A Global Missions Team
As I process my trip to Ethiopia, that is the phrase that I think best encapsulates our time. It was not a typical “short term missions trip”. Yes, we did two medical clinics, we delivered school supplies, we painted a widow’s new home, we passed out food, sang and spoke at a church, and visited in people’s homes. (More on some of those things in a later blog!)
But, what I think is even more important and long-lasting? We spent time encouraging and loving the precious Ethiopian ministry leaders and front-line missionaries. What seemed so simple to me proved to be a wonderful break and refreshment for them.
This wasn’t a typical missions trip where we arrive with our team, serve with our team, and then leave with our team.
We were an emotional mess leaving Ethiopia this time around - and it’s because we left a huge part of our team on the ground. Be There Ministries calls these trips “Support Trips” for good reason. We come to encourage and support the ones who serve their own people tirelessly for the sake of the Gospel. What a joy!
So, what did we do with our many Ethiopian teammates?
First of all, the school supplies that so many of you donated to fill my suitcases were so overwhelming to my new friend, Meti, who will soon be a teacher! Thank you all so much!! When I took her to open my totes and suitcases, she told me that she’d been worrying all day about how she’d be able to find enough school supplies for all the students. She was overjoyed to see everything I had brought!
In a partnership with Open Schools International, there will be a new school program starting soon! The goal of Open Schools is to take kids who have had little to no previous education and give them the help they need to span the gap between living on the streets and succeeding in government schools at a fourth grade level.
While there, we visited two existing school programs to observe and ask questions. Both of the school programs we visited are located in Korah, the trash dump of Addis Ababa. The children at these school programs live at the dump, where their parents often make a living by digging through trash to find food or plastic to sell. They have many emotional, spiritual, physical, and educational needs... all of which are addressed at these Open School programs.
We met the students in Korah, played ball, jumped rope, and watched their amazing teachers and cooks do what they do best! The curriculum is generally set - Bible, numeracy, and literacy (in English) are the primary subjects. In addition to those, the individual teachers get to decide what to add to the schedule. The school programs we visited added in Amharic lessons and imaginative play! In some cases, feeding programs and basic hygiene education are also included.
I recommend checking out their website! https://openschoolsworldwide.org/en/
A good friend of mine is the director for Ethiopia, Toi Mears. She’s an amazing resource and truly loves those kiddos! She will work closely with the leaders of the new school program.
I am thrilled to see another school program like this begin!
My sweet new friend Meti will be one of the teachers of the new school program! The students will be young boys who currently live on the streets and do whatever it takes to survive. The weight of ministry that Meti and her husband Tekabe are taking on is incredible. They will need constant and faithful prayer to fuel their energy and eternal perspective. I am blown away by the way God is using them in Ethiopia. It is such a blessing to stand beside them and help in any way I can!
I’m so thankful to have teammates all over the world!