When The Nations Come To Us (Ethiopia in the Alliance – Part 2)
Endalkachew Tefera was raised in a morally conservative home in southern Ethiopia. Christ became the center of his life in high school, and in between semesters at Bible college, he served as a full-time evangelist. One summer at home, he was asked to preach to a church of thousands. At the close of his message, dozens came forward, but one looked familiar — much like his father. “It was him, and he was saved,” shared Tefera, now Senior Pastor at Ethiopian Fellowship Church (EFC) in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Before attending seminary in Canada and the U.S., Pastor Tefera served as the Director of Missions & Evangelism in Ethiopian Hiwot Berhan Church (“Life and Light” Church), one of the largest denominations in Ethiopia. He intended to return to his homeland after seminary, but the small immigrant fellowship in North Carolina asked him to lead them. “I still believe that I will return to Ethiopia some day,” he explained, but Raleigh has a growing Ethiopian population and God has given him work here for now.
EFC began in the early 90s as a small home Bible study, becoming an established church in 1997. Steady growth presented the welcome need to save for a building. Last December, they found a potential property. Now they needed a loan. “We talked to other banks for loans, but the ADF website and my conversations with David Graf explained where the money goes, and we wanted to support the mission of the Church,” said Pastor Tefera. “ADF was supportive, efficient, and responsive.”
The church’s focus is illustrated by the four points of the cross: upward ministry is worship. To the right, they reach toward one another, and to the left, they reach out in missions and evangelism. The bottom of the cross reminds that discipleship is rooted in the Word and prayer.
They seek to reach the surrounding immigrant community with holistic ministry, as Pastor Tefera explains, “People who have never immigrated to another country, especially with a very different culture, don’t understand how traumatic the experience. The best way to reach immigrants with the good news is to understand them, who they are and why they came, and the struggle adjusting to a new culture. The purpose of our ministry is not only spiritual but addresses social and emotional aspects. We try to balance the Great Commission and the Great Commandment.”
Pastor Tefera exhorts the Church in America to look around them, “The people are coming to you! The mission field is right here. See the harvest right here in your country. Love and reach out to the immigrant community.” Because when the Church is faithful to present the call, you never know who He might bring to be saved.