Tates Creek Christian Church

Updates and Insights from Tates Creek Christian Church

Archive for the tag “Ethiopia”

Weeks Update

Travis has been taking quite a few trips to our partner churches, most of which are in remote areas of Ethiopia. One village he’s made several trips to recently is a place called Mojo. The church there is relatively new but it has a strong and vibrant ministry. Their pastor, like many of our rural KAC pastors, is bi-vocational because the church lacks the funds to pay him a full salary. Every Thursday Gutama walks 2-3 hours to get to the church in Mojo where he ministers to the congregation Thursday through Sunday. Then, after church on Sunday, he walks back to his home and works his farm the rest of the week. His commitment to this new, growing church is astounding, and his leadership is certainly having a great affect.
At this point, the Mojo church is one with a lot of faith and energy, but it struggles in terms of its resources. The people in Mojo give their offering partially with money, but mostly it comes in the form of grains – these folks are all farmers. When Travis visited a month ago he was amazed at the big bags of corn, sorghum, and sesame they had stored up in the church. These were the congregation’s tithes and offerings. Some of it came from family farms, but the rest came from land that the church farms collectively. Church members give from their own harvest, but they also give in the form of time and labor by working the church’s land.
Having seen the faith and resourcefulness of this congregation and the commitment of their pastor Gutama, Travis is moving forward with a new Income Generating Activity in Mojo. CMF will provide the church a loan that will allow them to buy fertilizer and better quality seed. Better inputs yield better results. We believe this will provide a bigger harvest and therefore more resources for this church’s ministry. We are all excited to see where this IGA takes Mojo!
We’re also installing a “Farming God’s Way” demonstration garden that we hope will encourage the community to adopt some different farming techniques. This, however, we expect will probably take several planting seasons to catch on.
We wanted to share this story from Mojo because it illustrates the way Travis and I fit into CMF’s work of helping to establish a strong, indigenous church in Ethiopia. If we did not have you behind us, supporting our ministry, we would not be able to offer loans like this to Mojo. Your giving to our ministry means helping Mojo, and other churches like it, in rural Ethiopia. So thank you!

Travis, Emily, & Clare Weeks

New Missionary Family

At its January 4 meeting, the TCCC Missions Ministry Team recommended that TCCC help support through prayer and finances Tyler and Katie Selby, CMF missionaries to Nekempte, Ethiopia. The Elders approved the recommendation at their meeting on January 5.
Katie is from McCook, Nebraska, and Tyler from Columbia, Maryland. They are both graduates of Emmanuel Christian Seminary where they met. Katie is also a graduate of Manhattan Christian College in Kansas, and Tyler is a graduate of Milligan College. Katie was introduced to missions ministry in India and Tyler in Uganda and the Ivory Coast. They believe that God joined them together and is calling them to Ethiopia to serve His Church there.

As Tyler and Katie write: We will minister primarily in the town of Nekempte. There, we hope to assist the church in two main ways: first, by helping to establish a college student ministry, both to disciple students in the church as well as to reach out to students in the town of Nekempte. Second, we hope to start a business as mission project by opening a café or bakery on the church property in Nekempte. It is our desire that these two ministries will complement one another and create opportunities through which God will be able to bless the people of Nekempte.

We felt the call of God to Nekempte because of how God had been preparing us through the work we are doing in Johnson City. Currently, we serve international students in Johnson City through a ministry Katie began 2 ½ years ago, and Tyler operates a home-based bakery which is heading into its third season at the Johnson City Farmer’s Market. We have been humbled to recognize the ways in which God has folded our lives here in Johnson City into his larger plan. It is our privilege to join God’s works among the Ethiopian people, and we are thankful and blessed to have the support of the wonderful community at Tates Creek Christian Church. We are expecting our first child in May, and we look forward to meeting you!

Tyler & Katie Selby

News from the Weeks in Ethiopia

For people like Emily and me who have ministry jobs, oftentimes, opportunities to serve don’t fall within our stated job descriptions. This puts us in company with the rest of the Body of Christ – you’re all called to live out your faith outside of work, so it is with us.
In January we moved into a house on a seminary campus in Addis Ababa. The main reason we chose to live here is because it put us within a five-minute walk of our language school. What we didn’t realize was that living here would also present us with opportunities to help some of the students we’ve been able to become friends with.
One of these students is Gatwech. He’s very smart, very humble, and has an amazing story. He is one of Sudan’s “Lost Boys.” Because of fighting in his home village (and after hearing that his family had been killed), he fled the country when he was young. He ended up in southern Ethiopia and was taken in by a Christian woman. This woman opened her home to him, raised him, and shared her faith with him. For years, Gatwech has wanted to return to his home area in South Sudan to make an impact there for the Kingdom of God.
Gatwech is a student on the campus where we live and has been worshiping with our house church. When fighting in South Sudan broke out again a few months ago, his wife and eighteen-month old daughter had to flee the country. Our house church was able to help them get here safely and set up in a house.
Gatwech is spending this month in a refugee camp in southern Ethiopia with thousands of his South Sudanese brothers and sisters. As a cultural insider, he is there to encourage them and to collect data that will help aid agencies serve the refugees better. Our house church helped make this trip possible.
I say all this to say, “Thank you for sending Emily and me to Ethiopia.” By putting us right here, right now, you, Tates Creek, are helping a young Sudanese minister and his family, a minister that is making a big impact in his community for the Kingdom of God. Please continue to pray for us, Gatwech, Nyaluok (his wife), and Nyatwech (their daughter).

Travis, Emily, & Clare Weeks

First Six Months

Six months!? Emily and I have been in Ethiopia for six months and, oh my, what a busy six months it has been! We’re constantly amazed at how God provides for us at every step of the way. Through His people, God has provided us the resources we need to live and work here, with knowledge to navigate a new place, with wonderful teammates and friends, and life-giving, fulfilling work.
We give thanks to God for the grace and provisions that have carried us through these crucial first few months. Our biggest task, so far, has been learning as much Amharic (the main language spoken in Ethiopia) and building as many relationships as we can. And, so far, everything has been right on track. (In fact, we just passed our most recent exam and are officially in “Phase 3” of our language program. I know that doesn’t mean anything to y’all, but it’s a big deal for us).
In the last six months. We have…
• Moved twice…and we couldn’t be more thankful for the home we are in.
• Secured our work permits! Woo Hoo! This was a long, complicated process and we’re so happy it’s complete because without work permits we can’t continue ministry in Ethiopia!
• Made two visits to Nekempte to meet with key church leaders (Nekempte is the city we’ll eventually be stationed in after our year of language study).
• Preached at a conference where over a hundred leaders from the churches we’re working with gathered for three days of worship, fellowship, and teaching.
We were also thrilled to have Dan and Sue Burton back in Ethiopia for the conference! Dan and Sue used to be on the CMF team in Ethiopia and were Tates Creek’s first Living Link missionaries! Emily and I felt fortunate to get to spend some time with them while they were here. They have a lot of wisdom and experience to share!
We’re so thankful for Tates Creek! We wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for your care and support. And thank you for the facebook notes and for the cards that have made it all the way over here! The Kingdom of God is changing whole communities over here. There are churches in villages now where, a year ago, people hadn’t heard about Jesus. Y’all are making this work possible!

Travis, Emily, & Clare Weeks

Weeks in Ethiopia

This past weekend, Travis, Clare, and I made our first trip to Nekempte since moving to Ethiopia. The occasion, we’ve got to have those work permit papers signed so we can stay legal! Travis and I were both excited about the trip…finally we get to go see the city where we will eventually make our home. Yes, we’ve been there before, but 24 hours, two years ago, hardly counts. So we made our way down to Nekempte on a beautiful, newly paved, winding road. It is dry season here, but the land and the farms still amazed us with their beauty.
We finally arrived at 8:30 in the evening, hoping to meet Negatu and Dhaba for dinner. Negatu and Dhaba are the church leaders in Nekempte who are signing our paperwork for our work permits. They are telling the Ethiopian government that we are here to provide a service to the church that cannot be filled by an Ethiopian. They believe that our seminary education and development training can help the church both in biblical training and with income generating projects. We feel the weight of responsibility- both to God and to this church- to be faithful, work hard, and do our part.
In the end, we did share a meal (even though it was late), Negatu signed our paperwork, and we spent the night at the church, because there was no room in the inn…or any inn for that matter. We also remembered something very important–we are not just here to give, we are here to receive. The church here has a lot to teach us and so much love, hospitality and friendship to extend to us…all we have to do is open our hearts and our hands.
We love and miss you all. Please keep us and the ministry here in your prayers.

Travis, Emily, & Clare Weeks

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