Ethiopia Update (Nov. 26, 2006)
Below are several emails we recently received from Ethiopia. Italics are my notes to explain and parentheses are my editorial changes to make your reading easier.
Received Saturday, Nov 25, 2006, from our son David in Alaba:
Mom, the church buildings are going well. Bedene church is almost in finishing up. (This is Kadir’s church, adopted by Tabernacle Baptist.) Hajji Mohammed’s church too (is almost finished). (This church is adopted by Union Chapel.)
(We have been praying for fast building, because Muslims hate Hajji Mohammed and the grace of God in this area.)
Last time Martha, Wube and other women took coffee and food to Hajji Mohammed’s church. (These are women from the “mother” church, Alaba Town church.) Also the other group of women visited other time. You will see the pictures. (Can’t wait!! We’ll share them with you when we get them!)
Last week some Muslims wrote a warning letter to kill Hajji Mohammed and put it in his fence. He showed it to government. Please pray with this regard. Still Hajji Mohammed is very strong. Mommy, every time we are going to visit him, the air condition is very warm and dusty. In every way God is doing wonderful things.
Mom, our church leaders bought donkey to Fatiya. It is very important to her. (Remember, in our last email we shared that Fatiya, H. Mohammed’s wife, and the mother of a baby and young boy, has been traveling for hours to gather water from the river for the workers.) Those persecuted boys are learning their education. (These are the boys that the church has taken into hiding because the Muslims have threatened their lives. They are aged about 15-25.)
Received from Alaba, Nov 1, 2006:
Dear my precious Mama and Papa how are you doing? Thanks to God, the One who brought us to live His kingdom life today in this corrupted world. He has given us His grace, not only to live but also to serve Him and His people for His glory, so that people would come to His kingdom.
Concerning Hajji Mohammed’s church, the work of the building is going well. We are building both his home and the church. We are doing the foundation under the wall as Nathan showed us (for termite protection). Mom, this church is a little bit bigger than Galaye church (which we hiked to during our May trip). Previously, we had planned for 100 tin sheets (corrugated tin for the roof), but now we added 18 tin sheets. (We’re guessing that the total size of this church is about 30’X 60’.) Because for the time being it is needed to build two small rooms inside of the church. One room will be used for evangelists (to sleep when he comes to teach the people) and the other one will be used for church’s materials. In future these rooms will be removed from inside of the church (when they outgrow the building). So Mom, these 18 tin sheets needs an extra fund.
The other thing is Fatiya (Hajji Mohammed’s wife) is in problem to provide water for the workers. She can not bring it from far distance by carrying big pot. So we thought to buy donkey for her. Mom, what do you think? (There is no water source near the church; Fetiya must spend hours and hours going to the river and then haul the water in a jug on her back. She has 2 small children; the youngest is only 6 months old.) Mom, I am following up the work seriously. Also the building of Bedene church is going good. (We received some hard-copy pictures of this work last week; we will scan it and put it on the web.)
Mami, we began to deal with farmers to buy land for Zobechame church. Yesterday we have seen a wonderful big land. The owner of it is Muslim. He is ok to sell. Next week we will come to some point. Actually it needs some process with government. Mom, please pray about it. If God wills and we will get this land, it would be the best place.
Martha, Wube, Etenesh and other women have planned to take coffee and visit Hajji Mohammed’s church. (These women are the same ones who house and feed us when we are there in Alaba.)
Received Nov 7, 2006, from Oshe in Soyama, Burji District:
Dear Becky Lynn
How are you? In Burji the peace condition is not good. Since September the conflict between Burji and Guji is still going on. On Sunday, on the road between Hagre Mariam (the nearest big town outside the Burji district) and Burji, the Guji attacked Mohammed Bora’s truck and a Government vehicle. (Mohammed has been very open to the gospel; he is a wonderful man! In his truck, he drove Dave and me into the countryside in Dec 05 to visit the villages, and he brought us gifts from his store during our May visit. Please pray for his salvation and healing! He has a sweet wife and about 5 young children.) From that attack many of them escaped very narrowly; one person died and four persons were wounded very seriously. Mohammed was shot with two bullets and now he is in hospital. There is no transportation to Burji, so I am also separated from my family for the past two weeks. Kasahun and his workers are in Burji, but they have no cement supply. They are sitting without work. (This is the Contractor and his workers who are trying to complete the Meeting Hall.) Pass to all our prayer request. Please pray that this conflict will end in peace. (Note: the tension between Ethiopia and the Islamic Courts government that has taken control of Somalia is increasing; there may be open war along that border soon. The Burji District is not too far from this troubled border, and historically the Guji’s have sided with the Somalis in border conflicts.)
Received Oct 30, 2006, from Oshe in Burji District:
It has became very hard for Burji people the war was in 6 fronts. About 4 people died and many others seriously wounded. So please pray hard for Burji people .A week before the hall work started but because of war we could not able to continue the work.
Received from Oshe in Burji, Oct 5, 2006:
As a little background, let me explain some things. The Guji tribe has been known for many decades to be a very barbaric, ruthless tribe. Before the Gospel came, they routinely butchered people from other tribes; in fact, a man wasn’t considered a man until he had the skull of another tribesman on a pole outside his hut. Any man who couldn’t or refused to kill was considered on the level of a woman; he had to squat with the women, eat with the women, etc., etc. So random killing just for the sake of killing is a deep part of their tribal life. When I was a child, I remember the name “Guji” with great fear. Our home was on the mountainside overlooking the Sugun Valley, where the Guji tribe lived. And from time to time stories of their brutality came to our little mission station.
The Gospel has come to the Guji tribe and many churches have been established amongst them. But obviously, the old way of living is still very much alive in the hearts of those who have rejected the Gospel. One of the things God has arranged is for us to sponsor a young man from the Burji District to attend advanced theological training in Addis. His name is Burge Gube; he’s about 32 years old. His father was one of the first evangelists to take the Gospel to the Guji tribe; he was ambushed and killed by the Gujis while traveling to them with the Gospel.
In the email below, Oshe mentions several villages. Nedele, Mure, and Sego are villages that Dave and I were in during our 3 weeks there only 10 months ago. We ate there, slept there, showed the Jesus Film, tested for eyeglasses, listened to memory verses and distributed Bibles. There are many happy memories we have of these dear people. They are poor financially, having only their farms and crops to support them. Their future is hidden in the faces of their children. Their only security is “chance”; there is no law, no 911 to call. There are many opportunities for evil along the paths or in the fields. It is forbidden for Ethiopian citizens to own firearms, but in the past the Guji tribe has sided with the Somali army who wanted to overrun Ethiopia; so they were probably given arms which they have kept hidden. In Ethiopia, there is only one growing season per year; so when Oshe says that their crop is burned, it is the equivalent for us of losing a whole year’s salary; they have nothing to live on for a year. Additionally, it is at this time that the church receives most of its income; the farmers sell their crop and bring their offering to the church; so operating income is greatly reduced when crops are burned. The church is stretched as it not only tries to operate with less income, but it also tries to care for the needs of the victims.
Please be in special prayer that:
1) the violence will abate so that the Kingdom work of saving man’s souls can continue without interference and the evangelists will be safe in their travels;
2) the Burji Christians who are suffering will look to the Lord for their justice and will truly forgive those Guji people who hurt them; especially pray for those who have lost their children;
3) the Burji Christians will band together to care for each other, and that the church leaders will have wisdom and strength and protection as they work with the government in trying to bring peace and justice.
Please continue also to pray for Oshe; he has a large load of leadership, and for Marcos who is the new Chairman of the district leaders.
Dear Beck Lynn
Sorry for delaying to answer your E-mail letter. How are you doing? For almost a month’s time a conflict (has been) going on between Burji and GUJI .We Burji Christians need your prayer.
As you know on your second trip to Burji, the last church you visited (was) Nedel. The farmers (here have) lost their farm production, destroyed by Guji people. They set fire on a piled maize (harvested corn), and shot three people with a gun bullet. On next Chuluse church area, one young boy (was) killed and they burn piles of teffs (an Ethiopian grain). On next church area Gara Raleya Wordeya, the farmer fought and protected their farm production. At Mure church area, the Guji people shot one young boy but no farm product (was) destroyed. At Sego church, where Mohammed’s truck took us, Guji people killed one young boy. Because of this entire problem I am not able to E-mail you.
For (the) last two Sundays we have been collecting from the churches some aids for those people who lost their farm production and their farm.
Thank you for your Email.
Thank you again for praying for Kura and Shoko. Both of them they are doing well. The family for Kura they are very glad to hear people in America pray for their son.
Daniel not reelected, even Alemayhu Gube also left us for Dilla KHC southern office. Our chairman is now Markos. Markos replace Daniel.
The people from Bethel Church who want to visit us. All our leaders, they are very happy about the idea. The time you suggested is convenient. Time to come to Burji you are welcome. Also your ministry ideas are very welcomed with our leaders. The idea of 5 or more people come from Bethel Hill Church is acceptable.
The rest of thing I will inform you next time.
Please pray for your brothers and sisters in Alaba and Burji.
November 26, 2006