Ethiopian Church

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On Sunday, we gathered with over 1,000 Ethiopian believers, and were impacted with the sincere worship and unashamed joy of the African Church. This service gave us a new glimpse of heaven. I could imagine in a new way what heaven will be like with every tribe, and tongue and nation worshipping our great God.

Team Members Arrive

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The team arrives in Addis Ababa

Our advance team arrived three days early to finalize details of the time in Africa. On Monday night, the final team members arrived and began our journey to orphanages in Ethiopia and Uganda

Leper’s Church & Community

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The Pastor of the Leper’s Church (L)

Turning off the main road unto unpaved, bumpy, trash-filled streets, we knew that we were headed for a place out of our comfort zone. The leper colony in Addia Ababa is home to 15,000 lepers. Our discomfort was not just physical. It was nearly impossible not to notice the overwhelming smells, the swarming flies, and the staring eyes all around. We walked into a small courtyard with the leper’s community church building. It’s a simple structure made out of blue plastic and large sticks for the walls and ceiling. It has a sackcloth floor, collected from the dump. The pastor beamed as he described the history of the church and the joy at having this beautiful pace to worship. This is the worship center to over 200 members.

Behind the church is a weight room that is used for evangelism ministry using hand-made weights from materials found in the city dump. The innovation and creativity are unbelievable. The Sports Center is a way to build relationships with people to be able to share about the Lord. The lepers are now free from leprosy, but will always be outcasts in society. We were dismayed to hear that many of them cannot get a job or go to the normal places we take for granted. They dig through the dump to find something to eat. For many people this church is their only source of hope.

The Forsaken Children

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We pulled up to a small alley, and walked through the metal door to the courtyard buzzing  with activity.  We arrived just at lunch time, and saw the final prep for a wonderful meal at the Forsaken Children Shelter.  The children were seated in benches around the courtyard, and soon were enjoying their noon meal.  For many of the children, this is the only meal that they will have today.  
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These are the kids who live on the streets of Addis Ababa.  There are over 60,000 orphans in Addis Ababa, and these children represent that desperate multitude.  The children will receive a meal, clean clothes, and teaching to prepare them to enter school.  All of them live on the streets.
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As soon as the meal ended, we broke out the balloons and lollypops.  This is where Donna shines.  She always brings lollypops for the kids in the children’s homes, and was soon swarmed with kids eagerly waiting for her gift.  Amber brought balloons, and the courtyard was filled with lollypops, and balloons being bounced in the air.  These children were just being kids, a dramatic change from their life on the streets. 
The children gave us gifts, and sang fun songs.   Then we heard how this organization is changing the lives of these children.  The Forsaken Children shelter is giving hope to the hopeless.