The December 2022 Mission Trip to Ethiopia: An Experience of Authentic Joy
By Christie McMillan
“And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least
of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’”
– Matthew 25:40
The December 2022 trip to Ethiopia was my 5th trip to Addis Ababa. My first was in 2018 when the government-run orphanage released the first group of Bete Hosanna girls. During most of my trips, I have witnessed hard circumstances, but this trip was different. It overflowed with joy.
We started our week going to the government-run orphanage for infants – children eight years old. We learned a new director was on site. I was hoping and praying this change would help an extremely desperate situation.
As our van pulled up to the orphanage, I immediately sensed a start to transformation. The buildings and the grounds looked clean, and the appearance of the children had drastically changed since my time there in June. The new director cast her vision for the orphanage. She said she wanted it to be home for these children, a place of pride for them. She dreams for this home to be a transitional one, where children eventually would be in homes with families.
She is an answer to many, many years of prayer.
We also visited the orphanage that feeds into Bete Hosanna. This visit was one of the best we have had there. The girls were so excited to see us and spend time with us. We gave each girl bras and underwear. We also painted nails, which was the perfect opportunity for one-on-one conversations. Each team member was intentional with the girls, so the time we spent was rich in quality.
The girls don’t have a lot of pictures of themselves, so they love us taking pictures of them with their friends and us. We used a Polaroid so they have the picture to keep. Some of them still have the pictures we took of them five years ago — they are treasures to them. Relationship building is key. They long to be seen, known, and loved. With each team’s return, they believe that to be true more and more.
Toward the end of our visit, we celebrated and honored the families sponsored through our Ethiopia Family Empowerment Project by throwing them a big party. We served them lunch, played tons of games, and gave each family Teff flour and oil. Teff flour and oil is a staple in Ethiopian homes and extremely expensive right now. These families were deeply touched and grateful for this gift.
Spending time with these families brought such joy. As I looked into the eyes of these precious faces, I left as if I was looking into the eyes of Jesus. God invited us, and we entered into holy moments.
We spent the last two days with the eight girls currently living in Bete Hosanna. We took them to the new Unity Park in the center of Addis Ababa. It was a beautiful opportunity to see the girls experience something for the first time and be with them outside their home. I was able to learn so much about each girl simply by watching them engage with each other in a new environment. We ended our time with them and the staff with a Christmas party. Each girl received a bag full of fun items they needed but also wanted. We gave the staff a gift of appreciation for their ongoing love and commitment to this work. The girls and staff were blessed abundantly through our donors’ generosity.
This trip was one my soul desperately needed. As we encountered each person, Matthew 25:40 kept coming to my mind to bring about a correct heart posture. It produced in me a deep level of intimacy with Jesus, which created authentic joy.
What About You?
America World mission trips are life-changing, as stories like Christie’s relate! If you’re interested in learning about our upcoming trips, contact Angie Reed. For more information about our programs in Ethiopia, email Melinda Sallé.