Ethiopia

Ethiopia, officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, is a landlocked country situated in the Horn of Africa. Ethiopia is bordered by Eritrea to the north, Sudan to the west, Kenya to the south, Somalia to the east and Djibouti to the north-east. Ethiopia is one of the oldest countries in the world and Africa's second-most populous nation. Having converted during the fourth century AD, it is also the second-oldest country to become officially Christian, after Armenia. Ethiopia also has a considerable Muslim minority since the earliest days of Islam - being the site of the first Hijra in Islam history, the earliest 9th century Sultanates, the oldest Muslim settlement in Africa at Negash and home to the fourth holiest Muslim city of Harar—but the country has been officially secular since 1974.

God's gracious work among His people in the vast, mountainous and multilingual country of Ethiopia is heart-warming. Various ministries supported by MERF reach out with the Gospel and strengthen believers in the Scriptures. This is a special time in Ethiopia's history. Response:"I am from a Muslim background and fear to expose myself to the churches because of persecution, but I always listen to your radio programs...they give me so much encouragement and help me to grow in the Lord." - T.A.G.Evangelicals are growing by leaps and bounds-but mostly numerically. A government census numbers them at about 13 million. Yet, they are swayed by many winds of doctrine. The most forceful is emotional "spiritism" that plagues other African churches replacing pagan spiritism. Also, tribal chiefs are replaced by "church" ones who entrench themselves to become immovable executives. Yet, more and more Ethiopian Christians are expressing immense and sincere longings for the pure milk of the Word. They want to grow in the knowledge and grace of Christ.

In Ethiopia, MERF ministers through its daughter organization, Ethiopia Reformed Fellowship (ERF), with radio broadcasts, evangelism, literature, and biblical training. A large ministry center is being built in Addis Ababa. The first floor is designed for recording studios, a hall, chapel, and offices and should be ready in early 2011. Biblical training courses are desperately needed in Ethiopia. ERF is currently limited to short-term training until funds are available to complete the new center. Over 200 students are already studying the Westminster Confession by correspondence. Gospel broadcasts are aired daily in the main language of Ethiopia (Amharic) and twice a week in the Oromo and Somali languages. These are heard by tens of thousands, attracting regular interest with requests for Bibles and Christian literature. A diligent brother regularly visits Somali contacts displaced by fanatical Muslims.

The periodical ‘Mathetes' prepared by ERF staff at least four times a year has a wide circulation of about 10,000 copies. It is designed for the evangelical community of Ethiopia. It aims to relevantly address important biblical and theological issues. Manual of Christian Doctrine by Louis Berkhof has already been published in Amharic, the national language. The Heidelberg Catechism will soon go to the printer. An Amharic language commentary on Hebrews by Hailu Mekonnen is at the printer. His works on Galatians and the Bible's teaching on the Church have already been published. Evangelical Christians are not the only ones benefiting from the radio programs and literature. A movement for the return to biblical roots is growing among laymen and clergy within the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. Others from pagan or Muslim backgrounds are also being impacted.