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A letter from Rachel Weller in Ethiopia

February 2013

Dear Friends,

What a year it has been for the Wellers! So many challenges, so many blessings and answers to our prayers as we earnestly sought to know God’s plan in our lives. At the end of 2012 we truly had so much to be thankful for and a lot to look forward to in 2013.

A year ago we were just getting back into the swing of living in Ethiopia again. We had arrived here with several details of the lives of our family not quite settled. And we weren’t quite sure how Michael’s new health situation would be affected by the smog and high altitude of Addis Ababa.

God took care of so many small details by providing needed employment and education opportunities for our kids and a satisfactory new living arrangement for Rachel’s parents (older and healthier than most people), leaving us no excuse to spend time or energy worrying about our family. The elders of the Oromo congregation in Addis held a brief healing service in our home for Michael, which left his heart in good shape, which was proven by visits to two separate doctors who could find no evidence of damage from the heart attack of several months earlier.

We saw God provide people to help us put together a comfortable temporary living arrangement in Gambella. The series of small houses gives us space to live and work and even provides a wonderful view of so many of God’s creations around the tree that is the center of our living space. And he provided friends to welcome us and help us learn the ropes of Gambella life.

We are eager to see what God will do in 2013.

I, Rachel, had a series of conversations in the Anyuak communities surrounding the Pokwo and Gilo clinics. The purpose was to establish “ownership” and a realization that the clinics need to be supported as much as possible by local efforts. The people in Akado, the village around the Pokwo Clinic, rallied to set up a clinic committee and to collect some money that they will put to work to begin to raise whatever they can to support the clinic. I was thrilled and excited to see the positive response. The realist in me, however, knows that starting is the easy part. I pray that God will give the committee members the understanding that this is a continuous effort if the clinic is to continue as the work of the church. I plan to visit the clinic as often as I can to evaluate and encourage them in their work.

In addition I taught the second year students at the Jack Jordon Bible School on the Nuer side of Gambella town about Community Health Evangelism. The six students, four women and two men, responded wonderfully, clicking their approval through closed mouths in typical Nuer fashion when they understood the concept. We came up with a Nuer name for this project—“Puol puony ke Yesu kentakel,” Health with Jesus Together! 

I have been working on plans for a Training of Trainers seminar for Community Health Evangelism to be held in March. I will be inviting members of each of the five Bethel Synods, the historic Presbyterian partners, to come together to learn and plan ways to begin the activities in their communities. This method is a good way to disciple those already committed to Christ and to invite others to accept the Jesus way of life, teaching them about the full and abundant life he offers.

In 2012 Michael spent a lot of time in South Sudan. The challenges there are many. But Michael was present to see evidence of God working in that troubled land. The General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of South Sudan (PCOSS) met peacefully, electing leaders from five different ethnic groups. In October he traveled over land and water to get to Nasir, where he participated in their celebration of the centennial of the presence of the gospel among the Nuer. It was in 1912 that Presbyterian missionaries first arrived in Nasir to bring the Good News. Click on or copy and paste this link to see some pictures:  

Many projects and partnerships are developing in South Sudan these days. Michael has been called upon to facilitate many of them. It means he spends a lot of time communicating by phone, email, Skype, and even in person!

He will be visiting our partners in Khartoum, Sudan, next month, as he did last year around the same time. Pray that his visit will be an encouragement to a small and heavily persecuted church. Pray that God will bring an end to the violence being poured out on Christians and people of “unacceptable” ethnicity in that country.  Pray that God will bring peace within the church as they strive to shine God’s Peace on their neighbors.

We pray that this letter finds you eagerly looking forward to see what God will do in your village even as we watch for His hand at work in ours.


Rachel Weller

The 2013 Presbyterian Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study, p. 107
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