American Faces - #24
American Faces #24
Every once in a while you meet a real life superhero – the kind of person that actually saves people from despair and destruction. I met such a man. His name is Tensaie (pronounced: Ten-say) and he embodies the meaning of American Faces. I first met Tensaie this summer on a photoshoot for Metro Transit in Minneapolis where he was one of the supporting cast. At the time, I had no idea of the impact this modest man was making in the world. But when Metro Transit recently used one of the photos from our summer shoot to create an Instagram post about Tensaie and his mission work, I realized I had to know more.
Fast forward to November 27, 2018. For this installment of American Faces, I shot another photo of Tensaie in front of his church, Ethiopian Zion Evangelical Fellowship in St. Paul, Minnesota, and afterwards we sat in my vehicle and I listened to this quiet superhero tell his compassionate story.
Tensaie told me his journey to the United States first began with a one-year prison sentence in Ethiopia. He had been detained over a disagreement with the communist government in power at the time. After his release he fled to Sudan where he stayed for five years. He was granted political asylum by the U.S. Government and brought to the States in 1991, where he lived first in Iowa (3 months), then Washington D.C. (17 months), and finally Minnesota, where he earned a BA degree in Business Administration from the University of Northwestern (St. Paul) in 2008.". He became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1997.
Tensaie’s story only became more powerful as he told how his heart was moved for his Ethiopian people, especially the precious children. Tensaie spoke with care and compassion as he told of seeing children digging in trash for morsels of food to fight off pains of hunger. Tensaie told me how his heart was so moved by God through these sights that he felt he had to do something. That ‘something’ was to start a program for children in Ethiopia called Resurrection Orphanage:
Launching an orphanage that would impact the lives of Ethiopian children with no family to care for them presented a daunting financial challenge. Tensaie and his wife knew that the God who called them to this mission would also provide the means to make it happen. So Tensaie and the other faithful orphanage founders prayed, and launched the orphanage in 2012. Now a recognized 501(c)3 charitable non-profit corporation, Resurrection Orphanage is already changing the lives of eight girls and seven boys in two separate home-based programs. These precious young ones are being nourished by food, their minds are being educated, and their future stories are being rewritten.
Tensaie’s passion for serving his Ethiopian people, and the loving hearts of the people who helped him begin the orphanage, are things not of this world. His is a passion built on a faith in Christ and His Great Commission. Tensaie knows the changes now happening in Ethiopia are because of Christ, enacted by a government no longer under communist control, but led by a prime minister who genuinely cares for the people and who is, himself, a Christian.
What an incredible impact this Ethiopian-born American Face is having on the world! Children’s lives are being changed, and Ethiopia's future is looking brighter each day because of people like Tensaie.
As you read this I hope your heart was stirred, and if, like Tensaie Umeta, you too want to change the future of a child, you can make a tangible financial impact by connecting with Resurrection Orphanage at these links:
Change one child’s future... and you might just change the world.
"Tell Your Story"