Change for Children: April 2017

Did you know that for just a few cents a day, you can help a child attend school in Jima, Ethiopia at no cost to them or their family? We hope you will be encouraged by this life changing outreach as you continue to read and want to be part of this work. For more information about Change for Children or to find out how you can get involved this ministry, please contact Ron Nickell.

To read the January Change for Children Report, click here.

Getting to know the Students, Parents and Staff of the Jima Kindergarten

This volume is dedicated to the children and staff of the kindergarten in Jima that the Westside church of Christ supports. The pictures and profiles in this newsletter were taken and prepared by John Ed Clark, an Elder with the Woodward Park church in Fresno, during his visit to Jima in March/April 2017.

Jima Kindergarten Students

The Kind Words of a Loving Mother

This lady was one of the Muslim parents attending our meeting on Thursday afternoon, March 30th.  I was unable to obtain her name or the name of her child.  After Brothers Degu and Alemayehu spoke, she stood to acknowledge her appreciation for the Jima Kindergarten.  She spoke about our differences; our culture, our language, our food and our religion and then she spoke about our likenesses.  How we show love for all people and our willingness to serve them no matter what the differences are.

Tears started to run down her face as she spoke about how the Jima Kindergarten had helped her child.  She mentioned how their family now prays before every meal and every night before going to bed and how the family sings the songs her child has learned at school.  She talked about the qualities her child is developing and how those qualities are showing other family members what real love is.  She asked us to continue to teach the love that God has for all people and demonstrated by the kindness the staff and everyone connected with the school.

As she spoke, I wondered if she had ever spoken such meaningful words to anyone who wears the name of Christ.  The two years her child, along with the other 99 children attending our school, will have a lifetime effect and perhaps an eternal effect on them and their families.  More than 50% of the students at the Jima Kindergarten come from Muslim families.  As she spoke I watched the other Muslim parents and they were nodding their heads in agreement with her kind words.  Everyone, especially us, were touched as we realized the importance of this ministry God has provided us, which shows the Love of Jesus Christ to all people as we love and serve their children.

Sarah Legesse, Cook and Janitor

From cooking to cleaning, Sarah does whatever she can to bless the children at the Kindergarten in Jimma, Ethiopia.

Sarah has served as the cook and janitor for nine years at the Jimma Kindergarten. She is the wife of Brother Degu, the minister of the Jimma congregation. They have been married for 10 years. They have no children at this time.

Sarah was born in the town of Agaro, a two hour bus ride from Jimma. Her parents passed away when she was a young child and was raised by relatives. When she was in the 6th grade she was taken out of school to “earn” her way in the home of those she lived with.

She prepares the hot tea and oversees the bread and tea breakfast that is provided every day for the 100 students attending the kindergarten. When the school day is complete she cleans the classrooms, auditorium and the offices.

Meseret Walde Salasse, Teacher 

Meseret has been a teacher at the Jimma Kindergarten for 10 years. She came to the school as an Assistant Teacher for 4 years and then was promoted to the lead teacher.

She became a single Mom of two children, now aged 19 and 16, when her husband deserted the family several years ago.

She was born in Jimma. Her father passed away when she was a young child and she was raised by her mother. She has two brothers and one sister. All of them are married and have families and still live in Jimma, with the exception of one sister who lives in Addis Ababa.

Meseret graduated from high school and attended a Teacher Training College in Jimma and received a Teaching Certificate.

Daditu Takele, Director of the Jima Kindergarten 

Daditu Takele in front of her home on the compound at the Jima Kindergarten.

Daditu has served at the Jima Kindergarten for 9 years.  She was a staff teacher for three years and then became the school director after Brother Gutu’s resignation six years ago.

She was born in 1987 and raised in the countryside of the Wollega Zone near Nekemte.  She has 2 brothers and 3 sisters.  Her father passed away when she was 15 and her mother raised the children on their farm.  All the members of her family are still living with exception of her father.  Her sisters still live on their small family farm.  One of her brothers moved to the city of Harar and is a minister for a major denomination there and the other to the Arsi Zone and is employed by the government in the agricultural industry.  She is the only member of the Lord’s church in her family.

She graduated from high school and was accepted into the Wollega Teacher Training Institute.  After her graduation and receiving her teacher’s certificate, she enrolled in a college in Nekemte and received a B.A. degree in Accounting.  She then enrolled at the Rift Valley College in Nekemte and received another B.A. degree in Management.

She is very committed to the ministry she leads at the Jima Kindergarten and receives great reviews for her service in the Kindergarten, both from the Jima Ministry of Education and the administration of the mission in Addis Ababa.

Degu Mosista, Minister of the Jima Church of Christ

Brother Degu sitting at his desk in the church office

Degu serves as the minister of the Jima Church of Christ.  This congregation meets in the auditorium of the Jima Kindergarten.  Degu was the assistant minister at the congregation for 6 years and became the minister when Brother Gutu resigned 6 years ago.

Degu is 45 years old and has been married to his wife, Sarah, for 10 years.  They have no children.  He was born in the town of Agaro, Ethiopia.  Both his parents have passed away.  He has one brother living in Addis Ababa and is a teacher at a private school there.

Degu attended and graduated from the Level One Preacher Training School in Nekemte 10 years ago and from the Level Two Preacher Training School in Addis Ababa 9 years ago.

Brother Degu speaking at a gathering of the church members and parents of the Kindergarten children on Thursday, March 30, 2017

Preaching the gospel in Jima is difficult, perhaps dangerous, because of the high population of Muslims living there.  A Muslim Mosque is less than 100 yards away from the auditorium where the church meets.  It is probably because of our Kindergarten and the service it provides for the children of Muslim families that the Lord’s church is tolerated.  More than 50% of the 100 children attending the Kindergarten come from Muslim homes.

Get Involved

If you would like to make a donation, please pick up a Change for Children can by the Guest Services Counter, or contact Ron Nickell to learn how you can get involved in this incredible ministry!

To download a PDF of this report, click here.