Published Fri, Mar 11, 22.
Written by Scott Chleborad.
Since 2013, we've been bringing people to Ethiopia who want to give out of their resources - not only their treasure, but their time and talent as well. We've had many conversations with these "hands-on" people on many bus rides from Addis Ababa to our schools in Hosanna and Ottoro. Due to the proximity of the airport and our regular hotel accommodations, it typically takes us at least an hour to weave our way through the congested streets of the capital. And typically, this initial portion of the trip provides an immersion experience into the many hardships and difficulties that Ethiopians face on a daily basis.
Our "hands-on" visitors have always taken lots of photos on the bus ride through Addis Ababa, and they ask lots of questions about the plight of those living on the streets that we're traveling on. Answers are often hard to find, especially when it comes to homeless children. About a year ago, we learned about the growing trend of young children inhaling gasoline so that the euphoria would help block their hunger during the day and the cold they experience at night. It was also a year ago that all the pieces began to fall into place so that our organization could become more "hands-on" with poverty in Addis Ababa and elsewhere in Ethiopia.
This past October, we brought in a group from the US again, like we've done so many times before. But this time, we stayed in Addis Ababa and directed our efforts toward the Megenagna region of the capital where many of the homeless population congregate. Our visitors, from Central Church in Sioux Falls, trained and prepared alongside local Ethiopians from other churches before going out and getting "hands-on" with the homeless and destitute. Local volunteers stayed awake all night preparing food. Our staff procured and delivered 300 blankets and our host facility scrambled to find generators as the power had gone out. But the day finally came when we set out into the neighborhood with invitations inviting the homeless to come and eat and to receive the gift of warmth.
Popular Ethiopian recording artist, Hanna Tekle, graciously sang for our homeless guests as they cautiously walked into the space we had prepared for them. The room was filled with beautiful music, love, and a strong sense of God's physical presence. We sat with our guests and held their hands and played with their children. Some members of our team shared about hopeless times they had experienced in their own lives, and how Jesus met them in their place of need. About a third of our guests came forward to pray and we exchanged information about how our organization could follow up and help them further. Then we fed 300+ people and gave them blankets to use wherever they might be sleeping that night.
Our thanks go out to the "hands-on" team that decided to be part of the solution and to bring hope to the hopeless on the streets of Addis Ababa. In early February, we completed our second outreach to the war-torn region of Dessie, Ethiopia. In 2022, we have (3) three more outreach trips planned in various communities. If you or your organization would like to be "hands-on" with the "poorest of the poor" in Ethiopia, we'd be glad to visit with you about logistics and fundraising and even your own ideas for missions and outreach. Visitors of all ages are invited to explore this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Call us toll-free at 877-678-1099 or email us at email@example.com.