February 12, 2014 – Ethiopian preachers I work with

I wanted to send out a little information about some of the Ethiopian preachers I work with.  These men are dedicated and are making good progress in their respective congregations.  I met most of these men on my first trip to Ethiopia in January 2001.  Since then, friendships have grown and appreciation has increased.  I hope you enjoy these little snippets.

Tesfaye Abate is one of the most capable of all the preachers here in Addis and in Ethiopia.  He is studious; when given books, he makes good use of these materials. He has a particular fondness for the writings of Brother Homer Hailey (that is true of many, still).  Tesfaye has worked hard to translate good Bible materials into the Amharic language.  He recently finished translating Robert Harkrider’s Basic Bible Doctrines One and Two. We are trying to find the money to put these good books into print.  Tesfaye is working with a “house church” located in the SE corner of Addis.  He and his lovely wife Alyech, who is a school teacher, have two great sons — Onesimus and Menahem.  Tesfaye teaches them constantly from the Bible.  I recently enjoyed a visit in their home.  The boys read scripture in English and sang songs that | recognized. Tesfaye’s strong personality, combined with an insistence of staying away from any kind or any hint of “mission control,” has not endeared him to some.  Yet, you have to admire his work ethic and ability.  In my view, he is using his talents in the best possible way to increase the kingdom.

Zerihun and his wife Martha have three precious children, two boys and a girl; these parents are diligent about teaching their children the Bible.  It is always a delight to be in their home for  visits, good food, and pleasant conversation.  Zerihun is at the top of all Ethiopian preachers.  This includes good ability, but more, he has a great attitude about preaching and other preachers.  There is no hint of jealousy or pride in his life.  Zerihun receives calls constantly from the Hidya and Sidamo regions to come and give Bible training.  He receives so many calls that he simply cannot leave his phone open for very long each day.  Zerihun has been a constant friend.  I rely on him for helping me with financial matters and for advice generally about my work here in Ethiopia.Wubishet (and his wife Barcot have three boys, Berket, Raey, and Zetset, ages 11, 7, and 1 respectively.  Wub works with the Kara congregation, located in the NE side of Addis. I recently worshiped with this group, speaking twice.  Wub is active in teaching others.  He is now following up on a good lead that came from a church in Alabama.  It is a delight for me is to visit in their home.  Barcot makes the best shero of all that I eat here in Ethiopia.  Wub has a good educational background. More, though, he has a tender side that endears him to most.   Although Wub is a severe diabetic, hIs condition has improved through needed supplies being furnished by a brother in Texas.

Doyomo  Donka and beloved wife Almaz work with the Kore congregation, located in the SW corner of Addis.  Doyomo has physical restraints due to an accident some 25 years ago.  His family, two older sons, and two younger children, are all active in helping their father move from place to place.  The Kore congregation is strong, due in part to the solid teaching of Doyomo.  He is a great student, an active writer, and wonderful translator.  We have worked together many times in his home region of Sidamo, the Awassa area, 6 hours south of Addis.  I will be teaching at Kore for 3 days in March.  Almaz is a great cook.

Akelu Deyaso assists Doyomo in the work at Kore.  Aleku, a former policeman, is growing in his knowledge and work ethic.  He actively visits church members, helping Doyomo keep track of the local work.  Akelu and his wife have recently welcomed a new baby into their home.  A church in Texas is helping in his support.Alemu Deboch and wife Tesganesh, have five children; from oldest to youngest they are:  Asencha (a college student in Dilla), Zereta, Ekene (this young lady wants to be a doctor), Handes, and daughter Wimma.  All of these kids excel in school.  Tesganesh has training to be a pharmacist, but has been unable to find work; this shows the dire economic picture in Ethiopia.  Alemu is a good worker at Kotobe and especially in countryside churches.  They live on the SE side if Addis, the Saris area; they hope in time to establish a congregation on this side of Addis.  Alemu is a former accountant.   I have been in his father’s country home in Messina, Hidaya zone, many times before.

Abebe Deboch and Almaz work with the congregation that meets in NE Addis, in the home of Abebe Kelbisow.  They have no children.  Almaz is a school teacher.   Abebe does what he can in teaching others.  His abilities are not great; yet, his faith and constancy mean much to me and to others.  I meet Abebe and Almaz on my first trip to Ethiopia in 2001, where we sat down together over a dish of kitfol (raw meat).

Abebe Kelbisow and Tadelech have seven children, six girls and one boy, Sodo.  Abebe attended college in the US for 7 years.  I met Abebe on my first trip to Ethiopia in 2001. At that time he was director of the Bole Mission. Since then he has left and has worked in establishing a church that meets in his house.  Every time I visit, there is a house full. Such work, I believe is vital for Addis. With a population of 6-7 million, there could be dozens of such “house churches,” all adding to the growth of the gospel in this ever expanding city.  Estimations say that 50% of the African population will live in cities within 20 years. This will certainly change the “face of the gospel.”
Abebe Kalsidow works with the church in Debre Zeit, a smaller city located 1 hour south of Addis.  DZ is a popular resort area for folks in Addis who seek a small reprieve from city life.  The church here is growing slowly.  Abebe has great ability.  A church in Kentucky helps with Abebe’s support.

Sedeka and family and work with the Sefera congregation.  Sedeka was forced out of the Jimma region (SW Ethiopia, coffee area) some years ago because of the violence between Orthodox “Christians” and Muslims.  When this happened, he lost his farm.  He was converted by Mesfin after coming to Addis.  Sedeka is capable in bringing new comers to the gospel; he continues to grow as a Christian and preacher.  A church in Texas is helping in his support.  Tagasee also works with the Sefera congregation.

Mesfin Markos, Meserat, and daughters Faben and Rahle, work with the Sefera congregation.  Mesfin is one of the most talented of all the preachers here in Ethiopia.  He comes from the Hidya region; his father Markos is a well-known and respected countryside preacher.  I stayed with Markos and family in their grasshut for several days 2 years ago.  Mesfin had training as a veterinarian, but is unable to get needed supplies to do this kind of work. He would rather preach anyway; that is a good thing.Adise and wife Selamawit and their two children work with the Meganegna congregation.  Adise grew up at the Bole Mission in Addis. His schooling is in finance; he served for a time as bookkeeper of the mission. He mainly now teaches school and lacks only support to be able to preach full time.   He has an engaging personality.

Bedassa  and family work on the west side of Addis in the Eromio region, at Birayu.  Bedassa is energetic in teaching the lost.  This congregation, perhaps more than others, has seen consistent growth.  Bedassa was converted out of Pentecostalism a few years ago by Zerihun.  I have visited Birayu often.  His wife makes the best lamb tibs anywhere!  A church in California supports Bedassa. Other teachers at Birayu include Chala a former policeman, and Habtamu, a young man who is gifted musically.  Baptisms at Birayu are common.

Words don’t tell the whole picture. In fact, pictures don’t tell the whole picture. For the most part these men are working hard and are dedicated to the Lord.  Certainly they face different kinds of problems due to living in a third world country.  Yet, they press on, thankful for any help given.  Are there a few sour notes?  Yes, but I imagine that is true just about everywhere, don’t you?
Thank you for your interest in the gospel in Ethiopia.
Randy  Harshbarger