The power of the word for the needs of the community
In the middle of Dire Dawa, an Islamic city in an area dominated by Islam, a three-story bible center rises out of the houses. How did that happen? Why Dire Dawa? What do we have in mind with the Bible Center?
The hardship of the community
It all began with a seemingly impossible idea: we are building a training center where we regularly offer Bible training for the evangelists of our mission. The community in Ethiopia is growing explosively in many areas. Few poorly trained church workers (elders, teachers, evangelists) face an army of young Christians. There are too few Bibles, too little literature and hardly any Bible schools, seminars or set-up courses for the workers in the Kingdom of God. The consequences of this deficiency are obvious. False doctrines and sects sprout up everywhere in Ethiopia, and the Christians, who have no firm foundation for teaching, often follow the dazzling “revival preachers” who promise them prosperity, health, success, and all sorts of “spiritual” spectacle as they follow their teachings , Again and again we hear the concerns that it is not enough to evangelize and to found churches. It was irresponsible for the newly converted Christians and the young communities to be left to their own devices. These concerns are more than justified. Every day in Ethiopia, we experience what happens when young churches are not founded on a solid, biblical teaching foundation.
No room for Bible training
To meet this need, we began to conduct irregular Bible training. The cost of accommodation and food soon exceeded our budget. Having your own building would circumvent the ever-increasing rents and provide a strong foundation from which we could provide training for all of Ethiopia. At that time the idea still seemed like a fairytale: a building that would provide space for about 100 students; a place where the evangelists can relax from their privation-rich ministry and build body, mind and soul.
God makes the impossible possible
In 2008 it was actually time. We were able to acquire land from the Dire Dawa community – work began. At the beginning, the construction site was still a ruin for German conditions, but that was soon to change. Step by step donation for donation, the building took shape. Today, a three-story building towers over the Dire Dawas trees. It offers sleeping places for 100 students, training and conference rooms, offices, toilets and bathrooms, guest lecture rooms, a large kitchen and a dining area. On the roof terrace, the students can enjoy the community, in the courtyard there is the possibility to wash clothes. In short, everything is taken care of in this house. God made the impossible possible. Meanwhile, there are training sessions throughout the year.
The word of God must be upheld
As already indicated above, we try to counter the problems of the communities through the Bible Center. We are currently focusing on making the Word of God important to evangelists and children’s missionaries; it should be the only authority for faith and community building. This includes a careful and thorough approach to interpretation. We rely on the power of the Word of God to renew the churches and guard against false doctrines. For the training we go to Ethiopia ourselves, where Shimeles and Roman are responsible for the evangelists and Jutta for the children’s missionaries. In addition, we invite guest lecturers from Germany to teach topics in Ethiopia, which we sometimes impose when we perceive a particular need or see a problem that we want to counteract.
How should we afford it?
The first training sessions allowed us to start in 2016. Since then, we bear the costs of the general donations we receive. Although we have to pay far less for each training session than we did when we had to rent the accommodation, there are still high costs. One of the reasons is that we are intensifying the training to fully exploit the potential of the Bible Center. It would be a shame to leave the rooms temporarily unused, as the need for training becomes more and more urgent. The travel expenses of the students, the food, the material, the maintenance costs, the salary of the employees, the remuneration of the lecturers, these are all costs, for which we still have to pay. The bill is simple. The more money we have for training, the more we can offer it. The need is definitely there. The church and individual siblings in Ethiopia must be founded on the solid Bible teaching foundation. Please pray that our work in the Bible Center in Dire Dawa contributes to this.
Plans for 2018
1. Training for all evangelists and elders Aims: To equip the shepherds (evangelists) to feed their sheep (parishioners) according to Jesus’ will. Fighting false teachings. Cause: extremely charismatic movements: becoming spirit, prosperity., Prophecy, media preaching. We have already trained the areas of West and East Hararge, all evangelists with the elders. The Nazareth area followed in May and the Jimma area in June. Awash Metehara area is scheduled to open in July, while August will see the continuation of the Kindermissionare training for the Meta Robi area. In September, the evangelist training continues with the Arsi Bale area, followed in October by the Ilubabor area. For example, during the year most areas will attend this training, the rest will be in the first months of next year, and so the training will be completed. The training of the elders is done by the MKC, we provide only the bible center and the necessary care. It is important that the elders be trained to lead their churches according to biblical standards. MKC College has two classrooms in our Bible Center so that they can do one to three years of evening and weekend Bible School in Dire Dawa for their area. You have already started with a class of 30 students. Our evangelists from this area can also learn here. So our Bible Center is really used throughout.
Plan for 2019
For the year 2019, we are preparing exams for our evangelists who have already been able to attend classes. As a result, they deal with the learned and internalize their findings. They will be attending further training this year. Roman will also conduct training with the evangelists. The year 2019 will also be used intensively. We are preparing to teach our Fernbibelschule in 2020. Since the Fernbibelschule is a very complex project and we have to tailor the lesson for laymen, we have extended the start date for the distance learning course to 2020. We also ask you for prayer.
Plan for 2020
The training described above is also the basis for our next plan. We would like to offer all evangelists of our fields of application a distance learning course. This allows everyone to study continuously for several years and is even in the remote sites feasible. It is also possible to include capable parishioners here so that more employees can be equipped for the communities. The management of distance learning will take over Roman. For the year 2020, we are preparing a basic course in the coming months, covering important topics: Shimeles, in collaboration with the Ethiopian evangelist Wendwessen: Heilswirken Gottes – salvation history on the basis of the book “What will become of this world?” By Joachim Langhammer. (2,000 are printed in Oromigna.) Georgij: Healing Effects of the Body of Jesus – The History of the Church Novel: Healing Sources of Jesus Christ – The Gospel Jutta: hermeneutics. In addition, a major problem in rural areas is the poor education of community members. This prevents them from reading the Bible themselves, hardly imaginable here in Germany. Therefore, we are planning a literacy program for affected communities and church plantings by 2020. The lessons should take place in the communities and be carried out by faithful school teachers from the village. Our evangelists will also help in the courses.
Plan for 2021
At the beginning of the year 2021, we plan to build our own Bible School in our Bible Center. The distance learning course is already a good preparation for this step, as we learn from the cooperation with the MKC College, which currently teaches in our center. With this Bible School, we can provide extensive training for our evangelists.
Plan for 2022
With the participation of German Bible Schools we would like to expand our Bible School in Ethiopia. In all these years, we will improve our preparation courses and further strengthen our evangelists. That’s why we built this center. At the same time, we also want to expand our areas of application, ie to take up new areas. The plan is great, but our mission is also very big. It is a huge step for us, but the prospect of biblically establishing and shaping Biblical communities in Ethiopia motivates us and drives us forward. Please pray!