The original inspiration for Marissa’s House was decided during a visit one Sunday afternoon with friends of ours, in Plano. They were able to arrange an initial meeting for us with an individual who had already been involved with building Church Homes in Africa.
After meeting with several individuals in the North Dallas area, we were connected with a wonderful organization out of Virginia called International Cooperating Ministries (www.icm.org). With their international expertise and connections, Marissa’s House Orphanage was planned, constructed and finished in 2010, in Jima, Ethiopia.
We dedicated Marissa’s House on January 30, 2011.
Unfortunately, the local Muslim-dominated government in Jima did not give us a license to house children because of our Christian affiliation. We negotiated for 3+ years and finally in 2015 came to the understanding that God wanted to use this building in a different way.
The short term objective became to provide a tutorial class to KG1 school children with a long term objective to provide elementary school by 2019.
Classes were taught, tutoring was offered as well as clothing, school supplies, uniforms and food. It was operated with the help of the congregation of Jima United Emmanuel Church, which also held some services, Bible studies and Sunday school in the building.
In late 2019 Jima authorities gave us the go ahead to bring the building up to code, make repairs, get it in operating condition and open up as the Church Home/Orphanage it was intended to be. However, in the meantime, Marissa’s House Projects has made the decision to refocus our efforts to help orphans and street children in Ethiopia through several other projects in Addis Ababa.