A new church is formed just two years before Communists take over Ethiopia. Will it survive?
In 1972, when the Jacho Seventh-day Adventist Church in Ethiopia was first established, the congregation was small. After just two years, however, membership had grown to two hundred! Then the Derg, a communist military junta, took over the nation. The new atheist regime opposed all Christian churches, and it stripped the believers of their right to call upon the names of God and Jesus. Many Christians were persecuted, thrown into jail and killed, but the love of Jesus helped the church stand firm.
By 1977, three new churches had been born out of the Jacho Church. Yet challenges increased from within and without. Divisions sprang up amongst the church members, and heresies and false teachings abounded among those who called themselves light-bearers and present-truth Adventists. As a result, many left the church.
From without, the government still prohibited the expansion of the church. Considering itself above God, the Derg forbade the citizens to worship any God, but they required obedience to the government. Regardless of their sufferings and challenges, some church members continued firm in the truth, and the church continued to grow in numbers because the members kept praying that they could reach many with the gospel. “Prayer and faith will do what no power upon earth can accomplish. We need not be so anxious and troubled. The human agent cannot go everywhere, and do everything that needs to be done . . . But if we show unwavering trust in God, not depending upon the ability or talent of men, the truth will advance.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 8, 218.
The Derg regime fell in 1991, and today the Jacho Seventh-day Adventist Church is a dynamic, vibrant congregation. Through the church members’ eagerness to win souls and to reclaim those who have deviated from the truth, membership has now reached 500!
For many years, the Jacho Church had no paid gospel workers to look after the church and oversee its evangelistic efforts. Instead, the church members themselves coordinated the church programs and outreach projects—a major challenge for those who must already work hard just to sustain their families. In recent years, Mission Projects International has hired gospel workers who have been ministering to the church and coordinating outreach in new areas. Under their ministry, many families have joined the church, not only from Jacho but from the surrounding villages.
Despite the difficulties it has passed through, the Jacho Church keeps growing! The growth does pose a physical challenge, however: the unfinished church building is now too small to accommodate the ever-increasing church membership. The building project, started eight years ago, has been paused while the church raises money to complete the building. In the meantime, the plans are being redrawn with an addition that can accommodate all the members. Although poor, the believers in Jacho know that God is the source of all blessings and that He often blesses us in accordance with the way that we give. The Bible says, “Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.” Luke 6:38, NKJV. Please prayerfully consider how you can help this church that has surmounted so many challenges!
Tesfaye Tadese Hailegnaw coordinates the Bible worker program in southern Ethiopia.
How You Can Help
Pray for the Jacho Church and its members to continue flourishing, and for funds to come in so that they can worship in an adequate church building.
Pray for the 31 Ethiopian Bible workers that your gifts support as they carry the message from village to village!
Give. To help reach souls in Ethiopia, send your donations marked “Ethiopia Churches” or “Ethiopia Evangelism” to:
Mission Projects International
PO Box 151
Inchelium, WA 99138
To give securely online, visit:
Translated by Daniel Shamebo Sabore, coordinator of Mission Projects International’s Ethiopian projects. He can be reached at 253-835-0107 or info[at]advancedtranslationservices[dot]com.