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: Mary Beck and Alexa Brainard, team members
Today we had our last day with the kids. The field day started off with breakfast and then headed straight into the #RunYourStreet5K races around the soccer field. The kids were divided into groups based on age and gender. The top three kids in each group got a medal at the end of the day. After the races, The Forsaken Children's Ethiopian Team, Onesimus boys’ soccer team played against the local school team. All of the kids on the sidelines cheering and chanting kept the game fun and competitive. Our team scored the first goal and the momentum of all the excitement led them to a victory. At the end of the soccer game, we played a game similar to a piñata that the staff picked out.
Following the awards ceremony for the races, we all headed to the The Forsaken Children's Ethiopian Team, Onesimus Drop-In Center for lunch. Since it was our last day, we decided to step out of our comfort zone and eat the Ethiopian food that was prepared for everyone. We were able to sit alongside the kids as they finished their meal and began heading towards the bus. Once all the kids finished their meal, they packed into the bus as we waved them goodbye.
The Forsaken Children's Ethiopian team, Oneimus prepared a very appreciative closing ceremony for us once most of the children had left. (The Half Way Home children stayed for the closing ceremony). They performed a very intricate coffee ceremony much like the welcoming ceremony, but this time saying our goodbyes instead of our hellos. They showed their appreciation for our time in Ethiopia by giving each of us traditional Ethiopian clothing. They proceeded with speeches from both the Central Church team and the Onesimus staff and some of the beneficiaries. They showed their great appreciation for how much we invest in the kids over our short stay. Not only did they thank us abundantly, but as one of the beneficiaries said “do not only come again, but come always”. Just like everyone who has spent time with these kids does not forget about them, the kids are the same in that they do not forget about you either.
Being new to the team, The Forsaken Children's Ethiopian Team, Onesimus seemed like complete strangers when we arrived, but leaving a week later they have all turned into family that we will never forget. One of the final statements made in the closing ceremony was that we were not leaving, but rather returning to our first home and we would be back to our second home, Ethiopia, soon. All the tears and laughter shared on this trip have made it the most unforgettable week.
Please pray for safe travels as we return to the U.S. tomorrow. We can’t wait to share all of the memories and experiences that God has provided.
- Mary Beck and Alexa Brainard