Baptist Press: SBC’s Floyd builds grassroots ties in Ethiopia

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (BP) — When Ethiopian Airlines transports newly purchased Boeing 777s home from the U.S., the planes are customarily loaded with humanitarian supplies for the independent country that still struggles with poverty despite significant economic advances.

The country’s economy was among concerns highlighted when Southern Baptist Convention President Ronnie Floyd met with key leaders of the country, including Ethiopian President Mulatu Teshome and Speaker of the House Abadulla Gemeda.

“They talked about … in their country, about poverty that’s existent. They talked about maybe coming to our own country. We’ve invited them to come,” Floyd said, noting a major corporation and a World Trade Center in Arkansas.

Floyd also discussed the importance of religious freedom, biblical marriage between a man and a woman, and the dignity of human life for all, which should result in standing against religious persecution globally.

“I was able to talk to them about holding tight to the line of the biblical Christian worldview,” Floyd told BP. “Also, we talked about matters relating to the religious persecution that goes on in the world. I was able to talk to them about religious freedom throughout the world, the evil that’s existed in our day relating to all of that, and to really just encourage them to stand strong for the cause of religious liberty.”

In promoting a grassroots relationship, Floyd also mentioned such initiatives as adoption, and met separately with evangelical pastors.

Ethiopia is striving to become more sustainable, Gemeda told Floyd, and expressed a deep desire to protect human rights there. Developing friendship with the “friendly United States” could help ensure Ethiopia’s growth and advancement, he said.

Teshome agreed with Gemeda in expanding the new relationship, stating that Ethiopia is seeking to improve in the areas of expertise, technology and economics. Expanding Southern Baptist ministry in Ethiopia would hopefully help the country in all areas mentioned, Floyd said.


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