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A letter from Marilyn Hansen in Ethiopia

February 2012

 Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain  (Psalm 127:1).

Dear friends and supporters,

Phase II, two months after construction began

On the day that Rich and I saw EGST (the Ethiopian Graduate School of Theology) for the first time, we looked out a window from the stairwell and saw a big hole in the ground filled with rainwater behind the school building. (See photo after two months of construction.) It did not look very impressive. This was our first glimpse of Phase II of the EGST Campus Development Project.

Now, about 18 months later, the structure does look impressive. (See photo.) The bones of the seven-story structure are in place, the concrete walls are being erected, and I no longer need my imagination to envision what the final outcome will look like.  Recently Rich, our daughter Lauren, and I received a tour from the architect. (See photo in our hardhats!)

Since 2009 EGST has occupied the upper three floors of a six-story building while the lower three floors have been rented out. With enrollment increasing 15–25 percent annually, this current facility has become inadequate, having only four classrooms, a meeting room seating a maximum of 120 people, and a library with limited space for books and other resources. EGST is non-residential, but at the present time there is no place where students can gather socially and build relationships outside the classroom.

Phase II as it looks today

Phase II, located on the same property as the current building, will be the new academic site of EGST. This new building will double the number of classrooms, triple the number of offices, greatly expand library space, and include a chapel/assembly hall seating 450.  A student activity center/cafeteria will provide students a place to gather informally. The new building will also include a dormitory housing up to 20 students who live outside Ethiopia. Two small apartments for visiting faculty will be provided.

Upon completion of Phase II, all six floors of the current EGST building will be rented, providing a dependable income stream, which will help to finance the addition of more Ethiopian faculty to the staff.

From the current student body of 150, enrollment is expected to increase to 270 students within the next five years. Phase II will allow for the growth of EGST for the foreseeable future. Providing for growth is so important, we believe, because of the impact that EGST graduates are making as Christian leaders within and outside of the church.

Marilyn, architect, Rich and daughter Lauren on tour of the construction site

EGST graduates are currently serving as denominational leaders in every major Protestant denomination in Ethiopia. Many other graduates are teachers and administrators in theological colleges and Bible schools, working to prepare another generation to extend the gospel. Other graduates are church pastors and leaders, and leaders in parachurch organizations and NGOs. A small number of graduates are serving and witnessing in other countries. The impact of EGST is multiplied as graduates assume these roles of Christian leadership, because they are then training others in their sphere of influence to extend God’s Kingdom.

EGST is fortunate to have generous partners for this Phase II building. Seven foundations and organizations, one church, and numerous individuals have donated more than $1.1 million to date. Construction is 50 percent complete.

Rich and I will rejoice when the paint has dried, the outlets have been installed, and the lights function. We will rejoice not just because a new building has been finished but also because we strongly believe the Kingdom of God will be built up by the students who will learn and stretch and mature in this place.

Prayer requests:

  • Praise for the progress of the Phase II building
  • Praise for the provision God has made for funding thus far
  • Pray for additional funding to be received, especially because EGST has been given a matching grant from a foundation in the United Kingdom for 350,000 GBP
  • Pray especially for EGST students and graduates as they commit to making a difference in Ethiopia

Marilyn and Rich

 

The 2012 Presbyterian Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study, p. 95

Blog: Meskel Musings
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