On the second conference day they started 15 minutes early. Whaaaat?
Something you may not know about Ethiopian culture is that there is almost no such thing as volunteerism. People don’t do things if they are not getting something in return. Even this conference is opposite land from America. In America when you hold a training conference the attendees pay money to go, and they would maybe get some materials for their money, but it usually just pays admission. In Ethiopia, nobody will come unless you pay them per diem, feed them and give them materials. Again, it’s just how they roll.
So imagine our delight when Meseret told us that she had given a presentation at her church about Living Hope Ethiopia and what was going to be taught at this conference, and a handful of people came to her and asked her if they could help. Just because they wanted to. They took care of all the check-ins each day, handed out the bags, and served everywhere they were needed, whether it was fetching water and coffee, or carrying bags, etc.
Here are some of the wonderful volunteers:
One of the messages today was about the necessity of having a Biblical worldview, and Pastor Samson gave that talk. He explained that a lot of Africans want to bring their old worldview into their newly found Christianity and how that is not right. He then went through all of the wrong thinking and taught the right thinking. I could not understand the words, but he had shared with us beforehand what he was teaching. One of their wrong ways of thinking is that there can be many gods, and another wrong view teaches that ancestors can curse you.
Next was Dr. Seyoum again, and this time he spoke on the homosexual agenda and showed how it is related to the abortion industry. Each wants their issue to be considered a human rights issue. He played a video that was a news report in English so obviously we could understand that, and it essentially was reporting on him speaking to the government and there being agreement that the homosexual agenda would not be advanced in Ethiopia (currently homosexual behavior is illegal here). They are very aware that Ethiopia would be the gateway for all of Africa, and if it gained a foothold here, it would surely spread throughout the continent. The news report stated (not sure whose words these were): “Ethiopia will be the burial ground for homosexuality, not the breeding ground.”
We met a pastor who used to be an imam. Yes, really. His story is amazing. I can’t put a lot of details online because he doesn’t want certain things to be public, but ask me or Randy about him sometime. He is working on translating his bible into the dialect he speaks because there isn’t one available. One of the amazing things about him is how genuine he is in Christ. He is one of 13 former Muslims where he lives, and the Muslims are actively trying to destroy him and his church. He speaks very matter of fact about being under constant threat and he says he will proclaim the gospel until he dies. When asked about what his needs are, he said none. The only prayer request he has is for his father to trust in Christ because he is very ill. He was blown away by the conference. He had no idea there were people standing up against abortion pushers.
The grand finale was the testimony of the parents who had graduated and their children who were saved from abortion thanks to God allowing Living Hope Ethiopia to become a reality. Sorry for a dark photo, but that was the only complaint about the whole conference–bad lighting. Don’t get Mike started.
What a great way to wrap up the day.
Oh! And by the way–all of the pastors that were local decided not to ask for their per diem.