Monday, April 15
She walks bent over, her torso at nearly a right angle to her short legs. He walks straight, his head held high, jauntily swinging his walking stick before him. He carries an umbrella as shade from the equatorial sun.
She carries an empty steel oil barrel strapped to her back, sweating in the high sun. They are husband and wife.
She carries her books to class, writes her lesson notes in a small neat hand, and dreams of becoming a university-trained Bible teacher.
He sells his oxen to pay for the first year of his daughter’s education at Bethel Evangelical Secondary School (BESS) in Dembi Dollo and hires a neighbor to do the spring plowing. Because the price of two oxen only goes so far, she now receives a scholarship from a PC(USA) congregation. She blesses her father and gives thanks to God for all that she has and for the call to serve the church. But, still, this is a male-dominated society. “That’s our culture,” she says.
Yet she and her school sisters are changing the culture by their presence here. They are determined not to carry the heavy loads while their husbands walk unencumbered under an umbrella. Many of these young women will someday turn their culture upside down. This is the value of a BESS education.
American Presbyterian mission workers have been educating men, women, and children in Dembi Dollo since 1919. That first medical mission brought the gospel of Jesus Christ to the Oromo people, who were hungry for the Word of God. An entirely indigenous church was born.
Ninety-four years later, BESS, along with Berhane Yesus Elementary School and Gidada Bible School, continues the tradition of preparing the young people of Dembi Dollo and beyond to challenge the culture through the life-changing gospel of Jesus Christ.
—Rev. Lawrence Moir, former PC(USA) mission co-worker, Ethiopia
Let us join in prayer for:
PC(USA) People in Mission
Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus: Marilyn Hansen, projects and fund raising assistant, Ethiopian Graduate School of Theology, Rev. Dr. Richard Hansen, systematic theology professor, Ethiopian Graduate School of Theology, Gwyneth Haspels, nurse, Rev. John Haspels, evangelist, Rev. Dr. Carolyn Weber, instructor, Mekane Yesus Seminary, Rachel Weller, clinics and CHE facilitator • Rev. Michael Weller, regional liaison, Horn of Africa, World Mission
PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff
Ruth Gardner, PMA
Joe David Garner, PMA
Elder Linda D. Garrett, PMA
Let us pray
O Lord, we thank you for BESS and its faithful ministry with young women and men. May the students be refreshed and equipped by your life-giving Spirit. In Jesus’ name. Amen.