The family behind the mission work
We would like to tell you about the family behind the mission work. How did it all start? And what developments have we been able to experience through God’s help in recent years?
"Go therefore ...
26 years ago we received the call from God to go on a mission to Ethiopia. We took the verse from Matthew 28:19 as our starting point, and the first missionary journey of Shimeles only included “going there”. In 1990 Shimeles Retta and his wife Jutta converted to the living faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. They lived at that time in Warendorf (Germany), where they joined a Mennonite church. A dear brother in the Lord, Daniel Janyen, pointed out to Shimeles that there must be Mennonite churches in Ethiopia. This awakened the interest for mission in the couple. Also the relatives of Shimeles, whom Jesus did not know, should be able to learn about Jesus. So Shimeles and Brother Heinrich dared to fly to Ethiopia in 1994. Two weeks passed by where they found Mennonite brothers and sisters in Ethiopia, the Meserete Kristos Church, thanks to God’s guidance. Both sides were happy to cooperate, and so the mission in Ethiopia began, at first small and unimpressive. Today, 480 local evangelists are employed as shepherds for the sheep in church and church plantings. For their regular spiritual preparation, a Bible center was built, in which various training courses have been held for four years. In addition to the evangelistic work, a sponsored children’s project with 1,000 children today and a poor relief project with 129 needy people were also established. Everything is supported by individual brothers and sisters within the framework of sponsorships.
... and make disciples of all nations ...
As leader of the Mission Shimeles it has always been important to him to leave his own comfort zone and accept new challenges as a Mission. So God clearly showed that the Mission should be further expanded. Many different tribes have been reached by local missionaries with the Good News including Oromos, Tigres and Somalis but also natural tribes live in South Ethiopia and completed sealed itself off from the outside world, such as the Surma. As a result people, Muslims, Coptic Orthodox Christians as well as animists came to living faith in Jesus Christ. Communities were created that grew and sent out their own missionaries. This is how a network of communities arose who have the mission among their own people at heart. In this way was born the evangelist project, the first pillar of the Mission. Through the work of church planting it stuck out that a group of people in Ethiopia were particularly neglected – the children. We decided to establish a sponsorship project for kids to give the most helpless ones a chance. In addition to the sponsored children the third pillar of the Mission was established which is the project to aid the poor and it cares especially about the old, handicapped and sick people of Ethiopia. In this way the Mission grew not only geographically but also in the fields of activity. People from different tribes, ages and disabilities should have the opportunity to make a new start through the gospel.
... baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, ...
We also took the third part of this verse literally. In some places in Ethiopia entire villages were baptized all at once. They decided together to follow Jesus and testified to those around them.
... teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you." Matthew 28:19-20a
Baptism also includes the regular teaching of new converts. Because the first euphoria comes quickly but strange teachings don’t stay outside the communities and becomes a serious threat to it. It is important for us because of that to train teachers in the communities who provide a sound doctrine. In order to provide evangelists, Bible teachers and childrens missionaries with a good biblical education we built the Bible Center within seven years. This will be the key to train as a Mission for many Ethiopian full-time ministers.
Our ministry in Ethiopie wouldn’t be possible without our circle of friends. Throughout Germany there are churches that carry our work with prayer and gifts. Added to this are the many sponsors who faithfully support children, evangelists and poor people from the aid the poor project. We are pleased that our circle of friends is growing steadily and would like to thank you for the faithful prayers and gifts.
The family behind the Mission
We as Evangeliums-Mission Äthiopien e.V. are distinguished by the fact that it is a Mission coordinated from Germany and headed by Mission Director Shimeles Retta. It takes a well-functioning team in Ethiopia and Germany to make this possible and who stay in contact with each other and share the same goal, which is to make mission in Ethiopia possible. Our German team consists of five employees: Shimeles and Jutta Retta (middle), Renate Retta (left) and Georgij and Sarah Goletiani (right).