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Responding to the Call

May 25, 2017

Doug and Corrine Lowenburg are missionaries to Ethiopia. They are leading Addis Ababa Bible College and are training pastors who are sent out to plant churches among the unreached of Ethiopia!

 

“I want you to come to this region full time!”

 

The Holy Spirit spoke those words to my mind while I knelt by my bed at a guesthouse in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. I was spending my Fall Break from North Central University (NCU) teaching a course at the newly-opened Addis Ababa Bible College (ABC). I had stopped by ABC a year earlier on my way to research the Beja people in Eritrea, where I met Jim McCulley, founding principal of the college. He asked me if I would return and teach.

 

Our family was open to God’s call to minister anywhere in the world. We had previously served doing Muslim evangelism for two years in Burkina Faso. As a faculty member at NCU, I had led a dozen teams of summer interns to do cross-cultural ministry. We asked God after every trip if He wanted us to leave NCU and our pastorate in Minnesota for the country I had just been to. On this particular trip to Addis, the Spirit spoke clearly.

 

Our first term in Ethiopia was quite fruitful, but extremely challenging. Serving as the director of ABC, many Ethiopian pastors and church leaders were equipped, but there were serious conflicts with our national leadership over ethics, priorities, and strategies. The tension culminated in the leader not allowing us to continue ministering in the country of our calling. With this door painfully closed, God opened others for us in Togo and Kenya.

 

Eleven years later God graciously gave us the opportunity to return. The Ethiopia Assemblies of God’s new leadership invited us to direct their training ministries. Over the past three years we have had a wonderful working relationship with them. Addis Ababa Bible College has added multiple delivery systems for the bachelor’s degree and launched a diploma program in the native language, Amharic, that presently offers training for our pastors at eight sites across the country and one in neighboring Djibouti. A master’s degree—affiliated with Global University—has started, emphasizing pastoral ministry in the power of the Spirit. Over 600 students are involved in training, with a new college facility under construction. In the future, with the financial partnership of AG churches (U.S.) and Africa’s Hope, our training materials will be translated into Somali, Oromiffa, and Tigrinya. Using these languages, we can blanket the region with pastoral training aimed at church planting.

 

God has a divine destiny for the Ethiopia Assemblies of God. We believe we will see Ethiopian missionaries planting indigenous churches throughout the Horn of Africa. Across our region, millions of Ethiopian Orthodox followers and millions more Muslims honor Jesus, but have never personally experienced Him as their Savior and Lord. To reach them, God looks for those who love Him and are available, not ones who are perfect. What a joy it is to serve a faithful and merciful God in the Horn of Africa.

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