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Ethiopia and world mission

By Worku Hailemarium

For many years, “missions” meant the West sending missionaries to the rest of the world. But the Lord is using people from all over Africa to share the good news. God has called Christians, from all nations, to go into the world and teach the gospel. May He use the following story of Ethiopia’s growing missions movement, and the development of SIM’s East Africa Office, to encourage your own faith steps.

The sending office for East African evangelicals was established in 2012 in Addis Ababa. But God began this missions movement many years earlier. For more than 100 years Ethiopian evangelists have been sharing the gospel with their own ethnic groups, as well as cross-culturally. From the start, Ethiopian churches have selected and financed their own missionaries.

In 1996 the Ethiopian Kale Heywet Church (EKHC) saw the potential for sending Ethiopian missionaries internationally. At that time they sent 10 missionaries, along with SIM’s Dr. Howie and Jo-Ann Brant, to Tamil Nadu in South India.

The team was divided into pairs, and sent off in five different directions to teach and share the gospel. Once a week they met up to report on the work God was doing through them. At the end of the first week, most reported that a few people had received Christ. But one of the pairs came back heartbroken: no one had accepted Christ.

The following week each group had a similar report: only a few had responded – all except for the pair that had previously not seen any response. They came back with the news that 45 people had asked Him into their hearts!

This was the first time EKHC had sent missionaries outside Ethiopia. During their time in Tamil Nadu all members of the team seemed to be under spiritual attack in some way, whether by car accidents, fires, or something else. But thanks to the prayers of the Church back in Ethiopia, all returned home safely. At the end of three months 1,300 had come to faith in Jesus Christ.

The East Africa Office

In 1999 the late Dr. Steve Strauss and I were sent for two weeks to assist an Indian Church, Ceylon India General Mission (CIGM), in developing curriculum for a Bible school. Soon after that Gebregziaher Kahisay and Demissie Tilahun were sent as missionaries for two years to teach from that curriculum to train some leaders among the new Christians in India. Nine students graduated, and the missionary teachers returned home, leaving them to lead the Church and Christians of India.

In 2001 EKHC and SIM sent another group of missionaries beyond the borders of Ethiopia. This time eight missionaries went to Pakistan for six months, and during their ministry 68 people accepted Christ. After another successful trip, the Church and SIM saw that there was a need to properly train up missionaries.

Discussions with and help from our mission field in South Sudan helped us to realize that setting up a sending office was absolutely vital. So, after 10 years of trips to India, Pakistan and South Sudan, we organized the new office through guidance and help from SIM International and SIM Ethiopia.

The East Africa Office exists to help churches from all over East Africa send their missionaries. Currently there are 11 missionaries in Africa and six in Asia from different denominations and places. Is your church praying about who they should send?


Worku Hailemariam

Worku Hailemariam is the Director of SIM’s East Africa Office.


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