By Kevin Armbrust
On Aug. 15, heavy rains caused devastating floods in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia. The seminary of the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus (EECMY) in Addis Ababa was severely damaged, and several people died. The Akaki River, which borders the seminary campus, rose rapidly Aug. 17 and overflowed the earthen dike protecting the seminary. As the dike failed, waters rose quickly in the lower parts of campus, flooding that area in a matter of minutes.
The Rev. Eric Stinnett, a missionary of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS), along with his wife, Johanna, and their children, Rachael, Naomi, Luke and Levi, live on the seminary campus, where he teaches with fellow LCMS missionary Rev. Dr. Mark Rabe. The Stinnetts’ house was totally flooded, with water reaching within a foot of their ceiling. Thankfully, the Stinnetts are safe, but they now face the daunting task of replacing all their belongings — save what they carried with them as they ran from the flood — and finding a new place to live.
“Missionaries put themselves into situations of risk every day for the sake of the Gospel as they engage with people, as they travel to serve in remote areas, and even as they live in their homes on the field,” said the Rev. Shauen Trump, regional director for the LCMS Office of International Mission’s Africa region.
“While we certainly seek to mitigate controllable risks and avoid unnecessary danger,” he continued, “our missionaries live in places where infrastructure is less robust and where catastrophe occurs with some regularity. Our missionaries — like those with whom they work — deal with extreme situations on a daily basis, often taking traumatic events in stride and continuing on in the work the church has put before them.
“Caring for our missionaries in the midst of, and after, particularly traumatic events is vital to enable them to continue in service. For all our missionaries, care is multifaceted and layered, provided by teammates serving in their immediate contexts, colleagues with specialized training from other parts of their region, dedicated workers at the LCMS International Center and at Concordia Plan Services, and the assistance of counseling and wellness services partnering with the LCMS. This missionary care enables these amazing heroes of the church to fulfill their calling in the face of adversity.”
Although the EECMY is not in altar and pulpit fellowship with the LCMS, it has solicited residential missionary seminary professors from the LCMS as a result of LCMS missionaries’ interactions with the church over several decades and the recognition that the Synod and its missionaries are bold and firm in the proclamation of the Gospel, the authority of Scripture and its doctrinal positions.
The EECMY requested that LCMS missionaries help expand a master’s program that targets EECMY church officers, diocese leaders, seminary professors for its six regional seminaries, and instructors at its 50-plus Bible colleges. Through the presence of LCMS missionaries at the seminary in Addis Ababa, the Synod is making an impact for the Gospel in one of the largest and fastest-growing church bodies in the world.
LCMS missionaries face daily challenges as they serve in foreign locations, including periodic situations like the recent flooding. Yet even amid traumatic events, the church continues to support and care for her missionaries through prayer, encouragement and financial assistance.
Please pray for the Stinnetts, the Rabes, and our brothers and sisters in Christ at the Mekane Yesus seminary. You may send any of them a note of encouragement via email to email@example.com.
You may also help supply what they need through a voluntary charitable gift to:
- LCMS World Relief and Human Care: lcms.org/givenow/mercy, from which assistance for the Stinnett family is being drawn to help replace their lost household goods, clothing and vehicle; and/or
- LCMS Disaster Response Flood Relief: lcms.org/givenow/flood. Donations will supply funds to help restore the lives and work of church staff and students on the seminary campus in Addis Ababa through LCMS-administered grants.
Please contact LCMS Mission Advancement (toll free at 888-930-4438, or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org) or Mission Central in Mapleton, Iowa (712-882-1029 or email@example.com) for assistance in how best to support LCMS missionaries and a meaningful Gospel-focused impact on human lives around the world.
View video and additional photos of the flooding:
Posted Aug. 27, 2021