1. Brief Background History
The Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus South West Bethel Synod (SWBS) was first founded in the nineteen fifties by the American Presbyterian Mission in Gatchub village. The mission started its evangelism work by establishing a mission camp and opening school and clinic to give holistic service to the community.
Then the Lord of the Seed gave life to the seed which was sawn in the area and then the Synod has come to be one of the fastest growing Synods among the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus (EECMY) and established as a synod in 1997G.C. The Synod is located at the south western part of Ethiopia in Southern Nation Nationalities and People’s Regional State (SNNPRS) in Bench Maji zone with 561 kms away from Addis Ababa the capital city of Ethiopia. It is bordering to South Omo People Zone, South Sudan and Gambela Regional State and Oromia Regional State.
Currently the Synod is working among 10 different ethnic groups with multi languages and cultures. The Synod has a wide area of outreach areas in the Omo river valley and then up to South Sudan which is going to be reached with the Gospel in the future. At present the synod has total members of 484,570 which is organized in to 16 presbyteries, with 265 congregations, 218 preaching places, and 13 evangelism outreach areas which are ministered by 205 ordained pastors, 179 fulltime evangelists, and so many volunteer servants who are devoted to the mission work enthusiastically such as elders , Christian youth group, women group, choir members and other committees and clubs which are formed by the elders.
The Synod is structured in Presbyteries- Congregations- Preaching Places. And the decision making body of the Synod are: Synod Convention, Synod Council, Synod Executive Board and Synod Management Committee.
i. Translation works: There are more than ten languages spoken in the Synod working area. Among them are Benchnon; Shako; Dizi; Suri; Kaffa, Shakacho; Meenit, Mejang and Gembir/Tsar where as Amharic is widely spoken in the towns.
Translation work is going on under the Synod for Old Testament in the Benchnon and New Testament translation in Dizi; Suri and Sheko and the Suri- Balli will come next. The Synod is open for anyone who can make language study and work on translation in Gembir language with the Synod for its outreach work. Under Scripture use Oral Bible Story Telling; Jesus film and literacy; audio Bibles are practiced under the Synod for few languages.
ii. Christian Youth Section: Leader is Getnet Sokiab
watch the video 242.AVI children singing in Benchnon saying "I will never perish because I have covenant with God."
iii. Christian Women Section leader is Mrs. Abby Befekadu
iv. Bible Schools; Currently there are certificate awarding two Bible Schools in the Synod. Charles Haspels Bible School which was awarding first year and second year certificates is now expected to be upgraded to diploma in theology. It is clear that many of the pastors and evangelists of the Synod got training from this well known EECMY SWBS real reconciliation for healing (April 2012)