by Rev. Marv Ziprick
I was honoured by the Oromo community in Edmonton to accompany their leaders to attend a two- day conference (February 12 and 13) of the Mekane Yesus (Place of Jesus) Church in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The theme of the conference was “ILAAMEE” (Give me your attention)—emphasizing the call of God upon our lives to bear witness to Jesus and share the Gospel.
On Sunday, Rev. Dr. Leonardo Neitzel (representing Lutheran Church–Canada) and I were privileged to worship in Millenium Hall with more than 10,000 of our Oromo brothers and sisters in Christ. The three-and-a-half hour service was vibrant and inspiring. It reflected the Oromo culture in dress, music and dancing.
More than forty young adults led the service in song. Speakers included a personal testimony from a man who was a Muslim and came to faith in Jesus. His message was simple: “Whatever you do for Jesus …it will not be in vain.” The preacher was Rev. Dr. Gemechis Buba who spoke on the power of God’s Word… just as God spoke in the beginning and “it was so”…so, today His Word still has the power to create new life and bring and light.
The Mekane Yesus Church in Ethiopia numbers 5.4 million members. It has a long and strong evangelistic thrust. It has sent missionaries to Asia as well as other African countries. During today’s worship nine young adults were commissioned as evangelists with the laying on of hands and prayer. They are being sent to parts of Ethiopia where the Gospel has not been heard.
In this conference the presence and power of God’s Spirit certainly has been evident. I admire their joy-filled spirits and their zeal in sharing the Gospel.
This week Rev. Neitzel and I will attend a theological conference attended by 2000 Oromo pastors as well as representatives from Lutheran Church bodies in Africa, Europe and North America. Please remember the participants in your prayers.
Following the conference I have the honour of attending a wedding at Nekemte (in western Ethiopia). One of our Oromo brothers from Edmonton will be married on Sunday, February 20.
Rev Marv Ziprick is senior pastor of Bethel Lutheran Church, Sherwood Park, Alberta and works with an Oromo congregation in downtown Edmonton.