Church Construction in Jimma - February 2014 Update
For several years we have been hearing about the “university church” in Jimma, Ethiopia, and we’ve been grateful for the gifts to The Outreach Foundation in support of the congregation’s building project, but it wasn’t until visiting the congregation in January that I gained a true sense of the amazing ways that God is working through this church!
The Jimma Ginjo Guduru Bethel Mekane Yesus Congregation began as a preaching point of the main Jimma Mekane Yesus church eight years ago; four years ago Ginjo Guduru became a congregation in its own right. Today, about 2,000 people gather for worship each Sunday in a temporary building. The congregation is led by seven elders, including Waqtola Cheneke pictured here, and two evangelists. Reaching out is a part of the spiritual DNA of most all Mekane Yesus congregations, and this one has already started four preaching points (and one of those has started another preaching point!). Preaching points function like new church developments here in the U.S., but in Ethiopia they are usually led by an evangelist. So, this congregation is now supporting six evangelists, starting new congregations, engaged in significant ministries and a building project – and it has never had a pastor. Even as their large building project remains unfinished, they continue to find new ways to reach out to those around them, the majority of whom do not accept Jesus as Lord. Jimma is in a Christian-minority context.
Jimma University has grown in size and reputation, and it is now regarded as the best university in the country. Waqtola and his elder colleagues are all government workers, many employed at the university.
Based in a key section of town near one of the two main university campuses, located on a spacious compound that is truly a gift from God, the congregation has a wonderful ministry with students. As they minister to students, the church is ministering to the country, having an impact in all the places that the students will live and work following their studies. And the church has a vision to start an “international” English-language service to serve many who come to Jimma from other countries.
The new building that is now about half-complete will hold 3,000 worshippers. At one point, when other resources were depleted, members of the congregation made special gifts, and even sold personal jewelry, to keep the project going.
What a joy it was a few days ago for The Outreach Foundation to send $30,000, given by some special friends, to strengthen the hands of this vital church for their ministry and building project. The progress made, so far, is incredible compared to the amount of money invested. The foundation work is complete. The major structures such as columns are in place, and the bottom and upper tie structures are ready. The next step is to do the balcony and then the roof structure. Ato Samuel, an engineer at the EECMY Central Office, has estimated that about $110,000 is required to complete the work.
This inspiring congregation is turning their part of the world upside down for Jesus. They need your prayers. And they need support. Thank you.
Amount needed in 2014
The Outreach Foundation seeks to raise at least $2,500 per month for church construction in Jimma. To make a donation, click the Donate Now link in the sidebar.
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