by Joy Casey
My trip to Ethiopia this month primarily focused on our evangelism outreach to the unreached pockets of Arsi Oromo whose main religion is Sunni Isl*m. As mentioned in previous posts, the Oromo have been aggressively pushing for more voice in the government and this has often exploded into violence towards non-Oromo tribes
For several years I have been hearing about a town called “A” that is actively evangelizing their M*slim-dominated area. Out of the strong church in “A” there are 15 outreach areas where evangelists are working… but the fascinating part is the three training centers.
Every two weeks new converts are brought to one of the training centers (one center is in “A”) and they stay for five days receiving teaching and are also immersed in worship and prayer. On the fifth day, they share their testimony and are baptized. Baptism is a major step for these former M*slims. Baptism represents a total break with their former allegiance and complete commitment to follow Jesus Christ.
I had a wonderful opportunity to visit the “A” training center and witness 17 former M*slims joyfully be baptized. All of them are challenged to go back to their villages and share the good news with their families. In this center they baptize an average of 30 people every two weeks! It costs $35 – $40 to bring a new Christ-follower to one of the centers, house him, feed him, teach him and baptize him. An amazing eternal investment!
Pastor Zerihun, who is the coordinator of all the evangelists with Mission 1:27, and I have had wonderful brainstorming sessions. We strategized how to strengthen the evangelists and emerging leaders from among the converts with periodic week-long teaching and how brand new converts can be solidified in their faith and prepared for the persecution that is sure to come.
Zerihun and I were very impressed with the strong outreach of the “A” church and their concept of training centers for converts. We would like to use the “G” church as a training center patterned after the one in “A” It is hard for me coming from a church culture, to wrap my mind around the fact that most of the Christians I meet have only been a Christ-follower for a very short time. Jesus has called them to follow Him and miraculously they have left every familiar and comfortable thing to do so. As dedicated as they once were to their former religion, they come to Christianity with a burning fire to tell their clan about the freedom and eternal life found in Jesus.
If anyone reading this wants to learn more, I would love to share over a cup of coffee or via a phone call if we can’t arrange a face-to-face. There is an open door right now for evangelism and dynamic momentum is underway. We also have incredible teachers and capable administrators that can bring this vision to fruition. Call me! (253) 722-6029
Three worship centers protected by locals
In a blog post written a couple of days ago, I told how evangelist “K” stood, spear in hand, before an agitated mob refusing to flee and protecting his church from being torched. Then, one by one, his kinsmen (all M*slims) stood with him and made a human shield around the church. They stayed there for days until the village men calmed down. It was the only church in the area untouched.
About an hour away, another evangelist ran to protect his church in an eerily similar scenario. His tribe, also all M*slims, came to his side and that church, too, averted disaster protected by the family of Ali.
The “G” church was also threatened during the uprising, but the people of the village who are helped through Mission 1:27 with food staples, new homes and kindergarten education came to the church and refused to allow the men bent on destruction to come near the compound.
These three stories of M*slim people standing with their Christian kinsman, or M*slim neighbors refusing to allow harm to come to the people and property who are helping them, gave me fresh insight into the importance of family in this tribal society and the depth of gratitude the Mission 1:27 families have for the help they are receiving.