Abba Laike Mariam Mandefro was sent in 1959 to Harlem, New York by His Holiness Abuna Basilios and His Imperial Majesty along with Asst Patriarch Theophilus and Abuna Athanasius, to propagate the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Faith to the scattered children of the African Diaspora, who had maintained constant communication with Abune Basilios, requesting the church. Abba Laike Mariam was ordained Archbishop Yesehaq in 1979 and succeeded the 1st Bishop, Abune Athanasius, in becoming the Archbishop of the Western Hemisphere. His diocese including the Caribbean, (Jamaica, Trinidad, St. Kitts, St. Thomas US Virgin Islands, Bermuda, Guyana, South America England and Canada. In 1990 he established the Church in Southern African at the invitation of thousands of prospective members. Abuna Yesehaq established over seventy churches in the Western Hemisphere and Southern Africa. He established Be’aata Le Mariam Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church in New York in 2003. He toiled tirelessly as an Apostle, bringing the good news of salvation to people throughout the hemisphere.
Abune Yesehaq was very supportive of all the Ethiopian communities in the time of a rapid influx of Ethiopian immigrants to the USA and Canada, and established many churches among the Ethiopian nationals in over 20 states in the USA and several Canadian cities. He looked out for the spiritual needs of his flock and was instrumental in bringing many Ethiopian clergies to legally reside in the USA to administer to the spiritual needs of the faithful. He wrote books in English to edify the English speaking congregants about the Ethiopian Orthodox faith tradition—including “The Ethiopian Tewahedo Church, An Integrally African Church”. He had an Ethiopian Orthodox Church liturgy printed in English, Amharic and Geez with the phonetic transcription of Geez, so all members could participate in the service. This humble, dedicated father, like many fathers before him, upheld the canon of the church which led to his suffering and persecution. This, however, did not discourage him in his apostolic mission. He stood up for the teachings and doctrine of the Church, from which he never separated, and served the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church in the Western Hemisphere for 46 years—twenty-six of which he held the office of Archbishop until he fell asleep in the Lord on December 29, 2005.