“Have the Christians in America really heard about me? Yesterday, I cried out to God and said ‘Lord have I been forgotten? Is there anyone helping me?’ Then a man of God from our village prayed for me and said, ‘God will never forsake you.’ I believed that word. I was crying yesterday and here you are today with the help I needed.”
It’s not very often that we get to directly hear and experience the impact that our ministry (and your gifts!) have on our persecuted brothers and sisters, but last month one of our representatives had the chance to sit down and spend some time with the widow of an evangelist who had been martyred by Islamic radicals. Our representative in Ethiopia traveled 125 miles from the capital of Addis Ababa to reach the village where Birtukan lives in a small hut that she shares with her mother, step-father, and seven other people.
Two months earlier, Birtukan and her husband, evangelist Abraham, were living as missionaries in the city of Worabe, in southern Ethiopia, ministering among Muslims in the community. Their home was constantly attacked by Muslims who were enraged by their work as missionaries, and they had received numerous threats on their lives. On April 21, Birtukan, then six-months pregnant, and her husband were assaulted by Muslims. Her husband didn’t survive the attack. Birtukan told us what happened:
On that day, my husband and I were getting back to our home after visiting a sick person. A group of Muslims stopped us and said they wanted to talk to my husband. They started to assault him and forcefully took him away. I followed them. Then they turned on me. They beat me unconscious. I was taken to a hospital. After ten days, I was told that the Muslims beat my husband to death.
Our representative told us, “Her story broke my heart. I comforted her and told her how the gospel of Jesus Christ was passed from one generation to the next generation through the sacrifices of martyrs. I also encouraged her by telling her that the Lord will never leave her.”
Greatly encouraged by our visit as an answer to her prayers, Birtukan affirmed that she was sure the Lord would never leave her and thanked and blessed all those who had a role in helping her, saying, “May the Lord remember you at the times of your needs!”
ICC provided Birtukan with funds to help meet her immediate needs and is also helping her to start a small business where she will work to earn a sustainable income to support her family.
P.S. — At the time of our visit, Birtukan was nine-months pregnant. On July 6, just a few days later, she gave birth to a baby girl.