Monday, December 21, 2009

Psalm Two Twelve

If you are following this blog, please update your favorites or your RSS to

I am using the website for an all things Mathenia and Ethiopia web presence.


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

PTI is a week away

I am leaving within hours for my journey to Ethiopia.  I will be gone two weeks to the day, returning on the twenty-fourth of June.  I covet your prayers as I go, and especially for Hannah, Ellie, and Isaac as they stay behind.
The first week on the ground I will be leading a team of a dozen or so folks from the Eastern part of the USA.  We will be involved in orphan relief seeking to discern and meet the needs of children and those caring for them, primarily in the capital city, Addis Ababa.  The orphan situation in Ethiopia is nothing short of a crisis.  Approximately five percent of the entire population are orphaned children and the numbers are rising at a staggering rate.  Orphans are on the increase to such a degree that most project that within ten years the number of orphaned children could increase to eight or ten million.  That is the number of people that live in Mississippi and Tennessee combined.  The numbers are actually so drastically surreal we do not, we cannot comprehend them.  But we can, in obedience to Christ, minister to them.  Pray with us.
My second week on the ground in Ethiopia will take a shift in direction  but not overall focus.  I am meeting two Zambian pastors who are coming up to facilitate training among the Addis Kidan church leaders.  Pray for them.  Grave will be teaching on the life and work of Jesus Christ from the Gospels and Victor will proclaim salvation as it is prophesied in Isaiah and fulfilled in the Messiah, looking closely at Ephesians to see God's work for us (Ch. 1) and God's work in us (Ch. 2).

It sounds like two different focuses doesn't it?  Orphan care vs. Theological Training
It only sounds that way because of our superficial way of diagnosing and treating problems in our culture, especially our evangelical church culture.  Think about it with me.  Why is there a orphan crisis in Ethiopia (or anywhere else)?  There are several factors that give way to the problem of course.  HIV, malaria, TB, and other diseases are just a few of the issues facing Ethiopia and contributing to her orphan crisis.  Dozens of NGO's attempt to curb the crisis but to no avail.  They do accomplish some good, yes, but the root issues are, for the most part, never dealt with or even considered.  We too often assume that the best way to care for orphans is to get them adopted to America.  While that is one means of meeting the need, there is a greater need at the root level.  It is the gospel.  The crisis in Ethiopia exist because the gospel in it's biblical intention does not.  The church has not done and is not doing her share in promoting a biblically sound gospel that results in God-honoring community and life.  The orphan situation in Ethiopia is merely one of the numerous symptoms the the greater problem of the church not having, nor proclaiming Christ as He is portrayed in the scriptures.  
Getting the gospel to the "churches", training the leadership, equipping believers to honor Christ in all things are some of the root issues that must be handled if there is ever to be any hope of really dealing with the swelling orphan crisis.  We have to be careful to realize that poverty and disease in the land, which give rise to crisis, not only have spiritual implications but spiritual roots.  And when we trace those roots we find that people have rejected God, His Son, and Their gospel.  Therefore, the most foundational and most fruitful thing we can do in fighting the orphan situation in Ethiopia is to proclaim liberty to the captives, to preach Christ crucified, and to promote the knowledge of sins forgiven. 

Saturday, May 2, 2009

PTI -- Round...?

     I am not sure what round to call the upcoming training in June.  We are in the process of morphing the Institute from what it was—sixty-plus men traveling to the city for approximately thirty-five hours of Bible teaching and preaching—to what it will be for the near future, Lord willing.  I will be meeting two Zambian pastors in Addis, and from there we will make our way to a city called Jimma in southwestern Ethiopia.  Our teaching will be regionally-based, and all of the nearby pastors, ministers, evangelists, missionaries, and church planters will be welcomed.    

     Basically, the ministry is transitioning from training only men who want to start new churches to training all ministers within the Baptist denomination.  Our hope is to keep the training quarterly and enter into a different region each time.  We will continue teaching the major doctrines of Christianity in an immensely practical way.  

     Because so much of what we are attempting this time around is uncharted territory for us, we appreciate your prayers.  The logistics are always a nightmare, but changing everything will only increase the difficulty.  Transportation, lodging, travel visas, and meals are merely a few of the obvious changes for us this time.  With the ever-changing, always inflating economy in Ethiopia, it is impossible to budget for something like this.  Yet, I do feel strongly that this method of training is more cost-efficient than our previous system.  However, the main reason for the transition has little to do with finances and everything to do with getting the Christocentric Gospel to the local pastors and ministers in order to affect their lives, ministries, and churches.

     We need God to supply all of our needs—from the wisdom of what and how to teach to the dollars and cents that will feed the men their daily injera

     Our continued prayer is that the Lamb Who was slain will indeed receive the reward of His sufferings and the nations as His inheritance.


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Pastor's Training Institute VII

It doesn't seem real that I am off to Ethiopia again, this time facilitating the seventh round of the little work that God has given me in training church leaders and hopeful church planters/pastors.

We, that is Kurt and I, will be flying out today and returning next Friday.
Please do pray for us.

And, if you would like to go?
Well, you can. Kind of.

Thanks for your continued support in every way imaginable.


Saturday, October 25, 2008

Training Institute...We're back.

Sorry for the delay in informing you all about the recent round of Pastor's training. There was no way to access the blog from Ethiopia and I failed to recall the email access that I had set up for updating from abroad. We just arrived back to the US last night. I feel very strongly that the trip was a beneficial one.

The topics that were dealt with are terribly misunderstood worldwide within our churches.
Because of this, I am convinced that dealing with these issues was critical and I trust also that the Lord used the teaching to gain glory for Himself in His church in Ethiopia.

The way in which God works in the soul of man to bring him from being a lost soul to a child of the King is terribly misunderstood in our day. Careful attention was given to considering how in fact He does it, what it requires of Him, and what our response is to this amazing work of God Almighty. Hours were spent looking at what the bible says about the Atonement, God's calling of man, the granting of new life in Christ, repentance, faith, justification, adoption, being conformed to Jesus, and final glorification in Christ when we see Him face to face and are made like Him because we see Him as He is.

A significant portion of time was also given to the bible's teaching on the Holy Spirit. We confirmed scripturally that the Holy Spirit is a person and He also is God, co-equal with the Father and the Son. From there, His work was proclaimed from the creation of the world through His work corporately in the New Testament church today. The majority of our focus was on the regenerating work of the Spirit of God in the heart of man. Sadly, the church in Ethiopia believes like most churches in America do when it comes the the work of the Spirit in the Salvation of man. There is a huge misconception that our believing the gospel precedes the implantation of life from above. The bible is clear on this issue. We are dead in our sins. We are capable on no good thing. Yet, we must be born again. How? From above! From God himself through the work of His Son applied to our hearts by the regeneration of the Holy Spirit. After hours of dealing with this in the text, a couple of men stood to say that they have been believing and practicing that which is not biblically accurate and it must not be pleasing to God. They stated that their foundation was faulty and needed to be removed. One of the ministers went on to suggest that they should all repent of their attitudes toward this doctrine and begin to trust in God alone for the salvation of their people as well as their own salvation.

I hope God will make much of His Name in the lives of these men by continuing to convince them of the truth of His word and and the seriousness of His commands concerning His church.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Two Weeks Away

In just two short weeks I will depart once again for Addis Ababa. The Pastor's Training Institute is set to continue with round six focusing on the Holy Spirit and Salvation. There will be five of us from Christ Community Church traveling together this time. Please do pray for us.

The Lord has been providing for the work in Ethiopia on a monthly basis these past several months and as a result much of the needed expenses have been met already. However, there is still a need in order to cover all of the cost incurred by hosting and orchestrating this training program. It costs less than fifty dollars to provide transportation, lodging, food, and training supplies for one minister.

May the Lord richly bless you as you pray for us, that the Lord would receive all glory from PTI and in His church.