Team Ethiopia is a short-term missions group from Central Church in Collierville, TN. They partner with our Ethiopian Team on the ground in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia for about a week. Here is their daily update regarding their experience and the way God moves in and through this ministry. We thank them for their service!
Written by: Meme Alleman, team member and TFC board member
Well, it’s Friday and our mission is about over. We all feel comfortable that we have accomplished what we came here to do.
We know that we came to Ethiopia on this mission trip with several goals:
1. To minister to the children in The Forsaken Children/Onesmius Program with a Bible School that focused on the theme - The Kingdom of God, through music, arts and crafts, Bible messages, and Bible application, as well as show these children that they are loved as we bring a deeper understanding of God and their relationship with Him.
2. Through this Bible School Program, The Forsaken Children's Ethiopian staff of Onesimus were able to step back and just relax a little as we took over in order to give them a break from what they do every day.
3. To minister to The Forsaken Children's Ethiopian staff, Onesimus with a staff retreat to honor their hard work and show them how much they are appreciated.
4. To have a field day for the kids with their own #RunYourStreet5K, enjoy soccer games, and relationship building.
With the gracious and encouraging words of The Forsaken Children's Ethiopian staff, Onesimus we feel that our first goal was achieved as we were able to minister to about 120 kids per day and probably touched over 160 in some way. We had very few problems and none that could not be worked out quickly, except for the extraordinary number of students and we described this as a 'good problem.’ Through pre-preparation, hard work and never-say-quit attitude we did it. The kids' singing and jumping at our last closing program made us all smile and we knew God had been glorified.
The Forsaken Children's Ethiopian staff, Onesimus did get to step back a little and just ask us what we needed them to do; but we absolutely could not have done this without their support and presence. From interpreting, serving food, staying with the team leaders, and crowd control, the staff laughed and smiled and loved on us the whole week. It just kept us going. This is a wonderful, godly team of people that God has brought together in a miraculous way to serve Him in such a special way.
Today we were able to have our staff retreat. We went to a resort area about an hour away from Addis Ababa and started the day with a breakfast. We had a high energy soccer game with a very competitive group of Ethiopians in which we just hung in there and did the best we could, mostly get out of the way. The rest of the day we went swimming and then had an amazing lunch before starting the drive home. Almost every member of The Forsaken Children's Ethiopian staff, Onesimus was able to come to the retreat. This was a well-deserved break for them. This is a special treat that many of these staff members would never get to do and we just wish you could have seen their smiles, hear their laughter, but most of all shared in their love for each other. They are obviously just a big, happy family who made us feel just as loved and cared for as they do for each other.
Tomorrow is our field day! This is a great way to end our trip and we will let you know tomorrow how that went.
During debriefing today, our discussion kept drifting to one main thing that we have seen over this week. The Forsaken Children both in the United States and in Ethiopia have made great strides to reach their goal of touching the lives of the homeless street children of Ethiopia. Many of the kids who have come through the Drop-In Center Program came back to visit this week with our team members who have been coming for many years. Many of these children are now in higher levels of school, back with their families, and attending universities. We had over 30 older kids with us each day. We found that the kids who have been in the program in the past have been encouraged to continue in school and we found that some of them just want to be around The Forsaken Children's Ethiopian staff, Onesimus. It just demonstrates to all of us that the program is working and changing lives. To God be the Glory!
- Meme Alleman