Cleveland, GA(March 29, 2011)- Eight Truett-McConnell College students traveled to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, during spring break 2011, accompanied by TMC Vice President of Academics, Dr. Brad Reynolds, and World Missions Center Director, Dr. H Edward Pruitt.
The largest city in Ethiopia, Addis Ababa is home to over three million Ethiopians and has two major religions, Orthodox and Islam, as well as eight languages. It is safe to say that the difference in culture in addition to language barriers made this trip more difficult than other mission trips have been.
At first, the group faced hardships that took a toll: a grueling travel schedule, sharing primitive bathrooms, eating strange foods, smelling burning trash constantly, and encountering the vast number of people. However, their outlook began to change as they encountered gracious locals, excited workers, and smiling children.
The group served in any way they could while in Addis Ababa. They served children who had been rescued from trash heaps, visited churches and HIV-ridden hospitals, worked alongside missionaries, and shared Christ with men, women, and children suffering from HIV. Three of the sick accepted Christ.
One of the heart-warming stories to come from the trip was related by an Ethiopian woman: “I have HIV. My husband is also HIV positive. When I became a Christian he left my children and me. I had to become a beggar to support my children. After a while my husband came back to our home. He would not allow me to go to church or place scriptures on our wall. I continued to pray. God slowly worked in his heart and he soon allowed me to go back to church. Then he would let me put scripture up on the wall. You came today at the time when he is ready and willing to hear the Truth of Christ.”
As it turned out, her husband accepted Christ that day. As Dr. Pruitt sat beside him, holding his hands, he prayed for salvation. The entire Truett-McConnell team knew it was urgent that he receive Christ that day because he might not live long enough to have another opportunity. The TMC group all sat amazed as God birthed a new believer into His Kingdom before their eyes.
The crew also worked with a church that hosts children living in poverty who come daily for English classes and a snack. TMC students taught English, played on the playground, and shared the Gospel with these children. Several of the students shared their testimonies with help from a translator, while many shared their musical talents. Experiencing the children’s joy, watching them write their names, and listening to them say that they love Jesus made this a special part of the trip.
The entirety of the journey emphasized the overwhelming poverty, sickness, and hopelessness. Yet the most memorable part for the group was the depth of compassion that the people of Ethiopia brought out of them. They learned to love more, work harder, and share Christ with an urgency that they’ve never felt before.
Truett-McConnell College equips students to fulfill the Great Commission by fostering a Christian Worldview through a Biblically-centered liberal arts education. For more information about Truett-McConnell College visit us online at www.truett.edu