Read letters from John and Gwenyth Haspels
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Rev. John and Gwenyth Haspels
Gwen and John will next be in the USA July – December 2013. Email them or the Mission Connections office (Rachel.Anderson@pcusa.org) to extend an invitation to visit your congregation or organization.
About John and Gwenyth Haspels' ministry
John and Gwenyth Haspels work on a multiphase project in Ethiopia that would be taxing to the patience of almost anyone. It took them four years to receive work permits and resident visas from the Ethiopian government for phase I of the project. “We have been learning to wait on and trust in the Lord,” says Gwenyth. Phase I of the project is devoted to construction of a 70-kilometer road to Tum and a second road through the mountains to the Surma people in Kibish, and also the development of a good water system for Tum. Phase II of the project is a comprehensive program that includes evangelism, education, medical care and development work. John and Gwenyth Haspels’ work is being carried out at the invitation of the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus (EECMY).
Ethiopia is in East Africa and has a population of 36 million, which is 56 percent Christian. Life expectancy is 42 years. At an elevation of 4,500 feet above sea level, the country is made up of forest and grasslands. The weather is pleasant in the dry season (November to May), but it rains heavily during the other five months.
Download a prayer card that lifts up the work of the Haspels in Ethiopia
Ethiopia is the second most populous country in Africa. It has been an independent country since ancient times, and unlike other African countries, it maintained its freedom from colonial rule except for a brief period of Italian occupation from 1936 to 1941. Its monarchy was overthrown in 1974 and the country is now a democratic republic. More than half of the population is Christian and a third is Muslim. While Ethiopia has struggled with severe poverty and hunger issues, it currently boasts one of the fastest-growing economies on the African continent.
About John and Gwenyth Haspels
The joys and the frustrations of work in Africa are not foreign to John and Gwenyth Haspels. They were both children of missionaries and were reared in Africa. They have been serving as mission co-workers since 1974, first in Ethiopia, then in Sudan, and now again in Ethiopia. During their tenure in Sudan the station where they worked was attacked and John was held hostage for 16 days by rebels attempting a military coup.
“It is the truth that has brought us here and enables us to keep going. It is the truth that keeps all the hunger, violence, hatred, and pain in perspective. If Jesus had not risen, then indeed there would be little hope for the starving,” write the Haspelses as they witness the dynamic growth of the African church amid adversity. They often write of the baptism of a hundred people at a time or of churches so vital and crowded that they expanded to four services on Sunday only to have worshipers stay for all four services.
John Haspels was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and grew up in Ethiopia. He attended high school in Alexandria, Egypt, and is a graduate of Sterling College in Sterling, Kansas. He received a Master of Divinity degree from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California, and was ordained in 1973. Before starting his mission work, John worked in development and church planting for the former United Presbyterian Church in the United States of America (UPCUSA) in New York City. He has continued this work in Africa.
Gwenyth Adair Haspels was born and reared in Sudan. She also attended high school in Alexandria, Egypt, and then Sterling College. She received an R.N. diploma from Wesley School of Nursing and worked as a nurse in Pasadena before becoming a mission co-worker. She has continued her medical work as a clinic supervisor in Africa.
John is a member of Southern Kansas Presbytery; Gwenyth is a member of Halstead Presbyterian Church in Halstead, Kansas. They have four children, Desta born in 1972, Charles born in 1973, John born in 1977, and Heather born in 1985.
Gwenyth - October 12
John - December 6