Assisting the Work in Ethiopia
(Becky just sent this letter to a friend of ours who inquired about helping us with our Ethiopian ministry. I thought it deserved a wider audience. Dave)
Good morning, _______! Dave asked me to answer your question about assisting our Ethiopia work. Here are some current “projects” with their financial implications.....
1. Bible Distribution. Each year we spend about $5-10,000 to purchase about 1-2,000 Bibles ($5 each) for those in the rural areas of Ethiopia who have completed the memory of 9 passages of Scripture (that we have chosen), and have recited them to their elders. These are distributed with the oversight of the Burji and Alaba church leaders, and also a national radio program through several church “outposts.” When we are there, we often distribute these ourselves and have the joy of listening to them recite a sample passage...it is a GREAT delight to watch their enthusiasm for the Scriptures (which are simply not available in these areas).
2. Bible Teaching. Having the Scriptures is not enough; people must be taught. We have learned through experience that to remove key leaders and send them to a “Bible Training” program far away is more counter productive than anything, since the trained person, upon graduation, prefers to live in the city where the living is more comfortable. So we have switched gears and are now bringing the education to the lay people and rural elders in the villages. We are doing this through technology at different levels.
Solar systems....this is for those churches that have qualified in 3 areas: a) they have planted a “daughter church,” showing their seriousness about mission work, b) they have almost all believers owning Bibles, showing their seriousness about the Scriptures, and c) they have a testimony of love and good works in their community, showing integrity in Christian living and the foundation of love in all things. For these churches we have invested about $3,000/church to install a solar-powered loudspeaker system, along with interior lights in the church. From the loudspeaker, the church plays teaching and music for 1-2 hours every morning and evening. The loudspeaker system sounds horrible in our culture, but it is very common in Ethiopian culture. On any given morning and evening (and sometimes all night long!) in the cities where electricity is available, the Muslims and Orthodox folk are blasting teaching, prayers, chants, etc. In the villages where we are installing these solar things, there is no electricity.....so we have no competition :)....as people walk by the church, they hear the teaching/evangelism/music. The church leaders have approved 3 churches as meeting the criteria, so this summer we are hoping to install this system in 3 village churches in Burji. All of these village churches are in Muslim villages. So that is an investment of $9,000 total.
Hand-held MP3 or SD players....this is for the other villages in Burji or Gujiland. Each player apparatus costs about $50, and we need about 30 of them, for a total of $1500.
Broadcast Teaching Material. Where do we get the teaching material? Glad you asked. 1) We are getting material that is already being broadcast via radio, in their national language....via SIM broadcasts from South Africa and via a Lutheran church in Ethiopia that has translated Through the Bible by J. Vernon McGee. Both of these programs have already been previewed by the church leaders and are readily understood and received. The producers have transferred these broadcasts to MP3 already, and I’m getting the SD equipment for them to also transfer the teaching to SD.
(Note: SDs are more user-friendly, smaller, more durable. And a hand-held player produced by Global Recordings is hand-wound, so is perfect for the distant nomadic Guji people.)
I am estimating that the total cost for this teaching material produced by others, including discs, SDs, and transfer labor is about $2000. We already have on hand a CD duplicator to make backup copies in case of deterioration of the original disc.
2) Additionally, other teaching material possible through our recordings that we intend to make this summer in their tribal languages. Most of the people understand the national language, since that is the language of the school system. However, they prefer (naturally) their home language. So we are recording (onto a laptop) teaching by the Burji evangelists and also health teaching by our clinic nurses. The cost for this is minimal, but you could “sponsor” the Team Member who will be doing this recording....which looks like it might be me :)....
Administrator of Rural Teaching.. On another note in this regard, we would like to facilitate the hiring of a person for the District who will be responsible to guard/protect/oversee/facilitate this teaching system. This person would be responsible for the maintenance issues of the solar/loudspeaker systems, the distribution/rotation of the broadcast/teaching systems amongst the churches, the replication of damaged CDs/SDs, etc. and general oversight of the teaching program, making more recordings, etc. His salary will be $70/month, $840/year.
3. Clinic. There are always financial needs for the medical clinic, which now has a “Health Center” license. Current needs are for the building of an additional building; cost $11,000. This will house an office, an overnight observation room for seriously sick patients, and a storage room. The office will also serve as a “Diagnostics Room” for EKG and Ultrasound. In addition, we need an ultrasound. One was donated to us, but it will cost us about $7,000 for a maintenance visit and air transport to Ethiopia. It is an older machine, and if it has problems, there is absolutely no way it will get service in Ethiopia. So God has led us to a PPUPS (plug and play ultrasound probe system)...it is truly amazing technology! There are only 2 machines like this. One received FDA approval in 4/07 and the other in 5/09. The entire ultrasound machine is compressed into the probe! It is then attached to a laptop, with attending software....and voila, you have a complete ultrasound machine that will give images, do loops, generate calculations, etc. The cost is only $4,000! And this will save us transport, as we’ll carry it in on our persons in July. And any time it needs service, we just carry it out :) Isn’t God good to us???!!!! Amazing! It is being used currently in a bush medical work in West Africa, so it’s been proven to be durable, etc.
4. Evangelists... We have sponsored 6 Ethiopian evangelists in northern Ethiopia (an Orthodox area). They are doing a WONDERFUL job and have planted 3 churches already. The only problem we are having is the coordinator of the work is not translating their quarterly reports. When we get the reports, they are wonderful stories of God’s care, protection, etc., and of the evangelists’ faithfulness. This is a 3-year pilot program; we are in the 3rd year. We have a salary-sharing agreement with Ethiopian Sending Churches. Currently, we are paying 80% ($50/month), for a total of $3,600/yr.
Bibles: $5-10,000 needed by June
Solar/loudspeaker/light Systems: $9,000 (total for 3 churches)
MP3/SD players: $1500 (for 30)
Teaching material on disc/SD: $2000
Sponsor July Team member who is doing recordings: $2500
Sponsor Ethiopian overseer of solar/teaching ministry: $840/yr
Clinic building: $11,000
Clinic ultrasound machine probe: $4,000
Sponsor Ethiopian evangelists: $3,600/yr or $600/yr per evangelist
Please write if you have any questions, or want more information about any of these items. Thank you for considering the Ethiopian work that God has appointed to us!
Rejoicing in His care and your prayers,
As a matter of logistics, all checks should be sent to us at 2691 White House Rd., Nelson, VA 24580. Tax-deductible gifts (minimum $500) can be made payable to Bethel Hill Baptist Church. All other gifts should be made payable to BeckyLynn Black.
November 13, 2009