It’s never been better!” This is not the typical phrase used to describe a year marked by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, Pastor Daniel Tesfasselase truly believes that there has never been a more spiritually beneficial season for him and his church, Emmanuel Eritrean Baptist Church in Arlington.
Pastor Daniel is no stranger to opposition and difficulty. He came to the Washington, DC area several years ago due to religious persecution in his home country of Eritrea. Eritrea is immediately north of Ethiopia in northeast Africa. Many Eritrean refugees have now resettled in Virginia. Daniel is now able to reach more of his own people in the States than he could back in Eritrea. God has enabled him to plant Emmanuel Eritrean Baptist Church in Arlington and train future church planting leaders and groups in Harrisonburg, Woodbridge, and Washington, DC.
Emmanuel Eritrean Baptist Church has been hosting worship services by teleconference since the pandemic began. Seven of those recently baptized placed their faith in Jesus during the teleconference rather than at in-person services. While several of his church members (and even Pastor Daniel) have contracted COVID-19 at some point, all have recovered well. God even used the church’s prayers for and ministry to a member with COVID-19 to draw her unbelieving husband to Christ.
“The pandemic virus will never stop God’s servants from working for His Kingdom!” proclaimed Pastor Daniel. The church already has two more candidates for baptism, and Daniel believes God will give even more. He would like to say, “Thank you!” to his SBCV partnering churches for their support for him as a church planter and requests your continued prayers. ■
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