Yeshaw, Gera Azmach Amare (1916–2016)

By Mandefro Alemayehu

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Mandefro Alemayehu

First Published: September 1, 2021

Gera Azmach Amare Yeshaw was a teacher, Bible worker, translator, and church administrator in Ethiopia. He also served as a member of the Ethiopian parliament.

Early Life

Amare Yeshaw was born in 1916 in South Gondar zone, Ebenat district, Feres Meda kebele (subdistrict), Ethiopia. Amare was the first born in an Adventist family and had five brothers and six sisters.1 His father wished for him to become an Adventist minister. He was sent to Asmara for an education with his two friends, Dessie Kassahun and Tebeje Guddaye. The journey took more than 15 days on foot from Begemder to Asmara.2 Amare returned home after completing four years of training. For three years he assisted the evangelists, Aleka Motbainor, and others, with the work of education in a place called Feres Meda.3 After three years, he was sent to the Addis Alem SDA School, west of Addis Ababa, to continue his education. Four years later his education was interrupted by the Italian invasion of Ethiopia in 1935, and he returned home.4

In 1939 Amare married Kebebush Beyene, the daughter of one of the founders of Adventism in the area. They had four daughters and three sons. Amare and his wife were married for 77 years before his death.5

After the liberation from the Italian occupation in about 1940, Amare worked with the Swedish Adventist missionary G. Gudmundsen at the Debre Tabor SDA Mission Station for one year and six months as a translator and an assistant leader.6 Then he went to Addis Ababa and continued his education at Akaki SDA boarding school. After that he returned to Debre Tabor and was engaged in ministry with Erik Palm as a translator, teacher, and supervisor of the construction of the hospital and the boarding school cafeteria.7

His Life of Influence

He also worked outside of the Adventist Church—in the government office at Gondar Ministry of Health Science College as general service manager and chief of the maintenance department for eight years. “Amare was a public figure and an excellent public relations man. As a one-time member of parliament, he was very well known in non-Adventist circles as well as within the church circles.”8 He had a unique language skill: he spoke seven languages (Amharic, English, Affan Oromo, Tigrigna, Arabic, Geeze, and Italian).9

In 1982 Amare returned to the church leadership and was appointed president of the Northwest Ethiopia Field at a very critical time. The odds against the work in the field were many. The mission headquarters, with the school and church located on the same compound, was taken over by the government. His tenacity in leading the field in spite of so many difficulties was admirable.

He worked tirelessly and faithfully until his retirement in 1992 and was able to change the image and story of the field.10 In his retirement, he continued his ministry in the church wherever he lived, and he finally rested in peace on October 20, 2016.11

Sources

The diary book of Amare Yeshaw. In the Amare family’s private possession.

Woldeselassie, Truneh. Adventism in Ethiopia: The Incredible Saga of the Beginning and Progress of the Seventh-day Adventist Work in Ethiopia. N.p., 2005.

Notes

  1. Demeke Amare (son of Amare Yeshaw), interviewed by Mandefro Alemayehu, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, May 12, 2021.

  2. Truneh Woldeselassie, Adventism in Ethiopia: The Incredible Saga of the Beginning and Progress of the Seventh-day Adventist Work in Ethiopia (n.p., 2005), 179.

  3. Ibid., 195.

  4. Ibid.

  5. Genet Amare (daughter of Amare Yeshaw), interviewed by Mandefro Alemayehu, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, May 16, 2021.

  6. The diary book of Amare Yeshaw, in the Amare family’s private possession.

  7. Woldeselassie, 216.

  8. Ibid., 228.

  9. Demeke Amare (son of Amare Yeshaw), interviewed by Mandefro Alemayehu, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, May 12, 2021.

  10. Woldeselassie, 228, 229.

  11. Genet Amare (daughter of Amare Yeshaw), interviewed by Mandefro Alemayehu, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, May 16, 2021.

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Alemayehu, Mandefro. "Yeshaw, Gera Azmach Amare (1916–2016)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. September 01, 2021. Accessed May 23, 2024. https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=7HT7.

Alemayehu, Mandefro. "Yeshaw, Gera Azmach Amare (1916–2016)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. September 01, 2021. Date of access May 23, 2024, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=7HT7.

Alemayehu, Mandefro (2021, September 01). Yeshaw, Gera Azmach Amare (1916–2016). Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. Retrieved May 23, 2024, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=7HT7.