Projects to Help the Lord’s Church in Southern Ethiopia
The following projects are being funded and administered by Dave and BeckyLynn Black, in conjunction with the churches in the Alaba and Burji districts in south-central Ethiopia.
The Alaba church is a group of 10 churches in an aggressively Muslim area. These churches are currently suffering severe persecution, as people in the area burn their churches, ransack their homes and kidnap/murder their children. The church is strong spiritually but is in great need of material support and encouragement.
The Burji church is in the far reaches of Ethiopia. It is far away from medical help, stores, etc., so they have precious few visitors to come help them. There are 26 churches in this group. The people are all farmers, and they are suffering economically because the Tsetse fly is killing their oxen that they use for plowing. The average income of these people is $300-350/year for a whole family. As their fields have suffered, their offerings that support their evangelists, etc., have declined. The Burji church is sending evangelists into the nomad tribes along the Ethiopia/Kenya border. Because of tribal warfare, missionaries will not go into this area, but the Burji people are going!
How can we help?
Dave and BeckyLynn have already been to these churches in person. The needs are real. The people are precious ones who sincerely are trying to work with what they have to reach their areas for the Kingdom of our Lord. In December, 2005, a third missionary trip will be made to this country. Relationships of accountability have been well established, and specific needs established. When we return in December (just a few months away), we would like to take the following with us to help them.
Bibles for children: 500 children in Burji and 200 children in Alaba are memorizing 10 large passages of Scripture. Upon completion of the memory work, each child will receive their own copy of the Bible in their national language. They want to finish this memory project by the time we visit, so that they can get their Bible directly from us! Each Bible costs $3. We have already made arrangements with the International Bible Society in Ethiopia to have 700 Bibles ready for us in December; we will pay $2100 for these Bibles.
English/Amharic Testament and Study Book for Youth: 200 youth in Burji and 100 youth in Alaba are memorizing the 10 passages of the children, plus an additional 10 passages. Upon completion of the memory work, each youth will receive his own copy of a diglot New Testament and a book on how to study the Bible. These items were originally produced by BeckyLynn’s father, a retired missionary, and the publisher is giving us a 33% discount. We will pick up the books in December and will pay $900.
Children’s Evangelism and Teaching Tools--Flannelgraph: There is absolutely NOTHING available to assist teachers in working with children. They have only their mouth and their hands to reach these young ones for Christ. Over half of the population of Ethiopia is under age 35; the numbers of children is HUGE! BeckyLynn has taught Bible lessons to classes of over 150 children; the children sat attentive for over an hour as she used flannelgraph pieces to help tell the story. Afterward, the children themselves retold the story to each other, using the same flannelgraph BeckyLynn had used, thus re-enforcing the lesson! We are taking 2 sets of flannelgraph, one for Alaba and one for Burji. We will divide each set into 8 sections and prepare lesson plans for each section. These sections can then be rotated among the churches. Each set is about $250; we will order these now so we can cut them and create the sections. The total cost is estimated $500. We would appreciate any help in cutting these set out!
Children’s Teaching Aids—Flip Charts: We have found a ministry that has created picture clip charts and audio cassettes in the Ethiopian language! They have also made a hand-driven cassette player that is suitable for the back areas of Ethiopia where there is no electricity or batteries. The cost of the sets and 2 players for each district is only about $250.
Eyeglasses: There is absolutely NO vision care available to these people. As the people age, their vision fails as they struggle to read the Scriptures by the firelight in their huts. We have already taken some eyeglasses to the Burji church and they are ecstatic beyond words to be able to see well again to read their Bibles. We would like to collect 200 pairs to be divided between the districts. Although prescription eyeglasses are OK, the most valuable glasses are the non-prescription reading glasses available at Dollar Tree and other inexpensive places. Dollar Tree charges only $1/pair! We will package each pair in a small zip-lock bag, along with a cleaning cloth. Unless we are able to get a bulk quantity directly from the manufacturer, we expect to pay about $225 total for this ministry.
Books for Ministers: Each district has a small Bible school with about 20 students. The students and teachers are able to read simple English, but they cannot afford any books. We are asking for people to give us any Bible study books that they have. Commentaries, Bible dictionaries, atlases, Study Bibles and English dictionaries are especially beneficial.
Laptops: The evangelists in these districts are usually alone, separated from their families. They have had a very basic Bible education. They travel between villages by foot usually. They sleep anywhere they can, and return to the district office every few weeks. We are collecting used laptops and buying new ones at the best price we can find. We are buying extra batteries, word processing programs, the Jesus Film, and CDs with a library of books in Amharic and English. Already we have given one laptop to a young man in Alaba; he is using it to prepare Bible study notes, show the Jesus Film, and read Christian library books. It is a TREMENDOUS help to him! We would like to gather or buy at least 4 more. If they are taken into the country with us (or friends) then there is no customs fee. Naturally, we will teach them how to use the laptops during our visit in December. A friend has found some good quality but outdated laptops for $400 each. Total cost is about $1800-2000.
The Conclusion of the Matter
In Luke chapter ten, a self-contented man asked Jesus about getting right with God. The man knew that he should love God thoroughly and love his neighbor as much as he loved himself. But he didn’t want the inconvenience, the discomfort, the cost of putting that into practice. So he tried to play a game of philosophy with Jesus by asking “And who exactly is my neighbor?” Jesus’ answer: Anyone who has a need that you have become aware of.
On the other side of the world our brothers and sisters are suffering through no fault of their own. Except for the grace of God in our lives, we would be in their place and they in ours. Dave and BeckyLynn cannot turn away. Do you also want to join in the giving and blessing? There is an indescribable, mystical link between sacrifice and blessing, between sharing and receiving, between faith and works. Those who sacrifice receive an extra measure of blessing; those who share what God has already given them somehow receive more from Him; those who have genuine faith always demonstrate that faith through works.
If you want to join us in this venture of service, you may send checks payable to BeckyLynn Black, Bradford Hall, 2691, White House Road, Nelson, VA 24580. Or you may contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 434-374-0492. No tax-deductible receipt will be given, but you will receive a thank you from us and the Ethiopians. And you will receive a “Well done” from our Saviour.
September 5, 2005
David Alan Black is the editor of www.daveblackonline.com. If you would like to know more about becoming a follower of King Jesus, please feel free to write Dave.