Richard GoebelIn March of 2020, I returned from a trip to Ethiopia. The SOC training has allowed us to plant churches in unreached areas of Northern Ethiopia and other Horn of Africa countries. We have spent the last twenty- four months specifically training church planters by having them go through the SOC, taking a week off, and then going through the entire school again. We have also been supporting them financially until they have a church that can support them.

It is a great blessing to see what God has done through these graduates. Me and Pastor Samuel, a field-worker for the School of Christ and my translator, could not have been more pleased with what we witnessed. The quality of the graduates that we have trained continues to be one of the most incredible testimonies to attest that God is leading us. After ministering in these churches, we were amazed at the congregation’s devotion to learning and understanding the Word of God.

They take time to pray and worship in a Godly way. The attention given to the Word of God as we preached may be the most impressive characteristic of these churches. Most of these churches are in small towns that are mostly Muslim or Orthodox, with a membership of about 35 to 50 adults. For the last two years our emphasis has been on these areas. The “church buildings” are made by sticking wooden posts in the ground and stretching tarps across for a roof and walls, and the floor is the natural grass & dirt.

As expected, most of these brethren have been persecuted, and some have been imprisoned for preaching on the streets. After they are released from prison, they go back to preaching Christ on the streets. On one occasion as I was ministering, a gentleman would raise his hands in agreement every time I made a scriptural point. At the end of one of the service, I was introduced to him as being the pastor of the church where we would be ministering the next night. He had been in prison for preaching on the streets. When he appeared before the judge, he stood and warmly greeted the judge, the lawyers, and everyone present. He told them, “(that) if I am being charged for standing on the streets and telling men to repent and to turn to Jesus Christ because He is the only way to heaven; then he would plead guilty to all charges. If they intended to imprison him, he would preach again on the street when he got out.” The judge sentenced him to three months in prison. He preached in prison for three months, and when he was released, he helped plant the church we preached in the following night.