievers. Fifteen boys and girls ranked in the top 10 of their classes - not bad for a bunch of former street kids. Several of the students were first in their classes. Tamrat received special honors for actually being first from his entire section.  Everyone had a good time at the celebration.

I hope that you enjoy the pictures below and will join us in celebrating the special achievements of this very special group of kids.



Team Ethiopia: Overflowing Joy

Team Ethiopia: Overflowing Joy

2 Corinthians 8:2, “Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty, willed up in generosity!”I think this verse sums up everything that we have experienced and the hearts of the children! Today was so encouraging and very affirming that what we are doing is making an impact! We all enjoyed so much of the kids’ love and affection through their contagious smiles and their heart melting hugs!

Team Ethiopia: Finding Words

Team Ethiopia: Finding Words

Finding the words to share with you is difficult. We have been in Addis Ababa for 48 hours and I think it is safe to say that all of us are feeling completely ruined-- so much we can't even comprehend it all. YET! Today was our first official day at the drop-in center. Our morning began with greeting the children...

Team Ethiopia: Keep Listening

Team Ethiopia: Keep Listening

There is no way to prepare your heart for this. You have to experience it. 24 hours into our trip and our eyes are wide open and our ears are listening. Tonight, Britainy received a letter from her sister in-law, Sally Townsend, and we think that it sums up exactly how we are feeling after our first day in Addis- we thought it was perfect to share.