Life Expectancy: 54.7 years
GDP: US$333 per capita
77.6% earn less than US$2 per day
ETH02d - The Vulnerable of Debre Markos
The Full Gospel Church in Debre Markos was supporting five vulnerable people but there are many more who need assistance. With adequate support they are now able to care for many more vulnerable people. This support will supplement the support the church currently gives and allow them to increase the number of beneficiaries to around 30.
History Of Partnership
Debre Markos is one of the northern cities of Ethiopia. It is 300 km from the central city of the country, Addis Ababa. It is an unreached area of the country in terms of the gospel and in addition to this the area is a very dogmatic Orthodox dominated area. The Christians who live in the towns and rural areas are persecuted from the Orthodox and from the Muslim people. The church is growing day by day in spite of all these problems. Debre Markos Full Gospel Church is preaching the gospel to the area and also doing social work by helping the very aged and widows who are the poorest of the poor. Twenty five widows are getting help from this programme.
In 2006 BHW staff visited this church and heard their vision and saw their commitment. They were assisting five very vulnerable widows and children; they lived on the church site in a little cottage. It became very clear that the church wanted to increase the number of people being cared for and it was agreed to include this as an essential part of the engagement in Ethiopia.
The beneficiaries are 25-30 of the most vulnerable people in Debre Markos. Some have been identified from the extended church family, others have been selected in consultation with the local government. One of the main reasons for involving the local government is to show that the church is very keen to contribute to the local community and to serve those who are in authority. The beneficiaries are mainly women and a few men who cannot support themselves.
We have brief profiles on all these people and their stories are very sad. Most have found themselves abandoned and are trying to scrape a living together by begging. The church wants them to live their years out with dignity, not shame.
What We Like About The Partnership
There are many great aspects to this partnership:
1) The local church had already noticed the need and were doing their best to assist with the poor and vulnerable
2) There is a strong will in the church to care for these people
3) This initiative comes from the leaders of the church, it's not just a peripheral ministry
4) There is a good group of local people willing to minister to the beneficiaries
Pastor Melaku has been serving the Lord in the Debre Markos Full Gospel Believer’s church for many years. He is preaching, teaching, counselling in the church and planting churches in places where there were no churches before. He has graduated with a BA from Addis Ababa Bible College together with Global University in America and now he is continuing his MTH from the South Africa theological seminary. At present in addition to pastoring the church he is coordinating northern Ethiopian missionaries by training them and guiding them. He is very devoted and a concerned brother for the gospel of Jesus Christ and His kingdom.
Vision And Annual Strategy
The vision is to care for the poorest in the community. Apart from caring for those who need it, they want to show to the community that the gospel includes everyone and causes people to care for the poor and vulnerable.
The strategy is to provide basic housing, food and school supplies for those in the programme.
Real "Life Change" Stories
One of my daughters asked her friend to share with her about being a Christian, and they testified to her about Christianity being the better way to follow. My daughter became a Christian first. She was a student then and at times would say she was studying with her exercise books but really she was reading the Bible. One day I saw that she wasn’t reading her exercise book and asked her what she was reading. She told me, “If you believe me, this is Jesus Christ who will save you.” I said to her, “If he saved me, why is there no other thing to protect me to follow Christ?” My husband was a police man in Gonder and my son was in College at this time.
Then my children and I started reading the Bible. We received Christ and for two years we worshiped Christ in secret. No one knew, not even my husband. Then one time, my neighbour found out and she said to my husband, “There are two religions in your house, you can’t stay there.”
On New Year’s day, he took his salary and left me and three children with nothing. One of our boys also left, but three of our children were willing to follow Christ. Because my husband left us, we had no money and we were starving.
When the leader of our church heard about our situation he explained to the church and asked why they had left us to starve. Then the church started to give us 100 birr (US$10)a month to help support us. From then, we tithed 10% which left us with 90 birr.
Then our neighbour told my husband, a police man in another region, about this. He came and shot our daughter because she brought another religion into our home. He shot her in the head but it was only on the side of her head, so she fell to the ground and the blood poured all over the floor. This was at a time when there was a lot of persecution of Christians, and we were shouting but no one came to help us. The Christians did not come because they were too scared. Everyone else was celebrating because of bringing death to a Christian.
Because she was shot at night, no people, no friends could help us and there was no one to take us to the hospital. We were at home all night. The next day, the husband of the neighbour who was against us, came and took my daughter to the hospital.
After that, until the new government came we suffered a lot. We were frightened all the time because of what my husband had done. He was determined to kill her. When the new government came, three years later, everything settled down. I was also getting stronger with the Lord. I have been 19 years in the prayer group ministry at church. I have been saved for 20 years.
We did not have our own house – we were in a government house – and my husband was a police man so he used the local authority. He went to the local government to chase me out of the house but the local government said to him, “Why should we chase her out, she has children?” And they didn’t.
My daughter survived. This year she graduated from teacher’s training school. She recently started work so my daughter, every month, gives me 100 birr in addition to what is sent from the church and this is how I survive. God bless you for helping to save me.
We bless you and thank God for you and your mission to look after the widows and orphans. Whenever we have a meal we thank God and we thank you. For you look after what God gave you and you share it with us. We pray for your church and for your country for God to bless you and what you are doing.