Licensed in Ethiopia as a local Non-Government Organization (NGO): Ebenezer Supporting and Development Association (ESDA) and a ministry of Ebenezer Sherpherding Ministries of Africa, Inc (ESMA).
ESMA is a 501c3 non-profit organization founded by Argaw and Rachel Ayele. Our mission is founded on Isaiah 1:17, “Learn to do good; Seek justice, Rebuke the oppressor; Defend the fatherless, Plead for the widow.” ESMA’s motivation is to share the love of Christ with the people of Africa by providing housing, food, education, spiritual encouragement and love for orphans and vulnerable children, and establishing sustainable programs to assist poverty-stricken families to be self-supporting.
Click on one of the tabs below to find out more about our past, present, future, and where we are.
Argaw and Rachel Ayele met at Calvary Chapel Bible College Europe (Hungary) in 2005. Argaw was born and raised in the southern Ethiopia. Rachel was born and raised in Indiana. After a short time, they made plans to be married and to move to Ethiopia as missionaries. Both had the desire to share Jesus’ love by helping those in need–especially children. In 2006, they began the multi-year process of becoming licensed as a local non government organization (NGO) under the name Ebenezer Supporting and Development Association (ESDA). In 2014, Ebenezer Shepherding Ministries of Africa, Inc. (ESMA/ESMAfrica) was approved to operate as a US 501c3 non-profit organization.
They chose to include the Biblical name “Ebenezer”, which means “stone of help” and as 1 Samuel 7:12 says “God has helped us”. Not only has this been the experience of the Ayele family, but is true of those impacted by the Ebenezer family of ministries.
In January 2010, Ebenezer Grace Children’s Home (EGCH) was founded. Eventually, as their own family grew to seven, the Ayeles moved off-site in order to accommodate the needs presented by the growing number of orphans being brought into the children’s home. Since 2013, 28 children have been adopted locally, or have been reintegrated into their families.
In October 2015 Lantu’s Home of Hidden Treasures (Lantu’s Home) opened its doors to reach those that are in dire need of specialized care. The children range from abandoned newborns (during arrival) to those with moderate to severe special needs.
In April 2017, a children’s home that we had partnered with over the past years became part of the Ebenezer family. House of Hope is a home for children—primarily orphans—that are HIV positive.
Our children have come from various tribes and backgrounds. Some have come with their mother(s), some their family was unable to care for them, some their parents have died, some abandoned, and even some were considered “cursed”. Regardless of how they came to one of the Ebenezer homes, we know that God has a special purpose and plan for each of their lives.
Here is how our mission statement (above) looks within our current scope of ministry:
A Loving Culture
Our desire to raise children in a family environment–as brothers and sisters to one another. Whenever possible, we offer care and housing for the mother if she is willing to stay with her child. In addition to a home, food, clothing, education, and family–they are taught about Jesus. We pray they would know they are loved by the One who created them, has a purpose for them, and desires to use them for His glory.
Loving The Needy
Along with our children’s homes, we care for destitute widows, families, and individuals within the community. Through God’s provision, we support those in dire circumstances requiring assistance for education and/or medical care. With our partners, we implemented a school feeding program in rural areas feeding thousands of children daily. Ultimately, we pray that these will come to know Jesus, and their value in God’s eyes.
Loving The Marginalized
Over the years this segment seems to be expanding. And with that, comes a great responsibility beyond our capacity alone. We have had the privilege to serve those who, in their cultural circles are considered: a burden, cursed, untouchable, or less than. Please pray that as God opens these doors, He would give us the wisdom and understanding to care for these precious ones in away that would glorify Him.
Our Future (Plans)
Where are we going?
God knows. As best as we can discern, here is where we believe He’s leading us as a ministry in the short-term future:
In 2016, with the partnership of U.S. non-profit, Fire Over Africa, ESDA began the implementation of a school feeding project in areas impacted by drought. With the help of God, more than 8,000 children on a daily basis. With the drought still impacting communities we hope that number to double in 2017.
Land + Building Project
Presently, all of our children’s homes are house rentals. Thankfully, we have maintained good relationships with our landlords who have been flexible in regards to house rent prices. Join us in praying for a more permanent place on this side of heaven. A formal request has been submitted for a plot of land in Hawassa, that once granted by local authorities, would be the future site of Ebenezer’s family of children’s homes. We will provide details as things develop.
Thank you for your prayers!
Where We Are Located
The Ebenezer ministry operations and family of homes are located in the city of Hawassa (Awassa), approximately 270 kilometers south of the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa. Hawassa serves as the capital city of the Southern Nations Nationalities and Peoples Regional State (SNNPRS), and the cultural capital of the Sidama tribe. Not only is this one of the most rapidly developing cities, it is located in one of the most tribally diverse regions of Ethiopia.