October 2012 Update

Greetings to everyone in Whitewell from your sister church in Ethiopia. We trust that this report will do justice to the progress of the work in Ethiopia. Sometimes we are simply amazed by how things are developing here but to God be all the glory! We often tell people that we are simply privileged to have a front row seat to watch God moving and working here.

Bible College
The open night for the Bible College took place on Friday 24th August. We had a good response from local churches and pastors who will be considering sending some of their own members to the college. In total, we had 85 pastors and representatives from the churches in the surrounding area. The aim of the evening was to introduce the Metropolitan Tabernacle Ethiopia Theological College and to showcase the facilities and the courses being offered.
A College Dean, Dr Kebede Getachew, has now been appointed for the Bible College as well as a Registrar, Major Tadesse. These two men will also act as lecturers for the first year assisted by a number of guest lecturers.

The College will offer courses at Diploma, Certificate, Degree, Masters and PhD level. The proposed course syllabus has been drawn up and will cover an extensive range of subjects including evangelism, missions, church history, biblical studies, systematic theology and practical theology.

Currently, potential candidates are in the process of registering at the college and then they will be required to sit an entrance exam and be interviewed by the college staff before being accepted into a course. Registration will be completed by the start of October and the teaching will then commence.

We are still working towards an accreditation for the College and we would ask for your prayers in this as this will be a vital part of our standing as an educational institution.

The College is the cornerstone of the vision for the work in Ethiopia as it is the beginning of young men and women being sent out all over Ethiopia to spread the gospel.

Psalm 68 v 31: “Ethiopia shall soon stretch out her hands unto God.”

Medical Clinic

The medical clinic staff are still busy working amongst the school children and the local community. The summer school break provides an opportunity for the staff to take some of the children to the bigger hospitals in Addis for specialist treatment.
One of our schoolgirls, Tsion (pictured below) has had eye problems since birth.

Over the last year, the clinic staff have been taking her to Addis Ababa for appointments with a specialist eye doctor and during the summer, she finally had an operation to correct her sight. She is recovering well and it is remarkable to see the difference in her eye. Previously, she had some difficulty with school work but now her vision has dramatically improved and she can’t help smiling all the time! Her family are so thankful for this treatment as they would not have been able to afford such surgery for their daughter.

Children’s Ministry

The children’s ministry is becoming a big part of everyday church life here. In a country where traditional evangelism is very difficult, one of the greatest opportunities for evangelism is amongst the village children.We work along with Mercy and Pastor Desta who, as former teachers, have proved to be very talented in children’s ministry! Every week the team are responsible for running 3 bible clubs – Wednesday afternoon in the new Babogaya church, Friday afternoon in Kuriftu village and Saturday morning at the Metropolitan Tabernacle. During the week, the team is now reaching approximately 350 children with the gospel, not including the gospel classes taught in school.

As many of you will know, the gospel is taught in our school every day and these classes have always been taken by the teachers. We believe, however, that this is such a great opportunity for planting a seed in all of the schoolchildren so our children’s ministry team will be taking over these gospel classes every day to teach bible stories, memory verses and the undiluted gospel in a fun, attractive way for kids.

Babogaya church
As mentioned in our last report, the members of the church in Ethiopia have independently financed and built a second church in Babogaya village. This is a great achievement for the church members here and there is much excitement about this new outreach. The church building seats up to 250 people, has one choir room/office as well as a toilet and shower block.


The main building work is now completed but there is still some cosmetic work to be finished. We will be looking forward to the team from Whitewell Belfast coming in January, armed with paintbrushes for the task of painting and decorating the church! The team will also be distributing much needed food supplies and clothing to these needy families. We give God the glory for this expansion as it is only with His help that this could be achieved. We look forward to the gospel being preached in this area and we would ask for your prayers as this outreach takes root in this village.

Church
The church is steadily growing, we thank God for his continued blessing. Each week around 400 people attend the Sunday service which consists of a prayer time, opening worship time led by our Senior Choir and the preaching of the Word. As none of our church members have a car, they all walk to church each week and some of them travel from up to 6 miles away.

A junior choir has recently been established with 20 young people aged between 11 and 15. This encourages the younger members of the congregation to take an active part in the church. The junior choir is still at the practising stage but they will no doubt be a great blessing to the church in the coming months.

At the beginning of October, another baptismal service has been scheduled and, at this stage, 13 people have come forward to be baptised. This is a sign of a healthy church and we appreciate all that Pastor Bezabih and his team are doing here.

School
School started back at the end of September after 3 months off. During the summer period, we had interviews and registration for a new intake of kindergarten students and our school roll is now up to 601 students.

We have now begun the task of feeding the students every day and this year, we will also be providing them with new school uniforms. We have arranged for the tailors to come to the school to measure the children and make skirts/trousers and shirts for each of them. Our workers have also been busy knitting school jumpers here on site for each of the students, 400 have been completed and the rest will be finished in the next few weeks.

Our annual shoebox appeal is now well underway with the helpers in Belfast busy wrapping the boxes in Christmas paper! We intend to distribute shoebox gifts to our bible club children this year as well as our own school children so please feel free to stop by the Ethiopia desk and pick up a shoebox. This really is the highlight of the year for many of these kids and we look forward to the distribution in January!

 

We would like to thank the church for their continued support in donations and those who support the work through the Child Sponsorship Scheme. On behalf of all the workers here in Ethiopia, we appreciate the sacrifice that many people make every week to keep the missionary outreaches in Africa going. We can only say that God is blessing your giving and we trust that this report will encourage your hearts. It is amazing to see what God is doing and although Africa is known as the “Dark Continent”, we believe that the light of the gospel is beginning to shine brightly in Ethiopia and we wait to see what God will do in the future in this place.

Psalm 29 v 2: “Give unto the Lord the glory due unto His name…”

James & Lauren