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Background of Gambella Field
Gambella Field has been inaugurated into field on February 09/2018 from its long service of 48years as district. Gambella Field is situated in the western part of Ethiopia in Gambella Peoples’ National Regional State. According to 2013 housing and population census, the region has total population of 383, 000 and it has a total area of approximately 34,063 km Square or 3,406,207 hectares of the land. The region has three administrative zones and one special woreda. The names of zones are Nuer Zone which consists of five woredas, Anywua Zone with five woredas, Majeng Zone with three woredas and Itang as special woreda. That means the region has three administrative zones and 13 woredas. In these zones the Seventh Day Adventist Church has only entered in two administrative zones. such zones are Nuer zone SDA and Anywua zone.
Pioneers and when the church began
Adventism in this part of Ethiopia had its first foot hold in 1970. Peter Pal Panoam, one among the church pioneers, was instructed with the Word of God and soon baptized at Filwoha church in Addis Ababa. As he was inspired by the call, the Holy Spirit moved Pal to come to Gambella to sow seeds of salvation. He was an agent of God to kindle the light to his fellow men. In 1970s, Pal started his evangelistic work at Wathachar in Jiokow woredas (currently the Lare Woreda). In 1972, Pal settled in Jiokow where he starts his demonstrative call with the help of God. Nguakea and Luwal were cited as suitable place for airstrip and boats respectively.
With the support of God through Elder Palm (Ethiopia Union Mission President) and Miss Tobiassen (The Union Associate Treasurer), the plan to sow gospel seeds came into effect. For about decade, Gambella District was nurtured by the Lord through the Ethiopia Union Mission. Due to geographical proximity, Gambella area was placed under the supervision of the West Ethiopia Field in 1980s. One year later, 42 members, the first local coverts in the local area were baptized by Pastor Nephtalem Lencha and Fekadu Olana from the field.
In the year 1983, Evangelist Peter Pal Panoam was ordained as the first church pastor in Gambella district. In the autumn 1983, he baptized some members who responded and submitted to the call with their whole hearts.
For nearly half a century, God did miraculous works under the mercy and guidance of the Lord. The word of God was preached, although with mounting challenges, several churches were erected.
Although God leads this church and inspired its expansion, challenges were witnessed. Some leaders passed away and by field permission, Pastor Chieng left to visit his family abroad and did not come back. However, in his absent, leaders continue nurture the churches at district in Gambella Region till today.
Currently, the work has expanded with the Mighty hand of the Lord through His servants. Church leaders run spiritual tasks in all local churches in the district. Now, the field hosted 4 zones, 36 organized churches and 7 companies with total population 11,911 members. Thus, omnipotent God through West Ethiopia Field in collaboration with Ethiopia Union Mission united spiritually in nurturing and give spiritual guidance and support for the growth and expansion of this work in Gambella district.
Gospel Workers of Gambella Field
Gambella field has six ordained pastors and three evangelists. Among them three are field officers, two are departmental directors and four are district leaders.