God Opens a Door in Ethiopia

Eyasu told Rich that the evangelists in Ethiopia were in desperate need of training–the evangelists had taken Bible classes, but hadn’t actually been trained in follow-up with new believers, or in evangelism techniques. Eyasu said to Rich, “I know your program, I know what you studied in your classes. Can you come over and help us?”

In 2013, after Rich’s studies were complete and he had applied the new materials with success in Nigeria, Rich felt God was calling him to expand the ministry. He called Eyasu and asked if Eyasu was still interested in working with him. Eyasu said, “Yes! Please come over!” Rich decided to do a survey trip. 

Rich visited 50 evangelists in one city, and 50 in another.  Rich called them together and asked what they did for follow-up.  They said they had no idea what to do. One of them said, “I thought we were just supposed to baptize them, and that was it!” After the discussion, Rich asked them, “What do you want me to do for you? How can I help?” They all responded, “We want to be trained!” Rich was deeply impressed with their passion and their selflessness. They didn’t ask for money or technology,  they were simply excited about learning how to minister more effectively!

Rich began planning the first trip to Ethiopia. His team barely had enough funds. Two months before the trip, it didn’t look like the funding was going to come through, but they all prayed and committed the trip to the Lord. The funds came through a month before they left. Rich and his team—Carl, Susanna, and Dan—trained 100 evangelists in follow-up over the course of two weeks.

After the training, Eyasu kept in contact with the evangelists to see how the work was progressing. He sent Rich astounding reports—An evangelist named Abera said, “We are 4 in our area. After coming back from the training each of us began to train 10 trainers, so we have 40 trainees in follow-up. Each 40 already started teaching 10. That means that 400 are in training.” He also testified that many were coming to know Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord as a result.

Another evangelist name Teferi said that in his area, the trainees began to disciple 85 people, 32 of which are women. He said that he had served an evangelist for 21 years and he could testify that the training made the work of evangelism much simpler for them. He rejoiced that now they have materials not only to help them evangelize but also to follow-up with the new believers.

More and more reports rolled in—hundreds of people trained in evangelism and follow-up, and hundreds more in follow-up classes. Because of Rich’s previous experience in Nigeria, he wanted to make sure that he had a chance to verify what was happening himself, so on his next trip to Ethiopia, he and his colleague John visited a couple of the areas that were reporting the highest numbers. He saw firsthand that everything they had been telling him was true!

There are many more hundreds of evangelists that are eager to be trained. Rich and his team continue to plan trips to support these brave and passionate brothers and sisters in Christ in their work for the gospel.

Rich GardnerGod Opens a Door in Ethiopia