Update on Jimma Persecution 31 March, 2011

We have only last night been able to talk to church representatives from Jimma who have informed us that the situation has improved dramatically. The people who were forced out of their homes have been able to return home and the government is requiring the Muslims in the area to rebuild the homes for the Christians. So as far as we know all the personal homes that were burned are in process of rebuilding by those who destroyed them. The churches have determined that the Christians themselves should rebuild their churches.  So the churches and denominations are themselves going to proceed with their own rebuilding as their own service of worship to the Lord and in thanks for His provision and undertaking for them in their time of need. Thus all funds received to date for this project will be sent through the Evangelical Churches Fellowship and designated for the rebuilding efforts of churches in the area and as other funds are donated they will be forwarded in the same manner.

So first we want to thank all the Christians who have joined with us in prayer from our Shiloh and Fire Over Africa family. It has made all the difference to these Christians that we have stood together in their time of need.  We also appreciate the role of the Federal Government of Ethiopia in bringing this matter to a fair and helpful conclusion. This sort of problem occurs from time to time in various parts of Ethiopia with the Jimma area being one of the most difficult and the government has made a good example that when such things are done those responsible will be expected to compensate their victims.

In this case it was only structures that were destroyed. About a year and a half ago it was people who were injured with one killed and more than 10 losing limbs or hands.  For such there is no sufficient compensation. So please continue to pray with us that the Lord will protect the Christians of Ethiopia and that their work of spreading the gospel will be effective in reaching all of the nation.  In the end it is only the Lord that can care for the church and His work.

There are debates around the body of Christ as to whether evangelism in Muslim areas should be done openly or in secret and whether churches should be built or meetings held secretly in homes. The truth is that all things are known in Ethiopia and especially in the small communities in most of the Muslim areas of the country. Nothing is actually “secret.” If it were in fact “secret” no-one would be getting saved. But the truth is that God is making Himself known, miracles are happening, dreams and visions of Jesus are coming to people and Muslims are coming to Christ. Jesus promised us that persecution and suffering are part of what we endure as Christians and cannot be entirely avoided if we are to do our work. And those persecutions will increase as the end of the age approaches. So what we can do and must do is to stand together, to pray together, to share our resources and do all in our power to extend the kingdom of God among every people and in every nation.

Thanks again for your prayers and support, all the Christians of Ethiopia appreciate the prayers and support of God’s people around the world.

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