Teklu Ketema, a Pastor of St. Paul Lutheran Church, Gambrills in Maryland, was born in Ethiopia in 1974. Teklu, the son of hard-working farmers, grew up planting, nurturing, reaping harvests and tending the flocks. Baptized in the Eastern Orthodox Church, Teklu attended mass with his family and listened to services spoken in ancient languages that were difficult to understand.
When he was old enough, he moved to Addis Ababa to live with his aunt and attend high school. He started attending Campus Crusade, a Christian fellowship. When they started talking about salvation, Teklu was defensive. He thought that he was a Christian and he had never heard of the idea of salvation. He started reading the Bible and as he read the book of Acts he began to learn about God’s free gift of grace. Soon thereafter, with his newfound understanding of grace, he joined the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus/Lutheran Church.
Teklu had to live with foster parents until he finished his high school. He continued going to the Lutheran church, studying the Bible, and was eventually confirmed a member of the Lutheran faith.
He found a job working as an interpreter for the missionaries which helped him pay for his college. And God provided through the difficulties. Teklu double majored in Theology and Accounting, although his interest was more of the ministry and sharing of the gospel with people.
In 2001, Teklu founded “Care for the Poor”, a ministry that served the capital city’s eastern slums. Its mission was to uphold the Great Commission and the command to love your neighbor as yourself. Care for the Poor provided numerous services to those in need, from medical attention to job training and Teklu did this for the next eight years.
It was at his organization that he met his future wife, Tsion Endalkachew, who served as a volunteer nurse for a short period of time. Soon after, Tsion and Teklu got engaged and later married when Teklu arrived into the US. The couple have two children, Jonah born in 2009 and Selah in 2011.
A few years later, Teklu started to pray and explore going into the ministry and with encouragements from some church leaders, he joined Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, MO to become a pastor. Teklu’s family moved to the seminary campus in 2016 where Teklu began his Theological studies. Throughout his four years of study, he appreciated the encouragements and supports he received from the professors at the seminary. In the summer of 2020, Teklu was ordained and installed as a pastor at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church of Gambrills/Crofton, Maryland. He served the congregation faithfully as a pastor for two years before he was diagnosed with a kidney cancer which eventually ended his journey here on earth. He joined His Master, the Lord Jesus Christ, in heaven where there is no more pain and no more sorrows.