You may have noticed that when we mention upcoming Outreaches, we say things like “Southern Ethiopia” or other non-specific identifiers. There’s a reason for that. It’s not that we don’t know exactly where we’re going. We’re just being careful.
If you’ve been a friend of Jewish Voice for some time, you know that we sometimes run into local opposition during our Outreaches. We obtain all the permissions we need from the government to conduct our humanitarian services and Spiritual Care Ministry. Yet sometimes, individual groups within a community object to the Gospel side of our presence.
In 2020, our Medical Outreach to Enewari, Ethiopia, was cut short when an angry group invaded the Spiritual Care area, threatening the team and damaging the tent. The team took shelter in a nearby clinic building, and ministry came to a screeching halt. We could no longer treat people among the crowds waiting for desperately needed medical care. From inside the shelter, we heard the shouts of the group at our campsite. We saw smoke rise from our temporary home and then watched as everything our partners and we had brought to Ethiopia burned.
For these reasons, the local Messianic congregations we partner with to serve the Jewish communities in Ethiopia approached us with a request. They asked that we not publish the specific location where we’re holding upcoming Outreaches. Instead, they asked us to remain vague until some time after the Outreaches are over. This way, we deprive the rabble-rousers of advance notice of where we will be, thus reducing their strength to organize against this all-important work of sharing the Gospel. It also means that the congregations’ work of preparing the way for the Outreach and following up afterward is less hindered, more effective and much safer.
So, next time you see a vague description of where an upcoming Outreach is, you’ll understand that it’s a strategic effort to protect the vital work of the Gospel. It’s to help ensure that the people hungry for Jesus’ hope have the fullest opportunity to hear His message of salvation. May it also spur you to pray for the unspecified location and the people there – who God knows so well.
Your prayers are so important to this work as you ask that God would prepare the way, open hearts to Him, protect our team and strengthen the indigenous congregations to minister after we’ve gone. If you haven’t already signed up to receive our twice-monthly Prayer Points emails, listing special requests for the ministry and Outreaches, you can become a Prayer Partner at www.jewishvoice.org/pray.