Today is our third day in Addis Ababa serving alongside the staff of Onesimus. Today was incredible and absolutely amazed our entire team, as well as the native staff that regularly serve the street kids here. Onesimus ministries had been planning a conference since before we arrived. We were expecting around 200 children to attend and once everyone piled into the tiny, international church, there were over 300. The program began just as any service in a southern Baptist, American church – with loud music drawn from a keyboard and 300 Amharic yells to our Father. There was such joy in everyone’s hearts as we worshipped.
The program was littered with cultural dances and relatable dramas, as our hearts were broken over some of the kids consuming highly addictive Ethiopian drugs directly behind our group. These drugs are sometimes what dictate these kids lifestyle and those afflicted by addiction will literally sell the only shirt on their back to obtain these drugs. However, there was a beautiful sermon by a pastor who preached the gospel with such great passion. He gave an altar call near the end for whoever had accepted Jesus as their Savior to come. Jesus saved over 40 homeless children of Ethiopia today! Zambiemusca(or praise God)! There were possibly many addictions that were handed over to Jesus this afternoon and we have possibly gained 40 new brothers and sisters all the way across the Earth.
Throughout the conference, a staff member attempted to translate and convey all the amazing things that had taken place. Then, after the conference ended, we served an “enjera” lunch to them all. Some kids were highly grateful for the meal and others would steal the plate of the weakest child trying desperately to hide his meal for fear of such.
While the conference was running, John was elsewhere in the city training other pastors of local churches. He taught on how to spread the gospel, disciple their flocks and lead in their homes. As the session ended, one man prayed to finish and, in the words of John, “it felt like heaven was coming down”, as ‘Amens’ and thunderous praise came from the Ethiopian pastors, hungry for God’s Word. It is truly a glorious blessing to see the joyful hearts of those who play on gravel with their bare feet and sleep side by side at night under the same blanket. To see the Gospel transcend language barriers and cultural differences is an awesome and worthy gift from God. We are so privileged that we, as English-speaking Americans, can come 10,000 miles from home to play soccer with bankrupt, Ethiopian 12 year-olds. It is only possible because of the work of our Lord. He who saved us and called us to a holy calling, just as He’s called these amazing children, not because of anything that they have done or that we have done ,but it’s only by His own purpose and grace which He gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began. Thank you church family for tracking with us so far and be prepared for more of God’s great and mighty work later on! We love you all so much and “amasegenalen” (or thank you) for supporting us.
2 Corinthians 4:1-15
For His glory,
Written by Bobby James