Outreach Update: Ethiopia
by Eric Pires

One Purpose: Ethiopia Medical Outreach (Philippians 2:1-4)

I’m writing you from the JVMI-Ethiopia staff office in Ethiopia’s capital city, Addis Ababa. The staff is finalizing some last-minute details for our first Medical Outreach of 2021, making sure everything is ready before we travel 120km north of Addis to the town of Fiche in the Oromia Region. 

We have prayerfully prepared a plan to introduce a two-pronged outreach model in this first Outreach of 2021. First, we are ready to provide much needed free medical, eye and dental care to as many Jewish people and their neighbors in the area as possible. And, of course, our primary goal with all our outreaches is to allow the opportunity for patients to receive counseling and prayer. 

Second, we will be focusing on a partnership between JVMI staff and ministers from the Beta Abraham Messianic Congregation to distribute LifeStraw water filters and present the Living Water, Yeshua (Jesus), directly to Jewish communities in nearby villages. 

We are just days away from our first Medical Outreach of 2021 with the constant reminder of the lesson we all learned in 2020: plans don’t always go the way we expect them to. You may recall that one year ago we were forced to end the year’s first outreach in Enewari, Ethiopia after just three days when a group opposed to our preaching of the Gospel entered our prayer tent and burned down our campsite. I can still recall listening to the shouts of the angry mob during the attack on our camp as we huddled together in a secure location at the clinic. 

Our team was escorted in the middle of the night by the Ethiopia Special Forces to a hotel in the capital with nothing but the clothes we had on. Once we arrived at the hotel, we watched the news in amazement as the world was beginning to react to the COVID-19 breakout. 

The events of Enewari and the days that followed still resonate in the minds of our staff, partners, local Messianic ministers and medical professionals. We simply refer to the series of events as “Enewari.” 

The fact is, while our team is committed to meeting the needs of the community in Fiche, Ethiopia now, it’s safe to say that many are doing it with an element of caution. Each member is operating with courage and boldness that is a result of intense times of corporate and individual prayer over the last 12 months. We have found encouragement and purpose in the Word. 

Therefore if there is any encouragement in Messiah, if there is any comfort of love, if there is any fellowship of the Ruach, if there is any mercy and compassion, then make my joy complete by being of the same mind, having the same love, united in spirit, with one purpose. — Philippians 2:1-2 (emphasis mine)

I can attest to you that this team is united, of the same mind, with the common purpose of being the Lord’s hands and feet, loving the Fiche Beta Abraham Jewish community and their neighbors. The full expression of His love can only come by sharing the Good News with them, by action and words, and by keeping a focus on what the Lord is doing and not on what the enemy means for evil. 

Please pray for our team members and their families, to receive the shalom of the Lord during each and every Outreach in 2021. 

Now, a little more about the Fiche preparation. I’m excited to report that the Lord has been in the details!  Every step of the way we have a testimony of the Lord’s direction and favor. 

  • We are grateful that cargo shipments containing the necessary supplies for the Outreach arrived safely and on time from different parts of the world during this season of uncertain travel
  • Our advance team reported that the clinic site the Lord selected is as clean and organized as any location JVMI has used in the past
  • Examination rooms have been cleaned, tents are in place, security lines constructed, all in preparation of serving thousands of patients that may be seeing a doctor for the first time in years, or ever
  • Our loyal vendors are standing with us and providing service that goes beyond what is required.
  • From receiving the permissions from the local government, the guiding of the Holy Spirit to the perfect clinic site, the selection of the team of Medical Professionals, the Lord has directed our path
  • The Lord has also given our staff and Outreach Partners wisdom and guidance as they navigate difficult international travel requirements

Speaking of our incredible partners, we are so excited that for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic hit, a team of volunteers will be joining us in Fiche. This Gideon’s Army of partners collectively said “Hineni” (I am here) and decided that no amount of testing requirements, hand washing, face mask wearing or travel advisories will deter them from being a blessing to this marginalized community in need of hope. 

Do nothing out of selfishness or conceit, but with humility consider others as more important than yourselves, looking out not only for your own interests but also for the interest of others. — Philippians 2:3-4

The Lord has also been faithful to meet us in amazing times of prayer, providing words of encouragement and affirmation. All these details are vital to holding a successful outreach that we hope will gain our local partner ministries the platform to preach the Good News of Yeshua (Jesus) to a people who have been pushed to the fringe of society simply because of their Jewish identity. 

Before we leave for the field, can I ask you to support us in prayer? Pray that the Word is preached with power and boldness! Pray for our families at home. Pray that the Lord will continue to use our team of professionals in Fiche and all the locations we plan to reach this year, as He’s done in the past. Pray that our Living Waters team, made up of local Messianic ministers and JVMI staff, will have the opportunity to invite many into a personal relationship with Yeshua HaMashiach, the fountain of water springing up to eternal life (John 4:14). Pray that our staff, Outreach Partners, medical professionals, and local team experience the blessings that come with being united in purpose. 

Thank you for standing with Jewish Voice as we minister in Jewish communities in Ethiopia and Zimbabwe in 2021.
 

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