Saturday, December 13, 2008

Ethiopia from Claude and Rhonda Houge, missionaries

From Claude and Rhoda Houge, on assignment in Ethiopia

The Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus (EECMY) is made up of almost five million members. Their church is divided into synods, or districts. This was Claude’s first visit to the headquarters of the Central Ethiopian Synod, the largest one. He was also able to see classes in session at Hope of Life Training Center, where there is a two-year program for training evangelists for the church. Their buildings are overcrowded, which is a good problem since that means many people are being trained. But, it is also a challenge for this school.

“Claude had not been to Gambella in western Ethiopia for some time, so he was glad for the opportunity to meet with church leaders there. There are many Sudanese in this area, because of refugee camps, but many are starting to move back to Sudan. Besides discussions with church leaders and EECMY synodical leadership in that area, Claude enjoyed Sunday morning worship with more than 1,000 people. He was also able to give the church 144 Nuer-language Bibles for distribution into areas of Sudan where the church is being planted.

“After returning to Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, Claude went to Awassa, about five hours south, and visited the leadership at a Tabor congregation. These people are serious about outreach, and the LCMS has helped support Mission Training Centers in this area. They have planted more than 20 churches in an area that is heavily Muslim. Their main church is very large, and they are in the process of building a bigger building (without asking for financial help from our mission).”