OAKLAND — By the end of 2015, Mosaic Church will have sent 91 people on 10 different international mission trips — the most in the church’s history.
In September and October alone, three teams are headed out to three countries. The teams will work with victims of sex trafficking, people in extreme poverty, orphaned and foster care children, and medical professionals.
ETHIOPIA, SEPT. 1 TO 13
A 14-year-old girl in Axum, Ethiopia takes care of her four siblings and her disabled father. They live off the funds she and her siblings receive from Operation Rescue Ethiopia.
Operation Rescue Ethiopia cares for 75 children in Axum who are at high risk for abandonment. They provide a place for the children to come eat a hot meal and shower. They also provide a social worker and teacher to help with schooling.
“We spent time just loving on them,” said Jack Forsyth, the trip leader of the 12-person team that returned from Ethiopia on Sunday.
As a parting gift, the team gave a Beanie Baby stuffed animal to each child, a toy that is extremely rare for the children to receive. The Beanie Babies were donated by a couple at Mosaic who had been collecting the toys for several years.
By next year, ORE plans to increase to supporting 100 children.
Mosaic Church is heavily invested in supporting the city of Axum. They launched Love Made Visible, an organization that helps children around the world. For $50 a month, anyone can support a child in Operation Rescue Ethiopia. You do not need to be a member of Mosaic to support Love Made Visible.
“I’m very thankful for the people who take the time to share a little bit of their resources,” Forsyth said. “We spend $50 pretty easily.”
Visiting the program and seeing the difference it is making in the children’s lives, Forsyth is amazed at how far $50 goes to help a child.
Some of the proceeds from Axum Coffee, located in downtown Winter Garden, benefits the children in ORE.
Mosaic has taken trips to Axum for several years now, and during that time, medical professionals from Mosaic have built relationships with medical professionals in Axum.
This year, Kevin Cox and other medical professionals on the team were able to bring laparoscopic equipment to the surgeon at St. Mary Hospital in Axum. Before, the surgeon had to perform open surgery for any prostate problems. Now, the surgeon can use new equipment to do small incisions and increase efficiency.
The team is looking toward the future, when they can return to provide greater help to a neonatal clinic, in hopes of preventing deaths during childbirth. They are also forming connections with the medical school at Axum University.
To learn more about Love Made Visible, visit lovemadevisible.com.
CAMBODIA, SEPT. 26 TO OCT. 10
Tracy Griffiths never planned on going to Cambodia.
But now, the Mosaic kids administrator is returning to support Agape International Missions for her second year.
“Being able to see such an amazing transformation in a place in such a short amount of time, is just amazing, she said. “I just really believe in the work they are doing.”
AIM was founded ten years ago to fight child sex trafficking in Cambodia. At the ministry’s inception, nearly every child in the city of Svay Pak had been subject to sex trafficking, Griffiths said.
In Svay Pak, AIM now has a home for children and others rescued from brothels, as well as a medical center, a kids Bible club that meets regularly and a T-shirt factory. The factory, with locations in both Svay Pak and Siem Reap, employs people of working age and pays them a living wage.
“It’s the act of giving them dignity,” Griffiths said.
The Mosaic team of 11 will return to Cambodia for a second year to organize Vacation Bible School programs for the Bible club, the surrounding village and a group of young women. A team member who is a nurse will work in the medical center for a few days. The team also will bring supplies to support the missionaries there.
Griffiths was asked to go on the trip last year, because the task was similar to the work she does each Sunday with the kids at Mosaic. Before she leaves, she must rework the curriculum to make it translatable and understandable for children who rarely receive an education.
If the children and young women engaged in their Bible school learn one thing, Griffiths hope it’s this: “Jesus loves them and believes that their life has value, and it’s not a monetary value.”
Griffiths added that Cambodian culture says that a person’s value as a human being is a monetary value.
To learn more about AIM, visit agapewebsite.org.
SOUTH AFRICA, OCT. 9 TO 18
In Cape Town, South Africa, many people who live in townships — their version of slums — lack education to get an entry-level job.
Hope Africa Collective seeks to provide people with the education they need to get these jobs as well as train these people to be leaders in their community. They also seek to help people through the trauma they have experienced in South Africa. Witnessing rape and death is common in the townships.
“Hopelessness is such a rampant thing, especially in the townships,” said Jamin Wunderink, the Mosaic trip leader.
The Mosaic team is returning for a second year to help teach Hope Africa Collective classes as well as form relationships with people in these classes.
Team members will teach in all forms. Some will work with hairstylists in a business incubator. Others will teach classes on a variety of topics, from math to Christianity. Counselors will work with people who have experienced trauma.
Ultimately, the teams wants to give hope to the people in the townships, both in overcoming traumatic experiences and in overcoming poverty through education.
To learn more about the Hope African Collective, visit hopeafrica.com.
To donate to the South Africa or Cambodia trips, visit razoo.com/story/Mosaic-Mission-Trips.
Contact Jennifer Nesslar at [email protected].