Addis – January 25, 2014

Dear Brethren,

I am back in Ethiopia, my 21st trip.  I am excited to be here again and to try to help in the work of the kingdom.  The Ethiopians continue to work hard in spreading  God’s word.  There have been two baptisms recently at Birayu; two at Kara; and two at Sefera.  This reflects the good work of men such as Chala, Sedeka, and Wubishet.  I have worshiped with the Kotobe congregation, bringing lessons on the hope of the gospel from Romans five, and lessons from 1st Timothy 2:15. The Kotobe congregation continues to show consistent progress; this reflects the good teaching of Zerihun, Alemu, and Ephraim.

I spent most of this past week teaching some 30 students who gathered at the Kotobe meeting place. These men are mostly preachers;  some are experienced; some are beginning and show good promise.  I always try to have two sessions at Kotobe while I am here. I taught this week from the book of Colossians.  These men ask lots of good questions. Because they are experienced, I try as best I can to try go a little deeper into this great book from Paul.  This assumes a lot-namely that I can go deeper; but any way.  We had a good discussion about instrumental music-a subject these men face all the time.  I have wondered why we don’t face such in the USA as often as they do here.  Is it because they are out daily, actively trying to teach people?  I  try to study hard while at home for these classes. Still, without shame or hesitation,  I tell you that  I use Brother Robert Harkrider’s workbooks as my guide. The material is good and the size of his workbooks makes it easy to bring over. In fact, over the past 13 years I have brought hundreds of Robert’s books to give away (Robert, can you hear the Macedonian Call from Ethiopia?). Most of the Addis congregations were represented in these classes. My next session with these men will be next month.  Then, I plan to survey some OT books.

Addis is a great place to be right now. The weather is great, with daytime temps around 70 degrees F.  The traffic is terrible due to the mass transit train system that being built by the Chinese.  I am staying in a guesthouse.  I like it here because I have good WiFi. I can Skype with Marilyn; this takes some of the sting and loneliness out of being here. My house is completely safe. I have a kitchen. I am able to snack for most meals; this saves time and money. And at almost any time I can invite myself to eat some good Ethiopian shero and tibs and enjera, as I enjoyed today in the home of Wubishet and Barcot. Wub works with the Kara congregation, NE Addis.  They are a great couple. I will worship with them Sunday.  Wub has a contact that came, I think, from Frank Walton.  This contact has been studying with an elder in a congregation in Alabama.  This man, from the Tigray region located in the northern part of Ethiopia, called today and said he would come to the services Sunday.  I hope so.

A recent Pew Research report on Religion and Public Life, reported on religious persecution that takes place around the world.  Predictably, the Middle East and parts of Africa display much persecution toward religion of all kinds.  While Somalia and the Sudan (countries that border Ethiopia) are hot spots of such activity, thankfully, Ethiopia continues to enjoy relative peace and even a measure of prosperity.

This is all for now.  I thank all who have an interest in this work. And I thank all who are making my work possible.

Brotherly, Randy Harshbarger