Dessie is one of the darkest places in Ethiopia. Nearly devoid of the light of the Gospel of Christ, Dessie is a difficult place to spread the Gospel. Throughout 2017 our team worked with local churches in Dessie to train, mobilise and engage the church in reaching out to their lost city.
On December 20th the mission began on the wings of prayer from around the globe and at the end of mission week, the mission teams had shared the Gospel with 6,720 people and 650 of those accepted Christ!
A passion was ignited in the hearts of local believers that will burn for years to come. They have been equipped with the tools to evangelise effectively and it is a lesson that they will continue to use to reach their community.
Rev Wagnew, a local pastor, was one of the key church leaders who supported the mission and encouraged others to take part. “AE has become true partners with the church in Dessie. They came to us as co-workers in the Gospel, not as bosses. They did not dictate to us but facilitated us in ministering effectively. Because of their kindness and mindfulness even churches with great differences across the city were willing to work together for this mission.”
The mission made huge impact in many lives but none more than Nuru who have NEVER heard the name of Jesus before.
Good News for the first time
Nuru Hussein was living on the streets when he was approached by members of the Dessie Mission Team.
“After the death of my parents many years ago,” Nuru said, “I ended up living on the streets and became totally hopeless. One day some people came and told me about Jesus Christ. I am 25 years old and I have NEVER heard of Jesus before. They told me that He loves me and will take me to heaven. That was a new concept for me because as a Muslim I believed that my good deeds would get me to paradise.
I accepted Jesus there and then and the group took me to a church, washed me, fed me and clothed me. They showed me love and they listened to me. I look different now, but I feel like a totally new person. Even though I’ve only been a believer for a few days, I know that I am a new creation. I have peace in my heart that I’ve never felt before and I know that I am on the right track and that Jesus is the only way to heaven.
After I accepted Christ, I went to my relatives that I hadn’t seen in a very long time to tell them about Jesus and the new life I have. They resisted but I will continue to go and tell them. I want them to know Jesus like I do.”
Tefera is confined to a wheelchair and lives in a shanty house on the outskirts of the city. During door to door evangelism for the 2017 Dessie Mission, a team approached his building. They thought it was abandoned, because it was on the verge of collapse. When they peeked inside, they found Tefera asleep in his wheelchair.
Tefera was amazed that the team had bothered to investigate such a dilapidated house and even more amazed by the teams loving and accepting attitude toward him.
“I have been incapacitated for 19 years”, he told us. “I have no relatives and often times I go hungry for days. I haven’t even been able to make good use of the wheelchair that was donated to me because I can’t afford to replace the tires. I was hopeless and had no peace until these people told me that Jesus loves me. I accepted Jesus into my heart right then and now I have peace like I’ve never known. Thank you for coming to my shanty house! Now I know that I have eternal life and my name is written in the Book of Life in Heaven. I know where I will be going when I die.”
In addition to the Gospel message, AE Ethiopia will be supporting Tefera by getting him new wheelchair tires and rebuilding his house for him!
For more Dessie stories click here
November 25th was a wonderful night of celebration, as AE supporters, mission partners and staff gathered at Moore College in Sydney to reflect on God’s work in 2017. Nearly 50,000 lives have been transformed through city wide missions, and hundreds of thousands of livelihoods have been improved through AE social action projects in in Africa, thanks to your prayers, gifts, support
The night was held in partnership with the Centre for Global Mission (CGM) and featured testimonies from former Zimbabwe Foxfire Simba Musvamhiri who is now a Canberra-based pastor and Dan Bidwell, who was involved with teaching PTC in Rwanda this year.
Director of the CGM at Moore College Simon Gilham and Ben Campbell, AE Australia Executive Director, also shared about the importance of developing strong theological training programmes like the Preliminary Theological Certificate (PTC) for an Afrocentric context, and shared stories from social action and development projects.
Executive Director Ben Campbell said:
“I feel very privileged to participate in this ministry in fellowship with so many people who have a great heart for God’s people in Africa. This occasion gave us all a great opportunity to get to know how the Lord has led us until now, and to prepare for mission and development activities in 2018.”
AE is looking forward to seeing many more come to know Jesus in 2018, and to hold similar thanksgiving events in other cities around Australia.
Thank you for partnering with us this year.
Note: CGM is a centre of Moore College, providing resources for evangelical training around the world.AE hopes to continue a partnership with Moore into the future, to see more Africans trained to handle the Bible well and in turn train their local communities.
Geshon had always promised himself that he would make a better life for his children than the one that was afforded to him. Having been raised in a slum in Lusaka, Zambia, Geshon’s parents could not afford to send him to school. As he watched his friends pass by every day on their way to school, he was painfully aware that he would never be able to improve his position in life.
In spite of his lack of education, Geshon tried his hands at many small businesses but none worked out as he’d hoped. He eventually met and married Jane and together they agreed that education would be a priority for their children. Several years on with five new mouths to feed they were struggling to even provide the basic necessities, let alone an education.
The little shop they had started to try to earn more money was not doing well and Geshon was growing discouraged.
I felt like a failure, Geshon said. I couldn’t understand why I’ve struggled so much. I felt the value of my life slowly being replaced with heartache. Eventually, I felt it would be better if I were dead.”
“I felt the value of my life slowly being replaced with heartache. Eventually, I felt it would be better if I were dead.”
Geshon soon began to plan his suicide deciding to buy poison and go into the Bush to drink it so his family would not have the burden of paying for his burial.
When the fateful day had arrived he walked to the shop to buy the poison and was surprised to find that the cost of it left him with no money to leave the area. On his way home, he took a different route than usual and stumbled upon a screening of the Jesus Film as an outreach of the Lusaka Leadership Initiative. He stood curiously watching the film to the end and then left to carry out his plan.
As Geshon opened the bottle of poison, he was struck by the meaning of the film he had just seen. He felt a conviction to go back where the film had been shown and speak with someone. All thoughts of suicide forgotten, he rushed back to speak to the ministers. As they prayed with, he surrenedered his life to Christ and he handed over his bottle of poison.
The following day, the mission evangelists visited him in his home to counsel him in his new faith. Jane was moved by seeing
such a change in her husband and decided to dedicate her life to Christ as well.
“I’m thankful that God prompted me to turn back before it was too late.” Geshon said. “I feel like a heavy burden has been lifted from my life and I am grateful that I took a new path in the nick of time. I believe that was God’s way of calling me to Himself and showing me that He loves me.”
“I feel like a heavy burden has been lifted from my life and I am grateful that I took a new path in the nick of time.”
The couple is optimistic about the future and are thankful for their new knowledge of Christ. Geshon was so enthusiastic about his new-found faith that he joined the mission team in the following days and helped them assemble equipment for The Jesus Film screening. He also shared his testimony. “I want others to be transformed in the same way I have been.”
Please pray for Geshon and Jane as they begin their new lives in Christ. The AE team have introduced them to a local church where they will attend discipleship courses. Pray that God provides for their every need and that their hearts remain strong in the knowledge of God’s love.
Phase 1 of a larger mission to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) began in late October, in the South Eastern city of Lubumbashi. The second largest city in the country after Kinshasa, Lubumbashi is a mining city with a population of around 2 million (CIA World Factbook 2017).
Amidst the political tensions that are ongoing in the DRC, God is showing his mighty strength to the mission team as Leonard Kiswangi, AE Team Leader for the DRC shares.
Over three hundred senior church leaders (men, women and youth) tirelessly followed in the footsteps of the AE Evangelists who spoke over three days. The evangelism and discipleship training was carried out from 9am to 4pm by leaders including Stephen Lungu and the AE DRC Mission Team.
On the second day of the conference, there was great political unrest in Lubumbashi, and so there was a heavily armed military and police presence standing at every corner in the city. The city centre, where AE training was being carried out, was no different – but in the amazing power of the Holy Spirit, our meeting was protected. Every person gathered felt the peace of the Lord among us. Participants in the training course were encouraged through the timeliness of the training. We were able to continue in our prayer and intercession for our nation. There were no incidents at all throughout the training, and we continue to thank God for answering our prayers.
Day three brought the start of stratified evangelism to people from all walks of life. From 8am, mission volunteers and evangelists were sent to 10 strategic points throughout Lubumbashi. They returned at 2pm to report back on the progress of their evangelism. From 5pm until 7pm, groups gathered in those same 10 zones to pray for the DRC, and to encourage more people to pray with them. God is on move!
Here are just a few insights into the first few days of our mission. The Lord is doing great work in the DRC. Thank you for your precious prayers and financial support of AE DRC. We will continue to update you with more news from the mission in the coming weeks.
AE Team Leader, DRC.
To find out more about the DRC, and supporting the Great Commission there, please click here.
“God is good – all the time.”
For nearly 50 years, Uganda and its joyous Christians have been etched on Dr Robert Claxton’s heart. As a former AE Australia Board Director and Doctor, he has made periodic visits to the beautiful East African nation at various stages in its tumultuous history.
He’s been uniquely exposed to the changing demographics, political climate and growth of both Uganda and its Christians, who suffered prodigiously at the hands of Idi Amin in the 1970s. Originally working as a doctor in Uganda 45 years ago, Dr Claxton revisited 20 years ago, and make the journey to Africa again this year to join the proclamation period of the 2017 Kampala Mission.
In September 2017, Dr Claxton visited the International Christian Medical and Dental Association at Mengo Hospital, and the Department of Surgery at Mulago Hosptial. At Mengo, an exciting project overseen by Indian missionaries Anil and Shalini, is training South Sudanese students in medicine and surgery. They are also discipling these students through daily devotions, prayer and singing. It is an exciting time to be a Christian in Uganda!
He also reflected on serving at Kinawataka Medical Camp, in the vast slum of Kinawataka, where 700 of the most vulnerable people were given free medical care to improve their health, and by extension, whole communities. They were also spoken to about the complete healing that can be found in Jesus Christ.
“We looked after slum dwellers, the poorest of the poor, who live in extremely crowded ad unsanitary conditions. We screened for Hepatitis B, C and HIV and offered advice to patients. An eye clinic was also organised to restore vision and hope to poor Kampalans.”
Joy is present in the churches of Kampala in a tangible form – genuine, generous love and care for new Christians, worship through song and prayer, and a real sense of community. It’s quite inspiring and an obvious manifestation of God’s love for his church.
AE Australia is so thankful for supporters like Dr Claxton, for helping to sow seeds to strengthen the Church in Uganda.
Robert’s prayers for Uganda:
- Praise God for the Church in Uganda
- Pray for its leaders and that it will remain faithful to the Gospel.
- Praise God for the many lives transformed during the Kampala Mission
- Pray that those who came to Christ will be enabled to grow in their faith and have the support they need to live for Jesus in the modern world.
- Praise God for people like Minister of Health, Dr Jane Ruth Aceng, and pray for them as they seek to be salt and light in public life.
- Praise God for political stability.
- Pray this this may continue to the glory of God and the blessing of the people.