Ethiopia was formerly considered one of Africa’s poorest and least-developed countries. However, in recent years impressive progress has been made in countrywide infrastructures, industries, technology, and agriculture. Ethiopia is where Africa meets the East, with a mixture of both cultures in dress, music, and lifestyle. Ethnic groups range from Cushitic southerners to Semitic northerners.
There are fertile southern nations and peoples. In the arid northern mountains live the finer-featured handsome people believed to be descendants of the Queen of Sheba. To the east lie the salt flat and desert of the nomadic people (Afar and Somali). Eighty unique languages are spoken among a population of almost 80 million, the second-most populated country in Africa.
Ethiopia historically is Ethiopian Orthodox, with similar numbers of Muslims. Both are deeply steeped in occult practices, with absolute animism numbering eight percent. Evangelicals number two percent and are largely ecumenical.
In 1993 the Lord led a single missionary serving under BMM to Ethiopia. She entered the country as a health professional working with the country's Ministry of Health. Others came later and stayed from one to ten years, working in educational establishments and with government agencies.
For reasons of sustainability, a local nonprofit organization was created and a children’s village and extensive community support for orphans and vulnerable children were established. As part of this organization, chapel services are held each Sunday to provide Bible teaching to children and those living at the village. The services are permitted because the founder, one of our missionaries, is a believer. Some of the young men and women from the village are attending or have attended. There are a number of young men and women attending tertiary education (health officer, pharmacology, nursing, civil engineering and theology).
The government is keen to see more and more Ethiopians in roles of authority within the country, and a reduction in numbers of expatriates doing work Ethiopians can do is part of the current strategy. We are therefore training up Ethiopians to do the work.
Our team here would like to see Christian workers who are willing to live in some of the more remote parts of Ethiopia, supporting government agencies with skills such as teaching in most disciplines for higher education and in universities. Medical professionals willing to teach nurses and doctors in areas away from the capital city are also needed.
Our Christian witness is often noted, and open doors for talking of Christ are common in this beautiful country. However, great discernment is needed due to the strong Orthodox Church and the increase of Islam within the country.
Medical personnel, educators, computer specialists—all with a heart burdened for evangelism, personal discipleship, and local churches—are needed to assist the current BMM team and local Ethiopian pastors in establishing Baptist churches. Their desire is for churches to be sensitive and for development of solid, local independent Baptist churches that are uniquely Ethiopian while remaining strongly biblically based.