Abdu Muhammad Ibrahim is a 43 year old former Muslim, now a Christian for 9 years. Abdu was a Dah’wa Worker evangelizing for Islam and a journalist for one of the oldest Muslim newspapers in Ethiopia named Hikma (wisdom). One day while he was out preaching Islam around Addis Ababa, some men who were on the street sharing Christ gave him a tract. He had been reading the Bible trying to find out why humans were created. So he was interested to know more but he found as he read the bible and compared that to the life of the Christians and the churches he saw that there was a contradiction. The people did not seem to live the Christian life he saw described in the New Testament. But he wanted peace, he had money because his wife was sending money from UK but he had no peace. So he asked the evangelists how to get peace and they said by faith in Christ and you will have peace. They were handing out tracts and so he took one. So they told him to go to the church because they were afraid to pray with him on the street since he was looking like a Muslim so he thought they were not really sincere Christians. So since he was leaving they changed their mind and said they would pray there on the street so they gathered in a circle around him and they began to pray for him and he received Christ. They asked him if he had a Bible and how he read it, etc. He told them he would simply read and so they told him to pray before reading for a Spirit of revelation. They told him to read the first book of OT and then the first of the New Testament and to go back and forth like that. So he began to read both the Bible and Qu’ran side by side. But now as he began to read, “In the beginning…” he could not pass that point without crying. For 3 days it was like that and on the 3rd day he went to church. Since then he has continued in the way of Jesus.
Abdu’s wife was in England because was using her job there to send money and support the Dah’wa movement in Ethiopia. He wrote to his wife in England to tell her about his conversion and also informed his boss at the Islamic Newspaper. They wanted to hear why he had changed from being such a strong Muslim preaching and evangelizing people to Islam and now had changed to be a Christian. His wife wanted to know did he need a new wife or more money? But he said, “No, only I am now at peace. I have not known peace in my life until now.” So she wanted to have their children transferred to her family but Abdu was not willing to do this. He spent the next 2 years just being faithful in the church. The church gave him a place to live so he could not be burdened with rent since he was now learning to preach Jesus. He was baptized during this time and started to preach to whoever would listen of those he knew among the Muslims in Addis Ababa.
Because of his preaching there were Muslims who came to damage the church and cause many problems so the church leaders told him he must not preach any more or else must move to another place since the damage was too much. But he could not stop preaching, it was like fire shut up in his bones, so he left that place and began to travel and preach wherever he could. He was doing any work he could find to support himself and preaching to Muslims whenever he had the opportunity. He met a friend from Afar (a strong, even fanatical Muslim area) who was also a Christian and they went together to Afar to preach the gospel. So they were travelling between Addis Ababa and Afar and preaching to any Muslims who would listen. In Addis at that time there were places called Muslim Knowledge and Dah’wa Associations that had been started by Saudi’s around the city to spread Islam. These Muslim works were aimed mainly at college students. So they were teaching Islam and since Abdu had been involved they knew him and they wanted to know why he would convert to become a Christian. This Saudi group was planning to encourage a Muslim revolution in the Horn of Africa and especially Ethiopia. Even though Islam had come to Ethiopia before other African nations, Islam has not expanded into all the country and remains less than half the population (census shows presently about 33%). So Ethiopia was influenced by Islam long before the rest of Northern Africa but they are Muslim nations and Ethiopia is not. Thus Ethiopia is something of a disappointment if not an embarrassment. Islam came to Somalia from Ethiopia (Harar), but Ethiopia is not Muslim nation and Somalia is.
So Abdu and his friend Muhammad were travelling to Afar preaching Christ. But Muhammad was given poison by his wife’s brother and so he died and Abdu was alone in the work. Abdu continued the ministry to Afar and so they beat Abdu very badly whenever he would preach in Afar. The first time he received this beating was after 4 years as a Christian. After that he stayed in Addis for 1 year recovering but then after 1 year he went again to Afar. Now he has grown in his faith in Christ through his suffering. So every 2 months he would go to Afar for 10-15 days preaching in the many areas of Afar. He continued this for 1 ½ years and during that time 3 Afar guys became Christians which is very miraculous (Afar people at that time were not known to ever come to Christ). So he was hopeful and he taught these three faithfully about Christ. They were living far apart in various areas of Afar and he would travel from one to the other to teach them in their new faith. At that time a Muslim Dah’wa group came from Wollo and found Abdu and one of his converts and so the Muslims tried to convert them back to Islam. They talked back and forth for 5 days about the Bible and the Qu’ran and when they had finished they wanted to kill Abdu because they had not prevailed. One of them received Christ but the others just wanted to discuss on and on but in the end they could not defeat Abdu’s teaching. They had been discussing together in the mosque and on the last day after the 4 pm Salat (prayer) they came again to finish their talk (4 of them) and one of them came behind him and put something around his neck to choke him and kill him. They pulled him away from the Mosque and beat him badly trying to kill him. They wanted to stop him from having any heirs so he was beaten very badly to make him unable to have children and they threw him out in the street. The police found him and took him to a clinic that night but Abdu could not speak because they had damaged his neck by choking him. So they sent him to another hospital in a larger city but they could not help him so they sent him on to Addis Ababa for 17 days in the hospital and after that he could finally speak. The doctor told him the condition was very serious and he needed continued treatment but he had no money. He went home but he could not work or preach or anything because of his injuries.
There was one Muslim guy in Saudi who he had known before while being a Muslim so he wrote to him to get help and that guy sent him some money and also some Christian friends in Addis helped him. So still he could do nothing as far as work and had no money for treatment. He went to a hot spring area since some said it may bring him some relief and stayed in Adama so he could go to Sodere (hot spring) and he took some aspirin for medication used the hot spring and with this treatment his legs were not in pain any more but he could not control his urine due to the injury. He was doing some evangelism in Adama and one Christian brother heard about him and wanted to do something. So he was able to go to a hospital and get some treatment which brought some improvement. So he returned to his ministry in Afar and Somali region around the city of Dire Dawa. The Lord spoke to him clearly to go and to work in these areas even though he has suffered so much. A pastor form Addis Ababa called him and helped him again to get some medical treatment at the Korean Hospital which allowed him to get a much needed operation so he was much improved but was not fully well. To this day he is much better in every way but he cannot have children and has some other ongoing health problems from his injuries.
The three who were converted earlier in Afar were working with the church in Awash but they had to flee the area to Desse (out of Afar). So Abdu prepared some written materials and CD’s of his teaching and copies began to be made and distributed in Amharic. He also wrote a book of about 100 pages. At that time he also went to the Karayu area where the people are Oromo but they are much like Afar people and 11 were saved there. Ironically, around this time Abdu’s wife was killed in a train accident in UK caused by terrorists. So her family did not tell him at that time because she had married another Muslim man in UK after Abdu became a Christian and the money paid to the victims went to the family and not to Abdu or his children.
Abdu and those he works with have been beaten and have suffered in many ways for preaching Christ among the Muslims. But still he wants to preach to the Afar and the Somali people since he speaks their language and loves them very much. He is caring for his 3 children 17, 16, and 12 and must take care of their school expense, etc. but has no steady income, only some Christians support him including Fire Over Africa.
The Muslims want to know where is the church like that in the Book of Acts? That apostolic church does not seem to exist now so they say Islam has a greater revelation. Also the teaching about the return of Christ is very important, converted Muslims say, if Christ is not coming again why do we suffer? The genuine gospel must be preached, the word of God that brings repentance and hope.
Even recently Muslims came to him to get him to go to Saudi and to learn in the Muslim Schools there and they would financially support him and he would not have such a difficult life and he could learn and teach Islam. But he told them he will never leave Christ.
More than 5 times the head of the Muslim Dah’wa mission has called him to debate in front of Muslim students around Addis Ababa but they cannot defeat him. In the city where now lives he has now led 5 to Christ along with their families and he is teaching them. He wants to have a chance to study the Bible in a formal school setting since he has never had that opportunity. It is our hope to raise enough funds to send him and his family to live in a city where Shiloh Bible College Ethiopia operates and support them as he studies and help him to be more effective in his ministry. CD’s of his teaching have been very effective in reaching Muslims and so we would also like to make copies and distribute them especially in Afar and the Somali regions of Ethiopia.