How Do You Define Success?

Posted By Renita Reed on May 6, 2019 |


Yoseph is a 38-year-old Ethiopian man, who is married with three beautiful daughters.  Yoseph owns his own home, has a number of rental units, and owns his own car (which is a big deal in Ethiopia as the government adds a 260% tax on any car brought into the country in order to discourage people from owning cars and keep the roads less congested).

Yoseph has created two positions for himself in the Kale Heywet Church, a denomination of 10,000 churches with close to 10 million members.  The first was the Campus Ministry Director, ministering to Kale Heywet Christians on many campuses across Ethiopia.  This ministry is now fully integrated into the church, and they have 11 regional fulltime campus ministers across the country.

The second is the Business as Mission Director for the Kale Heywet Church.  He proposed this position in 2009, but it didn’t become a reality until 2017.

Yoseph is an entrepreneur.  Entrepreneurs are quite easy to recognize.  If you spend any time with them at all, and you are a safe person to them, you will hear multiple ideas from them about this, that, and the other.  They are generally able to pull it off.  But they also may not stay long in one place.  Their calling, their role, is to start something new, get it going, and let other people run it.

From all perspectives, Yoseph is a successful person.

But it didn’t come easily.  He was not born with a silver spoon in his mouth

Yoseph is the second of eleven children and was born into a very poor family.  He tells the story of all eleven of them having to sleep on one mattress on the floor, with only one blanket.  He would often wake up cold, as his older brother would have wrapped the blanket around him to keep others from pulling it off.  When I visited his home, he showed me his daughters’ bedroom, each of whom has three blankets.  That was intentional.  His children would not go cold at night as he did.

But despite the poverty, Yoseph was taught how to pray by his father.  His father would often wake him at 3 am and tell him it is time to pray.  And they would spend several hours in prayer together.

At the age of 18, Yoseph identified seven points of success that he strives to live by.  He teaches these to many others.  He is a charismatic and effective teacher/preacher – people hang on his every word.  This is what he wrote at such a young age, showing wisdom beyond his years.  He wrote the first phrase, the points after the dash is what I captured in his explanations.

Seven points of true success  (by Yoseph Bekele, at age 18)

  1. Having a healthy relationship with God.
  2. Having a healthy relationship with self – many times we live in conflict as we can’t live what we believe; self-control is a challenge.
  3. Having a good relationship with others – being salt and light for others is success.
  4. Living in proper relationship with Creation – stewardship; give room for health, cleanliness, etc.
  5. Getting our basic necessities – being a good provider; enough resources for us and to share with others; having capacity; getting what we need is success.
  6. Sharing what we have – giving is success; sharing time, treasure, talents – many things; we are created to give.
  7. Living and dying for the glory of God; our legacy is for the glory of God; starting with God and finishing with God (to live is Christ and to die is gain).

He also wrote the following on how to identify your gifts and talents. As I read it, I think about the eight years he waited for the Business as Mission position, and how it fits into his gifts and talents.  He was willing to wait, to work without pay, and he is hearing a great amount of confirmation of his giftings in this area.

How to identify your gifts and talents (by Yoseph Bekele)

  1. Attraction – What areas are you attracted to?
  2. Burden – What do you have a burden for?
  3. Capacity – How has your capacity been developed through education, experience, etc?
  4. Inner voice – What is the Holy Spirit whispering to you?
  5. Other’s testimony – What do others say you have a gifting for?
  6. Commitment – Are you committed to do it even without incentive (pay)?
  7. Patience – Even if it takes many years, do you have the patience to see it come to be?
  8. Outcome – Does your work shows results and success?
  9. Happiness/Joy – When working in this area, does it bring you joy and happiness?
Please keep Yoseph in your prayers as he drives all over and preaches at many different churches!
The recent training of trainers in Addis Ababa – Yoseph is building a team that has the capacity to be change agents in the Kale Heywet Church across Ethiopia!

I would also like your prayers as the Cameroon embassy has decided to give me a hard time regarding my visa.  I am supposed to leave on Tuesday for Uganda but I don’t have my passport back yet and can’t get them to answer the phone or respond to emails.  So I’m in the dark as to whether I can leave on Tuesday.  Thanks for your prayers!