Ministry Update – Q1 2021

More than ever before, our friends in the Afar are in need of our prayers and support. Over the last week, I had the opportunity to connect with Addisu Almirew, Director of Development through the Mekane Yesus Development and Social Service Commission in the Afar region. Here is how our conversation went.

Addisu, can you give us a broad update of the ministry in the Afar?
“It is to be noted that on behalf of you (as you were not be able to come to celebrate the 20th Year Anniversary of Afar Ministry), a team of the senior management of the Synod went to Afar in different districts and visited the work done so far. We have also visited and had a very important discussion with IMAMAS about peace and coexistence. At a later time, we also delivered the gifts you have sent with a luggage including water bottles, pens and cards. They were in tears receiving the gifts. They told us they are very much eager to meet to you face to face next time. You are in their minds!

Sheik Mohammed Surur (a Muslim Christian relation coordinator in Afar) and Sheik Ahmed (a long time Afar converted teacher) are coordinating various trainings on how to evangelize the Muslim community by the Afar themselves. They established Bethel-Messie, a safe house for new converted Christians. To this day, about 135 underground Afar believers have been followed by Sheik Ahmed and Sheik Mohammed in a wise way.”

At the end of last year, SBPC raised $10,000 to help with the building of a new flour mill. How is that progressing?
“We have received about $10,000 for the construction of the flour mill in Asayta geared towards women’s economic development. As it has procedural issues, we have already purchased a good quality machine and we have received an appropriate place to be installed. The place has to be central and convenient to the targeted women for optimum use. To make the management more sustainable we have also organized some training on its management. Hopefully, when you come to Afar you will see it functioning.”

What is the ministry focus in 2021 from a development perspective?
“The Mekane Yesus Development and Social Service Commission is the most trusted and reliable development partner in the area. The Church has great impact on the current leaders of the Afar Administration.We have supported many Afar youths in their education and became serving their own community. Very recently, the Regional Bureau has invited us to share our VISION 2030 at an NGO Consultation. They underlined the strategic importance of the different development agencies in the area, including our church. Food security, education, sanitation and health remains the main thematic areas in VISION 2030, which is in line with our project objectives.

Please kindly note that during the NGO Consultation we had a stand that displayed the work Mekane Yesus has done in partnership with SBPC. During a break, many participants including community representatives, head of different offices, etc… visited the stand and acknowledged the work. Most importantly, we have received a special recognition from His Excellency Awol Arba, the President of Afar Region for our development work in the region.”

Last February, you held a meeting in Addis Ababa with all of your ministry and development partners. How did it go?
“This was a response from our Commissioner about the round table meeting result: ‘Further, I’m pleased to inform you that we have had a successful meeting where we were able to deliberate on the impact of COVID-19 crisis and the escalating complicated problems related to conflicts and the war outbroken in Tigray region of our country. EECMY president Rev. Yonas Yigezu and General secretary Rev. Teshome Amenu have also attended the meeting at the morning session. Finally, we reiterate our commitment to continue to pray for Ethiopia’s peace and stability and do whatever we can to reach out to the neediest people with emergency supports.’”

Throughout the last year, Ethiopia has faced challenges that far exceed the coronavirus pandemic. Unrest in the Tigray Province, along with military intervention from Eritrea have caused a refugee crisis in the surrounding regions. Tensions are likely to remain high leading up to the next General Election on June 5, 2021.

On behalf of our entire Friends of the Afar Committee, I would like to express our gratitude for your faithful support and partnership during this difficult time. We invite you to continue to pray for peace and stability for the nation of Ethiopia as well as for our friends in the Afar.

As always, if you’d like to give towards the projects mentioned above, simply click the button below and select Afar/Ethiopia Partnership from the dropdown menu.

Thank you once again!

In Christ,

André Rocha
Director of Mission & Outreach

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