Wednesday, June 13, 2007

The Glory of God in Ethiopia - Part 2

Yes, God is at work for His glory in Ethiopia through the gospel of Jesus Christ. Even though the spiritual landscape is, in many areas, in need of greater health, what part of the world isn't? The encouraging sign in Ethiopia is that the Lord is raising up men with a desire for church health to be measured by the standard of God's Word.

Because nearly 80 men have committed themselves to two years' worth of theological training with the express purpose of planting new churches among the unreached of Ethiopia, the evidences of God's work for His glory there are apparent. Thank you all for continuing to pray for these men, as well as for Anthony and Amber Mathenia as they seek to point them in a God-honoring direction.

Now, I would like to call to your attention four brothers--two from PTI, and two from the Addis Kadan Bible College--that you might join us in praying specifically for them. Even though our time with each of them was short, all four demonstrated significant promise in the areas of pastoral gifting and spiritual leadership. Perhaps you will have the honor of shouldering up next to them for a millennium or two in the great sea of worshipers!

The first is Abraham (pronounced, Ahh
-bra-ham). This brother arrived in Addis Ababa nearly eight years ago from his village which is approximately eight hours north of the capital city. Being alone in the capital city was no small challenge, but proved to be the greatest blessing in his life. Soon after arriving in Addis, he was able to being living with his aunt who is Orthodox (ie, anti-Christian). Not long after moving to Addis, Abraham heard the gospel and came to saving faith in Jesus Christ. Just over one year later his aunt disowned him because of his faith, and required him to move out. For the last several years, he has been working as a guard at the Addis Kadan (yup!) offices, and has been devouring the Word of God. During these recent years, the Lord has placed a burden on Abraham's heart to reach his people (Tigray/Tigrinya) with the gospel. Pray that Abraham will be equipped by the Holy Spirit to carry the gospel to his people and that many would believe!

The second is Abu (standing, praying). Like Abraham, Abu is
also part of PTI. Unofficially, the PTI brothers seemed to look to Abu for leadership. During the break times, and even during a few of the Q & A sessions, I noticed that the guys were looking to Abu for direction and articulation. His face lights up with the light of Christ. I do not remember the name of his village, but I do remember he lives about 250 kilometers from Addis, and his first language is Oromo/Oromiffa. His grasp, like Abraham's, of the things we taught was obvious. Please pray for Abu, and for the church(s) that the Lord will use him to plant. May many come to Jesus through his ministry.

The third is Misfin (pictured sitting, front row, second from left). Misfin is one of the Bible College students. He, and his eight classmates, are scheduled to graduate in mid-June from their three-year training program. Each of the eight were selected by the denomination to be leaders in/over the eight regions of Ethiopia into which the denomination has divided th
e territory of Ethiopia. This brother, like the rest, is humble and demonstrates a solid grasp of biblical truth. During a three hour session on ecclesiology, Misfin expressed many encouraging evidences of his desire to see the Addis Kadan embrace the biblical model for church life and organization. He currently works with the youth at a church in Addis, and is interested in further study if the Lord permits. Misfin is married and has two children.

Finally, I would like to invite you to pray for Getanet, another student at the Bible College (pictured making "wat"). A bit tongue-in-cheek, but not far from the truth, Getanet might be the only Ethiopian pastor in the entire country.
The common practice among evangelical churches, especially Addis Kadan churches, is to forgo the role of pastor for an "evangelist" who travels away from the church, but from time-to-time preaches at his (or her) church. Instead of a pastoral ministry from an individual or a team that is somewhat consistent, much less expository, the churches usually have a different speaker each week. Of course, this practice prohibits the health of the church. Getanet, on the other hand, preaches to his congregation about 40 Sundays per year. This is almost unheard of in his culture. More than that, he is deeply concerned for the spiritual health of every one of the members of his church. May Getanet serve as a model that other Ethiopian pastors will follow.

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