1. The Town Halaba – From Persecution to Multiplication.
Five years ago, Rev. Dr. Okongo and the Unite 4 Africa team visited the town called Halaba, Ethiopia. During that time the churches in the town was in a severe persecution. He took a bold decision by the guidance of the Holy spirit to visit our churches there. Because, it was scary and risky for many church leaders to go and visit the churches in the town.
All the churches in the town were destroyed, many Bibles were burnt and properties of churches were totally damaged and even believers got murdered by Muslim extremists and displaced from the town. But, Okongo took that courage and went to the town together with us as local Unite 4 Africa team. He shared his life testimony and the word of God with them, encouraged them and prayed for them. God spoke to many of the church leaders and the saints through him, they got encouraged and changed their mind not to leave the town. We also supported them in many other ways to stand firm in the storm of persecution during that difficult time.
Few pictures of Damaged Churches and Burnt Bibles 5 years ago.
As the result of the life and testimony of Rev. Dr. Okongo and the continuous encouragement and support of the Unite 4 Africa team; the situation of the town has completely changed now. The number of believers got increased triple times and even our church has planted two more churches in the surrounding Muslim dominated villages. I conducted a training for more than 50 leaders in the town on how to accelerate a disciple – making movement in the region through disciple making small group.
Leaders Training on Disciple – Making movement
The motivation, boldness and their enthusiasm for the Gospel of Jesus was so impressive. We thank God for the impact of our ministry and for our local leaders who are standing firm in the storm of persecution.
2. God is Still at Work in Conflict Affected Regions in Ethiopia
Western and Eastern Wollega were areas that have been affected by conflicts in Ethiopia. Many people have been displaced and all the movements of our local leaders and ministers have been restricted by the conflicts.
Pastor Habtamu Namomsa, our regional leader, together with his team of leadership traveled to those areas and visited our churches, encouraged and ministered to the displaced churches. Their visit has brought a significant impact the lives of our leaders and churches members.
Pastor Habtamu Visited our churches
According to Pastor Habtamu he has seen that our churches have been growing even in those politically unstable regions. We thank God for His sovereign power and protection that He has shown for our leaders.
3. The Impacts of our Mission Out-Reach in Sodo Continues
Wolayita Sodo is the region where we conducted mission outreach just in November last year. We had a successful mission outreach at the time and its impact continues. Our leaders there were amazed by our ministry pattern and by the approach of Dr. Okongo. Many local and international ministries don’t do follow up after their mission week. Unlike those ministries we as Unite 4 Africa we have been keep doing the work of coaching and mentoring our leaders even after our mission out-reaches ended.
This motivates the leaders of the town to be equipped and help them to keep the movement growing and do some other continual work in the region. Pastor Chachi Eshetu is our regional leader and secretary of the pastors’ fellowship in the town. He organized a two days consultation and prayer gathering for the leaders in the region.
Consultation & Prayer meeting in Wolayita Sodo town
More than 35 key leaders attended this meeting and they prayed for their region in various prayer items. Pastor Chachi said that they organized this gathering based the direction they received from Rev. Dr. Okongo. He added that they will continue doing the same gatherings in various towns of the region to keep the movement growing.
We thank God for our leaders in Sodo for their commitment and hard work.
4. Conclusion and Requests
The following are praises and prayer request items to pray about with us: –
• Praise God for our leaders and churches in Halaba town for standing firm during the time of persecution and for their commitment to keep the movement grow.
• Praise God for the unity of SODO leaders and for their passion and commitment to transform their region.
• Pray for our Sodo leaders for the grace and strength as they are moving forward the impact of the spirit of our mission outreach in their region.
• Pray for our leaders who are in a conflict affecting regions for wisdom and protection.
Samson Weldemariam /Pst/
Africa & Ethiopia director of U4A