Kurt's permanent team consists of Menas who oversaw the selection and translation of books into Amharic for the conferences in Ethiopia and young Bruk as a general assistant taking care of registration, distribution, etc.
At one session, Roshini spoke on issues facing pastors' wives. Menas and Bruk went ahead to prepare things at the second venue. En route they had an accident when their vehicle overturned while trying to avoid a speeding bus. Praise God, no one was really hurt, though badly shaken. When we saw the state of the station wagon, we did not expect to see anyone alive. Since no one made mention of the narrow escape, after opening my session with the announcement that I knew four words of Amharic (Yesous Christos Hallelujah Amen) I announced that the Lord's hand was on that conference and that they were specially chosen to be there and were going to be blessed.
At the conferences in Jimma and Nekemte, I changed what I did and taught the participants how to study the Bible for themselves, how to prepare sermons, and how to do pastoral counselling. I switched what I was doing for two reasons:
1. I found that Ethiopian believers were more gentle and polite, and given the long history of Ethiopian Orthodox Christianity's influence, they were not disposed to hostility when facing problems, harassment, victimization and injustices. Their attitude was one of just opting out of such a negative environment and continuing to serve the Lord in a more favourable environment.
2. At Addis Ababa there was someone doing sessions on Expository Preaching. But in Jimma and Nekemte, my fellow labourer Jean Garland was speaking about AIDS and its effects in Africa--a very great concern. Since the participants would not get any input on developing pastoral skills, I decided that I would give them that and that turned out to be more effective in the Ethiopian situation.
About a year ago, I was asked by my friends Margaret and Joel whether I would agree to teach at their workers' conference to be held in October. When I agreed there was a gap of some days between the pastors' conferences in Ethiopia and the workers' conference. As dates and venues began to grow definite, I discovered that there was a day's overlap between the two. Kurt very kindly agreed to schedule my sessions at the last conference in Ethiopia in such a way as to free me to be able to leave in time for the next conference, which took place in Sharjah in the UAE.