Thursday, May 5, 2016

Enough to Eat

Meet Olana.  He is married to Tadelu and they have two beautiful daughters still living at home with them, Mabirat and Obse.

Olana rounded up some of his neighbors to help him build a little one room house made of sticks and mud for his family to live in, way out in the Western part of Ethiopia near Dembidollo.

Olana has dangerously high blood pressure which means he often cannot work and is in and out of the hospital.   The effects of many years of malnutrition have left Tadelu very weak.  Thankfully, the girls are going to school - Mabirat is 18 years old in the 9th grade and Obse is 14 and attends 7th grade.  These two walk a great distance each day to get water from the river as their house has no running water - or electricity for that matter.  

We are seeking a sponsor for this family, assuring them of enough food to eat each day.  Imagine that... only $50/month to meet this most basic of needs.  Your help will be received with so much gratitude!

To sponsor Olana and Tadelu, or another family in similar need, please visit our website here. THANK YOU for partnering with us in feeding the poor!

Monday, May 2, 2016

Relationships Build Churches

by Joy Casey
Mission 1:27 supports indigenous, same-culture missionaries in thirteen villages throughout Ethiopia. The men serving come from M*slim backgrounds and are tireless in sharing the good news. The villages are patriarchal tribal communities and family and community relationships are highly valued. The villages have no books or libraries, no internet, few cell phones, no electricity and no place to go, so social outlets involve each other.
Jesus framed the first mission very simply… “The one who receives you receives Me.” It was more critical that His messengers were received than believed. The gospel has always been more than a message; it is an introduction to life under Christ’s lordship. When His messengers have connected with others in significant relationships, Christ can be introduced in powerful ways. (Perspectives)

Because we are working in tribal societies, the key to sharing the gospel is forging personal relationships. Same-culture missionaries purposefully move to a village where Christianity has never been presented in truth and love and where less than 1% of the population are Christ-followers. Several villages boasted zero Christ-followers until the missionary moved there. They begin integrating their families into village life by inviting neighbors over for traditional coffee ceremony and helping neighbors with projects. The women visit and lend a hand with chores such as hauling water. They build friendships by sharing in the day-to-day life of procuring and preparing food and caring for children.

The evangelist will find a person of peace and, after building a friendship relationship, will begin talking to him about what the Q*ran says about Isa. A dialogue using the familiar Q*ranic “voice” breaks down barriers and biblical truth can then be sensitively introduced. If the person of peace is an influential man in the community, it is doubly good if he accepts Christ. Because of the group mentality of the people, a leader can impact his family and neighbors and can more easily win over groups of people.

When someone shows interest in learning more about Jesus, there are several booklets available to confirm initial conversations and to give more in-depth information. One is a discipleship book called Following Jesus and the others explain the origins and contradictions of the M*slim religion and M*hammad along with a testimony of a M*slim man who came to Christ. There is also the Jesus film available in their language, and battery-run projectors can be made available to show the film, which is very effective. Because illiteracy runs high, solar-powered audio bibles are available in every church plant and can be listened to individually with ear buds or groups can hear God’s word spoken through the amazingly good speakers.

When a person or a family group comes to know the Lord, personal discipleship is essential. The evangelist initiates prayer times and holds Bible studies for all the new Christians and has the great privilege of baptizing them in a nearby lake. In the smaller villages, converts meet in each other’s homes until they outgrow the available room. In M*slim-dominated areas the recent climate has become much more intolerant of allowing Christian churches to be built anywhere. To solve this problem, converts in the outlying areas are donating their own land as a place to build a center for worship when they outgrow the house church. Leaders from the converts are selected for special teaching and taught strategies to reach their people. The results are spectacular in some settings and agonizingly slow in others. When it is impossible to create a central worship center, house churches begat house churches and the church is multiplied in this way. It is not ideal, though, because corporate worship and Bible teaching is effective in this culture to build community and also to offer group encouragement when converts are initially ostracized or experience overt persecution. However, the new Christ-followers remain in their village and eventually find acceptance as before.

In a few days I leave for Ethiopia and will be visiting many of the church plants. I am especially eager to visit one town where 250 villagers have decided to follow Jesus and two generous donors have provided for a church to be built. In another area, family groups are coming to the Lord and they are receiving in-depth instruction for one week followed by baptism. They are then sent back to their homes with Jesus’ instructions, “Make disciples.” We are hoping to experience spontaneous multiplication of churches as these individuals reach out to their extended family and neighbors. We are working in areas where we are wonderfully over our head and anything that is accomplished for the kingdom is because of the Holy Spirit in partnership with obedient people. It is an exciting time!

If you would like to help us in reaching many more people with the Truth of the Jesus Christ, you can donate to support his work here.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Melkam Fasika!

Today is Easter Sunday in Ethiopia - called Fasika in Amharic -  celebrating the day Jesus Christ rose from the dead.  During the 56 days of Lent in Ethiopia, Orthodox Christians don't eat or buy any animal products. On Palm Sunday, people wear head bands and rings made of palm leaves with crosses marked on them.

The first Easter Orthodox church service actually starts at 8.00pm on Easter Saturday night and lasts until 3.00 am on Easter Sunday morning! Most people go to the whole service and wear their best clothes. These are often white and are called 'Yabesha Libs'.

After Easter services in all Christian churches, people go back to their homes for a breakfast to celebrate the end of Lent with a bread or dabo. It is traditional that the bread is cut by a priest or by the head man in the family.

The main Easter meal is eaten in the afternoon. The meal normally consists of injera and, for those who can afford it, it is eaten with a mutton or lamb stew called 'beg wot'.
Ethiopia 2008 Lindsey 434

We know that our staff in Ethiopia are celebrating Christ’s resurrection on this Sunday and we wish them and you a very blessed Resurrection Day!

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