Ethiopian college pushes to finish dorm for women

Sep 6, 2016 by

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Debra Zeit, Ethiopia — The college that serves the leadership training needs of the Anabaptist world’s largest cluster of churches is in a final push to complete a women’s dorm.

The project is being spurred on by the anonymous gift of a Canadian couple who have committed to match any gift dollar-for-dollar, up to $150,­000, received by Sept. 30.

Meserete Kristos College students Hamere Yimer, Fufa Ayana and Ahmed Yimam discuss issues in Comparative World Religions. — Jewel Showalter

Meserete Kristos College students Hamere Yimer, Fufa Ayana and Ahmed Yimam discuss issues in Comparative World Religions. — Jewel Showalter

“Let us ‘first-world’ Christians join together in the true Christian spirit of generosity to assist our brothers and sisters in Ethiopia in their struggle to build their first dormitory for women,” said Carl E. Hansen of Harrisonburg, Va., a longtime Mennonite worker in Ethiopia and director of college advancement for Meserete Kristos College.

“We have done a lot to provide nice sanctuaries, elementary schools, high schools, colleges, seminaries and retirement homes for ourselves. Let us also do something special for our sister church far away.”

Hansen estimates $383,000 is still needed to close the gap and complete the dormitory on schedule this year.

Meserete Kristos College is quietly spreading the good news of peace and reconciliation in Jesus to every province of Ethiopia.

Mission workers Richard and Jewel Showalter of Ohio, who were invited to teach a class in Comparative World Religions June 6-24, got a firsthand glimpse of the college’s impact.

Upon arrival, old friends invited them to the 65th anniversary of the first “Mennonite” baptisms at the MKC mother congregation in Nazareth, Ethiopia, June 12.

Each day as they walked to the MK College classroom building, they looked across the field to where the skeleton of the new women’s dorm rose amid a scaffolding of eucalyptus poles.

Four of their 36 students were women.

“Women students currently bunk in office and classroom space on the fifth floor of the academic building,” Jewel Showalter said. “In a church that has over 500,000 members, this will be the first Christian college offering dormitory accommodations for women.”

While the college gears up to offer a broad range of subjects in the liberal arts in addition to classes in Bible and religion currently offered, the Showalters were moved to witness the passion and experience of the men and women studying at the college. Many students have left good jobs in business and education to prepare for full-time service in the church.

Contributions should be earmarked “MKC Women’s Dorm.” U.S. donors should make checks payable to MKCollege Link USA and send to MKCollege Link, Box 1701, Harrisonburg, VA 22803.

Canadian donors should make checks payable to Mennonite Church Canada, 600 Shaftesbury Blvd., Winnipeg, MB R3P 0M4, Canada or Northwest Mennonite Conference, PO Box 1316, Didsbury, AB TOM OWO, Canada.


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