The Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia is bordered by Eritrea to the north, Djibouti and Somalia to the east, Sudan and South Sudan to the west, and Kenya to the south. With a population over 93million, it is the second-most populated nation on the African continent. With a population over 4 million, Addis Ababa is the largest city and capital.
Christianity came to Ethiopia in the first century and became the state religion in the fourth century. Today, Christians make up 62.8% of the country’s population (43.5% Ethiopian Orthodox, 19.3% other denominations), Muslims 33.9%, practitioners of traditional faiths 2.6%, and other religions 0.6%.
Carl Thompson and Bob Gowen came from North American Churches of Christ to Addis Ababa in 1960. Soon they opened a school for the deaf. Ato Shongeh Sabaybo had begun his own evangelistic work in the Sidamo Province and later joined with the missionaries from North American Churches of Christ. Behailu Abebe administered relief assistance during the Ethiopian famine of 1984-1987. Because of the work of these and other Ethiopia leaders, by 2014 there were 670 churches with over 60,000 adherents associated with North American Churches of Christ.
International Churches of Christ have a congregation in Addis Ababa.
The Christian Missionary Fellowship of North American Christian Churches/Churches of Christ sent Mont and Elaine Smith to Ethiopia in 1963. Other missionaries, including Doug Priest, Jr. (b. 1952-) joined their efforts. They left in 1977 due to the Marxist revolution, but in 1992 a new group of missionaries from Christian Missionary Fellowship entered the country. Today those churches number 110 with over 40,000 adherents. Life in Abundance International sponsors a program for orphans and vulnerable children in Arada.
Created by Gary Holloway, October 3, 2013, Revised July 7, 2016
Makanisa School for the Deaf, Addis Ababa
An inclusive school, about 200 of the school’s 274 students are hearing-impaired.
Across Ethiopia, Churches of Christ enroll more than 800 students in five schools for the deaf and three kindergartens for underprivileged children.
Sunset International Bible Institute, Addis Ababa
Behailu Abebe is director of the Sunset branch school in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Since partnering with Sunset in 1997, the school has added three extension schools in Ethiopia. It graduates more than 100 students per year from its training programs.