BCI Launches New Website

We are pleased to announce the launch of a brand new website. The site has a modern look and is easy to navigate on smart phones, tablets, and personal computers. New features include:

  • Browse and support urgent needs
  • Learn about ongoing projects
  • Send a birthday party to your child

To navigate the site on a personal computer, click on a link in the top menu bar or on the bottom left hand side of the page. When viewing on a smart device, these options will be collapsed into three lines called a hamburger icon. Clicking on the icon will bring up a list of links to choose from. Return to the home page at any time by clicking our logo in the top left hand corner.

Our new look will help you to learn about our ministry and ways to support the children. The information is up to date and plentiful. There are pictures galore on the site – you may even spot your sponsored child. We invite you to share our new site with your friends, co-workers and family!

http://www.blessingthechildren.org/

 

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Training Future Leaders

Young Life is an international Christian ministry focused on making disciples and leaders out of middle school, high school, and college-aged students. They operate in every state in the U.S. as well as 90 countries worldwide. Ethiopia has the second largest Young Life in the world, behind only the United States, and reached more than 138,000 youth last year alone. They bring together teens of all faiths, something important in a country that has so much religious diversity.

L to R: Fekadu Alemu, Bereket Fasil Tamirat, Non-BCI, Tizita Dawit Abreham, Bemnet Manaye, Bizuayehu SIsay Bekele, Eayasu Wondimu, Tewodros Tilahun Mola (front)

Young Life Ethiopia has set up a chapter in Bishoftu (Debre Zeyit), led by a 20-year-old young man named Behylu. Behylu had a troubled life until he was brought into Young Life and experienced a transformation himself. He is now passionate about impacting the lives of other young people. In an effort to facilitate spiritual growth and the development of leadership skills in our teens, we have brought Young Life into our schools. Behylu comes at noon to play games, show positive movies, and form friendships with the students. BCI assists by providing Bibles, sports equipment, and facilities for activities after school. Behylu is now training twenty Grade 12 leaders, and we feel blessed to say that ten of the students have been selected from our sponsorship program.

Teddy (Tewodros Tilahun) is a 19-year-old full orphan who has been in the BCI program for a decade. He is the right-hand man to Behylu. Teddy has formed a soccer team of peers at his school, which he coaches together with Behylu. When asked the purpose of the team, Teddy said “their purpose is to win, but MY purpose is Jesus.”

We are often asked how sponsorship helps a child. Of course there are the basic necessities that we all need for life: clothing, food and an education. Above and beyond this, we train up the children and pour into their spiritual and emotional lives in a way that equips them for life beyond our program. It is a holistic approach that is bearing fruit. The teens in our program are already fulfilling an important part of BCI’s mission: they are taking everything they have gained from their ministry and using it to change their community.

Young Life Africa uses the Leadership Tree model. Each teen disciples three more teens, and thereby grows the reach of the ministry. Might you be able to do the same for Blessing the Children and become a branch on our tree? You can do this by sharing the good news of our ministry with three people in your life.

Team Besha

Besha Asefa is a 12th grade student at the BCI Academy. It’s easy to spot him on the school campus, since he walks with crutches. His disability is the result of contracting polio at the age of one. This is a sad story, but even worse is the fact that his parents rejected and abandoned him due to his disability, leaving his care to his grandmother.

Due to his permanent need for crutches, it’s important for Besha to keep up his strength. Last year, while working out at a local gym, Besha was approached and invited to participate in a weight lifting competition. It was exciting for him to receive this invitation and he began training right away. At his first competition, he was encouraged when he earned a second place finish out of nine competitors. He achieved this by lifting 75 kg (approximately 165 lbs). For his second place finish, Besha earned a medal and a certificate. He also participated in a wheelchair race and placed 4th out of 15 competitors in both the 400 meter and 800 meter distances.

At a subsequent competition, Besha tried to lift 80kg but failed in his attempt and was disqualified. He is passionate about these sports and they have given him a sense of belonging and confidence. He wants to continue competing, but the other competitors are better trained and nourished. Besha is slim and has limited protein in his diet.

People with disabilities are not afforded equal rights in Ethiopia. There is no disabilities act to protect them. We have seen the positive impact of sports on Besha’s life and feel that fostering this passion is critically important to his future. We would like to provide Besha with the means to continue training at his best level. He is in need of funding for his training, transport, extra nutrition (eggs, meat, fruit, vegetables) and a sports uniform.

As we prepared to share Besha’s story, things took a turn when an estranged family member beat him with no provocation. Besha sustained multiple injuries, including a broken hand. Worst of all, it was a hit to his spirit to be physically assaulted. The injuries also caused him to miss school and training. We feel now more than ever that we want to help Besha overcome the multitude of tragedies he has experienced in his young life.

Upon graduation, Besha dreams of attending University to study architecture. He also wants to continue with his sports training. He hopes to one day have the opportunity to use sports to travel outside of Ethiopia, and perhaps even participate on a big stage at the Paralympic Games.

When speaking with Besha, he told us passionately that “BCI has helped me to receive my only Savior, Jesus Christ, and I’m thankful for it. God has been helping me through BCI with my education and my life with Jesus.”

The most recent x-ray showed that Besha’s hand has healed and praise God he is not expected to have permanent difficulties. If you want to partner with us in supporting Besha’s competitive sports, please reach out to us and let us know you’re on Team Besha. We believe that God’s hand is in Besha’s participation in sports and want to see him follow his passion, both for himself and as an example to encourage others.

Phone: 1 (888) 269-2719

E-mail: info@blessingthechildren.org

PayPal: http://blessingthechildren.org/donate.html

Grocery Store Tour

One of the most common topics we are asked about by missionaries as they prepare for their time in Ethiopia is regarding food; specifically, what will they eat and where will they find it?

We are excited to take you on a tour of Bize Supermarket – a popular grocery store near our ministry site in Debre Zeyit. You’ll see that it’s not all that different from a typical grocery store at home. You might even spot some brands you recognize!

 

Nathenael’s Gift

Nathenael “Nati” Mulugeta is a 13-year-old boy who has been in the BCI program longer than he can remember. He credits BCI for introducing him to his best friend, Surafel Tefera, whom he has grown up with and enjoys playing with. He attends the BCI Academy, where he is a Grade 7 student.

Nati’s mother tragically died during childbirth, and his father abandoned him at birth. Nati has been raised by his older sister who provides for Nati, his brother, and two other sisters. By all accounts, his story is that of a typical Ethiopian orphan, except that beneath his humble exterior, Nati is a young man blessed with extraordinary talent. His name means “God has given”, and it’s quite clear that his ability has been given by God.

Last year, Nati’s talent was discovered during a church service in Debre Zeyit. Talent scouts from the capital city of Addis Ababa were in the audience and heard Nati singing worship songs. They immediately identified his exceptional singing ability, and brought him to Addis to film a music video, which is now the 5th most watched video out of 246 videos on the talent scout’s YouTube channel. The video of Nati singing an Ethiopian worship song has garnered more than half a million views, and an outpouring of support from viewers.

“This little baby boy has a unique spirit from God.”

“Nathenael has been chosen to do many great things by God.”

“I have two kids. I want them to follow your footsteps. God bless you more and I love you from the bottom of my heart.”

Shortly after his video came out, we sat down for an interview with Nati and asked him why he made the video. His response? “God helped me.” While his favorite subject at school is geography, Nati dreams of becoming a professional singer when he grows up and praising God through music.

Nati receives excellent marks at school, and when he is not attending school or church, he is helping his siblings by performing chores at home. His favorite food is Shiro, a stew made of chickpeas, onions and garlic. He looks forward to eating his favorite meal once a week.

When asked “how do you know you are a Christian?”, Nati responded in his typical matter-of-fact style: “Because I am Jesus Christ’s son.”

We lost count of the number of viewers who commented on how blessed Nati is, and what a blessing it was to listen to his song. Praise God for using this young man to reach so many
people. His heart burns for Jesus and this shines through his
music. We could not be more proud of Nati and awed by
God’s hand in his life.

We invite you to check out Nati’s music video and be blessed:

 

Melkam Gena

With Ethiopian Christmas right around the corner on January 7th, we feel so joyful to know that 58 of our children are receiving special gifts this year. The blessings include outfits for 30 children, where needed most gifts for 24 children, extra grain support, help for a disabled child, beds, undergarments and sanitary products. In western culture, we sometimes tease our children with the threat of getting socks and underwear for Christmas, but this is earnestly the gift that our Ethiopian children want and need. The contrast always provides an opportunity to be thankful for the abundance of blessings in our own lives and for the chance to make a big impact with such a small gesture. Thank you to everyone who has partnered with us this year to spread some Christmas cheer. Please join us in wishing Melkam Gena to our Ethiopian family!

 

 

Delivering Dresses & Hope

In the springtime, six children were delighted to receive Hope Baskets from one of our wonderful interns, JoAnn, who visited them in their homes. The baskets included essential items such as cooking oil, pasta, peanut butter, soap, bananas, and rice.

We were further blessed when a missionary named Heather packed a suitcase full of brand new, handmade dresses for the youngest little ones in our program. New clothes are a rare treat and the girls felt special.

The gifts themselves are lovely, but the greatest impact came from the fact that someone traveled halfway around the world to step into their lives and demonstrate love.

15 year-old Tsedenya and her Mother

New Dress Day