Genet Berhane believes Adventist education changes lives—it changed hers. “I grew up in Ethiopia and went to an Orthodox church,” Berhane says. “My uncle, the only Adventist in my family at that time, sent me to Akaki Adventist School. When he left the country, my father started paying my tuition. When I chose to be baptized, my father became very angry and he denied me as his daughter and stopped paying. It was very hard, but I believed strongly in God and my faith.” The principal worked to get Berhane a scholarship and, when he saw the dramatic shift occurring in her, he decided to pay for her schooling himself.
Berhane, now a member of the Capital Memorial church in Washington, D.C., says after her conversion it became her responsibility to be a witness. Now she works to get as many non-Adventist immigrant students into Adventist schools as possible, acting as a mediator between faculty and the families to help work out details. Her ministry has helped more than 20 kids attend schools in Maryland and Virginia, including her nephew Robell Yigebaha (pictured above), who recently graduated from Takoma Academy (TA) in Takoma Park, Md.
“My church family, Sligo Adventist School (Silver Spring, Md.) and TA have continuously supported this ministry and have tirelessly worked with me to make this a reality for families,” says Berhane. “People need to know God. I want those outside of our believer family to have the opportunity to get an education that can change their lives.”