Ethiopia Update

Simple Picture Slideshow:
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During 2005, we visited the villages of Babogaya and Kuriftu.  Here we experienced living conditions of extreme poverty, hardship and squalor.

This was a very sad and humbling time, as we shared with the people their fear and despair in a life that seemed so hopeless and without purpose, the people seemed lost and dead in spirit.  Our first reaction was to help materially.  This was important, but not the answer.  We felt a great burden of sorrow and compassion for the destitute lives of these poor people and their children, they needed to know the truth of God’s Word that He can give them hope and a richness in life if only they trust their life and soul to the saving grace and love of our Lord Jesus.



In January 2006 we purchased 8 acres of scrubland at Kuriftu village and commenced the foundation work of our new school.  By September we completed and opened with our first intake of 365 children.  The Opening was a day of mixed emotions of joy and sadness – great joy because each day the children would be taught God’s great plan of salvation with the soon Return of our Lord Jesus; and yet a sadness with many tears shed for the children in their shabby, torn clothes, barefooted and all the problems of poor hygiene, malnutrition, etc.  Each day, the school will commence with prayer and worship; with the reading and study of God’s Word; followed by their education in English, Maths, General Knowledge and Hygiene.  The children are taught by Christian leaders, all members of our Church, who understand their spiritual and physical needs.



Our roll-call has now increased to 602 children, all being taught to primary education standard.  We now need to attain secondary level, for ages 14 to 17.  We have now commenced our building programme (in March 2010) with a completion date by September; thus, over the next 3 years, we will see our roll-call increase to approximately 750.  We have also commenced our Bible School where, we believe, many of these young teenage men and women, by the grace of God and the anointing of the Holy Spirit, will be called to the ministry to preach the gospel of our Lord Jesus, far beyond these villages and throughout Ethiopia. With the school now working, we needed to focus on other aspects of school life.



When the school first opened (in September 2006) the children came to class, many in their bare feet and torn clothes.  We decided to provide them with new shoes and school uniforms.  All would be dressed the same and this, we believed, would give to the children a sense of belonging, pride and dignity.  To purchase such items in Ethiopia can be very expensive.  We spent a full day at the marketplace in the capital (Addis Ababa) negotiating with local traders the purchase of 74 rolls of material imported from China.  We then employed, from our local market, 7 tailors who worked with very old treadle sewing machines that they carried to our school each day.  They measured the children and produced their uniforms at a cost of 42 Ethiopian birr (approximately £2).  This price included all labour and material cost.  This was a very important part of school life, but many of the children were coming to school hungry.  Again we went to Addis Ababa and purchased ovens that would produce approximately 600 small, crusty rolls per hour.  This not only met the needs of the children, but any surplus was sent to their families.  As part of the children’s education during 2008, we began to teach them the skills in market gardening.  Today, we are self-sufficient in the growing of carrots, onions, cabbage, potatoes, etc and each day the children now receive a large bowl of soup with their crusty roll.



One of the main causes of illness in Ethiopia is the lack of clean drinking water.  We employed a company to test drill our site and, to our surprise, their report indicated a supply of clean water in an underground reservoir that would last approximately 25 years.  We have now constructed our well, and the children enjoy clean water and washing facilities.  Our school is known in the villages as God’s school and this is a witness to the goodness and mercy of our Lord Jesus.  Please continue to pray for the children.



With our Clinic now equipped and staffed, the first task of our nurses and doctor was to examine and compile medical records of all our school children.  There are many health problems within the school and the children of the surrounding villages.  One example of this is due to malnutrition and poor hygiene and the children develop a nasty open wound on the top of their heads.  This requires their head to be shaven, washed and treated with antiseptic cream.  In Ethiopia, all medicine must be paid for, including treatment for high temperature, flu, toothache, broken limbs, stitches, cuts, etc.  Many cannot afford this and go without, adding to their life of destitution.  By the grace of God and in His mercy, our Clinic is a completely free medical service to the children.  NO SICK CHILD WILL EVER BE TURNED AWAY.  Ethiopia has a very high birth rate, with many children dying at birth because of poor hygiene and dysentery.  At our Clinic, we teach both parents and children the importance of hygiene and preventive medicine.  Seriously ill children we refer to Government hospital in the capital Addis Ababa.  We again endeavour to cover the childrens’ expense.  In this missionary outreach there is so much more to be achieved, so please continue to pray for the children.



May we take this opportunity to thank so many of our Church congregation and friends for their magnificent response to our Christmas Appeal, when 1,100 shoe boxes of gifts and toys were kindly donated to the children.  It was a beautiful sunny morning as the children gathered in Church to give praise and worship to God for this beautiful ministry.  After prayer, by one little girl from Kindergarten, the children began their countdown to open their gift boxes covered in brightly coloured Christmas paper, that the children also treasured.  The excitement, joy and noise as they opened their boxes was a ‘never-to-be-forgotten’ experience with many tears of joy shed and, I am not ashamed to say, including those of our Team.  The children were a real blessing to us all.  It has been said – “Jesus is the smile in the eye of a child”.  I believe our Lord was here today.  Please remember the children in your prayer times.  Thank you all.




In our vision I believe the Lord had shown us the children are His little seedlings.  To grow strong, they must be planted in good ground.  The School, the Bakery, clean water, uniforms, the new Clinic, the Garden, Education from Kindergarten (age 4) to senior level (age 17), Bible School and now our new Church bear witness to the love of our Lord Jesus - all good ground that will produce much fruit for many years to come!  I believe, if our Lord should tarry, these children will rise to the highest level in society and many will become teachers and preachers under the anointing of the Holy Spirit, spreading the gospel of our Lord throughout all of Ethiopia and beyond!



Our Church was built to seat 2,000 people and children.  Within the past 3 years, from we opened, we have baptized 154 children and young adults.  We have, this weekend (7-9 May 2010) held a Gospel Rally at Babogaya village where 33 adults committed their lives to our Lord Jesus, thus adding to the Church.  Praying time is never wasted time!  I believe we are only at the beginning of our vision – Whitewell Ethiopia is a Christ-centred, praying Church!



When we purchased the land in January 2006, it was classed as bare field and scrubland.  We have tilled and planted it, at very low cost, and made it into a beautiful garden.  This Newsletter is but a brief report.  At our Ethiopian Missionary Desk in our Church Foyer, you may obtain (free of charge) more detailed DVDs of our missionary outreach to the children.  If you cannot come to the Desk, then telephone us on 028 90 629524.