Today I received the following letter in my e-mail inbox for a call to prayer for the Ethiopian Evangelical (Lutheran) Church Mekane Yesus. What a sad and tragic situation. The members of Mekane Yesus are certainly following the way of the cross this Lent. May Christ be with them to provide for their needs during this time of persecution. May the international community also intervene in a timely and appropriate way to facilitate a just peace in Ethiopia.
Grace and peace to you,
I am sure by now you have all come back to your normal routines and back to the family and ministry you love. Thanks be to God for the privilege of having most you in Ethiopia on those historic few days in Addis Ababa.
I am writing this email to share with a prayer call I am asked to pass on to you by the President of the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus, the Rev. Dr. Wakseyoum Idossa.
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
Cell: 773 678 2513
Living in God's Amazing Grace