Financial Needs for Our Ethiopian Family
There are three things that have prompted this update of our needs. First, inflation has hit Ethiopia in a dramatic way. As you know, inflation simply means that money has lost its purchasing power; hence, it takes more money now than it did a year ago. Here in the USA, we grumble if we have 3-5% inflation. In Ethiopia, the banking system is very crude, and the economic management is not very fine-tuned. As a result, the government does not do the aggressive & timely things necessary to stop inflation, and the Ethiopian people must pay more & more for the basic things in life. Our Lord, who is the Lord of the Harvest and arranges all things, has allowed this economic situation. We are not concerned about it. He will provide for His work in His way and in His time. But we have a responsibility, owning this knowledge, to pass it on to you.
Second, more and more people are asking for a specific needs list. I have been reluctant to provide an updated one, simply because the inflation keeps adjusting the figures. Just yesterday morning, four people asked me for specific figures, and I was trying to figure off the top of my head, giving economic data received just the day before from Ethiopia! As our partners, whom He has appointed, we need to let you know our best estimate of the current status.
Thirdly, our role is to unite the Ethiopian church with the American church. We are all one family in our Lord. The church in Alaba prays eagerly, fervently and regularly for their brothers & sisters in America. They love you! And they are so thankful to our Lord that finally family "on the outside" (beyond Alaba) are sharing in their suffering. The leaders, under whom and with whom we work, have asked that we give you inform you about the financial situation.
Below is a listing of our most urgent needs. It should be noted that this is only a good estimate, given the report of inflation and the current exchange rate for the dollar. As someone told me yesterday: God is going a marvelous thing in Ethiopia, we won't let money get in the way. This is true...He is the God of all provision; He is the God of faithfulness; He holds the times in His hands....and all will work according to His marvelous plan. An email from Alaba recently said "Yes, God is at work all the time to expand his kingdom. The matter is opening and humbling our hearts for his will. Still I believe that God will do more than these. It is his habit to do unexpected things for his servants. Praise to be him. … "
I love that statement "It is God's habit to do unexpected things for His servants." Amen & Amen!!!
Financial Needs of our Ethiopian Family....
1. Bibles for Alaba people. 300 people have completed the memorization of 9 passages of Scripture, earning a free Bible. At approximately $5/Bible, a total of $1500 is needed. This is needed now for those who have already completed the program. There is an on-going need for Bibles as others complete the program.
2. Building Hajji Mohammed's home. This man gave his best land for the building of a church; it is at the crossroads of two main paths. He gave up his own hut for the church, so we want to rebuild him a hut nearby. His current hut has a thatch (straw) roof, but I think we should build a house with a tin roof in order to allow him some small protection against the Muslims who continue to persecute him for the faith. Huts with thatch roofs are easily burned, and many, many Christians in Alaba have lost their homes to arson. An estimate of rebuilding his hut, using tin for the roof, is $1,000. This sum is needed immediately because they are ready to start building the church on the site of his home.
3. Supplementing current building projects to accommodate inflation. We thought we had funds for 4 churches: Galeye, Bedene, Zobechame and H. Mohammed (Keranzo#1). In February '06 we calculated a need of $2,250 for each church. But in the last 7 months, cement alone has more than tripled in cost; the other items needed have also increased, but I think that the cement has suffered the most inflation. Our best estimate on the building of a church building now is about $6,000. This leaves a funding deficit of about $4,000 for the Bedene, Zobechame and Keranzo#1 churches; Galeye is the only one essentially completed, for which no additional funding is needed.
4. Future church building projects. There are a total of 9 congregations in rural Alaba that have no meeting place; they build shelter of branches or meet in dark, smoky huts that accommodate very few people. These huts also leave them vulnerable to the roaming bands of Muslims, since the huts are prone to fire and have only one door for escape. By our Lord's grace, we are appointed to provide the materials needed for simple church structures. These buildings have wood & mud walls with a concrete perimeter foundation, a mud floor, tin roof, 2 doors, windows with wooden shutter, no electricity or bathroom facilities. Once the buildings are erected, the general respect for Christianity goes way up in that community...it becomes a viable option for those dissatisfied with Islam...and often the persecution subsides and justice in the courts for Christians is better. We want to build these churches as fast as possible. The current estimate is $6,000 for each church, for a total of $30,000 for the building of the 5 remaining churches. The believers are donating their land for the church sites; they are gathering supplies from the land around, and they are doing the labor themselves without pay. We are asking our Lord to provide funds so that as soon as government permission is granted and the legal paperwork is in order, we can begin building; the paperwork is almost completed for 3 more churches, but right now we have no funds with which to build them.
5. Bibles for the Burji people. Living far to the south of Alaba, this larger fellowship of churches has just completed the memory program, and 1200 people are waiting for their Bibles. At a cost of $5/Bible, this is a need of $6,000. In the past, these people have been promised assistance, but that assistance never materialized; they are neglected because they are so far from civilization. It is important that we get these Bibles to them as soon as possible.
September 25, 2006