In the last few days over 41 churches and several evangelical mission stations or mission congregations were burned down. There are thousands of people expelled from their homes and some who are even badly beaten and killed. The perpetrators are Radical Islamist and Jihadist elements who are now operating in the western and south western parts of Ethiopia. I have spoken with Rev. Wakseyoum as he was visiting Mekane Yesus Churches and Synods close to the border of Sudan. The Voice of America (VOA) called, got in touch with him and interviewed him today and he spoke to the world from that remote spot through this international VOA radio streamed out of Washington DC.
On that interview given in Amharic he stated that, the Mekane Yesus have intentionally worked hard to establish good relationships with Muslim Ethiopians and that work have resulted in so much good and positive relationship. However he is shocked and saddened by this outbreak lashing out in heartbreaking atrocities. This brutal act is not the first of its kind. Three years ago Muslim fundamentalists have burned down several churches, killed evangelists, pastors and lay leaders. They are now repeating the same attacks. Today thousands have lost their homes, churches, family members and their rights to safely worship and conduct their ministries.
The Ethiopian government officials and security forces have intervened. The out come of their work is yet to be known. Some leaders from the central office of the Mekane Yesus Church in Addis Ababa have traveled to the area today to start getting help to the victims. There are many people who are now waiting to get some emergency aid in a camp. President Idossa is going to release another statement in the next few days as the investigation continues and as the government tries to bring these acts under control and bring the perpetrators to justice.
Persecution is not new to our church, however every time it happens it opens up old wounds and breaks the heart of many. In the middle all these our brothers and sisters are walking into this holy Lenten season not with ashes on their forehead but carrying the cross of Christ and confessing their faith in the words of Psalm 23:1, "The Lord is my shepherd!"
May God renew our world in this Lenten season through the Holy Word of God and through power grace of God through Christ, Amen!!
Peace and Blessings,
The Rev. Dr. Gemechis D. Buba
“Gracious Lord Jesus, you are forever Crucified, again and again, as the world that opposes your reign as eternal Savior lashes out irrationally against your children. The cost of discipleship is high---it is deadly---and witnessing to and for you puts us at odds with this world, with those who call us not children of God but infidels and with powers and principalities of which we can not even imagine. We are weak but you are strong. We are mortal but you are immortal. We are sinful but you are perfect. In your perfect love and peace which the world does not understand surround your children in Ethiopia. Arm them with your full armor so that they can take their stand against the devil's schemes. Make them to stand firm with the belt of truth buckled around their waist, with the breatstplate of righteousness in place and with their feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. Enable them to take up the shield of faith with which you can extinquish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Taking the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God and praying in the Holy Spirit in which we stand by their side at the foot of your cross together as one.
In your Holy Name we Pray, Amen.”
Pr. Jaynan Clark