Current Needs for the Burji Ministry in Ethiopia
In November twelve of us will travel the long distance to remote southern Ethiopia, to the land of the Burji and Guji tribes. As we have reported in other sections of this website, we will have a multi-faceted ministry, including animal workshops, farming workshops, hygiene classes, Bible classes, mentoring, medical assistance, solar power placement with loudspeakers, etc. In all these activities, our one focus is the Gospel. Right alongside these activities, simultaneous with these activities, we are teaching about Jesus and we are demonstrating His salvation!
Preparations for this trip involve more than just a few shots and an airplane ticket. Each person on our team has their own unique ministry. As I write this, each team member is diligently preparing for that ministry. In addition to the $2500 each person needs for their personal expenses of the trip, we must gather funds for other things. You see, these rural people are so poor that many households cannot afford even basic food or wash basins or seeds. What good does it do if we teach them, but do not give them the tools to implement our teaching? We submit a detailed list of these needs to you for your prayerful consideration.
1. Seeds to distribute in villages after Leigh’s farming workshop. Also, seeds to distribute to Gujis as part of the Reconciliation Conference. The drought of this year has not only caused the loss of food, but also the loss of seed. By teaching about farming productivity and by distributing seeds, we are helping much in the area of family nutrition and economic stability. We’ve purchased the seed (field peas, kale, Crowder peas, turnips, etc.) because seed is fast becoming unavailable. We purchased these on credit. Some gifts have been received toward this cost already; the remaining need is $285.
2. Food for widows and orphans as part of a Reconciliation Conference. We are dealing with about 10 widows who have been put in this condition by the warring of the Gujis upon the Burjis. Scripture commands us to care for the widows in the world, as evidence of God’s care for the down-trodden. It is an outward demonstration of His stooping to us in our poverty and need. The Guji churches are collecting an offering for the food for these widows as a way of making restitution for the sins of their tribe. We want to supplement that offering, so that we can offer more substantial help, and also to demonstrate the unity of the Body in dealing with spiritual issues. If we give $100/widow, this will buy a large sack of tef grain and some vegetables. So the total needed is about $1000.
3. Food for the rural church men and evangelists coming for the 4-day Bible Conference with Jon. In Ethiopian tradition, when conferences are held, those attending bring their food with them. Last year, the conference was cut short because their food ran out. They walked long distances to get home on an empty stomach. This year, we want to provide the food needed for these men. This conference is for men from the rural churches. The book of 1 Corinthians will be taught by Jon, pastor of Ca-Vel Baptist in Roxboro, NC. These men have “homework” to do before the conference, and they have ministry assignments to do after the conference. Our goal is to develop the men of the rural churches so that they can better guide their rural flocks. Figuring 150 men at $3/day, this would be $1,800.
4. Purchase of the Oromo Jesus Film DVD and gasoline to run the generator in the Guji villages. Dave and Jason are trekking village to village, teaching and preaching and visiting among the Guji people. The Jesus Film has been translated into their language. We want to get this film and show it in the evenings. Undoubtedly this will be the first time these people have ever seen a film, and it will draw large crowds for the Gospel. The film is about $15; our guess is $200 for the gasoline.
5. Warriors of Ethiopia book (in Amharic) for the evangelists and rural churches. This is a fantastic book about the primitive evangelists of Ethiopia in the Omo Valley. This valley is very close to the Burji valley. It is the story of their own people! And it is filled with testimonies of those who fully surrendered to the Gospel work. (It reads like Hebrews 11.) We would like to give this as a gift to the evangelists and rural churches of Burji. We will need 60 copies at about $4/copy, for a total of about $250.
6. Wash basins and soap for the village homes after Lynette’s hygiene workshop. There is very little hand washing in the typical rural Ethiopian home. This leads to big health problems. Lynette is teaching women and children about hand washing, and we want to give a wash basin and a bar of soap to each household that attends and passes a “quiz” on the material of the workshop. The price is $2/household; we are guessing 150 households/village X 4 villages, for a total of $1,200.
7. Food for the Burji Youth Corp as they help us. Half of Ethiopia’s population is under age 17! The church leaders have asked us to help them deal with the youth. As we know from Scripture, youth are simply young adults – they are not adolescents! So we have invited the Burji Youth to “compete” spiritually for the privilege of belonging to the Burji Youth Corp. After memorizing Scripture passages, and completing some other requirements, the leaders will choose 15 young people who will work alongside us in our ministry. They will cook, clean, teach, and assist. And in the process, we will mentor them in English and God’s way. They will sleep on the floors of the churches like we do. But who will pay for the food of these young people? If we invited them to work with us, we should pay for their food. 12 corps members at $3/day X 12 days is $432.
8. Cloth pictorial timeline for the evangelists and rural churches. The IMB has a story cloth that tells the story of God’s working from Creation to Christ’s ascension. This cloth folds up and is easily carried to villages in the back pocket of an evangelist. Or it can be hung on the wall of a rural church and used for teaching. 45 clothes cost $485.
You may send your gifts, payable to BeckyLynn Black, to Bradford Hall, 2691 White House Road, Nelson, VA, 24580. And remember that every penny to goes to Ethiopia. We are completely self-supporting missionaries.
August 19, 2008