Each week I, Joe Bridges, talk with Nega Meaza, Director of Onesimus, to discuss important matters affecting him, the ministry, and the children both TFC 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.
|Fitela with her girls - she is the house mother for the girls|
Fitela (House Mother and Cook) – I am so impressed by Fitela. Her name can be associated with almost all of the following stories of children coming to Christ, changing their behaviors, and growing. Fitela prays so diligently for all of the children and really commits herself to teaching them about the Lord. Praise God for such a wonderful woman working with Onesimus.
Seblay (Social Worker) – Seblay joined the Onesimus staff recently and she is extremely beneficial to Nega and to the children we work with. She officially started work at Onesimus last week, but prior to that she was volunteering. I am excited to have her working with us – she obviously loves the children from her heart and her social work skills are such a necessity. Changing Children: Meaza left the Halfway Home several weeks ago. At that time she seemed unemotional and desperate to be free from the home, Fitela, and structure. She came back to the Halfway Home after being gone for only a week. She came back in tears and very repentant. Since her return, she has been doing great.
Desse is doing really well. He even said he wants to go to his family in Gondor after seeing all of the other family reintegrations that took place over the Summer. Nega told him that if he stays in the Halfway Home and finishes a year of school then he can go to his family in Gondor. Nega sounds very hopeful that this will happen. Could you imagine Desse off of the streets for good? That would be such a tremendous testimony. Let’s pray for that. For those who do not know, Desse was Onesimus’s original beneficiary and has been on again off again in the ministry for over 3 years.
Halfway Home Family Visitations: Metu went to visit her grandmother and younger sister. Her grandmother was so poor when Metu’s mother died that she brought Metu to Addis Ababa and left her to “grow by chance,” which is a common cultural concept. Metu expressed how grateful she was to see her grandmother and sister after over 4 years of separation.
|Metu (right) with her sister and grandmother in August|
Nebiyu went with Nega to visit his mother. Nega said he was so surprised to see how excited both Nebiyu and his mother were to see each other (their history is not a good one). Nebiyu stayed the weekend with his mother and then returned to the Halfway Home on Monday.
Abi went to visit his mother and sisters. Nega said that the situation is so confusing because as good as Abi’s family seems, he is still unwilling to stay with them more than a few days. Nega said that it seems Abi is very affected by all the time he has spent on the streets, sometimes acting crazy, but that he is a brilliant student.
Yohannes (see last month's blog about him), who was reintegrated into his family this month, and his mother came to Addis Ababa to finish the process of transferring his school records. Nega said that Yohannes was doing very good and was still excited to be home with his family. Drop-In Center News:
|Tamrot at the Drop-In Center where he accepted Christ|
Fitela felt the Holy Spirit prompting her to talk to one of the Drop-In Center boys, Yared, about Jesus. When she got up the nerve to pull Yared aside, she was surprised when two of the other Drop-In Center boys, Tamrot and Nati, asked to join the discussion. As it turned out, all three boys had been discussing what they had learned at the Drop-In Center and how they wanted to repent from their sins and follow Jesus. Long story short, all three of the boys accepted Jesus as Savior. Nega said it is obvious that these boys are changing. He said Tamrot is preaching to his family and friends. I am thrilled to see how God is working in all the phases of Onesimus from the Drop-In Center to family reintegration.
Foster Care Training:
|(from left) Alex, Seblay, and Nega at Foster Care Training|
Nega, Alex (Ministry Coordinator), and Seblay (Social Worker) all participated in a foster care training last week. It was so fantastic to hear the excitement in Nega’s voice concerning foster care. For quite some time the concept of foster care seemed daunting to him and therefore to me, but this training brought it all into perspective. As they heard from Ethiopian organizations who were successfully using foster care for their children, hope for this developing phase for Onesimus began to creep in. By the end of the training all three Onesimus staff not only understood foster care better, but also embraced it as the obvious next step for the children in our Halfway Homes. They left the week with an activity plan for how Onesimus can begin implement foster care within the next 2-3 years. Kota Ganate News: The Kota Ganate Truck – Nega was thrilled to tell me that the Kota Ganate truck is loaded, which means it is that much closer to Ethiopian soil (it is being shipped from Dubai, where it was purchased due to the expense of purchasing a similar truck in Ethiopia). Nega said this is "Betam [very] Awesome" news, because the paperwork showing that it was loaded arrived before the bank had even finished its process. Even the bank representative was surprised. This means that the Kota Ganate Agriculture Project should have its truck soon.
|Kota Ganate's truck - Thank you to all those who contributed!|