ADDIS ABABA – Ethiopia ACT is a Christian organization dedicated to serving Jesus Christ in and around the capital city of one of the most dangerous countries in Africa.
Ethiopia ranks 36th on the Open Doors 2021 World Watch List, up three spots from 2019, but that list is focused primarily on the persecution of Christians only. There are at least three additional reasons why the country is dangerous.
- COVID. The U.S. State Department issued a Level 4 Do Not Travel Advisory for Ethiopia on April 21, 2021. The country is ranked 4th in total COVID cases among African nations. Many Christians have suffered a complete denial of aid during the pandemic.
- Conflict. The same travel advisory was issued because of increased civil unrest, terrorism, crime, kidnapping, and terrorism.
- Denominational Protectionism. The World Watch List reports that “In Ethiopia, persecution is often dependent on what kind of Christian you are or where you live.”
Because of the government’s special relationship with the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, other denominations—especially evangelical and Pentecostal Protestants—are persecuted by the state and by the Orthodox Church. Christians who switch denominations and leave the Orthodox Church are subject to family and community pressure and can face significant mistreatment.
Nonetheless, our Lord commanded us to go into all the world to share all things He has taught us. He has called the founders and staff of the organization we spotlight today to serve in His name and under His authority in Ethiopia.
ACTing in Ethiopia
Ethiopia ACT was created to use “public health as a ministry (for) transforming lives, families, and communities.” The scourge of the AIDS/HIV epidemic within the country drew the attention of Andy Warren to what was at one time one of Ethiopia’s most pressing healthcare needs.
The ACT team approached the country with a model of proven, measurable, and sustainable ministry. In other words, a ministry that makes a quantifiable difference today and continues to do so in the future.
The ACT Model contains four major elements:
- Spiritual Health – Spreading the Gospel through discipleship and church planting.
- Physical Health – Supporting the health of whole families through supplemental care and home health visits. Teaching nutrition and providing the resources for families to overcome malnutrition.
- Social Health – Bringing reconciliation where needed, offering one-on-one counseling, and addressing mental health issues.
- Economic Health – Providing skills training, promoting small business growth, and requiring beneficiaries to maintain a savings account. Beneficiary families are also required to keep their children in school. Ethiopia ACT provides students with school fees, supplies, uniforms, and shoes.
ImpACT in Ethiopia
True to its operational model, Ethiopia ACT is able to demonstrate the impact of its ministry through measurable results backed by documented evidence in every area of its work.
Take, for instance, the nutritional component of the Physical Health program. Based upon referrals from local government officials, Ethiopia ACT came alongside the families of 75 children who fell within the standard, defined ranges of “malnourished.” At the start of the program
- 35% suffered from Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM).
- 35% suffered from Moderate Acute Malnutrition (MAM).
- 35% were considered Potentially At-Risk.
When assessed again at the end of 10 months, the change was dramatic.
- Only 0.04% were confirmed as SAM.
- Only 0.02% were confirmed as MAM.
- No children Potentially At-Risk in the group.
The results in each ministry sector were equally impressive. See for yourself by reading the Ethiopia ACT 2019 Annual Report. The report documents the number of families visited, the number of one-on-one counseling sessions, the number of children in school and at VBS, the number of professions of faith in Christ, and success stories from each aspect of the Ethiopia ACT mission. Even in one of the most dangerous countries in Africa.