by Joy Casey in Ethiopia
The recent uprising of the Oromo tribe germinated in an area of Ethiopia where NewLife Ethiopia is working. This is a M*sl*m-dominated area and the M*sl*ms used the unrest and accompanying vandalism to target Christian churches and Christian-owned businesses. In one town, government and police offices were burned to the ground and anyone with Christian ties was threatened. NewLife had recently planted a church in this rural village and the mob headed toward it with machetes and torches threatening to burn the church and kill the evangelist/pastor.
For several months prior to the Oromo uprising, Pastor K and a handful of faithful men and women spent every Saturday together praying and fasting. God warned the group that a big storm was coming but that their church would not be hurt. When the mob started down the road toward the church, K was warned to run for his life. Instead, he grabbed his spear and stood at the gate of the church. The threatening group approached him brandishing their weapons, but K knew what God had promised and courageously stood his ground. Then his nephew, who is a leader in the mosque, pushed through the crowd and planted his spear next to K. One by one K’s tribe (all M*sl*ms) joined him until the church was entirely surrounded with his relatives. The threatening mob dissipated with a vow to return and kill K and burn the church down. His relatives stayed in the church compound for over a week providing the necessary protection until things quieted down.
As K relayed this story to me, his whole face lit up with the joy of God’s faithfulness. He said many Christians advised him to leave the compound to save his life, but he had the word of God telling him to stand and out of obedience he did just that. God did the rest.
There are 66 dedicated family units associated with this new church plant. K disciples 15 leaders who are growing in their faith and are in turn teaching others. K and his disciples evangelize one-on-one as well as to family groups. They also spend time in the café area sharing Jesus with anyone who will listen. I am amazed at K’s boldness in this area that is known for its radical fundamentalism. Before we helped him establish a formal church, he was ordered to leave and never return by the town leaders and the people who came to the Lord under his ministry were threatened. K refused to leave and instead made a way to secure property for a church, which was no easy task in this area.
The mosque leaders are telling their members to burn down K’s church and K has asked that we in America pray, pray, pray for ongoing protection. He is too busy to spend a lot of time worrying and implicitly trusts that God who began the good work, will continue His work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns (Philippians 1:6).