The Gospel of peace goes to Ethiopia during an uncertain time.

By January 9, 2004

Ethiopia (MNN)– 2003 should have marked a time when the foundations for peace were established with Ethiopia and Eritrea.

Howeever, tensions with Eritrea have escalated due to landmine blasts, large troop movements and shootings and cross-border incidents.

The hoped-for smooth transition to lasting peace began to ebb away and the downward spiral towards deadlock that now marks the peace process set in.

The pessimism marks a grim belief that peace efforts will be long in coming, and potentially unstable. Yet, there are those bringing some light into the oppressive atmosphere.

Global Advance’s David Shibley says the situation is serious, but won’t have much bearing on the Frontline Shepherd’s Conference slated to begin next Tuesday not far from the nation’s capital, Addis Ababa. The hope he shares is this: “This is the first interdenominational pastors conference to come to Awassa as long as any pastors there can remember. So, it’s going to be a breakthrough time in that it’s a cooperative effort, for the first time, and also the first broad-based pastoral training conference in a long, long time.”

Shibley believes there is a great future of the church, in spite of the reported persecution. “If the church in Ethiopia can catch a missions vision, it can become a tremendous beachhead for the advance of the Gospel, not only evangelizing and discipling their own nation, but sending out missionaries to the rest of northern Africa.”

Global Advance has trained over 244,500 pastors and key church leaders that serve on the “frontlines” of the advancement of the Gospel. Pray for those church leaders attending the conference in Ethiopia, as they prepare for ministry during a difficult time.

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