Team Ethiopia: Keep Listening

The following is an update from Team Ethiopia, a small group from Central Church in Memphis, TN, who will be serving as short-term missionaries at Onesimus Children Development Association in June 2011. We’ve invited our dear friends and ministry partners to post their trip updates and prayer requests here on the TFC blog. Enjoy…

Liz with Sarah, Betiyu, and Nati

Sunday, June 12, 2011

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us. “ Ephesians 3:20

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.


“God has called you out of your comfort zone. He has taken you halfway around the world and brought you to a land filled with suffering and injustice. Where the comforts that we almost constantly take for granted seem like a fairytale. He is likely ripping the blinders off your eyes and asking you to take a real look at HIS children. Not reading about them, praying for them, or sending a check, but He is asking you to be His hands and feet to them. To open yourself to Him in such a way that He can pour His perfect love out on these children who are desperate for hope, desperate to feel like they matter to someone.

I am sure you are already feeling the weight of this honor , to be called by God to be His messenger. I’m sure you’ve already asked the question, “but what do I have to give?” Brit (team), God has infused you with compassion and joy. It has been knit into every fiber of your being. For you entire life, others have seen it and flocked to you. The same will happen here in this unfamiliar land. There is no mistake that you are here. You are in the center of God’s perfect will. He called you here and you listened. Keep listening….

This can be a time of deep revelation, where God may choose to reveal His heart to you in a way that you could never before comprehend. You may feel overwhelmed. You may feel ill-equipped, but embrace those moments and just let God fill in the rest. I believe that what you will experience in these 10 days will have an impact far beyond the people you come into contact with this week. I believe that this will be a defining marker for you and will help chart the course for what the rest of your time here on this earth is going to look like.

My prayer for you is that you will never be the same. That God will use this time to draw you into an even more intimate relationship with Him, that He will strengthen your passions, that He will increase your faith to take bigger steps that may go against the grain of the world, but scream HE IS ALIVE AND WORKS FOR THE GOOD OF THOSE WHO LOVE HIM!!!

Soak this in, Brit (team). There is going to be so much to try and take in. Allow God to be the first person you debrief with- not the gal sitting next to you in the van or the person you’re sharing a room with- go to Him and let all your emotions overflow. For me, those were the times when God spoke to me the most clearly and allowed me to better understand the depth of His love for His people.

To say I’m excited for you would be the biggest understatement I could possibly muster. To say I am proud of you, would almost be awkward because I feel I might be giving you credit when really it’s God we should be focused on. We both know that all of this is HIS doing. I’m just thankful beyond words that you possess the humility to follow God’s plan for serving, not your own and that you have the faith to take steps forward even when you aren’t certain of the outcome. Enjoy the process of your heart being divinely awakened by God….”


Thank you, Sally, for writing this for Britainy. However, it meant so much to the entire team as we felt like you wrote exactly what our hearts were trying to sort out.

While I would love to share every detail of our precious day with you, too much happened and I would be up all night trying and well, we need our rest... we have children we can’t wait to see, squeeze, hug and love on first thing in the morning! It was a great day- a day filled with God!


Below are highlights and prayer requests from each team member:

  • Kelly D.

Highlight: Seeing some of my favorite kids again and loving on them . Prayer Request: Pray for continued team unity and for discernment when talking to the kids about Jesus.

  • Britainy

Highlight: Attending church at IEC; worship was amazing and for me a small glimpse of what Heaven will be like- multi-cultural and beautiful voices Prayer Request: for me to be open to what He wants to teach me

Highlight: Seeing the kids again and having them run and swarm me! I loved it when they would hold your hand and not let go and their smile melted my heart with joy, it reminds me of God and how he never lets go of our hands and is always there to hold us! Prayer Request: God would captivate me and change me; and I would have open eyes when I get back home to see where God is calling me to change and give my time.

  • Bree

Highlight: Loving on the kids and just being with them, seeing God in so many places- His spirit in our team and in the faces of the kids. Prayer Request: Pray that we won’t be weary, and that we will give everything to God and just let God ruin and devastate us.

  • Michelle

Highlight: Church today was a piece of heaven. People of every nationality were worshiping God together.  The kids are amazing! Their unconditional love has blown me away! Prayer Request: Satan is attacking my diabetes like crazy. Even if I have normal numbers, I have been feeling dizzy and unbalanced. Please pray for healing, I need it. I learned today that Nega’s wife has been healed of her diabetes—it gives me so much hope and is building my faith.

Highlight: It was so good to see all of my children again today after one year. God is amazing. Prayer Request: Please pray for our team that God will do mighty and miraculous things through us.

Highlight: My highlight was seeing how much the sports program has grown. Seeing all of the kids come running to me calling me by my name and nickname, “Rooney”, was awesome. Also, seeing how many people were asking about my wife, Heather, meant a lot. It reaffirmed that she has made an impact on them.

  • Nicci

Highlight: The highlight of my day was being immersed with the children. All these children want is love and I can’t get enough. Also, I found Tsegaye, the child I have been praying for over the last month, in a sea of many children. It was such a precious moment and an immediate connection. I can’t wait to love on her some more! Prayer Request: I have been here for less than 24 hours and God has ruined me. I am so in love. Please pray that God will continue to convict me and tell me what I am supposed to do next. Also, pray that I will listen with a willing heart to do whatever it is he has planned for me.


Thank you all for loving us and taking this journey with us. Tomorrow is our first day at Onesimus.  Please pray that we are able to do all that He has planned for us.  He reigns!

Much Love,

Team Ethiopia (Nicci)