1950’s

The birth of today’s big student movement- the Evangelical Students and Graduates Union of Ethiopia (EvaSUE) which now serves University and College Christian Student fellowships in over 150 government and private campuses, nationwide had its beginning in a small student bible study group at Addis Ababa University, the then Haile Selassie I University (HSIU). Prior to 1957 E.C (1965), five students had committed themselves for fasting, prayer and bible study. In order to facilitate their meeting, these students rented a small house near to the university with thirty five (35) Ethiopian birr.  Names like, Ato Teka Gebru, Brehane Abraham, Ekubezge Seyoum and Philipos Kameri were among those who had significant part in the students’ gathering at the small rented house. The prayer meeting of these students was so lively and filled with undying passion to share their faith with unbelievers. Besides to that the meeting was marked by contagious love for one another.  This small beginning through prayer, fellowship and teaching, attracted many students who joined the group for prayer, bible study and worship.  At that time, there was also a regular university student centred program at SIM (Sudan Interior Mission) Youth Centre which was located around Arat(4) Kilo.  University students attend programs that were held both in the small rented prayer house and SIM Youth Centre.  Besides to the rented prayer house, for the university students the Youth Centre was a key place of equipment and edification.  Expatriates staffs, which had come to HSIU as a teacher in various faculties, were great encouragement for university students. Few of these expatriates were Dr. Robinson, Dr. Perry, Dr. Rose, Dr. Dennis and a little later Dr. Atwood. These professors had the heart for the student work and encouraged them in their faith and supported the students in any manner that was appropriate.

They had also significant involvement in teaching God’s word at the Centre. Besides to that through their wide communication with the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students (IFES) leaders like Mr. State Woods, they played great role in bringing matured preacher-teacher to the Youth Centre from different parts of the world.

Having the active participation of students, the director of SIM Youth Center, Mr.Manski, prepared a special place for few university students to come together for prayer and bible study. Though their meeting had no a regular fashion, these students continued to meet repeatedly. As time goes, and the discussion and prayer meeting of these university students strengthen, naming of their growing fellowship came to the discussion table. Without taking much time, in 1966, they thoughtfully choose a name for their fellowship and called it Ethiopian University Christian Students Fellowship (EUSCF).  During this period, 1966 onward, the student fellowship was also established at Gondar and Haromaya campuses, which were the then part of HSIU.

In 1967, the first conference of Ethiopian University Students’ Christian Fellowship (EUSCF) held in Ambo town. The attendees were from Addis Ababa Campuses, Haromaya and Gondar Colleges. There was a representative of the Pan Africa Evangelical Students Fellowship (PAESF) from Kenya. At this point of history, EUSCF had three Local Fellowships on three campuses run by Local Committees, and coordinated by the National Committee.  In 1968, the venue for the regular meetings of EUSCF moved to the then newly constructed Mekane Yesus Youth Hostel located at Amist(5) Kilo, and the student fellowship flourished.

Our First Office

first-office

1970’s

As the number of Christian graduates increased, the Graduates’ Christian Fellowship (GCF) was established, in 1970, with Ato Solomon Lulu as the first chairman. These graduates were somehow attached to the student fellowship and were committed to support the student work.

Between 1973 and 1974, Sunday afternoon youth meeting for students was launched which became ground work for the establishment of the Ethiopian High School Students Christian Fellowship (EHSCF).

March of 1974 was the turning point for EUSCF when Miss Mildred Young came to train students in bible study techniques. Her coming was timely as the University was closed and students had ample time to engage in bible study training. In 1975, the joint retreat of the EUSCF National Committee and the Addis Local Committee was convened at Sodere and Miss Young accepted the invitation of the committee for her to be a staff worker for EUSCF. In the summer of 1975, the EHSCF was formally established. In one-year period EHSCF grew to a National Fellowship which included seven regions, and eventually all the regions of the country.

In September 1975, Ato Tekeste Teklu was invited to join the student work as the first Ethiopian staff worker to coordinate the expanding Christian student work.  In 1976, with much effort of Tekeste, the Nurse Students’ Christian Fellowship (NSCF) was established bringing the number of student-related fellowships to four, each with its own purpose and activities.

During the period of 1974 to 1976, the succession of events in the Christian students’ movements was fast and the growth was unprecedented demanding for a new and innovative way of coordination. This required a stronger body that would coordinate the work of EUSCF, GCF, EHSCF and NSCF. Consequently, an Ad Hoc Committee was formed to discuss on ways and means of bringing these fellowships under one umbrella and to draft a constitution for this organization. This committee, spear-headed by GCF with students participation, drafted the constitution and in a joint meeting of representatives from EUSCF, GCF, EHSCF and NSCF the Evangelical Students’ Union of Ethiopia (EvaSUE) was established. The Constitution of EvaSUE had three parts: structural policy, staff policy and financial policy. The General Council was constituted by representatives from EUSCF, GCF, EHSCF and NSCF, Board and staff worker. The formation of EvaSUE was a milestone in the student ministry, and facilitated the strengthening and coordination of the same.

1980’s  to 1990’s

The period 1976 through 1982 was the period of unparalleled growth of EvaSUE. Due to this fact, more full time staff workers were brought in to the ministry. By the end of 1981, the situation in the country was becoming dire and the functioning of EvaSUE became increasingly difficult as the persecution intensified. In 1980, the socialist regime ‘Derg’ closed Mekaneyesus Hostel where Students were meeting every week for fellowship and bible study. As the cruelty of the dictatorial regime increases and open spiritual gatherings became very difficult. At that time, EvaSUE board members discussed the issue and decided to simply go underground without declaring the suspension of the activities of EvaSUE neither carrying out the work as it used to. In taking this decision, the Board asked the collaboration of the Scripture Union to provide a refuge for the student work by giving working place for the staff and providing ID cards. It was decided to hand over the work of EHSCF to Scripture Union, and the work of EUSCF was handled by the staff of EvaSUE. This situation continued till 1988.

In 1988 the National Committee of EUSCF, inundated by the ever expanding work, demanded that something be done to support the student work. Then, the National Committee challenged the GCF to rescue the student work. The National Committee of GCF then took the job of reconstituting EvaSUE, and a committee of 11 people was formed to study ways and means of reorganizing the student work. After lengthy deliberations it was decided to reform the Board and invite a staff worker. Hence, in 1991, EvaSUE resurfaced from hibernation to continue the work with fulltime staff. This can be taken as the beginning of the second phase of the Christian student movement.

Some of the major developments of this time were the rekindling of financial and organizational support from denominations, Christian organizations and individual graduates; the establishment of the quarterly magazine of the ministry ‘Hebron’; the re-establishment of formal trainings, visits and counselling to students; the acquisition of office space first from Hope Enterprise and then the International Bible Society for free and later a minimal fee; and the increase in the number of staff workers.  In 1995 EvaSUE became an affiliate member of the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students (IFES), at the general assembly meeting of this fellowship held in Nairobi.

2000 – the present

Some of the major developments from 1997 to 2002 were the acquisition of a plot of land with the support of IFES to house the office of EvaSUE, the opening of the first regional office in Hawassa in August 1999, the opening of the second regional office in Jimma in April 2001, the beginning of yearly regional training programs for student leaders and the establishment of different projects in partnership with Christian organizations.

From September 2002 to June 2006, the third and fourth regional offices in Bahir Dar and Harar opened respectively. Other major developments during this period were the re-establishment of associates’ ministry (formerly known as graduates Christian fellowship) in a monthly prayer meeting; the revision of the EvaSUE constitution and the change of name to Evangelical Students and Graduates Union of Ethiopia to include graduates while retaining the acronym EvaSUE, and the revision of the office administration bylaws.Other major events during this period were the purchase of the first office building of the ministry, the establishment of Alumni Ministry in North America and Europe, and the invitation of the first fulltime staff to coordinate the graduate wing of the Ministry.

From June 2006 to the present, EvaSUE has witnessed the growing number of Campus Christian Student fellowships affiliation and staff workers. In 2007, 51 private colleges’ student fellowships became members of EvaSUE.  Since then, there are one hundred two (102) government and private universities and colleges. And within these institutions there are one hundred fifty seven (157) Campus Evangelical Christian Student fellowships who are affiliated to EvaSUE’s ministry. Basing on its stunning growth, International Fellowships of Evangelical Students (IFES) has put EvaSUE in the row of one of the fastest growing student movements.

EvaSUE’ growth is not only in the number of Campus Christian Fellowships affiliation, but in staff workers and regional offices of EvaSUE as well.  At present EvaSUE has eight (8) regional offices: North, North-East, North-West, South, South-West, East, West, and Central Region. There are Forty six (46) staffs who are working in the mentioned regions of EvaSUE.

May all the glory be to God who does great things throughout history!

We, from the bottom of our heart, believe that the work of writing EvaSUE’s history will never stop as God the History maker and his devoted children’s never stop doing great things to the glory of Jesus and the benefit of Campus Evangelical Christian Students!