Bringing the Good News to the people we serve in Ethiopia is foundational to all we do.
In addition to serving children with Jesus’ love in our orphanage and kindergarten, we are focusing on groups of Ethiopians who have never had an encounter with Jesus. Throughout Ethiopia there are pockets of people in the rural areas who have not been exposed to the Gospel of Christ. It is to several of these people groups that indigenous evangelists are sent to live among and be witnesses. Persevering through hardships and persecution, churches are being planted like never before and thousands have heard the gospel with many identifying with Jesus.
REACHING THE UNREACHED PEOPLE OF ETHIOPIA
Some of the most important aspects of NewLife Ethiopia’s work is done behind the scenes and the details cannot be communicated for security reasons. Thirty-one indigenous missionaries live among people who have not been reached, or minimally reached, with the Good News. All the missionaries are former M*slim believers with the same tribal affiliation, language and culture as their neighbors. God assigned these warriors to the front lines and they live uncomfortable lives in the trenches. Some have been severely beaten, threatened with eviction, their cattle poisoned, houses burned; they have minimal food and shelter and suffer under unfair practices of the local government. The missionaries and their wives give what little they have to their converts who face immense persecution, sometimes losing their jobs and homes because of their newfound belief in Christ.
LIFE AS A MISSIONARY EVANGELIST
Most of the target villages are in out-of-the-way places with pedestrian or donkey cart paths and most travel is by foot. A village will be described as so many hours of walking from the nearest large town. Subsistence farming defines the economy and the stick and mud huts are scattered over a fairly large geographical area. Many places have no electricity and water is hauled from a water station either on the backs of women or children or on a donkey. Cooking is over an open fire and some women collect firewood to barter for food.
Missionaries live amongst the people they hope to reach with the Good News and many times start with the village of their birth. Familiarity does not exempt them from persecution, but it does open doors for spiritual conversations as there are no cultural barriers to overcome.
Once a church is firmly established and leaders are identified and trained, usually within 3-5 years, the missionary will branch out to a nearby village of his tribe and once again initiate the process of building relationships and sharing Christ with the goal of establishing a community of believers who will then evangelize their families and neighbors.
SHARING THE GOSPEL ~ DISCIPLING CONVERTS
Village life is tribal in nature and relationships hold a place of high value. The missionaries are from the same tribe as the people being reached and, of course, speak the native language and understand the customs and culture. The first step for an evangelist is to develop friendships and be a good neighbor. Sharing about Jesus will naturally flow out of relationship and the missionary has written materials that bring further clarity and answers to common questions. House meetings are arranged to disciple new converts and provide fellowship. When there are 30-50 believers in an area, then a traditional church building needs to be considered to accommodate the numbers and encourage growth.
SHARING THE GOSPEL ~ LITERACY PROGRAMS
Illiteracy is high in rural areas. Many villages have no schools. Missionaries are provided blackboards, charts, and exercise books to hold literacy classes in newly erected churches to teach basic reading skills to women and children. These classes are hugely popular and development of this outreach is ongoing. At the end of an academic session, a Bible story is orally shared eliciting observations and applications from the students.
SHARING THE GOSPEL ~ OUTREACH TO CHILDREN
Newly established churches emerging from a M*slim background lack vision for children who need to be reached and grounded in their faith, the same as adults. Sixty-five percent of a village’s population will statistically be under the age of 14. NewLife has established children’s programs by identifying and training teachers and providing simple curriculum in their tribal language specifically designed for rural settings.
NewLife Ethiopia partners with 36 indigenous evangelists in Ethiopia to bring the gospel to pockets of unreached or least reached people groups. These dedicated men and their families live and work in hostile environments with very limited resources.
Won’t you join us in financially supporting these brave and committed men? Let our brothers and sisters in Ethiopia say like the Apostle Paul, “I have received full payment, and more. I am well supplied, having received the gifts you sent, a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God.” (taken from Philippians 4:18)