The green and white bus lumbered over the bumpy dirt road as it eased to a stop. Through its windows, the passengers could see that the Jewish Voice Ministries International (JVMI) Medical Outreach in Ambo Meda, Ethiopia, bustled with thousands of patients. There were people everywhere – inside tents in makeshift examination rooms, under canopies in waiting areas and in lines that stretched as far as the eye could see.
Inside the bus were our special guests – the Beta Israel Jewish people from nearby towns who had no other way to get to the Clinic. We hired several coaches to bring Beta Israel patients from places too far away to otherwise access the no-cost medical, dental and eye care we offered.
The green and white bus that arrived on Tuesday of the Clinic week held about 60 Beta Israel from the city of Birra, situated on top of the mountains outside Ambo Meda. These people couldn’t afford to use public transportation to make the trek, and it was just too far for them to walk. It would have taken a couple of days to get to the Clinic on foot, and, frankly, “a lot of them wouldn’t have made it because of their illnesses” said Ezra Benjamin, Vice President of Global Outreach at JVMI. The Outreach team expedited service to these busloads of patients so they wouldn’t have to wait in the hot sun all day long.
God has called JVMI to go “to the Jew first,” as Romans 1:16 describes, and the Beta Israel are the reason we went to Ambo Meda. As always, we were thrilled to also treat their neighbors in the region. As we intentionally bring our Medical Outreaches to places where Jewish people live, we bring blessing to the entire area. And this adds a vital element to our ministry.
From disdain to respect
Many of the Jewish people living in Ethiopia endure prejudice and persecution from their neighbors. In some places, they are forced to live outside the larger communities because of centuries-old hatred and superstition held by the general public. Jewish people are often denied the services and resources available to other citizens. When we go to an area, the broader population sees that they are blessed with humanitarian aid from our Clinics specifically because of the Jewish people. This fact confronts anti-Semitic attitudes and elevates the Jewish people in the public’s opinion. In Ambo Meda, we met a man who experienced the difference first hand.
He was a Jewish police officer, and despite his authoritative role in the community, he endured the sneers and contempt of prejudiced others. Toward the end of the Clinic, he told us, “Before Jewish Voice came, I used to walk down the street, and people would call me accursed. Now, they call me sir.”
God is transforming lives
Seeing lives transformed is at the heart of Jewish Voice’s purpose. God touched hearts in the Ambo Meda community and changed mindsets held about the Jewish people. He also enabled us to treat a record number of patients during the 2019 Ambo Meda Medical Outreach in Ethiopia – 17,787. And we did so with the smallest team we’ve ever taken. God showed us that He is faithful to take what little we have to offer and multiply it like loaves and fishes to accomplish His purposes.
And He used the prayer and financial support of people like you to help make it happen. Thank you.
Points for prayer
Please keep the Jewish people of the Ambo Meda area in your prayers. Please pray for:
Anti-Semitic strongholds to be entirely broken there
- New Believers and others in the area to respond well to follow-up efforts conducted by Believers from Messianic congregations located in other parts of Ethiopia
- Relationships to form and people’s hearts to open to the Good News of Yeshua