Prior to Total Member Involvement evangelistic meetings, Adventists in Ethiopia have organized a series of health expositions in various parts of the country.
Unlike other countries within the East-Central Africa Division (ECD) territory, Seventh-day Adventist membership in Ethiopia is very low. While the population is more than 100 million, there are only 184,000 Seventh-day Adventists in the country. The Seventh-day Adventist Church isn’t well known in Ethiopia and events that feature health have become good way for people to learn more about the Church.
Anteneh Hailu, who works with Parousia Ministry – a medical ministry based in the United State, shared that the Adventist health message is breaking barriers. Most people are willing to attend health demonstrations where they learn how to take care of their bodies. In the process, they discover there are people who care about human wholeness. Hailu revealed people are learning about the Adventist Church in Addis Ababa and trust is building. Some protestant TV channels have allowed Adventist Health Ministries space to share presentations because believe they will positively impact the community.
Hailu gave an example from Sebeta and Burayu, two prisons not far from Addis Ababa where they had one of the health expositions. Hailu said that before they left, 148 people started studying the Voice of Prophecy. He added that 300 more came for lifestyle discussions in Akaki, Gerji and Kebena. As a result, 50 signed up for bible studies.
Hailu also shared that when two of the prisoners were recently released, they searched for the Adventist church and are now attending baptismal classes.
Elias, one of the Total Member Involvement coordinators at Kotebe church in Addis Ababa, praised the health expositions for their impact on evangelism. He said people came from all over the city and it has become easier to invite them to church.
As the evangelistic meetings go on in Ethiopia, 220 international speakers have come to the country to join the Ethiopian evangelists. There are 1300 centers and three speakers for each campaign. Joel Okindoh, the East-Central African Division’s evangelism coordinator, said each church member is their own Total Member Involvement site and must plead with God to discover their personal ministry.
Since the beginning of the quinquennium, the East-Central Africa Division has been conducting regional mega evangelistic meetings in the spirit of Total Member Involvement. Each year, the whole division focuses on one region. At this time, the focus will be on Ethiopia and South Sudan.