TWO WEEKS IN ETHIOPIA
Mark and Gayll Phifer-Housman and I just completed two week of teaching and training in two cities in Ethiopia. We were joined by long-term friend Richard Wallace from Madrid. It was like the book of Acts in terms of the things that are being done and the stories of the people we met.
In Phase 1 we work our way through the book of Romans and look not only at what the Apostle Paul taught but also what he did and was training the church at Rome (and elsewhere) to do. We draw out practical ministry skills that we train the Participants to use in Rescuing and Restoring others.
The response to our training was exceptional. Here is an email we received after our Phase 2 training in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa:
Dear Dr. LinusMy name is Aklilu [He’s in the photo below] and I am one of the lucky ones that got the chance to attend the Divine Expedition that was held last two days. I am the one who participated phase 1 last October and phase 2 in this week.The training was absolutely superb and I genuinely enjoyed each and every moment of it. The content was extremely informative and incredibly useful. I have attended several trainings before but I can’t recall any of them having such a strong impact. You have done a wonderful job and I appreciate your efforts.I will surely recommend this training to all my colleagues and friends. I, myself, would love to attend future training organized or featured by you.Please thank on my behalf everyone who was involved in the preparation and execution of the training. You have all done a wonderful job.Love and Respect,
THE VISION: DISCIPLE-MAKING AND CHURCH PLANTING MOVEMENTS
In Addis Ababa we were training Horn of Africa Ministry supervisors of hundreds of church plants around the country…including predominantly Muslim areas.
A highlight of our Phase 1 training (another group not pictured above) was the outreach exercise where we sent the Participants of our training into the community to share the One Sentence Gospel (“I was lost, Jesus rescued me, and He can rescue you too”) and Your Story (testimony of how they came to know Christ, what they were like before knowing Christ, and how their life has changed since knowing Christ). In the 45 minute exercise at least five people opened their lives to Christ and “were rescued too.”
Another highlight was the strategic planning we do as part of our P1 training. Groups were gathered into regions of the country and worked on their next three year goals. Below is the work of one of the five groups and their goals for churches planted (cp-4,500 ), missionaries sent (1600), new believers (1,300,000), and disciples (800,000) in the next three years. I wrote in the small green letters.
Notice that the Ethiopian calendar dates of 2012, 2013, and 2014 dates refer to the years 2019/2020, 2020/2021, and 2021/2022 of our Western Gregorian calendars.
Over and over again we heard stories of God’s supernatural intervention in bringing people to a faith in Jesus. One man told how he became a Christian in a Muslim family. When his father found out about it, he picked up a spear to kill his son. The son’s mother threw herself at the father’s feet and implored him not to kill him. The father responded, “Ok, but you are going to the Mosque tomorrow and denounce Christ and reconvert to Islam. In the night, the son packed up and fled. The father chased him on a donkey but the son was able to escape to another village and is now reaching other Muslims. He hasn’t seen his family in eleven years.
Another woman born to a polygamous Muslim father but was raised by a grandmother until 8-years old, when her father brought her back to his village ( and his four wives and children). At age 11 the Muslim father found out his daughter had become a Christian, and for the next two years her step-bothers (sons of the other mothers) beat her. They finally rented a car and drove her into the desert wilderness where they left her to die. Meanwhile, God spoke to a Christian woman in a not too distant village and said, “There is a young woman in the desert who has been left to die.” The Christian woman went and found the 13 year-old, raised her, and sent her to Bible school. She is now a powerful witness and part of the Horn of Africa ministry.
There were a lot more amazing stories and an amazing passion to bring the Gospel to all corners of Ethiopia. It was a great honor to be able to contribute to the training (Phase 1 and Phase 2 of the Divine Expedition) of these passionate followers and servants of our Savior and Lord, Jesus. The Gospel is spreading rapidly in Ethiopia through them.
PRAY AND THANKS
Please pray for those we trained (including the 15 Ethiopian Orthodox Church seminary students we taught on Leadership and Entrepreneurship the first week of our stay).
Pray too as we begin our next round of training in Nepal in the cities of Lalitpur, Bhaktapur, Kathmandu, and Kavre from April 25th to May 13th.
A special thanks to daughters Kristin, Leslie, Stephanie, and Kathryn for being with Sharon while I was and will be away, making sure that all is well as she continues her recovery. Thanks too for our sons-in-laws, son Linus Jr, and daughter Laina for checking in on her too.
Thank you for being part of all this with us through your prayers and giving.
Linus (for Sharon, our family, and the GTN Divine Expedition team)