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Life and ministry
Launhardt (2004), p. 272-73 on Memre Sileshi Wolde Mikael:
“Sileshi was born in 1931 at Selale and started, six years of age, attending the school of the Orthodox priest in the area. From 1944-1948 he stayed at Gondar being instructed in Digua, Tsome Digua, and Zemare, by famous Orthodox teachers. In 1948 he returned to Selale and was trained in the art of Qinne. In 1949 he started to work as deacon and later as priest at the Fiche St. George Church. As teacher of Qinne he was awarded the title “Memhir”.
During his time in Fiche he met Mr. Stokes from the BCMS [Bible Churchmen’s Missionary Society], and decided in 1953 to attend the BCMS Bible School. Sileshi joined that group which called itself “Serawite Kristos“.
In 1954 he was employed as evangelist for Serawite Kristos and worked in Addis Ababa, Sukuala, Debre Berhan, and Gojam facing a lot of problems because of his new evangelical conviction. He was detained at nearly all places of his evangelistic service, and often even tortured, but always used the prison to speak about faith in Christ.
In 1956 Memre Sileshi was called by the SIM to teach at Dilla. It turned out that he could not agree to their anabaptist teaching and practice and therefore left the SIM. In 1958 he was employed by the Norwegian Lutheran Mission for teaching at the Yavello Elementary School. During that time he and his wife attended a confirmation class taught by Mr. Helland. They were confirmed, and became members of the Mekane Yesus Church in 1961.
In 1963 Memre Sileshi moved to Addis Ababa to serve as radio evangelist of the newly established Yemirach Dimts Radio Studio. He worked there for eleven yeas, until he was called by Qes Gudina Tumsa to serve as Executive Secretary for the newly constituted Addis Ababa Synod (AAS) of the EECMY.”
Launhardt (2004), 218:
“In 1963 the Ourael MY [Mekane Yesus] congregation benefited from the transfer of Memre Sileshi Wolde Mikael to Addis Ababa. Memre Sileshi, who had been working as a teacher of the NLM [Norwegian Lutheran Mission] in Yavello and Dilla, was employed as Radio evangelist for the Yemisrach Dimts Radio Station. […] A special program of the [Ourael MY] congregation was daily morning devotions for the workers on the mission compound”.
Some of his hymns were played on Radio Voice of the Gospel (RVOG; information from Yonas Gorfe, Bet Yataw Betegna).
For further reading
Launhardt, Johannes (2004). Evangelicals in Addis Ababa (1919-1991): With special reference to the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus and the Addis Ababa Synod. (Studien zur Orientalischen Kirchengeschichte, 31). Münster: Lit Verlag.