West Ethiopia Conference

West Ethiopia Conference

 The Adventist Movement in the former Wallaga Province, now five distinct Zones, namely West Wallaga, East Wallaga, Kelem Wallaga, Horro Guduru Wallaga and Benshangul Gumuz Zones. Its beginning point is back in 1925 by Mr. W. Koelling having its post at a place Called Domi. Domi is 70 Km away from the current West Ethiopia Conference office, 470 Km  away  from the capital city of Ethiopia which is Adis Abeba. After two years hard work and difficult life in Domi (now known as Aira), the missionaries left that area in 1927; this was because of the Malaria disease epidemic and water born infections.  In those days there were no modern medical facilities that could have helped them to stay and work more.

In 1927, the pioneers moved to Gimbie town, 410 Km away from Adis Abeba, where the head quarter of the conference is found. After departure of Mr. W. Koelling, Mr. Carl Jensen, the Danish missionary, led the work at this second station, in Gimbie and its area. Mr. Deresa Danki from Ethiopia was assisting him with the establishment of the new mission station at Gimbie. Life was very hard for Jensen’s family that they had lost three of their children in the time they had spent to establish the Gimbie Adventist station. In addition to the Gospel work, the missionaries started a successful dispensary, Elementary School, and by so doing they won the favor of the chief and his coworkers. See Gimbie Adventist Hospital.

Governor Dajazmach (title) Habte Mariyam Gebra Egziabir has played   a vital role being progressive and cooperative leader. Habte Mariyam Gebregzabiher was the one who gave the land now owned by both the West Ethiopia Conference and Gimbie SDA Hospital. There were only about 5000 in habitants in the village during the time. Until 1936, when the Italians invasion, the school and the clinic were operated well and the next five years were the time of  less active works of missionary works because of the Italian attack .

In 1941 the missionary work was begun by other missionaries like W.H. Anderson; this year, the government had returned all the missionary stations they had opened before the invasion, as long as they could have operated it effectively. Two families of a Physician and an evangelist come from United States of America, to open the work in Wollega. In April 1944, Pastor Anderson travelled to West Ethiopia to help reopening the missionary work in West Ethiopia Field, now, West Ethiopia Conference, in Gimbie.  Four Ethiopians, Adem Ali from Zawiditu Hospital as a medical evangelist, two girls: Abaynesh Mengesha and Tihun Haile, Mr. Amare Yishaw as translator and two foreigners, Pastor Anderson and Sorenson came to Gimbie.

When they arrived the station was badly misused by the Italian soldiers, most of the houses were out of use. Mr. Sorenson and his assistants maintained for the other missionaries to lead the work in West Ethiopia Field. Mrs. Herman Davis come from USA in 1945 and latter Dr. Claude Steen arrived Gimbie to carry out the Medical Work in the whole region and as a president of the field. While the others were working in the town Pastor Anderson walked into the nearby villages and rural areas where he had conducted evangelistic efforts and once he won 41 souls for Christ.

Mr. W. Koelling, Mr. W.H. Anderson, Elder H. Davis, the first West Ethiopia Field after the war, Dr. Claude Steen Jr. Elder Palm, Elder E. Bjaanes  ( 1956-1964), Pastor A.E Anderson, (1966-1970), Mr. John Green (1970-1972), Pastor Negari (1966-1976), Mr. Nemera Fufa (1976 for Nine months), Mr. David Syme of England (1976-Feb. 1977), Pr. Agegnew Wandim of Ethiopia(197-1979), Pr. Fekadu Olana (1979-1983) of Ethiopia, Pr. Niftalem Lencha (1984), Pr.Tinsae Tolessa, Pr. Merga Leta(died few years ago), Mr.Tilahun Negaeri,  Pr.Tesfa Keno were leading the work in the conference respectively. Finally Pr.Lijalem Yigezu is the one leading since 2009.

West Ethiopia Field membership once reached 80000 plus and 400 Churches, more than 300 workers, including teachers. Before inauguration the West central Field it had had 3 KGs, 4 Elementary schools,  2 high schools(grade 9-10) including Wallaga Adventist Academy, and Two Preparatory schools (grade 11-12). There are 7 Clinics and one Hospital.   One major districts (Gambela Baro District) of 25 churches and about 12 000 members one sub districts of ten churches assigned with South west new Field in 2013, and one whole Field with many churches and  more than 11 000 members, encompassed in East Wallega and Horro Guduru Wallaga  inaugurated as a daughter field namely West Central Ethiopia Field from January 2017.

West Ethiopia Field attained the conference status in year 2013 and now called West Ethiopia Conference of SDA. Today it has 42 ordained pastors, 41 non ordained evangelists, 80 teachers 33 non teaching school workers, 38 office and other areas workers. After the inauguration of the new fields it has 65131 members and 290 churches and 42 companies organized in 24 major districts and   7 sub districts.

Schools: SDA missionary School was begun at Domi 70 km away from Gimbie, by the first missionaries who established the mission work at that area in the year of 1925. Two years later after leaving the area because of the Malaria disease they moved to Gimbie.

Gimbie Mission School (1927), Wallaga Adventist Academy (1968) was built by Mr. Leroy Khun and Pastor A.E Anderson as acting principal and president of the field respectively. Gimbie Mission school is in Gimbie town has multiplied to Gimbie SDA Kindergarten (2003), Gimbie SDA Elementary school (1927), Gimbie SDA high school (2007), Gimbie SDA Preparatory, grade 11-12 schools (2017), Dambi Dolo Elementary (1963), WAA has also WAA high school and Preparatory both as a day and boarding students. As Mr. Khun left WAA in 1971 succeeded by the following principals: E.E Perry, Pr. Bekele Biri, Mr. Abebe Disasa (1976-83), Mr. Beat Odermatt (1983-1985), Pr. Fekadu Olana (1985-86), Mr. Leta Badaso (1986-1990), Mr. Mamo Olana etc. All our schools are doing the best available qualified education in the region and their contribution to the growth of the church is innumerable. Today there are more than 120 teachers in all the school apart from WAA teachers.