Fireselam Assefa – Ethiopia
Fireselam (pronounced ‘Fer-ray-se-lahm, or “Frey” for short) is bright, energetic and full of joy. Because of leaders like Frey, Young Life continues to grow in Ethiopia, reaching 137,910 kids in 2018. Frey met the Lord through the witness of her older sister and deepened her faith as a Young Life kid in high school. She became a volunteer leader in 2002 and joined staff in 2006. She was quickly promoted to an area director and is now one of three regional directors in Ethiopia and one of only two women regional directors in all of Africa.
She oversees Northern Ethiopia known as the Amhara Region which is largely Muslim. One of the region’s largest cities, Bahir Dar, attracts trafficked and run away girls that often end up in prostitution. Because Frey is passionate that every kid in her region has an opportunity to come to know Jesus and grow in their faith including the ones often forgotten like young prostitutes, teen moms, kids living with special needs, young prisoners, and older orphans, she encourages her staff to be creative to meet these kid where they’re at.
She is a gifted mentor to staff, discipleship mentor for kids, administrator of her region, speaker at camp, and trainer of volunteers. She has led the way in being a liaison to local churches and is a dedicated prayer warrior. As a 12 year staff person, Frey plays a critical role within all of Young Life Africa/Middle East as member of the Senior African Leadership Team (SALT), or HALT (the Horn of Africa Leadership team), and has been selected to participate in the Women’s Leadership Accelerator Program in Africa. She is a strong and authentic example for all women staff for Global Young Life. Frey’s smile and laughter are contagious, so it is no surprise that she is hilarious when on a Program Team. Her favorite Bible verse is Philippians 4:4 “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” P.S. One of her hobbies is drinking coffee the ‘Ethiopian traditional way’ in a home or the ‘western way’ in a local bistro; she is quite the coffee connoisseur.
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