SOUTH WEST ETHIOPIA FIELD
The SWEF Background
In our area, SDA message was begun in 1961GC by Mr. Berhanu Geleta. Mr Berhanu was graduated in nursing profession from Zewuditu Hospital, the former 7th day Adventist Hospital. Mr. Berhanu had opened his own drag store at Jimma town, and planted church at his home. The first church members were Jimma Agricultural College students who came from different regions of the Country. Mr. Furgasa Bari, one of the church members was a nurse at Jimma agricultural college and played his role in supporting Mr. Berhanu. For the first time, from Mr. Berhanu Galeta’s family; his wife, Mrs. Alemnesh Jena and his older son, Paulos Berhanu were baptized by Pr. Hugo Palm. Within few years the gospel was expanded to the different areas surrounding the Jimma zone. But it had encountered different challenges. The greatest challenge was that the area was dominated by Muslims which accounted for 99% of the total residents. On the other hand, the church was closed for a long period of time during the revolution of socialism by the government of Mengistu Hailemariyam because of the country’s political situation. After 53 challenging up and down years Jimma zone and its surrounds grew to field level and nominated South West Ethiopia Field
The SWEF Foundation, Territory and Population
Southwest Ethiopia Field is one of the fields under Western Ethiopia Union Mission which is located at 357 km away from Addis Ababa which is the capital city of the country and situated at 246km away from our Western Ethiopia Union Mission, the Nekemte head office. The Field is bounded with Gurage zone in the east, Wollega zone in the west, Dawuro and Hadiya zone in the south and West Showa zone in the North. The SWEF was formally established on November 12, 2013. It was launched with great optimism and commitment to take the work of God further into the un penetrated areas of the two regions; Oromia region and South Nation Nationality People’s (SNNP) region. Under these two regions there are more than 18 ethnic groups, 7 zonal governmental administrations, 76 woredas, 181 towns, 1681 kabeles (the lowest administrative unit) comprising a total population of 8,177,139. In these large numbers of population, we have only 53 churches (27 organized churches and 26 company churches), 2 ordained pastors, 26 evangelists and a total church member of 1808 souls which is significantly low with a ratio of 1:4522. More than two-third (67.1%) of the woredas surrounding Southwest Ethiopia Field are still un penetrated.