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Ethiopia (Bishoftu) March 2017

Bishoftu, Ethiopia March 3-12, 2017

We are partnering with a national church denomination to start a training center for pastors in southern Ethiopia. Ethiopia has had Christianity for almost two millennia, possibly since Acts 8 after Philip led the Ethiopian to faith in Christ. Many evangelical pastors in this region have no theological training which has a direct effect upon their church's spiritual maturity. The first training center in Ethiopia was established in the city of Awassa in May 2015 and where we are continuing to send teams. Debre Zeyit (currently known as Bishoftu) is site of a new training center, located about one to one-and-a-half hours drive south of the capital, Addis Ababa. We are expecting 35-40 national pastors who are anxious about being equipped in the Scriptures. Please pray for this pivotal opportunity to strengthen the churches in Ethiopia. Curriculum to be taught: Genesis

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

Mar  13th,  2017Final Day of Training

Well, we have come finally to the last day of classes for the week. The final class of the week was the homiletics portion of the curriculum where we taught the pastors how to take the main idea from a text in Genesis and organize it into a logical sermon outline which includes a clear Introduction, Body and Conclusion, that faithfully applies the text to their current context and does not deviate from the central message. 


We then paused before lunch for a final time of prayer and worship, where the pastors passionately and affectionately prayed for one of their sisters who they were sending out as a missionary with YWAM to the country of Dubai. This was followed by an Ethiopian coffee ceremony which involved freshly popped popcorn, kiln baked bread, the roasting of coffee beans over an open fire, tones of laughter and of course, freshly brewed Ethiopian coffee!! 


What a joy to be with these Brothers and Sisters this week. May the Lord continue to equip and empower these pastors and evangelists to reach the country of Ethiopia with the life-giving message of the eternal Gospel.

For the team and for His glory…


Jason Goulet


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Mar  10th,  2017The Need is Great. The Harvest is Wide.

It is among one of the many joys of my life to be privileged to serve pastors and church leaders in countries like Ethiopia. The pleasure I receive from their engagement with the text of Scripture and their amazement when they behold new things for the first time is truly intoxicating. We get to assist in the training of the next generation of church leaders who, we pray, will take what they have learned and reproduce it for the health and strength of the church in the years to come. What a high and honorable responsibility! And yet, while this work is truly rewarding in many ways, it does at the same time present us with real life situations and circumstances that are often hard to process. 

Take for example the story of a little girl I met on the way back to our hotel from one of our days of training. This two year old little girl is the daughter of a once prostitute who used to solicit her services within the vicinity of the church compound where we are holding our TLI training sessions. Over the years one of the pastor’s wives built a relationship with Tanya and eventually built her trust to share with her the gospel. She responded and soon after gave up her prostitution in order to obey Christ. But with obedience often comes sacrifice. With no way to make a living any longer, Tanya was left to begin selling every thing she ever owned in order to feed herself and her little girl. With no way to pay for daycare services in order to work and support her little girl, she quickly came to the place of desperation. Feeling as though she and her daughter would starve to death without help she came to the woman who had lead her to the Lord and in exasperation said, “You're my spiritual mother in the faith, I have no one else to turn to. Take my daughter for I cannot support her my myself. Please this is too hard for me.” Well after much prayer, the pastor along with his wife invited the both of them to come and live in their house, an already crowded house filled with a family of their own. Tanya still has no permanent occupation, as jobs, like in many under-developed countries, are hard to come by. But she does have home, even if it is not her own, and she is learning to cook and clean and do the basic essentials that she never took the time to learn before. 

But the hardest thing to process is not necessarily this story, since a soul has been saved and a family has been rescued. The hardest is to see a small slice of the thousands of women who are prostituting themselves on the streets of Ethiopia on our drive back from the training site to the hotel every evening. Thousands of lives that are desperately lost in an industry of death, and hundreds of thousands more caught in cycles of sin and despair and extreme poverty that boggle the mind.

But in just a few days I will get back on a plane and go home to one of the safest and richest countries in the world. Back to cleanliness and clean air. Back to a more than comfortable house. And back to a country with more than enough resources for the under-privileged. You see, I’ve been doing this in different ways now for about 6 years, it never gets easier. And for the sake of my continued passion for nations, I hope it never does.


The need is great, the harvest is wide. And we have been given much.

For the team at Bishoftu, Ethiopia...

Jason Goulet


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Mar  8th,  2017Preparing Expository Messages

FullSizeRenderStudents gathering for worship before a day of classes

We have passed the mid-point of our week in Bishoftu, Ethiopia.  Since the students here have the Bible in their own language, when questions are raised they can all read the biblical answer in their own language.  This is an advantage for teaching Genesis.  One of my translators commented that he is learning new things from the teaching. We also teach sermon preparation from select passages in Genesis. It is a joy to see a student grasp the principles of preparing expository messages.

It is encouraging to see the concern on the part of some of the Ethiopians for the strengthening of biblical training and expository preaching in their country. Some see TLI as filling the need for students who cannot afford to travel to other countries for training. Students in my class were asking challenging questions and would sometimes engage in animated discussion among themselves about biblical topics. My translator shared some of the challenges they face in their culture and was asking for help in facing them. I have been ministered to by hearing some of them speak about living for Christ and and seeing them practice their faith.

Ashley Anderson

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The last couple of days our TLI team has been busy in Ethiopia.  On Sunday, we attended church in the city of Adaama.The worship service was very vibrant and the pastor spoke from John 6:66-71 about the importance of true discipleship.  True disciples do not walk away from the hard teachings of Jesus but cling to him because he alone has the words of eternal life and he alone is the Holy One of God.  This was a fitting sermon to begin our week of teaching local pastors how to better understand the words of life in the Scriptures and then explain them and apply them in their local context.


After the church service, we visited a small but faithful Bible College in the area. Our friend, Afaasa, is the only full-time employee and serves as principal, dean, finance officer, and sometimes janitor.  He uses guest lecturers from other parts of Ethiopia to teach modular courses in three different languages (Amharic, Oromic, and English).  The school has around 20 students at this time and many travel some distance to get to the school.  This expense places a great burden on these pastors and prevents many, especially those from the rural countryside, from being able to access this very practical theological training.


Asaafa and Pastor Tesfaye (our host) share a great desire to see more Ethiopian pastors trained in biblical theology, hermeneutics, and expository preaching.  They want to see their churches grow in ways that are spiritually healthy and are a benefit to their local communities.  This is why they have partnered with Training Leaders International to offer training in Bishoftu and Awassa (which is about 4 hours south of Bishoftu).


Our team of four began our first day of teaching this morning to about 40 local pastors and church leaders.  So far we have reviewed some basic lessons from their previous biblical theology and hermeneutics courses.  Then we began introducing the basic structure of the Book of Genesis and how it fits into the larger biblical storyline.  The students are attentive and ask good, practical questions that show a lot of serious concern for application and faithfulness to the text.  My class has already come up with a list of practical applications that could be taught to their churches based on the creation account in Genesis chapter 1.  I am encouraged by this and am looking forward to a productive week of teaching and learning with my Ethiopian brothers and sisters in Christ.


Our team has bonded well and we have also enjoyed some healthy discussions about the Bible and how to understand and apply some difficult texts.   These men love Christ and his word and are fully reliant on his faithfulness.  As Simon Peter said to Jesus, "Lord, to whom shall we go?  You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God." (John 6:68-69 ESV)


Thank you for your continued prayers as we seek to serve the church in Ethiopia this week.


Jeff Parsons


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Mar  5th,  2017Sunday Preaching and the Week Ahead

Bishoftu_Teamf82a6e1dd3Our team of four (Ashley, Jeff, Jason and myself) arrived in Addis Ababa early Saturday morning after a long 13-hour flight. We met Pastor Tesfaye, our national partner in Ethiopia,  at the airport. After breakfast, we headed to Bishoftu, about an hour and 1/2 drive south of Addis, to get settled into our hotel.

It's early Sunday morning. Most of our team members are still asleep, no doubt tired from our days of travel. We are going to meet for breakfast at 8 am and find out where we are going to church this morning. We were hoping to find out last night before going to bed how may of us will be preaching this morning but Pastor Tesfaye said he still hadn't heard back from the pastors he contacted. He will tell us this morning at breakfast.  I reminded our team that one of the keys to a successful STM trip is "flexibility". So this morning we need to be as the Apostle Paul puts it "ready to preach" (I realize Paul was writing under a different context).

After church today, the "plan" is to have lunch and visit a Bible school near Bishoftu and then return to our hotel to rest and review for Monday.  Our team is excited about leading the pastors in a study of the Book of Genesis and helping them learn how to prepare expository messages from an historical narrative. 

Pray for us as we begin teaching tomorrow morning. Pray for effective communication through our translators. Pray for the 50+ pastors and church leaders attending the training, that they will grow in their understanding of God's Word and how to study it.  Pray that all of us will grow in our understanding of our Sovereign Creator, who alone deserves our worship and praise.


Weymann Lee

TLI International Trainer


Short-Term Opportunities

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