Australian team baptises hundreds in Ethiopia

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Hundreds of people waiting to be baptised.

Almost 500 people, mostly youth, were baptised recently in Ethiopia by a team from Perth All Nations church plants (WA).

Pastor John Horvath, Gatkek Badeng and Joyce Zico travelled to Gambela, Ethiopia, to visit the refugee camps, to assist with building a church structure, to conduct evangelistic programs, and to provide encouragement, support and equipment.

Ethiopia currently has the second-highest population of any African country—99 million—a number that’s hard to imagine! In addition to these huge numbers, tribal violence in neighbouring South Sudan has caused more than 260,000 people to flee to five temporary refugee camps along Ethiopia’s western borders.

Global pioneers equipped with bags and Bibles.
Global pioneers equipped with bags and Bibles, gifted by their Aussie guests.

“Man’s extremity is God’s opportunity,” Pastor Horvath said. “The struggle for security, for food, water, health, combined with the hot weather, sickness and displacement leads people to Jesus who is the only One who truly cares and who has the only solution!

“Much was left undone because the country was in a state of emergency,” Pastor Horvath said. “Restrictions, red tape and policies prevented us from getting into the camps until the last day. God answered His children’s prayers. The folk were overjoyed to see a white brother and to know they were not forgotten and that they are part of a worldwide family.

“It was an absolute privilege and inspiration to have seen the commitment, the hunger and thirst for the truth, the beautiful singing, the response to altar calls and the baptisms. Surely God’s Spirit is being poured out! Hundreds of people (including us) walked for hours to ‘come to the water’ for baptism.”

Global Mission Pioneers have been working with the baptismal candidates. To follow up, these GM Pioneers will continue to study the Bible with those who were baptised. One baptism was just outside a camp where there was water.  The other baptism was in a nearby town that had a flowing river. Four hundred people were taken by bus to that site.

The visitors were able to assist the refugees practically by distributing clothing as well as a box of Bibles. Health talks were given on practical, simple natural treatments and hygiene.

Preaching to the 1000-strong congregation.
Some of the 1000-strong congregation.

Pastor Horvath said the people have a great need for Bibles in the Nual language. Even the Bible workers do not all own a Bible. These are printed by the Bible Society in Juba, South Sudan and can be purchased through the Presbyterian church for AU$10. Fundraising has already commenced to pay for roofing for new church buildings, an additional Global Mission pioneer and bicycles or motorbikes, which will greatly help the workers move around the districts. If you would like to assist, contact Pastor Horvath on +61 (0)429 796 159.