I always knew it was Wednesday because they tortured me every Wednesday.
One huge benefit of FTL’s ministry is the privilege of partnering with some extraordinary leaders. Some of these leaders have faithfully and effectively served the church in their context for decades. They are compelled by the love of Christ. They have committed themselves, their families, and their futures to reach others with the Good News. In many cases, they have paid a stiff price for their resolve. These brothers and sisters are the heroes of FTL’s story.
One of these leaders is one we will call “A”. “A” calls Addis Ababa, Ethiopia home, but his travels take him far beyond. His broad impact for Christ throughout East Africa has been monumental. Yet his reputation has not come without a price. During Ethiopia’s communist regime (1987-91), “A” was imprisoned for his bold Christian witness. Although he lost track of time behind bars, he recalls, “I always knew it was Wednesday because they tortured me every Wednesday.” Those times were dark and very difficult for his wife “E” and her small children, but eventually Truth prevailed. For the past twenty-five years, “A” and “E” have dedicated their lives to develop leaders for the church.
We met “A” in 2012. Today he invests much of his time and energy teaching and mentoring with The Garden Project, FTL’s leadership development program for storycentric communicators. Initially, he brought together 20 key Ethiopian leaders to learn The Garden Project’s Christ-centered leadership principles.
In the past three years, “A” has led these “first-generation” leaders to transfer the program to 856 under-resourced “second-generation leaders”, and the “second-generation” leaders report that they have transferred The Garden Project to 3,786 others. This rapid expansion demonstrates that relevant leadership development is a critical need in East Africa, and that “A” and his colleagues are being used by God in unprecedented ways.