Sis. Peggy Lee
“The LORD hath done great things for us; whereof we are glad” (Psalm 126:3).
With much joy and gladness, I witnessed how the Lord our God has multiplied what Gethsemane BPC, Singapore, gave to the Gospel-work that is being accomplished in her mission stations in Ethiopia.
In Alem Gena, the mission compound consists of: (i) a church building (with a seating capacity of about 300), (ii) a college building which houses a library, 4 classrooms, a storeroom and an administrative office (for both the church and Gethsemane Bible Institute [GBI]), (iii) a fellowship hall (with a kitchen attached), and (iv) a block that provides accommodation for GBI students and the 2 missionary families, as well as classroom for Gethsemane Children’s Ministry (GCM) usage. All these are situated on a land of about 11,900 sq metres (not sq feet)!
Likewise, in Addis Ababa, a 3-storey rented building caters for church gatherings (of about 30 people), a small administrative office, and a place of residence for the preacher and his family.
Despite many trials, GBI is a thriving ministry. 30 full-time students come daily for theological training. Furthermore, GCM provides free pre-school education and imparts biblical knowledge to about 80 young children. Thank God that members of the mission team had many opportunities to visit the homes of the children and witness to their parents.
By God’s grace, Pastor Koshy taught the GBI students on “Anthropology” (despite his suffering from high-altitude sickness), while Bro Cornelius and the sisters (namely Dorothy, Carolyn and Peggy) ministered to the GCM children over a period of 6 days. Of note also was the joy of being able to see a section of the fence around the perimeter of the Alem Gena mission compound being further strengthened (with the help of a gift from one of our sisters in the mission team) for security purposes.
I am most grateful to God that my desire to visit the missionaries in Ethiopia had become a reality, and all the more so, for allowing me to serve with them. His provision had granted us much sweet fellowship and mutual encouragement. Thank God also for our safe return flight, and smooth clearance through the Ethiopian immigration and custom checks. All glory be to God!
Pastor Prabhudas Koshy
It has been almost 3 years since I last visited our Gospel mission stations in Ethiopia. How excited I was to see how the Lord has sustained and blessed the work of our dear Ethiopian preachers! Even though regular ministry updates came from them, I eagerly looked forward to be with our brethren in their field of labour to know their affairs, their struggles and their joys.
Our three missionaries (Rev. Ephrem, Pr Engida and Pr Imane) and their families are in good spirits as they press on in the work of the Lord. The areas where these men labour for the Lord have many difficulties, opposition and resistance. They encounter hostility not only from the non-Christian people around them, but also from those who are “Christians”, but unbiblical in their doctrines. The Ethiopian Coptic Christians and Charismatic Christians often spread rumours that our Reformed, Presbyterian teachings are heresies. Such unabated attacks from these so-called “Christian” communities often unsettle people who come to worship with us.
Nonetheless, we rejoiced to see that our brethren find much grace and strength, through constant prayer to the Lord, to stand firm and boldly proclaim the truths of God’s Word. Their steadfastness amidst open hostility and insidious rumours from unsound “Christian” teachers is indeed commendable. Let us praise God for our brethren for embracing the truth in 2 Corinthians 3:5 – “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God”.
The congregation in the city of Addis Ababa (capital city of Ethiopia), ministered to by Pr Engida Tefera, has been the most troubled by the deception of Charismatic teachings. It is indeed an uphill battle. The Christian community in this city is overwhelmingly affected by Charismatic preachers. They seduce the people with their offers of “prophecies” (a kind of divination) and “signs and wonders”. They even compel and coerce those who come to Gethsemane BPC, Addis Ababa, to leave us and go to their churches! Not a few have been affected by their persuasions, causing them to leave the church. But the remnant find cheer and strength in the truths of God’s Word, and in the faithfulness of God who has called them to unwavering commitment in declaring the wholesome words of our Lord Jesus Christ. Pr Engida, his wife Mulu and their daughter Yohana, together with another dozen brethren, continue to serve the Lord.
The church in Alem Gena, situated amidst a large Muslim community, faces hostility to their Gospel efforts. Besides, there have been several violent communal clashes between the tribal communities. While we were there, we heard that two Christian pastors were murdered in a nearby place. Such circumstances obstruct the outreaches of the church and also prevent brethren from coming to the church regularly. However, the Lord continues to bless our brethren’s efforts to spread the Gospel.
Gethsemane Children’s ministry in Alem Gena provides free pre-school (kindergarten level) activities for children in that community. Many children from poor homes come. About 80 children are attended to by two recent graduates of Gethsemane Bible Institute (Bro. Bayera and Bro. Bedada), and three sisters (Mrs Gete Ephrem, Sis Alemitu and Sis Kamise). The two brothers reach out to the children and their parents with the Gospel.
Gethsemane Bible Institute (GBI) continues to receive men who seek theological training for the work of the Gospel. The work of GBI, Ethiopia, has increased in recent years. Presently, 30 students are undergoing theological training. On November 24th, 6 part-time students graduated, having completed their course. If the students remain faithful to the Lord, through them the message of the Gospel will reach hundreds – and even thousands more – in that country, resulting in the establishment of more churches and the building up of believers in the most holy faith.
Let us praise the Lord for enabling our Ethiopian missionaries to make steady progress in the midst of many adversities and dangers. May our prayers ascend to our God for them, that He will prosper the work of their hands. Let it also be our constant prayer that more will hear the call of God and be well-equipped to serve in that vast harvest field.