First Full-Time SOC in Ethiopian Prison by Richard Goebel

We have had a great struggle getting into the prisons of Ethiopia. We have had services, I have preached in the prisons, but to run a full School of Christ has been most difficult. The Lord opened the door for us to run a School in the Hawassa Prison.

This School was very difficult and we had much opposition. However, the testimonies that came out of this School are awesome. During the classes, the place was filled with the presence of God. Pastor Okata, one of our leaders, felt they were as powerful as any School he had ever been in. In the four weeks we had powerful times of prayer and great repentance. It was the prayer of deep repentance that was so powerful!

In order to run the School, we had to agree that anyone who wanted to, could attend the classes. This demand was made thinking that we would not accept this condition. We gladly accepted and we graduated 165 students in this prison School.  At times we had as many as 310 listening intently to the teaching. At the end of the day, the students would preach to the other prisoners about what they had learned in that day’s classes. A total of 63 prisoners came forward to pray for salvation.  What God did inside the prison during this School is beyond words. The testimonies alone would have made the cost, the sacrifice, and the labor of this School, a success. There were many testimonies about the revelation of sin, repentance, the new birth, as well as the call of God on their lives.

The students, after they had attended the lesson of the day, would go to others and teach the lessons. They were not instructed to do this; no one told them to do so. They did so because the Life of the Spirit of God makes men do so.  One student said, “We have to do this because these lessons are very important for all the prisoners.”

During the School, the soldiers of the compound (the guards) asked for Bibles to read. One of the soldiers said, “The soldiers always hated to read the Bible, but today they want to read the Bible.”

It has been a long climb into the prisons of Ethiopia, but now, because of what God did in this prison, we have an opportunity to run the SOC in a different prison.  We are praying and planning that we will be able to run the second prison School in early 2016. I ask that you please pray for these Schools. Pray that we will see this kind of God-sent fire throughout the prison and villages of Ethiopia. Pray for us that we would be led of the Holy Ghost in everything we do, and please support this great work financially. We cannot go and we cannot send the native workers unless the Body of Christ supports the work with their giving.

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Middle East Report by Daren Downs

At the end of January we headed back into Egypt. For the last three years we had faced many hindrances due to political and social situations throughout the Middle East. We were invited to teach the School of Christ to Assemblies of God pastors and leaders. The School was held in Alexandria with pastors coming from different parts of Egypt. This is a desperate time in the Middle East. It is a time when God’s people need answers; they need strengthening, and encouragement in this fight.

This was one of the most profitable trips I have ever made to Egypt. We saw God do more in a week than we usually would see in several weeks of work and ministry. One of the pastors that had planted a new church asked for prayer. He said, “I have had bitterness in my heart and it is hindering me. I want to be free.” He testified the last day that we were together that he had made the decision to forgive. You could see the change in him. Several told me, “Our minds are being opened. What is being taught is changing our thinking. We are being changed.”

Several former students attended the week with us. What a blessing to see one of them pastoring a great church near the pyramids in Egypt. Another is an associate pastor. We thank God for the fruit that has come from the former students of the School of Christ.

During these trying times in the Middle East there are actually more doors open to us than in the past. This summer we have been invited to return and minister to over 100 Pentecostal pastors in Egypt. More than a hundred churches from all over the nation will be represented. This is a great opportunity to speak to the Pentecostal Church in this crucial time for the Arab nations.

We received an update from Nabil and Amany on the work among the Syrian refugees in Jordan. They travelled there last year and found a people open to the Gospel. They went from house-to-house visiting the refugees and ministering to them. There are several other Egyptian missionaries working among the refugees as well. One of them is a former student of the School of Christ in Egypt.

A Syrian woman was fleeing the war in her country with her family. Her son, who is nineteen years of age, had been wounded fighting for the Syrian government forces. He was treated by the Israelis, but had not fully recovered and was suffering as his mother led the family on their journey to the refugee camps in Jordan. The Syrian woman said, “I had no food to feed my family and I didn’t know what we could do. One night I had a dream in the early hours of the morning. I saw a white river flowing and a man dressed in white clothing approaching the river from the other side. He began to say to me, Come unto me! I responded, who are you? He said, I am Jesus. Come to Me. I said to Him, the current of the river is too great and the waters to deep. I cannot cross. He then walked over to a tree that was at the water’s edge. With His hand He gently pushed the tree across the river and said, Hold onto the branches. He then gently let the tree lift and carry me over to Him. I woke up and found my son with a very high fever. I had no medicine so I put a cool cloth on his head. I began to pray, Jesus, if that was you in my dream, touch my son. The fever went down, and the woman testified that if she had not woke up at that time, her son’s fever could have taken him. A few hours later there was a knock at the door. It was early in the Middle East, and it is very uncommon for someone to visit you at such hours of the morning. The Syrian woman said, When I answered the door, there stood a man whom I had never seen before. He handed me some money and said, Here is some money to buy food for your family. The woman said, Not only did Jesus come to me in my dream, He came to my home and provided for my family.”

This story demonstrates to you and me just how far-reaching the love of God is for lost humanity, that when there is the absence of workers He can still reach the lost. The Syrian woman still didn’t fully understand the Gospel. A former student of the School of Christ explained to her the Good News. She is now a born-again believer.

Nabil and Amany hold Sunday School for the children from the refugee camps. They teach them about Jesus and sing Christian songs. Some of their mothers came to the church with them as well. When Sister Amany has an opportunity to share with them she said, “I shared with them about Esther. How she was an orphaned girl raised by her relative, Mordecai. How the king chose Esther and when she rose to become the queen, the prayers of this woman saved a nation. I then asked them, “How many of you know someone that has died as a result of the war in Syria?” All of them raised their hands. I then told them, “God has kept you alive for a reason, and you need to find out why.”

When you see the plight of these suffering people, many times you feel like there is nothing you can do. I want you to know that you are doing something. Your prayers are reaching people that you could not otherwise reach. God is taking your heartfelt giving to reach people that we could never reach.

Keep praying for this work. Remember the pastors in Egypt and the Middle East. They desperately need our prayers to strengthen them in these trying times. Remember Nabil and Amany and all of the former students of the School of Christ as they minister and reap the harvest of the Middle East. Thank you and God bless you for supporting this work.

Ethiopia Report by Richard Goebel

In July, the School of Christ was held in Moyale, Ethiopia. Christ and His Word was made real to the pastors in a greater way than they had ever experienced before. The greatest testimony we continuously hear from students is that their “religious eyes” have been opened to the LIFE and SPIRIT of Christ through the School of Christ.

The School of Christ in Ethiopia is made up of students from different backgrounds. In some of the Schools, pastors come from as many as six different denominations and up to ten different villages. In this School, students came from two tribes that have been at war with each other for the last two years. Seven students in this School chose to leave because of the conflict, but others gave themselves to Christ. I believe they now see that only Jesus and His Word can ever be “the balm in Gilead” that is able to heel such deep wounds. It always hurts us to hear that people would leave under these conditions, but this is part of the battle that we face in preaching the True Gospel in these areas, and we believe God continues to give us great victories. When you see pastors from different tribes coming together to hear God’s Word, this is a great testimony that most people in the West cannot understand. Often the pastors who attend the School of Christ have already gone through some Bible training as pastors, and only Holy Ghost-filled teaching can expound the way of God more perfectly unto them (Acts 18:26). Pastor Okato said, “Even though the students had graduated from different Bible Schools and theology classes, they had never heard such truth before.

Pastor Isaiah, a senior pastor in Mayale said, “This School woke me up from my long sleep. I am able to see that I was lost in the ministry and not serving according to His will. The lesson on the cross especially impacted my life and I made a decision to dedicate my life to the Lord in a new way.”

Pastor Petros from Yabelo said, “I have attended so many trainings, included theological seminary, but none of them showed me God’s heart like this one. In this teaching I was able to see that there is a hope for revival. I really thank SOC and the people who facilitate the School in our area.” Another testimony that touched my heart was from Evanglist Ayalkibet. He said, “I have been in theological college twice, but never exposed to this kind of truth, especially when I hear about the blood. I was challenged that I was not really preaching the Truth. After this School I have decided to preach and to live the truth.”

There is so much to write about the impact that the School of Christ has had, and continues to have, in Ethiopia, but these testimonies say it better than I can. In less than 30 days a pastor is brought face-to-face with Christ, face-to-face with himself, through the teaching of the School. The results are found in the life that these men take back to their churches. We are seeing the harvest brought in. We thank those who have given, so that this School could be run. I believe your giving will be rewarded when you stand before the Master.

Ethiopia 1

Ethiopia 2

Ethiopia Report by Richard Goebel

During the month of May, 2013, the School of Christ was held in Dilla, near Hawassa, Ethiopia.  A great sacrifice was made by many people to make this school a reality, including the students themselves.  This school represented a great victory for us.

Two young men who have been affected by the School of Christ, along with one of our great workers, Pastor Okata, labored to make this school possible.  It was a large school with over seventy students attending and sixty-four students graduating.

Students came from twenty-five different towns and villages from many parts of Ethiopia.  In a part of the world where travel is difficult and expensive, this alone would make this school rather remarkable.  At the graduation ceremony the  students expressed how happy and blessed they were to have been able to attend the School of Christ. Most of them testified that it is their desire to bring the life of Christ that they experienced in this school, back to their own towns and people.

It is the LIFE of Christ that makes the School of Christ distinct.  When we hear of the effect that this LIFE has had on these men and woman who graduate, it is truly the reason we labor to bring the SOC to the hard to reach places.  We are seeing many souls that are hungry for Truth.  Pastor Okata, and the two men who are laboring with him, have expressed a desire to run more schools in smaller towns and villages.  As the Lord opens the doors and provides the means, we are going to press forward; for the field is white to harvest in these areas that have very little Gospel witness.

Praying over graduating students.

Praying over graduating students.

Graduating class in Dilla, Ethiopia.

Graduating class in Dilla, Ethiopia.

Ethiopia Report by Pastor Ermais

The School of Christ in Ethiopia is continuing to train leaders and pastors. We were so blessed and privileged to be able to run several Schools in the past few weeks. Even though it is expensive to run a School here, God blessed us with the finances.

In February we ran two Schools—one in the South and the other in Central Ethiopia.   Brother Orano, who ran the School in the South, reported that the School was very successful. Many lives were stirred and blessed by the teaching. The School in Central Ethiopia was held in Ambo, 118 km away from the capital. It was one of the best Schools we have ever had. The thirty students that attended this School were mainly senior pastors.  The pastors were greatly impacted by the teachings.  Many testified at the graduation ceremony that they had been leaders of the church for more than twenty years, and they learned so much from the School of Christ training. Some of the pastors had a degree in theology, but their comment was, “this training is different.” They said that in the previous training they had gained head knowledge, but in the School of Christ they encountered truth. On graduation day they prayed for revival to come to their area and committed themselves to take the School to their local churches.

Pastor Ermias and Evangelist Alemu attended both schools and they were still touched by the teachings as if they were hearing it for the first time. Thank you for supporting the School of Christ and the work in Ethiopia. God bless!

Graduating School of Christ class in Ambo, Ethiopia.

Graduating School of Christ class in Ambo, Ethiopia.