Today has been a little uneventful, but it’s been a good day with the team to reflect and meditate on what the Lord is doing here. It’s exciting to know that He is working and will continue to work long after we are gone. Even when we are faithless, He is faithful, because He cannot deny or disown Himself. What a glorious thought to know that it’s not our abilities or talents that are carrying the gospel forward, but God’s worthiness and holiness, alone. We went to the souvenir market today, called Post Office, which was a fun time. We got to interact with people in the community and speak gospel conversations even while shopping for y’all back home. Afterwards we enjoyed a good time of devotional and some stories from Nega tonight about his staff, the kids, and the work of Onesimus Ministries. Tomorrow we will be attending two different churches in the area, and our team is looking forward to it. Prayers are appreciated for the strength from the Lord to encourage our Ethiopian brothers and sisters in sharing the Gospel and enduring here in the tough conditions.
Yesterday was a very busy day. Jay was sick all night Thursday and unfortunately had to sit out to rest and get better, but he was a good sport about it all. Friday was spent with the kids from the drop-in-center and the halfway home. The boys from the halfway home got to stay home from school just because we were visiting. How cool?! The day was full of gospel presentation and fun activities. The Gospel is at work here, and the best part is that it’s nothing that we have done while we are here. The work of the Lord has been here way before we arrived. It’s so cool to see the power of transformation in lives – lives that are so different than my own, but it’s just as effective in changing who I am and who we are so that we love Jesus more and more every single day. The kids here are definitely hearing and learning the name of Jesus Christ. But more than that, they’re learning what He has done for us.
Today I learned that this neighborhood, Bethel, is one of the most predominate Muslim areas in Addis. The mosque with speakers on the roof is right across the street from us and we hear the neighborhood praying five times a day. It’s so sad to think that they’re devoted to simply their works themselves. I pray something radical happens and the power of the gospel shuts down the false religions and idol worship in Bethel, so it’s not a distractions to believers in the area.
Hanging out with the kids here has been so cool. They’re regular kids who want to play and just want to be loved. They sing, dance, smile, and love taking pictures. After a breakfast of French toast, we walked to the halfway home which is very close to the guest house. As soon as we got there the boys wanted to show us their rooms and their beds. They were all so proud of the space that they could call their own. They each showed us their own bunk and make it a point to show off their Bibles with their names written inside. It’s so precious to see the things that they have pride in. After interdictions and stuff, the boys decided it was a time for some soccer because we were still waiting on the boys from the drop-in-center. The boys wanted to play against us, but thankfully they took it easy. Soon it was time to start our program. We gathered up 30-40 kids in a small courtyard area inside their gate and told stories and made crafts. Alex translated for me as I told the story of King David; how he had faith in God to defeat Goliath, how he became king and eventually, even though David was a great sinner, he repented and still loved the Lord. God still loved David after he sinned, and He still loves us. Then we made crowns from yellow bulletin board border and jewels. After this we just got to hang out and talk with the kids while we were waiting on Tara to finish making lunch. They were dancing and singing, showing us their exercises and even had a homemade dumbbell. The boys loved doing pushups with Chad and Bobby. They each had their own special trick or talent that they wanted us to see or learn. We would teach them English words and they would try to teach us Amharic words. Jeriad was very good at interacting and taking pictures and just hanging out talking with them. It was so fun learning with them and spending time with them and getting to know them better. Next came an afternoon full of soccer. We took a lot of pictures together and played with the girls who were so excited to sing a song in English that another team had taught them. T o end the day with the children we had a gospel presentation using candy canes and handed out candy. They loved the ‘Christmas candy.’ When each of them had taken a candy cane it was time to say goodbye. They kept hugging us over and over and did not want to see us go.
We had dinner at Dimma Cultural Restaurant where they serve traditional Ethiopian food, have the traditional dancing and singing. The dancing and music were so cool. The dancers came off of the stage out into the audience and one of the guys led Bethany to the stage with him and she had to dance on stage. Bethany’s definitely got some moves, y’all.. who knew?! One of the ladies danced with both me and Jay in the audience. The experience there was very authentic!
Thank you all so much for all of your prayers, but we need them all the same. We love you for your faithfulness to us while we are ministering and encouraging.
Written by Kassi Nelson