Fourteen years ago, as a newly married couple, we ventured on a one-year mission to Ethiopia, with Young Life and SIM. I served on Young Life staff, helping to train Ethiopian volunteer leaders and Emily taught fourth grade at Bingham Academy. Our year in Addis Ababa sparked a love for Ethiopian people and culture that continued to grow in the ensuing years. As Student Ministry Director of Community Fellowship Church, I led 5 trips, challenging 60 teenagers and adults to join God’s work in Ethiopia. My teams served as support staff for Young Life’s camping program, where hundreds of teenagers responded to the Gospel. We now believe God is leading us to take a step if faith with SIM for two years.
The third most populous country in Africa, Ethiopia is among the world’s oldest Christian nations and the only African state never colonized. Addis Ababa, the capital, is a sprawling and hospitable city, where modern buildings and wide open boulevards stand side-by-side with historic churches, palaces, and simple country huts. This culturally rich and vibrant city is the diplomatic capital of Africa housing the the African Union and more than 90 embassies, making it the 4th largest diplomatic center in the world. It’s a strategic city to make an impact for Christ.
The Specific Need
75% of Ethiopia’s population is under 25. Engaging in youth ministry has become an area of need and a key area that SIM Ethiopia is beginning to address. Currently there is a significant need to develop youth ministry leadership within the Kale Heywet Church. Here are some excerpts from SIM’s recent nation-wide assessment, Ethiopia Country Review:
“There is little specific ministry to children and youth” “… a huge need for whole life discipleship, extensive leadership development, theological training at all levels, and a focus on youth and children” “The church programmes have emphasized preaching, music, and choirs but not children’s, youth, or women’s ministries which all need development” “There is an urgent need for training and discipleship in the rapidly growing and demographically young Church”
Jason: With 14 years of experience in student ministry in both the para-church and church worlds, I have enjoyed the unique challenges of equipping young leaders and engaging students in both arenas. I graduated from James Madison University with a B.A. in English in 1997 and completed a M.A. in Religion at Temple University in 2010.
I believe God will use my experiences in Young Life and the church to help address the crisis facing the KHC and other denominations. I hope to help meet this need by reproducing myself as a leader and by sharing the principles of relational evangelism with the next generation of pastors and leaders at Evangelical Theological College. www.etcollege.org
Emily: Emily is a gifted teacher with experience working with children from preschool through 4th grade. She graduated from James Madison University in 1997 with a B.A. in Psychology and Elementary Education and completed a M.A. in Reading and Language Arts at Millersville University in 2005 and recently managed a grant for McDaniel College. For the past 9 years we have been fortunate to have Emily focusing primarily on three of her greatest passions– Lauren, Anna, and Sarah.
Emily is excited to be a full-time mother and a part-time Reading Specialist at Bingham Academy. www.binghamacademy.net