This summer has been full of missions adventures! On May 30th, a group of 15 people from Gateway headed to Yetebon, Ethiopia. After a 13 hr. flight, we arrived in Addis Abba, the capital of Ethiopia. We were greeted at the airport by Marta Gabre- Tsadick and her son Lali. Marta, and her husband Deme, established Project Mercy in 1977. Project Mercy is a Christian non-profit organization which focuses on community development and self-help programs, such as relief, infrastructure, health, farming, children, education, and vocation.
Our team was able to travel through the countryside to Yetebon, where Project Mercy is located. We were able to tour the facilities, the local hospital, and the high school/college. We saw the “secret” garden, where new crops were being introduced. We also were able to attend a local church service, where language was no barrier in order to praise the Lord. The experience of being able to worship with our brothers and sisters in Ethiopia was humbling, encouraging, and exciting!
The highlight of our trip to Ethiopia was the people that we met. Project Mercy houses 31 children, who have no other home. The children range in age from 5-22 and each one has a story of how God has brought them to Project Mercy. We played soccer, basketball, and volleyball with the kids. We read books in English, practiced math skills, did puzzles, and helped the students study for their end-of-the-year tests. We also worked alongside the students to paint their dining hall. We made quite a few messes, but the end result was that the students learned how to paint and we developed friendships.
Our team was also able to help teach medical skills at the hospital. A small group even witnessed an Ethiopian C-section and welcomed a new baby into the world! Another member of the team used their veterinarian skills to assess the cattle, goats, and sheep that are housed at Project Mercy. God was able to use each of the unique gifts and talents of our team to reach out to the Project Mercy community.
The main purpose of Gateway going to Ethiopia was to connect people to Jesus Christ and to one another. God provided an opportunity to share the Gospel through the wordless soccer ball, to the children that live there. We were able to wash the feet of each child and to pray with them. We were able to share with them how much God loves each one of them. We may never know all the seeds that were planted, but we do know that the people had an impact on each one of us.