Arba Minch, a town in southern Ethiopia known for its many springs, its tropical fruit and a crocodile market, has grown dramatically in recent years — from 40,000 in 1994 to nearly 200,000 today.
A couple of years ago, the growth led to the relocation of 400 families (about 1,000 people) to a new community on the edge of town. As far as anyone knew, no believers dwelt among the 400 families in this village, known as Noc Site.
About that same time, the Kelhiout Church in Arba Minch sent a farmer named Gideon to the Global Church Movements church-planting training.
When Gideon was about 35 years old, he had come to faith in Christ through the witness of a 10-year-old boy. Gideon had been raising cattle but had sunk into a life of drinking and stealing. After turning to Christ, he fully surrendered everything in order to serve the Lord, and was actively sharing his faith.
During the training, he learned about a witnessing method known as “Prayer, Care, Share.” This approach encourages believers to find a “Person of Peace,” that is, somebody who is open enough to meet the believer and can open doors to a community. One prays for the Person of Peace, then finds ways to care for that person and meet their needs, and finally shares the gospel with him or her.
Gideon and his local church agreed that he would reach out to Noc Site, this fledgling village of 1,000 people with no Christian witness. He asked God to lead him to a Person of Peace, then began caring for people and witnessing. One day in town he met Yashir, who lived in Noc Site. As he began to pray for, care for and share with Yashir and his wife, they gave their hearts to the Lord. Yashir quickly shared the gospel with his relatives, and two of them accepted Christ as well.
This small group began regularly meeting to study the Bible. As the new believers learned how to follow Jesus and share their faith with others, the group grew. With the help of Gideon, what started at Yashir’s house two years ago has grown to a church of more than 50 people today. And several of the new believers are learning how to lead their own Bible studies, so the church in Noc Site will soon begin to multiply — fulfilling the dream of a church reaching this 1,000-person community!