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Category Archives: Ethiopia

Ethiopia, Day 7 – January 2015

The last day in Ethiopia was spent training the Onesimus Staff on how to act when the boss is not around. Every staff memberIMG_2938 from the main office to the guest home cooks were present at the training. Each member of our team had a topic that we related to everyday life ranging from prayer to accountability, and we wrapped it all up with talking about how we don’t just work for people but ultimately we work and live for Christ.We finished around lunch time and then enjoyed food and fellowship with the staff.

After lunch, the staff wanted to continue to meet and we packed or things and prepared for the journey back to Arkansas. When the staff finished meeting we enjoyed talking to the staff while the boys enjoyed playing soccer and American football with them. That evening the staff prepared a traditional Christmas dinner for our farewell and we enjoyed a wonderful evening filled with laughter and love. As the staff presented each of our team members with gifts I couldn’t help but think how they should have been the ones training us and we should have presented them with gifts.

During our trip, I observed the staff and their servant’s hearts and love for Christ was extremely evident every day. If everyone had the desire to serve like they do I cannot imagine the amount of people that would be reached by the gospel. They encouraged me to do more to serve upon my return home. But one thing from the week that kept coming to my mind was the beautiful smiles on all the children’s faces. My heart is full of love for each and every kid, but I am reminded that God’s love for us is so much more. We are all created beautifully in God’s image regardless of age, race, or background we are LOVED!

While these children may not have a home or a family there a people in Ethiopia and in Arkansas praying that these sweet smiles come to know our God and that they will join our family. You see when you accept Christ you get more than a fairytale ending, you get a story that never ends, you receive an eternal home with our family and our Father in Heaven. My prayer is that these children continue to be reached by the gospel, that God would send laborers, that we would serve the way the Onesimus staff does here at home, and that there will be more life stories without an ending.

Written by Bethany Patton

 

Ethiopia, Day 6 – January 2015

IMAG0414Yesterday morning I finished the training for the pastors from the Addis Kidan Baptist Association.  I really love spending time with them talking through their ministries and applying the Word of God to their situations.  Most of these pastors live in or around the city of Addis Ababa.  There were a couple of pastors that came from almost 200 miles away, which is a long way to travel in Ethiopia.  For me, the highlight of our training was our times of prayer.  Wow, do these men pray with passion and fervency.  One of the pastors I befriended invited our team to come to his church for worship.  We wanted to worship with the national believers and were excited to have this opportunity.

On Saturday night I received a call from the director of Onesimus (Nega) asking if I would preach at his church.  How could I turn down such a sweet request and opportunity.  Luckily, Christmas occurs this coming Wednesday here in Ethiopia, so I was able to preach one of the Christmas messages that I shared at UBC during our Christmas season.  This church was a sweet fellowship of people.  They are a new church plant, but they had around 40-50 people there this Sunday.  I particularly enjoyed the lady leading worship.  She had a beautiful voice and truly loved the Lord as she sang.  After I preached, we left to go the church of my pastor friend.  As we were getting into our van, I was told that our plans had been changed.  The head of the Kidan Baptist Association had arranged for me to preach at another church in the heart of the city.  This church runs around 400.  We arrived as they were worshiping in song.  We could hear them from the streets.  As we entered into the building, it was filled with joyful believers literally worshiping with all of their heart, soul, mind, and strength.  They were singing, dancing, and shouting.  Everyone was engaged in all-out worship including the children.  I joked with the congregation that I wanted to either bottle some of their worship joy and bring it back with me or better yet, pack up a few of them in my large suitcase.  They asked me to preach for an hour which is not too difficult when you have to have everything translated.

Tomorrow is our last day here in Addis Ababa.  We’ll lead a training time with the Onesimus staff in the morning and then close out our time here.  It has been an incredible joy serving with this UBC team.  They have poured themselves out so faithfully, have been so flexible to constant change, and have been a tremendous blessing to so many, especially me.  This is one of the great privileges of being on a mission trip – knitting hearts with the other team members.  We look forward to returning to our church family and sharing about God’s good and faithful work in and through us.

Written by John Mueller

 

Ethiopia, Day 5 – January 2015

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

 

Ethiopia, Day 4 – January 2015

Today, our team took the boys from the Drop In Center out to a field where they played a lot of soccer.  It was “big time” for the kids.  They10891713_10203065800712786_7737769768603139667_n dressed in warm up suits and did “official” warm up routines in preparation for the big game.  They then changed into soccer attire and put a woopin’ on our team.  We shared Bible stories and the gospel again and did more crafts that they seemed to really love.  Our team’s hearts have really connected with the kids.

Yesterday and today, I’ve been leading a conference with a couple of dozen pastors from the city and countryside.  Our topic has been “The Great Missionary Call.”  I really love these guys (and one lady).  They are so hungry and thirsty for the Word and how to bring application to their churches.  I’ll finish with a half day tomorrow morning.  We’ll be going shopping tomorrow afternoon and will have a bit of a down day.

Written by John Mueller

 
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Posted by on January 2, 2015 in End of the Earth, Ethiopia, General Missions

 

Ethiopia, Day 3 – January 2015

Today is our third day in Addis Ababa serving alongside the staff of Onesimus. Today was incredible and absolutely amazed our Bobby with Students 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

 
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Posted by on January 1, 2015 in End of the Earth, Ethiopia, General Missions

 

Ethiopia, Day 2 – December 2014

Chad with Street KidDear Family and Friends,

We are now unwinding from our second day here in Addis, much of the team is pretty tired and we all plan on going to bed early, we have a big day planned tomorrow.  After eating breakfast here at the guest house we are headed to meet the children of the drop-in center early this morning.  It is easy to see the love of Christ in the staff there – they are always showing the love of Jesus while tending to the children’s many needs as well.  With thousands of street kids here in the capitol of Ethiopia, the drop-in center is a safe place where the kids can come and get two free meals, a nice hot shower, and people who they know will always love them.  Upon arrival it was very easy to connect with these children, although language is a major barrier, they really just long for people to pay attention and love them.

After the kids ate their breakfast, we got to meet all of them along with introducing ourselves.  Following introductions Kassi told a Bible story to the kids while one of the workers translated.  They did an excellent job listening and paying attention. After we quizzed the kids to see if they were listening, which they were, we did crafts.  We made sheep with brown paper bags and cut out sheep heads and leg. We used the crafts to explain how the Lord is the Good Shepherd, which tied into our memory verse Psalm 23:1,” The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.” We helped the children try to memorize this Scripture in English while our translator helped them in their native language.  We took a break in the shade and ate our snacks while the kids had their lunch. After lunch we played games, but because of the limited space we had to be creative.  We played all sorts of things from Legos and card games to heated 4-square games. After an hour or so of games, it was time for them to go which was sad.  The children put their own clothes back on which were torn and dirty as they head back into the streets.  It is an awful thought to think that these kids have no home to go at the end of the day, as they are fending for themselves in a city of three million people.

We returned to the guest house for a very short break. Pastor John had meetings with some of the leaders here and while he was doing that we were able to take a trip up to the mountains that overlook the city.  We headed up Mt Entonto to waves and waves of children walking up the mountain, going home from school, this was at least a few miles up for most of the kids.  We reached the top and got to take some really awesome pictures.  We prayed for the city of Addis as we overlooked it from the top of the mountain, it was a really cool experience.

We returned home to dinner and a devo from Jay – a great ending to a great day.  Please continue to pray the staff that works with street kids every single day.  Pray that they will have chances to share the Gospel with people who are lost.  Pray for this city, though it is very poor, it is more spiritually dead and needs Christ.  Pray that our team can be a blessing to the staff and to this city.

Written by Chad McCone

 
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Posted by on December 31, 2014 in End of the Earth, Ethiopia, General Missions

 

Ethiopia, Day 1 – December 2014

It is late at night on December 30, 2014 and we are writing from the Bethel Guest House in Addis Ababa. Today was our first fullDCIM100GOPRO day here after arriving late last night (technically early this morning). To change things up a little bit, I’m going to blog in reverse chronological order from when we left.

Today was an awesome day where the Lord was able to prepare us for the week ahead. We were able to meet with Onisimous to brief what the week would look like. More importantly however, we established a relationship with our hosts, who greeted us beyond joyfully with Cake, Coffee, Popcorn, and very kind words. They are an incredible group of people who already are displaying evidence of the passion for the Lord that He has instilled in each of them. About 15 out of their 30 employees were here. We were also able to initiate a deeper relationship with our van driver.

We got here around 3am after arriving at midnight and waiting three hours to get our visas and collect our luggage. Unfortunately, one bag did not arrive, to the disappointment of Bethany. However, we were all in great spirits as the excitement of arriving at our mission destination was much greater than the minor inconvenience of one lost bag. When we got to Bethel, we had about two hours to kill until the start of the Texas Bowl, which we were able to live-stream and cheer on our Hogs for at least the first half until everyone (except Chad) was defeated by jetlag.

Our flights were relatively smooth, and most of us were able to sleep decently as they were over our normal sleep schedules, in addition to checking several movies off of our lists. We did have one minor scare however at Chicago O’hare. Having about a 10 hour layover, we elected to go out into the city where we got some lunch and then took the bus to the Willis Tower Skydeck (formally Sears Tower). After waiting in line for four hours, we finally made it up to the 102nd floor of the tower, and the sight was breathtaking. Seeing as we had three and a half hours until our flight, we assumed we would be fine, as the ride back to the airport takes about 30 minutes, and we already had our boarding passes. As we arrived at our terminal, we proceeded to security, but were stopped because apparently Qatar Airlines makes its passengers carry Qatar boarding passes, as opposed to the exact same ones that American printed for us. Now y’all know for future reference if you ever fly Qatar. Well no big deal so we thought, until we walked over to the ticketing line for Qatar, which wound around the roped off lanes, plus half a mile down terminal (not exaggerating). At least the line was not moving. After starting to worry, and definitely pray, we were informed about ten minutes later that we could proceed to a shorter line that only took about 20 minutes. Phew.

It sure seems like more than two days ago that we woke up at 4:30 to drive to XNA.

God has big things in store for the rest of this trip. We can feel it buzzing in the air … well more like the Spirit moving inside of us. Regardless, we don’t know everything that is to come in the next few days, but we are available to be used by the Lord however He desires. We would love y’alls prayers for support and empowerment.

In Him,

Jay Harrington

 
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Posted by on December 30, 2014 in End of the Earth, Ethiopia, General Missions