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Ethiopia May 2015

Awassa, Ethiopia May 15-24, 2015

We are partnering with a national church denomination to start a training center for pastors in southern Ethiopia. Awassa is 5+ hours (depending on the road conditions) south of the capital, Addis Ababa. Ethiopia has had Christianity for almost two millennia (maybe since Acts 8) and it developed into the Coptic Church which is similar to the Eastern Orthodox Church. Coptics and Muslims have a strong presence in Ethiopia. Most of the evangelical pastors in this region have no training in the Bible and “strange doctrines” abound. Awassa has the potential to be a hub for two other training center locations, one to the north and the other closer to the Kenyan border. Please pray for this pivotal opportunity to strengthen the Churches in Ethiopia.

Follow along as teachers in the field offer their experiences as they share theological training with local church leaders.

Field Notes   Ethiopia May 2015

May  27th,  2015Laying A Foundation

Our first STM trip to Awassa, Ethiopia was completed last Friday (May 22). Our team returned to Addis Ababa that evening and boarded our fight home the next evening. We all arrived home tired but so thankful for the week of ministry to the national pastors.

 We are so appreciative of leadership of Pastor Tesfaye who had a vision to see pastors and church leaders in Awassa develop a ministry that is based upon the Word of God. He wanted to start training centers in Ethiopia with the help and partnership with TLI.

There was over 50 pastors and church leaders that attending the training. Our team taught a course on the Attributes of God, which is intended to form the basis for the remainder of the training in the TLI curriculum.  We believe that a proper / biblical understanding of who God is (his person, nature, character), is vital and foundational to life as well as ministry.


 During the closing session on Friday, Pastor Tesfaye asked those who completed the week of training to share what they have learned. Some shared how they had gained new insights into the attributes of God. Others expressed that they now have a more biblical understanding of God’s nature and therefore their perception of God has changed. Rather than seeing one attribute in isolation, they now seeing how all the attributes are integrated and in harmony with each other. They now understand that no one attribute is more important than another but that they are all equally important.

 Perhaps the most important and encouraging feedback was that they saw how our team taught the attributes from the Scriptures rather than our own thoughts. They saw how our focus was always upon what God’s Word teaches. Now they were beginning to see how important the Word is to their ministry and were excited about it.


 With a foundation laid, TLI looks forward with excitement to continuing to help train these pastors and church leaders in Awassa in November and also the possibility of training another group of pastors in different location beginning next year.

 Please continue to pray for Pastor Tesfaye and the pastors in Ethiopia.

 For the Team,

Weymann Lee

International Trainer


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May  23rd,  2015As the Word Turns - by Paul Smith

How do you display the power of God?  Many of the students told me about praying to God that he would show their churches his power through healings, miracles, and prophecy.  But as he showed on the cross, the power of God doesn’t always look powerful.  My students read 2 Corinthians 1:18-2:5, a key passage on the power of God in the church. 

They read verse 18.  “Now read carefully, what is the power of God?”


 “Read carefully, is that what 18 says?”

 “The cross.”

 “Read carefully, is that what 18 says?”


 As the students read through 1:18-2:3, they told me (because they were doing the interpreting, not me) that Paul was not doing miracles, not telling engaging stories, not coming in as Super-Pastor whose personality brought everyone to church.  Paul was preaching the gospel. 

 Then we got to 2:4 and I was very interested in what they would say.  “My speech and message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and power.”  I knew their instinct would be to interpret demonstration of the Spirit and power as miracles. 

“What is the power in 4?”  I asked

“Preaching Christ.”

Surprised that would be their first answer I asked, “What makes you say that?”

“Because that is what power has been in the previous verses.”

I tell this story for a couple of reasons.  First I have no interest in taking students who believe something because they were taught it by a pastor, denomination, whatever, and change their belief because someone else told them something different.  I want them to make their beliefs based on what the Bible says, not what I say.  Secondly, from the feedback I received this was one of the lessons which impacted them the most.  They felt called to a deeper commitment to the Bible and proclaiming it to their churches.


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May  23rd,  2015A Day in the New World - Steve Anderson

From Steve Anderson

Hawassa, Ethiopia

Wednesday, May 20, 2015


I awoke to the sound of Muslim prayers being broadcast through a public speaker at sunrise and immediately I remind myself I am not at home.

The early morning streets begin filling with miniature 3-wheeled taxis.  100s of the little blue and white vehicles run up and down the streets which are also filled with pedestrians, goats, oxen and motorcycles. 

There is a man with no legs sitting on the sidewalk, begging for coins as we head to class.

The 50-some church leaders are hungry for Biblical truth and we consider a privilege that God has allowed us the blessing of spending the week with such wonderful brothers and sisters in Christ.

We are in a different country, a different continent, a different culture, language, food and heat but spending the time with these wonderful believers reminds me of home.

This is a privilege.



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May  18th,  2015Day 1

Hi Everyone,

We arrived safely on Saturday after a very long and tiring journey through Washington DC and then to Addis Ababa, followed by a 6 hour road trip to Hawassa. We were exhausted but glad to be there. 

Sunday was calm; we had no preaching responsibilities (things change all the time in Africa!!) Monday started our teaching week. We had 53 students and them broke  down into 4 groups (as evenly as possible.) More are planning on coming on Tuesday. The team settled in quickly as three are IT's from TLI, Tom Brown, Paul Smith, and Weymann Lee. Steve Anderson is also with us getting cross-cultural experience to complete his appication with TLI.

The spirit among the students is very good; they are eager to learn and serious. Many questions arise and there is good discussion. Praise the Lord for the time. Let's see what Tuesday bring.

Dr. Howard Foreman, VP and Director of African Miistries.

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May  11th,  2015The Task at Hand in Ethiopia

By Tom Brown

On Thursday of this week, May 14th, 2015, 5 seasoned teachers will depart for Hawassa, Ethiopia. The flight will be non-stop from Washington, DC to Addis Ababa, and then a 6 hour road trip will take us to Hawassa. 

Among our team is: Steve Anderson, Howard Foreman, Weymann Lee, Paul Smith, and myself. Each of our men will keep you informed of our experience in Hawassa and progress, so watch for subsequent posts to this site. 

The opportunity before us is an exciting one that calls for much prayer. We will all teach the same course divided among at least 40 pastors. We are estimating 10 to 12 pastors in each class, a perfect size to be personal as well as instructive. The course each of us will teach is: The Doctrine of God with emphasis on The Attributes of God. 

In addition to the excellent purpose this course holds in itself, our aim will be to build an appetite, a craving, even an insatiable addiction for the want of a greater theological training in the Word of God;  for this group of pastors, Lord willing, will become the first fruits of a maturing pastoral training center that will equip pastors and church leaders for many years to come. 

There is a passage I want to give you from the Apostle Peter. It is a passage we desire to impart to the heart and mind of each pastor as we open the Word of God, specifically, the greater knowledge of God Himself according to His revealed attributes. It is 1 Peter 2:1-3 — of course I am going to ask you to look up these 3 verses and consider them in their  greater context of 1 Peter 1:22 to 2 Peter 2:10, at least. And as you consider these 3 verses in their context, will you pray from them, for the pastor-students that each pastor will demand from Training Leaders International (TLI), a full, comprehensive, and personal pastoral training in a competent theological education.  

Watch us for more will follow … 


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