Do you have a sense of adventure and a desire to serve in Africa? Would you like to live a simpler lifestyle closer to the people and share your faith and talents with the poor? If so, we would like to invite you to consider joining us in our mission work in Ethiopia.
Ethiopia: What’s it like?
At almost twice the size of Texas, Ethiopia is a large country. The latest census information puts the population there at about 78 million, making it the third most populous African country.
Ethiopia is a country with a rich history and culture, and exceptional in the fact that it was never successfully colonized by Europeans. It is known for the beauty of its mountainous countryside and lush green vistas. The oldest human skeletons to be found thus far, including Lucy, have been discovered in Ethiopia. Coffee lovers will appreciate that Ethiopia is the birthplace of coffee. Ethiopian food is spicy and delicious, and is becoming increasingly popular in the United States.
Ethiopia’s national language, Amharic, is a Semitic language that is quite different from the Bantu family of languages to the south in Africa. Amharic has a different alphabet from what we use in English, called Ge’ez, which has 231 characters. Ethiopia is also unique in that it does not follow the Gregorian calendar, but the Coptic calendar. Ethiopia rang in the year 2000 with millennium celebrations in September 2007.
Ethiopia has had its share of conflict. After more than thirty years of bloody war, Eritrea gained its independence from Ethiopia in 1993. But tensions do remain high between the two countries. Ethiopia has also been involved in fighting with Somalia off and on for the past several years. Poverty and unemployment are big problems in Ethiopia. An estimated 38% of the country lives below the national poverty line.
Christianity is the dominant religion in Ethiopia, but Catholicism only accounts for about 1% of the Christian population. Many people are Ethiopian Orthodox, but Pentecostalism appears to be on the rise. Estimates on the percentage of the population who are Muslim range from 30-40%.
The Comboni Missionaries in Ethiopia have warmly welcomed the laity to join them in their mission work. They have a variety of ministries throughout the country, but the most pressing needs they have expressed have been in the field of health care, and in administration/management. There are three clinics that are in need of personnel: in Awassa, Qillenso, and Didim.
Although English is used by many well educated people in Ethiopia, the local languages of Amharic, Sidaminya, Boranaand Guji are the most frequently used in the clinics. Translators would also be available for the health care workers throughout the assignment.
Read more about the lay missionaries in Ethiopia here.
What Kind of Work Would You Do?
- The three clinics need certified, experienced health care personnel and administrators. This includes registered nurses, nurse practitioners, doctors, physician assistants, those holding a degree in public health.
- Social workers would make very valuable contributions at the clinics and surrounding areas.
- Business skills and management experience would be useful in any capacity.
- School teachers and administrators.
What Kind of Candidates Are We Looking For?
We are looking for candidates with some skills and experience in the following areas:
- An adaptable, flexible personality is a must for this site, as is a strong work ethic and commitment to learn the language.
- Previous Africa or overseas experience is strongly preferred.
What Do We Provide?
- Preparation: We provide a solid 14-week formation program at our center in La Grange Park, IL. It includes discussions and workshops in mission theology, skills for cross-cultural living, collaborative leadership, communication and team building skills, mission spirituality, and community.
- Language Training: This is typically a 6 month course in Addis Ababa that begins in late January. A natural ability with learning languages is very desirable.
- Local Support: The Comboni Missionaries in the Ethiopian province will serve as mentors and advisors for the lay missionaries. The lay missionaries will have a lot of interaction with missionary priests, sisters, and local lay leaders. Often this will include members of other religious congregations working in the area.
- Room and Board: Housing is provided for the lay missionaries, along with a $275 monthly stipend for personal expenses and for food. The lay missionaries also receive an annual allowance of $300 for professional growth, retreat, and vacation expenses.
- Health Insurance and Other Benefits: Lay missionaries are provided with health insurance and transportation to and from the mission site in Ethiopia. Upon successful completion of their three-year contract, they will also receive $1800 for relocation expenses ($50 per month of service).
How Do You Take the Next Step?
If you would be interested in serving as a lay missionary for three years in Ethiopia, please take a look at our requirements for Eligibility. If you think you meet the requirements, fill out the Preliminary Form and we can begin to discuss the possibilities.