Watch Pray pt. 3: Local Ministry Trains Indigenous Christians 4/27/12
CBS 7 Reporter
April 27, 2012
Midland, TX – Continuing our Watch and Pray series, the Midland based ministry answers the cries of the persecuted church, people facing torture for their Christian beliefs.
But during their mission trips to Africa, Watch Pray evangelists also have a job to do. In order to continue their ministry, the group holds seminary-like trainings in Kenya to provide indigenous pastors with the knowledge and tools to minister in their home country. But in doing so, they are putting their lives on the line.
With newfound love and joy in their hearts, these Christians want to answer the call and convert others in their home countries.
But to do that Watch and Pray Leader Getaneh Getaneh says first, they need more knowledge of Christianity.
“If they don’t know what they believe they can’t stand,” Pastor Getaneh says.
Getaneh believes these evangelists must be strong and confident in their faith to enter an Islamic nation where even mentioning the name Jesus is a risk.
“In most of the countries like Ethiopia, Atreya and Somalia, Christians cannot even come together publicly or even privately,” says board member Jeanne Mahoney. “These trainings cannot happen in those countries. They would be totally banned.
So they flee to Kenya, the Christian country where Watch and Pray Ministries holds their seminary like training.
“They can sing, they can be preached to, and they can learn,” Jeanne says.
It’s a time for these Christians to learn the teachings of the Bible, hear other’s personal testimonies and gain the tools they will need to spread the message to others.
“It’s hard for them to sustain their faith, they’ve had an experience but they haven’t had the real training and support to know who we believe in,” says board member Tim Mahoney.
“Most of the people who are in these countries do not know the bible very well so these trainings help them to understand how to use the bible effectively in their teachings,” Jeanne explains.
Teachings these eager evangelists will take with them and pass on back home to the parts of Africa where many American missionaries can’t go at all.
“In fact, that can only happen with indigenous people. It would never work for myself, or another missionary to try and break in,” Jeanne claims. “Even for an Ethiopian to break into an Atreyan community or to break into Djibouti community they have to be of Muslim origin.”
When these native Christians leave for home to spread The Word of God they doing it know that their lives are in jeopardy.
“They leave always ready to die,” Getaneh says.
Bible in hand, the evangelists courageously return home to spread the word of God no matter their fate.
Even in Kenya Christians are not always safe. In fact, In November, a church was attacked when a hand grenade was thrown over the fence, killing an 8-year-old boy and another 25-year-old man, severely injuring several others.
“They are going forth and yet there out of the blue they can be attacked,” Tim says.
But despite this brutal act of hate, the church still stands.
“The church is growing despite the persecution which is going on,” explains an African news reporter. “When Christians are killed for their faith, God, in his own way, is increasing the number of believers.”
Watch and Pray leaders say Christian persecution is a form of evangelism in itself.
“In the worst case scenario they are murdered for their faith,” says Tim. “The witness of their lives carries forth to impact their communities to say ‘this following of Jesus Christ must mean something.’”
Watch and Pray leaders say that something is the promise of an eternal life in Jesus. For Getaneh it is the hope that his ministry will unite people and countries to make a change for the better and that one-day peace will sweep over and allow his people to rejoice freely.
Currently Watch and Pray is working with evangelists in Ethiopia, they say so far nearly 500 people have been baptized and 5 churches have been started.
To learn more about Watch Pray ministries or to have Getaneh Getaneh speak at your school or church, you can visit www.watchandprayministries.org