Thursday, February 17, 2011

From Ethiopia - Post 7 - Christ Foundation Church

During our trips to Ethiopia, we had the pleasure of getting to know Workineh, one of the guest house staff persons.  He is a committed Christian and is very involved with his church - the Christ Foundation Church - an evangelical Christian church amidst a largely Orthodox country.  We wanted to give him some of the donations that we had taken because we knew that he takes them to his church and gives them out to those in need.  He wanted us (and we really wanted) to attend one of their worship services, but unfortunately, Sunday is the day that we had to drive south for our birth parent meetings so we were unable to attend with him.  We did, however, want to visit his church and take our donations so he took us on Saturday morning.

He explained that his church used to be located near the airport, but that the government had come and closed it down some time before.  The church then moved to it's current location - a tent inside a gated area.  Since moving, the church has "added on" three different times!  They have grown to membership of close to 1000 people, with an average of 700 attending each week!

the drive back through the gates to the church

We had to laugh at the "parking lot".  And to think how many times during our church involvement that we've had to hear complaints about the parking!  :-)  They reported that they also use this area to host a youth program every Wednesday night.

the "parking lot" (for an average attendance of 700 people!)

The inside of the sanctuary tent

The Sunday school room/prayer room

The pastor gave us a tour of the church.  Mike spent some time praying with/for him.  We were all moved to hear the pastor's prayer requests for their church -- all spiritual!  We somewhat expected requests like:  money, Bibles, a church building!  He reported that there is such great poverty that it is hard for the church to get people to see that the church is not there to meet their physical needs, but it is there to help to meet their spiritual needs.  He said that although they do provide for people in extreme need, they try not to give things out too much because they don't want people coming to the church just looking for "stuff".  His prayer requests:  that people would come to a relationship with Jesus and learn to trust God to provide for all their needs; and that people's hearts would be open.

We asked what it cost to operate their church.  He reported that it currently took about $2000 a month to operate their church.  1000 members, average attendance of 700 people, services on Sunday mornings and a youth program every Wednesday night, 3X needing to enlarge the church.  Money well spent!!

Workineh and his pastor

Side note:  the pastor's wife is pregnant with their first child.  He was practically beaming when he told us that they were expecting. 

the inside of their Bibles

Kids everywhere feel the need to color in the Bibles  :-)

Us girls

The men

When we first pulled up to the gates, some boys went running to help and open the gate for us.  They were hanging around the church, coming in and out of the gates.  We gave them lollipops and they were so happy.  We asked about them and discovered that they were just neighborhood boys who like to come and hang out there.  I felt it was special that they found sanctuary, solace, and comfort just hanging out at the church in the midst of their difficult lives.

Sweet neighborhood boys who come to the church to hang out
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Matthew 11:28 - 30

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