In Europe, our partner, Gethin Jones and his wife Katie, will be planting a new church in Lille, France. Gethin has been serving as a pastor in France for many years, and with the support of their denomination, the International Presbyterian Church, they are launching out to a new city to plant a new church to reach one of the most secular societies on earth. Funds are needed to cover start-up costs such as venue fees and furniture. Gethin will be joining us at Tenth for a Global Partner lunch on April 16 to provide us with an in-person update on this exciting new opportunity in Lille.
Going south from Europe, we have two projects in Africa. First, our global partners, Dr. John and his wife, Lori Kempen, serve in Ethiopia where John serves as an ophthalmologist. His medical ministry has proven very fruitful among the poor and needy who cannot afford to pay for medical care. The ESO will help fund surgeries and medicine so that the poor in Ethiopia will receive quality care in addition to the preaching of the gospel as the Kempens partner with local churches and missionaries. Below is an update from John Kempen introducing us to one such patient:
“Hiwot” (not her real name) was sent to the MCM Eye Unit for free surgery from a government hospital, where I, [John Kempen], am teaching residents. (She consented to let us use the picture.) A retina specialist working under our clinic, Dr. Tsedeke Asaminew, performed the eye surgery without pay and the Eye Unit used donated funds to pay for the marginal costs of the surgery, leveraging the infrastructure we have built over the years with many contributions. Our staff assisted as part of their regular job. Hiwot showed her appreciation by trying to kiss my feet when she told me she that she can now see her children for the first time in nine months. MCM Eye Unit is the only place in Ethiopia (a nation of 120M people) where a person with retinal detachments or other conditions requiring vitreoretinal surgery can receive surgery without paying about $1,000 out of pocket, which is close to the cost-of-living wage for one year. Paying patients can have difficulty to access such surgery, because fewer than ten doctors perform this surgery in Ethiopia, two of whom are affiliated with our clinic. Those who cannot afford to will lose their vision irreversibly and permanently. We aspire to grow our ability to perform these services over time. We (the Kempens] thank Tenth Presbyterian Church (through your Easter Sacrificial Offering) for supporting this kind of service to poor Ethiopians. We also thank our dear Savior Jesus Christ for giving us the opportunity and the skills to help patients like Hiwot.
In another area of Africa, our global partner, A., (who has had an outreach to Muslims for decades here in the States) has expanded his ministry to Kenya, where pastors and their families have been greatly hurt by COVID-19 and severe droughts that have devastated the economy. ESO funds will go to relieve some of the suffering of these pastors and their families. Funds will be used to buy food and medicine.
Finally, we move west again to the coastal city of Barranquilla in Colombia, South America, where our pastor Enrique Leal comes from originally. Tenth has had a long relationship with churches in Barranquilla. Last year, ESO funds were used to build the exterior of a new sanctuary building for the Los Olivos Church. This year, ESO funds will help complete the interior of this new building. Los Olivos Church is in a low-income, neglected neighborhood of Barranquilla and serves hundreds of underserved children in the community. The sanctuary will be a huge boost to the church’s presence, visibility, and effectiveness to reach its community for Christ.