A number of years ago we began incorporating peanut butter into the diets of the children we serve to increase their protein intake.
Recently, we have hired the mother of one of our sponsored children to be the focal point for producing peanut butter in-house.
Peanut butter is not cheap no matter where it’s purchased in the world, as nuts are an expensive commodity. By producing peanut butter in-house, we can save the ministry money and also control the quality of the product.
We have hired Desta to take charge of peanut butter production. She starts with 6 kilograms (just over 13 pounds) of fresh peanuts and combines this with honey and a small amount of sunflower oil. After two hours of running batches through the food processor, we have enough peanut butter to serve the children for one week.
Desta is the mother of 11-year-old Faven Nebyu. Faven’s father passed away in 2020, and Desta has struggled to support Faven ever since. Her involvement in the peanut butter project helps her increase her income to support her daughter.
We have been on a mission lately more than ever to put the mothers of our sponsored children to work in ways that are mutually beneficial to their families and the ministry. We’re passionate about creating a strong community of women who can take pride and joy in their work and contribute to their households and we enjoy watching them thrive.
We have recently hired a gardener who has been busy at work growing a beautiful and delicious bounty on the Bethlehem campus of the BCI Academy. Tigist has been tasked with improving the form and function of the school grounds, and she has been doing a fantastic job of sharing her gardening talents with the school community.
The primary goal of this gardening venture is to grow food to support our feeding program. Tigist is accomplishing this goal by planting a variety of fruits and vegetables. She is also growing flowers to beautify the campus. Some of her projects accomplish both goals at once, including the grape vines she has established.
Social workers with Blessing the Children wear many hats. One of these hats is facilitating the academic development of the children in their care. This includes monitoring their progress in school, which they accomplish by checking report cards and speaking with the principals and teachers.
Goldy, our head social worker, takes the lead in promoting education among sponsored children and families. She will meet with the children who are struggling in school and speak with them to gain a better understanding about their situation and to determine what can be done to help. She will also meet with parents and guardians to learn about their home life and discuss steps that can be taken to help their children improve their grades.
One of the challenges faced by the children is that many parents and guardians do not see a value in education and are resistant to change. They are focused on day-to-day survival and are busy working to provide for their families, which means the children’s education gets left behind.
Goldy has been working hard to raise the standard of education among the children and families. Recently, she held a workshop where she discussed academic strategies. The children wrote individual plans for how they are going to improve their grades. At the end of the workshop, each child read their plan in front of the group and made a commitment to improve their schoolwork. We look forward to seeing improvement in their schoolwork during the next semester.
We are excited to announce a scholarship opportunity to join our 2023 Teach to Reach program. We welcome anyone with a heart for teaching children to join us in beautiful Ethiopia next July. Teach to Reach is an educational summer camp that combines fun and learning. We will customize the camp to use the skills and talents of our team of volunteer educators.
Team members may choose a 2-week option (July 1-15 or July 16-30) for $3,395 USD or 4-week option (July 1-30) for $3,985 USD. This fee includes round trip airfare from an international airport in a major US city as well as meals, local transportation, translators and guest house accommodations while in Ethiopia. One missionary will be chosen to receive a scholarship covering 50% of their trip fees. How to apply:
Submit your mission trip application and $40 application fee
Write a one-page response to the following questions: a. What inspired you to take this trip? b. What skills / talents / passion / knowledge do you hope to use during your trip? c. What personal experience can you leverage?
Last month, we introduced you to 5-year-old Tamrat Mulugeta, a lovely boy with an electric smile. Tamrat was abandoned by his father at the age of 1 due to his father’s addiction to drugs and alcohol. He currently lives with his mother, Bizuayehu.
During a recent mission trip, a missionary saw potential in Bizuayehu and took time to help her learn a new skill – professional sewing. Bizuayehu had some limited knowledge of sewing due to a previous job she held at a factory. The missionary helped her further advance her skills, and this has turned into a full-time job working for the ministry.
Bizuayehu now sews uniforms for the teachers and janitorial staff. She also sews mattress covers. She has been given an office on the Bethlehem campus of the BCI Academy, and can often be found there helping Tamrat rehearse his ABC’s while she works.
This is the start of a new way for mothers to earn an income to support their families, and a way for the ministry to produce a needed product in-house, which has cost-saving and quality control benefits. The missionary who started this project will soon return to Ethiopia to train more mothers and help expand the project. We hope to someday be able to make the school uniforms in-house, as they’re currently difficult to source.
Praise God for His provision for this new project.
Some feel called to go to Ethiopia and experience the beautiful country and culture firsthand. They feel God nudging them to immerse themselves on the front lines of the ministry by going and doing. They are eager to walk side by side with the children, bear witness to their struggles and offer their physical presence to be used for God’s glory.
For others, their hearts are in Ethiopia, but circumstances don’t allow them to make the trip. If this sounds like you, we would like to share with you an opportunity to be a part of missions work without leaving your home.
We invite you to consider that God may be calling you to help send a missionary. You can make it possible for someone who has the right circumstances but lacks resources to make the trip. Think of yourself as the behind the scenes crew facilitating God’s work on the ground in Ethiopia.
We have a goal of offering a scholarship opportunity for our Teach to Reach program for July 2023 and we would love to send a missionary in your honor. A donation in any amount will help defray the cost for a missionary eager travel to Ethiopia to do God’s work. We’ll be sure to report back to you so that you can see how your support is making an impact on the ground.
If this sounds like a good fit for you, please get in touch to partner with us in supporting a missionary.
The children in our program are smart, talented and full of possibility. Their unstable home lives and broken family situations mean that they need special care and investment in their mental, spiritual and physical health to reach their potential.
This summer, we gave 81 students an opportunity to participate in a camp experience at the BCI Academy. The participating students were in grades 6 through 12. The students were sub-divided into three groups based on their ages and grade levels. Each group attended camp twice weekly for several weeks.
The purpose of the camp was to empower the children in a number of areas. They were trained on self-awareness, improving their academic performance, planning for the future, developing vision and goal setting. The training was divided into sections based on topics, with involvement from a number of teachers working together to integrate learning with fun and games.
The day started by sharing a meal together. The students were given classroom instruction and then participated in hands-on experiences to reinforce their learning.
We’re looking to build on the success of this camp with our Teach to Reach program in July 2023. Learn how you can get involved:
Natnael is 20 years old. He is a full orphan with no siblings and has grown up living with his grandmother.
Natnael has been gifted with ambition. He enjoys school and was thrilled when he learned recently that he earned the opportunity to receive a higher education.
Geleta is 17 years old. He lost his father to a car accident. He lives with his mother, two sisters, uncle and cousins, and is looking forward to starting university.
Natnael has been sponsored for 12 years and Geleta has been sponsored for 14 years. This support paved the way for advancement to university by meeting their daily needs and making their K-12 education possible.
Sponsorship support has also meant that we were able to send them off to university with transportation funds, suitcases, clothing, shoes, bedding, school supplies and tablets.
Thank you to the longtime sponsors of Natnael and Geleta who put them on the path to higher learning. Please join us in praying for them as they move to university.
Home visits are an opportunity to step into the lives of the children we serve. It is very special for the children to spend this one-on-one time with missionaries, and it often becomes a core childhood memory.
Recently, two of our missionaries traveled to the home of Yohannes Bogale. Yohannes is a 15-year-old teen who has never had a sponsor. He lives with four siblings, his mother and father. His father became ill last year with a nerve and muscle condition, making it impossible for him to support his family. Life is very hard.
Our missionaries were saddened to see Yohannes and his family sleeping on burlap on the concrete floor. They worked together to bless the family in a big way by purchasing mattresses and blankets for the family.
Bicycles are a rare treat in Ethiopia. The cost to purchase a bicycle is currently very high – at least $500 USD. Children in our program who walk long distances to school and are able to travel safely alone were entered into a raffle to receive one of 17 bicycles that were generously donated. What a useful, fun and unexpected gift! The winners also received a helmet.