restoring our biblical and constitutional foundations


Recent Communications from Ethiopia

 Becky Lynn Black  

I have just discovered how to send updates to a large group of people.  It has become more difficult for me to keep up with correspondence, and things are happening so quickly in Ethiopia!  Because of your past interest in our Lord's work in Ethiopia, I have added you to this list; please contact me if you are no longer "appointed" to this work, and I will remove your address.

There are three things that are on my heart to communicate to you.  First is a summary of excerpts from emails that we have received in the past 2 months; these are included in this email.  These excerpts come from our 'sons' David & Nigussie in Alaba; I have edited a little, and have written explanatory notes in italics.  You will notice that the most recent is listed first, so to read chronologically you need to start at the end.

Second is an update listing of financial and material needs for the work.  Inflation has hit Ethiopia in a royal fashion.  We think that 3-5% inflation here is terrible; well, the cost of cement alone has tripled (!) in the past 8 months!  Everything is going up there.  So we have had to revise our financial projections; this will be included in a subsequent email.

The most urgent thing to do is to PRAY!  This is a spiritual work.  Hence, a third email will include very specific prayer requests which you may use in your private and family prayer time, as also pass along to your church family.

For His Kingdom, by His grace,

BeckyLynn & Dave Black

PS...I encourage you to consider printing this, so that you can read it & review it prayerfully, bringing each situation to the Throne of our Lord.

RECENT COMMUNICATIONS FROM ALABA, ETHIOPIA (Notes are in parenthesis to explain, but we have tried to leave it as natural as possible so you can get the flavor of things. You can easily see that we are on the FRONT LINES in fighting the Evil One!) The most recent emails are first, so to read chronologically, start at the end.

Received Saturday, Sept 23,2006 from son David in Alaba

Concerning Zobechane church, the elders are still dealing with the government (in getting official building permit and land title); it is getting positive. Still we need prayer.

These are the verses for those two Churches in America. (Nehemiah 2:20 from Keranso Church). (2 Chronicles 20:15 from Zobéchame) (Isaiah 43:1-21 from Bedene Church). (Note: Read these verses, remembering their situation; thru these verses the Ethiopian believers are communicating and sharing faith with their American brothers & sisters who have “adopted” them.)

Received Friday, Sept 22, 2006 from son David in Alaba

Concerning, church building, the materials for Hajji Mohammed’s church is almost collected. The urgent thing which we must do is remove his home from church’s land and build a home to him. So he needs financial support. Our church elders told me to inform for you about it. (Note: Hajji Mohammed gave his best land for the church to be built upon; it is at the crossing of two main paths of travel.  His own home was on this place, so they are tearing down his hut and building another one outside the land he gave to the church.  Most huts have straw roofs, but I think they will put a tin roof on his home as a protection against the Muslims who want to burn his house.  Estimated cost is about $1,000.)  

Our plan is to complete this church before you came to us. Mom, things are going well there. Also I have met with Hajji Usman & he is doing well. Bedene’s church building is going well. The other thing which the elders want to inform you is, we are facing problem with the previous
financial proposal. By now the cost of every thing is increased highly. For example, when we propose the cost of cement was 80 -100 Birr. By now it is 320 Birr. So pray about it. (Note: when we calculated the cost of building a church in Feb 06, it was estimated at $2,250.  This cost is only for the purchase of items; the people themselves do the labor, bring wood posts from the forests, removing sand from the rivers, digging rocks from the land, building & mudding the walls, etc..  Inflation has really hit Ethiopia; it is so high that it is difficult to keep up, but now we estimate the cost of a church building is about $5-6,000.  This is still very insignificant when compared with the cost of building churches or homes in the USA!  Please pray for us to abide by His will in these matters, waiting on His timing as He provides funds & arranges economies.)

Received Tuesday, Sept 5, from son David in Alaba..

Please pray so that God would help me. Let me tell you exciting things, 1. The vegetables which (you) brought for Hajji Mohammed bore fruits. Even those Muslim people around him planted it in their garden. The fruits are yellow and green. It is happy, happy, happy! My Mom, the problem is, we couldn’t know how can we eat. Can we eat them raw or we must roast it? Please, can you explain about it? The people are
waiting your explanation about it. Note: I think these are the zuccinni and yellow squash sent by the people of Averett Baptist Church in VA.  I wrote a long email explaining 7 ways to cook these.

2. Last Sunday I preached in our church on the topic of “be motivated for the work of the Lord, Haggai” Mom, it was a wonder full time. I conveyed your greeting for the congregation. Also I read the passage which you sent for us. The congregation was very much happy to listen it.

3. Last Friday Girma and I went to Dada with the Jesus Film to show on that big conference. We went with horse chairote. (Note: most rural travel is by horse-drawn cart) The day was a day of heavy rain. The rood was extremely difficult. We reached there at 10:00pm at night. All of our clothes were muddy. But God helped us very much. Mom, do you now how much people accepted Jesus?  More than 40 Muslims. By now the building which you have seen is becoming full. It is absolutely God’s mighty work. Girma was one of the preachers there.

4, Last week, believers from different rural churches came together to cut the trees and collect materials for Hajji Mohammed’s church building. It was amazing! As they were cutting they were singing Christian songs. It was special time! You will see the pictures.

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. … 

It is last week some of our church members informed me there are very poor children whom lost their fathers and mothers with HIV case and they are left alone. My Mom, I can not tell you, how much my heart is broken to see these poor children. Even by now they could not join school. So we need urgent support. Such kinds of children are increasing in our area. Please pray for these children.  The group which you are involved is doing well. Now this coming month we suppose to provide the needs of those 8 orphans. So we are trying as much as possible.

Received Aug 16, 2006 from David in Alaba…

I have learned a wonderful lesson from you, which is living for God’s kingdom as well as others. Really, it is absolutely from God. I pray so that God might empower you in his power and enable you to do more than this for his kingdom. My Mama and Papa, know that the Bible says  “God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the Love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them. Heb. 6:10.

Your effort has been being a light in Alaba and Deda area and the name of our heavenly father is exalted. It is a great joy to see in our lives. I believe that the Holy spirit who begun this job will accomplish in amazing way. He is the God of miracle. He provides every thing which is needed for his kingdom’s work. O! How is it wonderful to be a servant of almighty God.  It is our great privilege in this world. How is it wonderful to plant unperishable things in this perishable world before we go to our heavenly Father. My Mom and Papa, be thankful for being a members in this field from billions of people in this world….

Mom about Keranzo#2 Church, sorry I did not go there still but I have plan to go there. I have met with Hajji Usman. Recently the Muslims are giving a serious warning for both Hajji Usman and Hajji Mohammed.(Note: these two men are ex-Muslim leaders who have come to Christ and are leading others to our Saviour; we are building a church building for each of their congregations.) As I told you last time, those groups of Muslims are still rotating in different areas to hurt believers. Last time a kebele chairman gave a warning letter with stamp on it; they threaten Hajji Usman to kill him. (note: this is like receiving an official, certified letter from a County Supervisor in Government, an official warning that H. Usman will be killed if he does not go back to Islam.) I have read it. It is very much harsh letter. Hajji Usman has appealed to higher government. Mom, the power of God is beyond every power so we trust in him. (Note: Prior to his conversion, Hajji Usman was a teacher of the Koran, receiving his paycheck directly from the Saudi government; he has refused all offers and inducements to return to Islam.  The last time we were at his home, we stood by the freshly-burned home of his son; the embers were still hot!)

Received by email on August 15 from Nigussie in Alaba

The situation in Alaba is not good. Muslims are trying to attack Christians in the town as well as in the rural areas. Actually, they did not get any one still. Please pray about it.

Received by email July 29 from David in Alaba

My Mom, last Sunday we went to Dada village. We distributed the 200 Bibles. Also we gave the money to the elders and we appointed the committee to facilitate the work of foundation. The congregation
was very much happy. All of them said you “may God bless you”. When we evaluated the memory work; it was amazing! Every body worked hard. We formed each group of ten and said together. It was wonderful!

Received by email July 10 from David in Alaba…

Regarding church building, the Galeye Church’s work is going well. We discussed with elders about additional money(5000 birr). They said “It is good but beginning last three weeks the cost of cement increased
unusually (it is raised from 117 birr to 200 birr which is the cost of 100 k.g) (Note: Inflation has hit Ethiopia tremendously! For calculation in US dollars, figure 9 Ethiopian birr equals $1. From mid-June to mid-August, cement has doubled in price!) However, we will try to arrange as much as possible and we will inform you how we did it. We appreciate your idea very much”. Also they are very much happy about your idea of well-digging. They said it will make a good bridge to reach the community.(Note: We are exploring the possibility of putting a well by each rural church that we build; this will be a preaching point for evangelism)

Last Wednesday we have a wonderful time to talk with elders. As we have evaluated, Bassa and Ololaka churches are ready to build. Also Keranso #1(Hajji Mohammed) is getting ready. Already the Woreda (district) wrote a letter to the chairman of Keranso (county)to approve the process. I hope these coming weeks it will get the end. So our decision is to begin either one of three. If Hajji Mohammed’s will get ready soon, we will give priority to it. Mom, what do you think? We are ready to work hard with this regard. The other good news is, Beshano church (Tesfaye’s) has got bright hope from government to have legal land. Really it is God’s hand to see this in that area. (note: this Beshano church was featured in the Voice of the Martyr’s Feb 2005 edition. We met Tesfaye in summer 2005; just before our arrival his daughter had been kidnapped and murdered because they were Christians.)

God is working miraculously in Alaba. Still the other good news is many Muslim high school students are accepting Jesus as their personal savior. Concerning persecution, still it is going on. Now their strategy is to bring back all Muslim converts. They took some of them to their Mosque forcefully. With this decision a group of Muslim people are rotating like hunters. So we are trying to handle those new believers. (note: “handling” them means encouraging them spiritually, supplying them with clothes & housing if needed, and taking them into hiding if needed.)  Please pray so that God might strengthen them in Christ. It is obvious that we will be winners with God. My Mamiye, the thing which makes you amazed is despite the persecution, God is working mightily in Alaba. Really it is amazing!

Mamiye,(Note: this is a term of endearment for a mother; David has adopted us as his parents.) today I have taken one of these persecuted boys to Dilla KHC because those Muslims are looking to kill him. (Note: Dilla is a large town far away from the Alaba region.  The KHC is an evangelical church association, founded by SIM Mission. The Dilla church will care for this boy until it is safe for him to return to Alaba.) On the way to Dilla I am sending you this email from Awassa. Still internet in Alaba is terrible.

Received by email June 25 from David in Alaba..

Concerning church buildings I discussed with the elders and told Nathan’s proposal. They are ok with it. But they said the cost will be raised. So what do you think? (Note: this proposal is to build the concrete perimeter foundation so that it protects the wood in the walls from termites; this necessitates more concrete than figured in the original proposals for the church buildings.) Mamiye, by know the third site is ready to build the church (the village called Bassa instead of Gadeba). Hajji Mohammed is still in process of getting land title. Also we are working hard to have legal land for Zobechame church.

My Mamiye, let me tell you what is going on with this regard. Mom, recently there is serious Muslim movement in Alaba area. There are some people who came from Pakistan to encourage the movement secretly. They are trying to create problems in our churches. A week ago, while a preacher was preaching in the Zobechame church, one of the Muslims entered into the church and tried to beat preacher as well as the believers. Many Muslims are moving in groups to harm Christians. Two weeks ago, while the preacher was preaching some Muslims came with their knives to disturb the congregation.  But God rescued his people.  Now the church is trying to deal with the government about the issue. However the situations are not safe. Please pray about it.

September 25, 2006

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