Our passion is ministering to the physical, mental, social, and spiritual needs of orphaned and impoverished children in Ethiopia, Africa. We accomplish this through partnership with compassionate churches and individuals from around the globe.
Touch the lives of orphans, widows, and those in distress. The lives of those we touch are more than changed, they are literally transformed by the grace of God. While ministering to the physical needs, we also pour into the spiritual lives of children with the Word of God and sound Christian teaching that leads not only unto salvation, but into a life of servitude and spiritual growth.
Statement of Faith
My name is Keith Strawn. My first encounter with a missionary experience was in November of 1996 with my best friend, Dan Lincoln. Dan was planning a short term mission trip to El Salvador to help build a church for a children's home. He strongly encouraged me to come along. I explained how busy I was with my four children and with leading the boys program at my church. In addition, I was running two companies and was a trustee on the Church Board. He did not cut me any slack and said I should "pray about it". I did pray about it, and the Lord seemed silent on the issue, or at least I couldn't hear his answer. Then I offered Dan the price of the trip to go toward the project, but said I would not go. He politely declined, saying that I needed the experience. He kept asking but I felt no direction from the Lord, so I offered twice the price, but said I would not go. Again, he declined my offer, saying he would rather have me there. Purely out of submission to a friend, I reluctantly agreed to go, but said that I would rather work with the children then do construction. He agreed and I went.
What an experience! Although I knew no Spanish, it didn't seem to hinder my work with the children. I have felt the call and have worked with hundreds of boys in my local assembly over many years, but when I met these children it was entirely different. In just over a week, we grew so very close. I loved them and they shared the love right back. There seemed to be so much to do.
There were 24 boys in the small boy's house where I stayed. I never really comprehended how much it was impacting me until our team was ready to leave. As we were saying goodbye, my eyes began to fill up with tears. I did all I could to hold them back in front of the children. I am generally not that emotional, but it was so hard. Then, as we were on the bus and the bus pulled away, I looked out over the children, and the pain was too great.
You know how when you were a child and had just received a hard spanking you could not breathe and your breath became broken and hard to catch because you were crying so hard? For the first time since my childhood, I cried just like that. The pain was so great that I lay down in my seat, involuntarily rolled my knees up to my chest, and wept profusely. All the way to the airport, I was out of control with my emotions. For days, it was nearly impossible to concentrate on my work. All I could think about was the children. I would begin crying every time I thought of them (in fact, even now as I write this, tears are rolling down my cheeks).
Upon my return home, I began writing letters to the boys and thinking of how I could continue to work with them. I could not begin to even know how to thank my dear friend and brother Dan for opening this door to God's plan for my life. A little submission to a Christian brother has budded into a life's passion.
Since that trip in 1996, I am sold out to helping these underprivileged children. With multiple trips each year, we focus on the different needs of the children with teams of caring people.
BCI joined a partner ministry in El Salvador to improve donor communications through regular mailings and publishing of a monthly newsletter.
BCI was invited to help a partner ministry develop a plan for sponsoring and planting 1,000 new churches in the Benishangul-Gumuz region of Ethiopia, Africa. Previously, only seven churches existed in the entire region of almost one million people.
BCI began managing a missionary sponsorship program for a partner ministry in Ethiopia, Africa, and developed a report collection system to keep sponsors informed of the progress of their missionaries. Additionally, BCI worked with the ministry in publications and produced a monthly newsletter.
BCI launched the Ethiopian Call Ministry through a partner ministry and planted 1,000 new churches in the remote villages of Ethiopia over a two-year period. BCI fully managed all aspects of the program, including missionary deployment, tracking, and data collection for communications to more than 1,500 donors. The 1,000th church was planted on September 15th, 2006.
At the request of the Ethiopian President, BCI launched the Kamashi Orphanage & School in a remote area of Benishangul Gumuz, Ethiopia and received the first 38 children. The Kamashi Orphanage was a 500-bed facility built by the government and provided free of charge.
BCI announced plans to start a ministry in Debre Zeyit, Ethiopia, with an intention to place orphaned and impoverished children into loving homes.
BCI received 70 new orphaned children into the Kamashi Orphanage, bringing the total to 140. A short-term mission trip program was launched, allowing volunteers from the United States and abroad to serve. The first two short-term missionaries were received.
BCI consolidated ministry work in Ethiopia to Debre Zeyit, ceasing work in Kamashi. The ministry was fully launched in Debre Zeyit, Ethiopia, allowing hundreds of children to be rescued and provided with guardians to care for them as their own children. In November, BCI broke ground for the construction of a school named the BCI Academy.
BCI completed phase 1 of the BCI Academy and opened the school doors to grades 1-4 on September 21st, 2009. BCI was featured in an article on Wikipedia and in December, announced the establishment of a Canadian office, incorporated as a charitable corporation.
Construction on Phase II of the BCI Academy was completed.
Blessing the Children - Canada Inc. began operations and support of ministry projects in Ethiopia.
Completed the third and final phase of construction of the BCI Academy. Enrollment soared to capacity with 299 students in grades nursery through 8th.
Opened the BCI Academy Library, boasting over 3,000 books, as well as the BCI Academy KG (kindergarten), with a starting class of 70 students. Enrollment at the school surpassed 300 students. The Child Sponsorship program grew by 19% to 182 supported orphaned and impoverished children.
BCI was ranked #1 by the Ethiopian government as an NGO (non-governmental organization), based on an evaluation of four areas of the organization: financials & reporting, administrative cost, meeting objectives, and use of resources.
Enrollment at the BCI Academy grew to 382 students, and the Child Sponsorship program reached 207 supported children. Feeding programs continued and multiple income-generating projects for widows were launched.
Enrollment at the BCI Academy soared to 450 students.
BCI acquired the Bethlehem School, which was designated as the BCI Academy - Bethlehem Campus. The combined enrollment between both campuses of the BCI Academy reached 1,982 students.
Three students became the first children from the Child Sponsorship program to graduate from University and enter the working force. Enrollment at the BCI Academy surpassed 2,000 students.
Presented to BCI “in recognition of valuable contribution to the considerable quality and holistic development of Academic excellence in Bishoftu Town." Also, a longtime sponsored child was accepted to medical school on a full-ride scholarship.
Broke ground on grade 11 & 12 classrooms, to be completed in time for the 2021-22 school year. This marks the final phase of making the BCI Academy a preschool through Grade 12 school. A water well was established at the BCI Academy - Bethlehem campus, allowing access to clean drinking water daily for the school and surrounding community.
Drilled a well on the Bethlehem campus of the BCI Academy to serve the school and thousands in the local community. This well was an international effort, and the children participated by running in a race to raise funds.
Built a medical center on the Bethlehem campus of the BCI Academy to serve students, sponsored families and the local community. The center was built for the purpose of providing lower and middle income families with access to prevention, education and treatment for a variety of health conditions.
"After actually meeting several adults and numerous children in the city of Debre Zeyit, my admiration for these people grew like wildfire. Whether I was doing a home visit with one of the lovely social workers, fixing up a home, or teaching English at the BCI Academy, I saw God's beauty in the people."
"We had beautiful accommodations and the staff had great pacing each day. The staff was sensitive to our physical well-being. This was a fabulous experience and the organization prior to the trip (from the U.S. office) helped things flow smoothly."
"Sometimes while in Ethiopia, I found myself thinking: "This is it, right now, I am living my dream." I made myself a promise, I will not live my life for myself, not let my life be a grind and live for work, money and a big house. Our world needs people to color it and to bring hope."
Below are letters from those who know us and our work.
Southwest Baptist University - Located in Bolivar, Missouri
Ministry of Education - Ethiopian Government Agency
Ethiopian Call Ministry - Local Ethiopian Ministry
Ethiopian Steel - Business operating locally in Ethiopia
If you are interested in receiving additional information about our ministry, or if you would like to get involved, please reach out to us.
1 (888) 269-2719
Blessing the Children International
2265 Fraser Road, Kawkawlin, MI 48631