A well-traveled highway connects Jimma and Gore, Ethiopia. Some of the highway is paved. More significantly to many Christian Ethiopians is the even stronger connection between Gore and Jimma that started with the “coming of the Holy Spirit” and subsequent “Great Revival.”
Presbyterian missionaries, after about 45 years, were recommending the closing of the minimally productive station, then serving the towns of Gore and Metu, Ethiopia. The missionaries reported to their superiors “the hearts of the people were like the stones in Gore.”
One Friday night in 1970, everything changed. Some Christian students of the Gore Hostel were meeting with the missionaries. One of the students, asked the missionaries, “Why is this coming of the Spirit not happening today like described in Acts 2?”
That evening, the students returned to the dorm. Mersha, now about 69 years old, remembers awakening and noticing a light on in the chapel. “Something in my heart called me to go to the chapel and pray,” Mersha remembers. Mersha woke a few friends and together they went to the chapel where they found three of their friends kneeling and praying. One, Indelkatcho, was crying and shouting, speaking in tongues, “Jesus is coming soon.”
These events and others in Gore over the next two days stirred the townspeople and filled the Christians with an energy to speak of Jesus. These events are often described as the “beginning of the great revival” that led to the birth of the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus, with membership today of over 1 million, including our partner church in Jimma, and Gore.
May the Holy Spirit touch our lives today at First Pres as it touched the lives and the churches described in the book of Acts, Chapter 2, and in Gore, Ethiopia in 1970.