Trip Summary for December/January 2012

From our Head of Africa Missions

As many of you know, I recently traveled to Ethiopia this past December to participate in “The Ethiopian National Dialogue Forum of Religious Leaders.” This was an extremely prestigious conference, and it was a great honor for me to be able to attend. Now that I’m back, I want to share with you just what an amazing opportunity God has opened up for us to share his gospel in Ethiopia and to fulfill the vision he has given us.

The Ethiopian National Dialogue Forum of Religious Leaders was focused on peace building and youth reproductive health. While I was there I had the opportunity to present the mission and vision of JFH in the general council meeting in front of all the senior religious leaders, UN higher officials, and high-level political leaders who were participating. The feedback from the participants was very amazing, and the Ethiopian Inter-Religious Council, which organized the event, invited JFH to sign an official partnership with them because we believe that God connected both ministries to influence the nation for the glory of the Lord. For now, the focus of our partnership will be in educating and training high-level officials and leaders about peace building, tolerance among religious groups, and capacity building to improve the social and economic infrastructure. This gives us an opportunity to plant the seed of the gospel into the hearts of the leaders, because we are called to be “peacemakers” (Matthew 5:9), and we are responsible more than anyone else to stand for peace and the common good of God’s creation. This is a great opportunity to work together with Muslim and other religious leaders and to show them the love of Christ and our love for all people. This coming summer, around June-July, JFH board members and volunteers are invited to Ethiopia to start an official partnership between the Inter-Religious Council of Ethiopia and JFH.

Another amazing thing that happened at the conference was an opportunity to meet with leaders from the Evangelical Churches Fellowship of Ethiopia (ECFE). The ECFE is an umbrella organization that helps coordinate the activities of member churches and promotes fellowship and cooperation among the Evangelical Churches in Ethiopia. The ECFE’s membership now includes 22 denominations, 29,805 local churches, and over 13 million believers. It also has associate memberships from 29 para-church organizations within Ethiopia and 15 Ethiopian evangelical churches worldwide. My discussion with the leaders was very blessed and successful. We came up with an agreement to work together to equip church leaders to be effective and responsible leaders, as well as teaching them to be good role models for the political and business leaders in their congregations. At this time in Ethiopia there are a few born again Christian leaders already, including the Prime Minister of the country, therefore as Christians we need to be pastoring and training them to fulfill God’s calling in their lives. We need to be the “salt and light” of this world, and at JFH we believe that Christians have a responsibility to be involved in all spiritual, social, and political issues so we can cultivate the peace and justice of God in our nations. To help make this happen we will work with the ECFE department of “Peace Building and Advocacy.” They have warmly welcomed us to partner with them to see God glorified in every area of the country, and also beyond Ethiopia in other African countries as well. This is a great opportunity and it is amazingly the very same vision God gave us for this nation.

Even though this vision is more than we imagined, we are confident that God put this great passion and vision in us because He is confident of His abundant grace within us, which is able to provide whatever we need to fulfill his agenda. We all are privileged to be a part of God’s nation transforming vision. I believe that the God who put this passion into our hearts is with us, and He will be with us until its completion. “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus (Phil 1:6). Let’s work together for the good work He has given us, and let’s be a blessing for others. Thank you so much for your prayers and support. We can’t do all these amazing things without you, so please keep praying for the good work and supporting JFH.

Yours in Christ,

Z