Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.1 Peter 4:10
Jesus in John 9:4 instructs us to do the work while it is still day. He did all the work His Father sent him to do. He also instructs us that the night is coming, when no one can work. If we are faithful to listen to the Lord and do the work He predestined for us, He is faithful to lead and guide us to what He wants us to do. In this update, we want to share with you some of the wonderful testimonies of the mission works that one of our students is engaged in. This will encourage you to praise God and acknowledge that your prayers and support have not in been vain but are bearing fruit.
Sherefedin is a 32 Years old Hydraulic Engineer who responded to the call of the Lord, for a full time ministry as a missionary and a church planter in one of the remotest parts of Ethiopia known as Dasenech. He was in his final year at a university when God’s call for the ministry came to him. He gave himself to serve the Lord after his graduation.
Sherefedin went through all the rituals that a young Muslim boy had to perform. However, he was a very sick child and the doctors could not diagnose what his illness was. He suffered physically but was also tormented with fear. When he turned 9 years of age, his sickness worsened. His father took him to different hospitals but no treatment could cure him.
Healing and a glimmer of light
One day, Sherefedin, got his fear attack and fell very sick. His sister called their older brother who had become a believer some years back. The older brother understood that it was a demonic attack and he prayed and cast out the demons. The sickness and oppression of all those years left him and he was instantly healed. At that instant something miraculous happened in his heart. He fell in love with Jesus. He marveled at what kind of a God He is. Later, he went to church with his brother and gave his testimony.
However, his mother who was happy about his healing was disappointed that he started going to church. She insisted that he goes back to the mosque and follow the Muslim religion. The deep love of Christ had engulfed his heart and even in the Mosque he prayed to the God who healed him. He was finally able to go back to Addis Ababa and start his schooling again. In Addis Ababa, Sherefedin was still forbidden to go to church.
Believing in the Lord Jesus Christ
When Sherefedin was 18 years old, he came across a Christian high school near his home area. Without the knowledge of his family, he enrolled in that high school. There, he was able to study the Word of God. He then accepted Jesus as his personal Savior and joined a Bible study group in the school. One thing that persisted in his heart was the love of Christ.
When it was time for the Remedan (Muslim fasting Holiday), everyone in his family was sure that he had converted to Christianity and they did not want anything to do with him. His father burned his Bible and no one was talking to him. A huge rift was created between him and his family.
A few months later a schoolmate introduced him to a Christian family. Sherefedin explained to them the persecution he was undergoing at home and they allowed him to live with them. This was the place where his Christian life was shaped. This family demonstrated the love of Christ to him. They are still supporting him and his family in their ministry.
Graduation and the Mission Field
When he graduated from high school, Sherefedin joined 1st year Hydraulic Engineering in Arba Minch University. There he joined the Christian students fellowship. After a while, he was asked to be part of the leadership team. He and his other friends planned to go for a missions trip. In his 2nd year semester break, he and his friends went out for missions work in a place called Dasenech on the border of the Southern part of Ethiopia. It is a remote area where the natives are pastoralists, warriors and cover themselves with animal skin. From that time onwards, Sherefedin’s heart started burning for missions.
After graduation, he and his friends planned to go again and plant another church in Dasenech. Within three days, they planted the church and evangelized many people in the community. Sherefedin’s heart was burning to stay and minister there. When it was time to go to Addis, he told his friends that he will not be going back with them but will carry on with the mission in Dasenech. His friends were shocked. Here he was, a graduate engineer with a huge prospect in life, but he chose to stay at the border of Ethiopia, with a pastoralist community where he did not even know the culture or the language of the people.
When his friends left, he slept in a school compound and ministered in the community for a week. When school reopened, he could not stay there. However, God gave him favor with an elderly gentleman and he invited him to stay with him and his family. The man was one of the leaders of that community, and he had accepted Christ through Sherefedin’s ministry. He also built a house for him in his compound. His friends sent him money to buy food. He also continued to go for outreach, evangelizing and planting churches along with a translator. A lot of youth from the community accepted Christ through his ministry and went with him for outreach. He started discipling them. After 9 months, 29 people came to Christ and they were baptized through his ministry.
Marriage and Ministry
In his first mission trip after University, there was a sister in Christ that Sherefedin shared his passion for taking the Gospel to the Dasenech people. She rejoiced with him and they had continued communication. Finally, their love and passion for each other and for the ministry flourished and they got married with their families’ blessings. God blessed them with two beautiful children and they adopted a son from the Dasenech people.
The Selegn People in Dasenech
Sherefedin and his wife, Bereket, decided to seek God’s face to show them which community in Dasenech He wants them to serve. Through an earlier survey he and his wife discovered that there were a lot of traders that came and sold liquor to the Selegn people in Dasenech from door to door. This brought a burden in their hearts to reach out to these people group and they became their mission field for the gospel. While they were ministering to these people, they had to go against the liquor business which was a hindrance to preaching the gospel. After 2 years, the Lord heard their prayers and the government issued a decree not to sell any liquor in the area.
Coming to ETC
In between his ministry, Sherefedin came to Addis and met with the Kale Heywot Leader, Dr. Kursi Shefeno. He shared his ministry with him and asked to give him advice; Dr. Kursi told him, “If you want to go a long way, you have to study the Word of God, and the church will support your education.” He then joined ETC and he has continued his studies as a missions major student.
God has blessed Sherefedin’s family, church and ministry. Currently, He and his wife have continued to plant churches with local materials along with the believers in the Selegn community. In the last church they planted, 16 people have come to accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior.
Whenever we come across students like Sherefedin at ETC, we praise God and we bless you our friends and partners for supporting us to train such kind of students. As usual, we ask you kindly to continue to stand with us with your prayers and financial support so that we will continue to equip more Sherefedins who will take the gospel of Jesus Christ to unreached people groups in Ethiopia and beyond.
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