Ethiopia is one of the oldest continuously existing countries in the world. But ironically, it also is home to one of the youngest populations, with 18 being the average age. The total population is growing fast and prospering under relative political stability. But is their faith growing also? Though Ethiopia has historically been named as a Christian nation, until recently, little or no witness of the Message of the Hour has been reported. The past several years, this has been changing. A Message believing church has been established in the capital city of Addis Ababa, and continuing outreach efforts around the country always seem to bear fruit.
In May, Brother Busobozi retraced his steps from a previous trip to the University city of Hawassa, and once again, fruit followed. A movement is starting among the vibrant population of this city, and much of it involves students. When Brother Busobozi and two other Brothers went through Hawassa passing out tracts, the response was almost immediate. One of the Brothers named Assegid, a university lecturer, had translated a booklet titled “The Messenger” and also a tract on Water Baptism into Amharic. The Brothers had given these to a taxi driver while on the way to a prearranged meeting with a Oneness Brother. Before they could even get to the meeting, the phone rang. It was the taxi driver. He was excited about what he was reading and wanted to hear more! He had already called an elder who agreed to travel some distance and meet them.
This turned into an interesting meeting, because the driver and his elder were also Oneness, but from a different sect, which has separated over the centuries old debate about the relationship between Jesus’ human and His divine nature. Back in the 5th Century, this area had been swept into the hotly contested issue at the Council of Chalcedon. Old arguments die hard. But Brother Busobozi and his companions had completely new light to share that would bypass the long worn out debate. Instead, Brother Busobozi steered clear of the argument, and shared with them the Message of the Hour, with scriptures such as Hebrews 6:1, 1 Peter 1:5, 1 Cor. 13:9-10, Malachi 4:5-6, and others. A direct Message from God is the only thing that can break doctrinal stalemates such as this.
The Oneness brothers were amazed at what they heard and all three promised to study the literature they were given. One of them came to a home service later.
Other seeds are sprouting around the city simultaneously. Brother Busobozi is expecting a revival in the University of Hawassa, as momentum and interest grows. The witness to the University began with Brother Assegid calling his Sister-in-Law upon learning she was a student there. Being part of the orthodox religion, she did not have interest in the Word but provided some contacts and made introductions to both students and leaders. She happened to call the leaders of evangelism and outreach, as well as the leaders of those who distribute Christian books and materials.
Brother Busobozi and his companions spent spent two days sharing the word with these young men, who are well schooled in the theology of sola scriptura (scripture alone). They were interested and had many questions. Given more time to study the word, they can make personal decisions.
One of the young men requested a Church Age Book, and also more Message books for distribution to the hundreds if not thousands of students.
Independently, another student was met who was also interested in having the materials.
Meanwhile, the church of Brother Tesfa continues as an interesting case. Pastor Tesfa is growing steadily in the knowledge of the Word has he steadfastly continues to come and be part of the home fellowship in Deacon Timothy’s house, but all the while continuing to lead his congregation. He confesses he is feeding his church on the Message, but gradually, as he seeks for God’s guidance and wisdom. Brother Tesfa claims, “there is a movement starting in Hawassa.” Brother Busobozi preached at Brother Tesfa’s church Sunday morning, and then had the chance to share with Pastor Tesfa’s wife, and she was positive. She is cautious, having already been dragged through several denominations in Brother Tesfa’s search for truth.
Two Baptisms finished out the trip, one planned and one which was a surprise. Like Brother Tesfa’s wife, the wife of Brother Temesgen had not yet been Baptized. But she was encouraged by her husband to come along and assist the Baptism of another woman, Sister Tsega, who has been in Deacon Timothy’s house meetings. But after this Baptism, the Brothers were led to speak to her and the power of the Holy Spirit gripped her. She was also Baptized that day in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Brother Busobozi requests prayer for all these situations, as the Lord seems to be working in many directions at the same time. Pray that all these streams come together in a mighty revival, in this ancient country of the world.