Born in England to Nigerian parents and having spent most of his life in 4 continents, Femi is what many psychologists today would call a Third Culture kid. His exposure to different cultures has been challenging but has been used by God to enable him to relate to almost any culture in the world! Femi loves nature, enjoys photography, has a personal interest in writing and cherishes history. He is also noted to have a soft side for ice cream, great coffee and muffins!
He came to faith in 1987 and has since had several supernatural experiences of the Holy Spirit (including his miraculous healings). He is an Orthoptist (vision therapist) by profession and God has used this to open doors for him to serve in missions spanning almost 20yrs. His medical mission work has drawn attention from international health agencies but he is quick to point out that this has been possible because of input from men & women of God on whose shoulders he stood for many years.
Maria is a Brazilian who came to faith at the age of 18. Her new-found faith radically changed the course of her life when she began to hear the voice of God. She subsequently abandoned her plan to go to study journalism and instead began a life in missions.
She loves cooking and God has used this in numerous ways to host teams & groups that has provided a platform for people to come to faith in Jesus. She is known for being down-to-earth, loves sewing and has a soft spot for dark chocolate. Her love for travelling was formed as a child whilst accompanying her father on speaking engagements as an AA president across the cities in Brazil.
The couple lost their first child (Tomi) in Sept 2009 at the tender age of 6months. It was a deeply painful experience but God has enabled them to overcome the tragic loss. Their story has attracted media attention and brought encouragement to many, both within the Body of Christ and those cynical about God. God blessed with two more children (Joy who is almost 5yrs and Noah who is 4yrs old). Previously part of Skylark Church (www.skylarkchurch.org), they now make their home in Worcestershire where they attend St Marys Church in Childswickham.
It is here in rural England that the family moved recently. And here, against all odds, God is at work again, as the couple model what freedom comes when we allow Christ’s life to flow through us. It is simply the stories of ordinary people learning to walk through life (like God did through the couple in the jungles of the Amazon, in Jerusalem, among the Mangyan people in the Philippines and across cities in Europe).
The Onis are essentially a missionary family. Maria has devoted the last 25yrs of her life to missions: the first 10yrs working with the homeless and drug addicts on the streets of Brazil and thereafter she served in the Amazon where she was involved in converting spoken language to written language of the indigenous tribes so the scriptures written in their own language. The work enabled her to go deep into the jungle sharing the love of Jesus to tribes with little or no access to the outside world. It was during this time that Femi first met Maria…and the rest is history!
Femi is the founder of “Blessed To Be A Blessing” or BTBAB (www.btbab.org). BTBAB has sent over 25 teams to the developing world, introducing hundreds to missions in the process and transforming communities plagued with poverty.
Central to the call of the couple is a deeply passionate heart for discipleship. Every year, for the last 15yrs, the couple adopt a vulnerable Christian into their home and nurture them to become disciples of Jesus. In the process, God has enabled them to lead many to a healthy life in God (ranging from the “churched” person who feel their story is boring to those struggling with addictions, severe depression, and confused about their identity. In every nation they have served, they have applied the same principle, at times leading to home-groups, some of which are now likely to become churches (such as in Jerusalem).
Their discipleship materials are now being used as a resource for many churches in the Body of Christ (www.disciplersworkshop.com). They have served as missionaries across 10 denominations helping local churches to return to the true Jesus revolution (1-2-1 disciple making). Their cross-cultural background has enabled them to cross many denominational & cultural barriers to share the life & message of Jesus. They are regular international speakers in over 15 nations and the family believe that the basis of their call within the Body is best summarised in Jer. 1: 9-10.