Growing up, Messay lived with his mother and seven siblings. His father had divorced his mother before he was born and walked out on the family. When Mesay entered high school he began going to Young Life club and was taken to camp by his leader in 2012. Here, he met Jesus. After camp, going home proved to be difficult due to the fact that everyone else in his family is Orthodox Christian and did not approve of Young Life – which is common in Ethiopia.
His leader began discipling him and after a year, Messay went to Discipleship Camp and decided to become a volunteer leader. He volunteer-led for 5 years, during which he started two clubs.
After this time Messay decided to go work for the Ethiopian Young Leaders, a government organization located in the capital city, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. When the opportunity arose for Messay to come on Young Life staff in 2014, he quit his job at the Ethiopian Young Leaders and went to accept the position with Young Life. Immediately after his meeting with Young Life’s Regional Director for Ethiopia, Messay was taken to prison for the next 16 months. Though Messay knew he was wrongfully put in prison, he struggled during this time. However, he ended up growing in his relationship with the Lord and has been able to forgive those who put him in prison. He even started doing his own version of Young Life in prison and brought many prisoners to Christ during his time there.
Messay has an incredible amount of joy, love, and grace for others. As he has now been released from prison, he currently serves as Associate Staff in Debre Birhan, a city approximately 120 kilometers northeast of Addis Ababa. Pray for him as he continues to try and reach the lost kids of his area and introduce them to the Lord.
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