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In Ethiopia, ‘peaceful people … spread the Gospel’

Children at the Makanisa School for the Deaf in Ethiopia greet Christian visitors from the United States. (Photo by Erik Tryggestad)

Blogging live from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
I spent the morning surrounded by 287 smiling faces at Makanisa School for the Deaf, an outreach of the Church of Christ here in this East African nation.
Ethiopia is a stopover for me and three other church members — Don Humphrey of the Mount Juliet Church of Christ in Tennessee, Mike Roman of the Norfolk Church of Christ in Virginia and Jeremy Thompson of the Era Church of Christ in Texas.
We’re on the way to South Sudan, which will officially become a separate country from Sudan in July. The three men represent the Sudan Project, a church-supported group working in the soon-to-be new country.
Since South Sudan is not yet a country, we can’t get entry visas from an embassy in Washington. (That’s how I’ve gotten visas to a number of other countries I have visited — including Ethiopia.) So this morning we went to the Government of South Sudan, or GOSS, office and got the necessary documentation to enter.
The stopover gave us time to visit the Church of Christ compound here in Ethiopia’s capital. We’re staying in the guest house — the former home of missionary John Ed Clark. Our gracious hosts include longtime church leader Behailu Abebe, Alemayehu Desalegn and Moges Wolde. This morning Bekele Gebru drove us around town to the GOSS office and to the grocery store for supplies.
The Church of Christ in Ethiopia has a long reputation for serving the hearing impaired. Teaching sign language has opened doors for the Gospel. Musie Alemayehu, one of the teachers at the Makanisa school, told me that about 200 of the school’s 287 students this term are deaf. The others are the siblings or family members of deaf students, here to learn sign language so they can communicate.
Churches here also sponsor multiple children’s homes. Musie, who lost his father when he was very young, grew up in the children’s home here and now teaches at the school. Bekele also grew up here.
At the school, I attended a special program for the students commemorating International Women’s Day. I also got to video a brief devotional at a preacher-training school in the church compound. I’ll try to post that later.
Moges, who teaches at the preaching school, tells me that there are more than 900 Churches of Christ in Ethiopia. One of them meets on this campus. I asked the minister for the church here, Abebe Halemichael, why he thinks the church here has thrived.
“I think God raised up peaceful people to spread the Gospel,” he said.

  • Feedback
    Are any of the churches tapping into the local broadband? Can you skype chat from there? Can they?
    Ed Dodds
    March, 9 2011

Filed under: News Extras Travel Reports Uncategorized

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