top of page

The Resilient Missionary

the resilient missionary.jpg

How a man born in Eritea becomes a powerful evangelistic force, demonstrating just how much God can do with an obedient heart and a willing spirit.

For many people, the word “missionary” conjures images of kind-hearted Americans who leave comfortable homes to find lost souls deep in the heart of Africa or Asia. The Resilient Missionary challenges this stereotype by tracing the life of the Rev. Dr. Yohannes Mengsteab—a man born in Eritrea and led by God to the United States—as he becomes a powerful evangelistic force, demonstrating just how much God can do with an obedient heart and a willing spirit.

Born into a country torn apart by civil war, Mengsteab is raised in a Christian household but nearly loses his faith when he joins the Eritrean People's Liberation Army, a group of communist insurgents, as a young man.

God has different plans for Mengsteab, though, and uses a battle wound to put him in the path of Swedish Lutheran missionaries who not only help revive his flagging faith, but also facilitate his immigration to New York City.

As he pursues the calling to preach the gospel in America, Mengsteab faces racism and anti-immigration sentiments both inside and outside of the church. But with God’s help, he perseveres and leads countless others to love and serve Jesus—no matter the circumstances or cost.

Dr. Yohannes Mengsteab escaped the civil war in Ethiopia and was part of the creation of Eritrea. He found refuge in a refugee camp in the Sudan where missionaries recruited him to do missionary work. When a refugee visa opened up to come to America Yohannes took advantage. After attending Concordia Seminary he was instrumental in beginning six new churches in the Washington-DC metro area. He then became the head of all church planting for the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod. Today he is an executive with the Texas District of the LCMS.

what people are saying...

A fascinating, well-told story of God's grace and guidance and the Spirit's energizing power in a young man who has, indeed, been resilient in his unwavering commitment to the mission of Christ for all nations. As we continue to learn more about Yohannes Meangsteab, we continue to learn from him and God's work through him. And this is a work and a world of cross- cultural mission into which all of us, too, are called!

Yohannes Mengsteab was raised as a Christian in Eritrea in eastern Africa. However, witnessing a massacre of young Eritrean men by Ethiopian forces in 1975 motivated him to join the Eritrean Liberation Front (ELF) to fight for Eritreas's independence from Ethiopia, adopt Communist views and forgo his faith. Yohannes' faith is reignited in a refugee camp in the Sudan. This story describes his immigration to the United States, his passion for knowledge and his faith, and his role in mission work for the Lutheran Church in the US, particularly among African immigrants.
... the books will open your eyes to the war and hardships in countries that you may know little about. They provide insights into the struggles of immigrants. Finally, the books inspire readers to re-examine and strengthen their own faith.


Yohannes Mengsteab, was raised in a Christian home, and was an outstanding student. In the midst of his college studies war between Ethiopia and Eritrea broke out. When the Ethiopians were threatening to take over Eritrea, his homeland, he felt that war was the only solution and joining the ELF party was the way to help his country. In the midst of a battle, his friend next to him was killed, and Yohannes was wounded. He escaped the battle front and eventually ended up in an Eritrean Liberation Front camp where he had time to reassess his life and, like the apostle Paul, was called by God. The Lord claimed him for His mission and moved him into a whole new life in New York City. Later, after training at Concordia Seminary, in St. Lois Missouri, he became a voice for the Lord among African Immigrants in the United States. His journey has moved him across the United States where he continues to be a moving force for the Gospel and a powerful missionary to African immigrants in the United States.
... a moving and compelling story revealing how God reaches out to select people for His mission in ways that we would never expect. This is a story that will touch your heart and move you to thank the Lord for the miracles He works in people’s lives so that the Good News of Jesus Christ can be spread to people of all nations.

Yohannes' story is part of God's grand story of meeting and saving His people at life's odd and opposite junctures. This book beautifully depicts how God still crosses cultural boundaries to save His people and make them part of His new missionary family and vision in the 21st century. The chief end of God's mission is the glory of God as it is proclaimed to and by all people. I strongly recommend this book for everyone!

bottom of page