Fikadu is a denominational leader for the Addis Kidan (New Covenant) Baptist denomination in Ethiopia. He was first discipled by a Baptist missionary 28 years ago, shortly after the collapse of communism in his country. Fikadu went on to become a church planter and pastor. But around 20 years ago, many of the Baptist missionaries pulled out of Ethiopia to focus their efforts elsewhere.
Their departure brought significant challenges. The fledgling group of new churches had become dependent on outsiders for leadership and decision making. Rather than become discouraged or distracted by the various internal difficulties, the Ethiopian Baptists began to focus their attention outward, on reaching their nation with the gospel through church planting. Now, two decades later, there are more than 200 growing churches in their denomination.
“Rather than become discouraged or distracted by the various internal difficulties, the Ethiopian Baptists began to focus their attention outward”
In the west-central region of Ethiopia, Training Leaders International opened its newest training site where more than 40 churches have been planted in just the last three years! This kind of growth is amazing. But it also means that these churches and their members need to be equipped to know the Scriptures. Most of the pastors and lay leaders who attend the TLI training are not only new to the ministry, they are new to the faith.
We are so thankful that God used missionaries decades ago to plant the gospel seed in Ethiopia, reaching Fikadu and many others like him. TLI now has the privilege of watering and cultivating that which was sown. Others have done hard work, and we are benefiting from their labor (John 4:38). As we train the next generation of pastors and church leaders, this humbles us. Because, the Apostle Paul reminds us, whether we are planting or whether we are watering, we are nothing. It is God who gives the growth (1 Cor. 3:7).
Christ is building his church in Ethiopia, and by his incredible mercy he uses us in different ways and at different times to accomplish his purposes. All glory be to Christ!