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ICC NOTE: A great testimony of overcoming faith in Ethiopia.

Persecuted Ethiopian Now Runs Orphanage, Prayer Ministry

Michael Ireland

ASSIST News Service

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MINNEAPOLIS , MINNESOTA (ANS) — An Ethiopian Christian who faced persecution for his faith in his home country, is asking American believers not to forget those imprisoned and tortured for trusting in Jesus Christ.

Getaneh Getaneh was born and raised in Ethiopia . At age ten he tried to commit suicide, because he wasn’t getting answers about life that he needed or for the many other questions he had.

He recently told college students in the Midwest : “I am asking where I’m coming from, who I am, if I am a biological son to my Mom and to my Dad, or not. My mom and my Dad are raising 16 children inside the house and I am the only biological son, and that brought a question to me. Why I am the only biological child? ”

Getaneh said he attended a Coptic Orthodox Church where he heard teaching about God.

“And when we are coming home we do not practice what they teach; we have idol worship inside the house. And I say ‘OK, this idol is the one, or the god which they tell me the true god in the church? I have a great aunt, who was a psychic, a wizard, a witchcraft maker, what you would call in this country a fortuneteller; and we are worshiping her like god. That brought a big question in my life. And I have a friend also at school, who is a Muslim. Always he tells me if I’m not converted to Islam, one day I’m going to die.

“One day he came with the tears, we love each other we are good buddies at school; and we play together, we grow together. He came with this, saying ‘Getaneh you are going to die, my dad and my family is going to kill you. Islam is going to be the religion of the state and we are going to kill all Christians and Jews.’

Getaneh told the audience: “If you don’t know, the goal of Islam is to finish killing Jews and Christians and to bring the religion of Islam to every state in every country. That is their main goal they are working toward.”

Getaneh said he went home and asked his father, “Dad, my friend said this, is it true?”

“He said ‘No, it is not going to happen.’ He did not give me the right answer. Then I started to ask these three questions. Which one is the true god? My great aunt, or the god which they tell me at the Coptic Church, and who am I, where am I coming, is this family, my family? And I was depressed at age ten, I tried to commit suicide to kill myself. It’s terrible and horrible thing to do.”

“But things changed and I became a Christian. I went home late on that day and my Mom asking me why I came home late from school. I told her I went to chapel to study the Bible; and I told her I became a Christian. They asked me not to go back to the chapel or to the church. I said ‘No, I’m not quitting.’ They asked me not to read the Bible; I said ‘I refuse.’ Then they grounded me at age 13 for two years inside the house. They tried to put me in boarding school, but all the boarding schools at that time were run by missionaries and they didn’t have any way to put me in the boarding school. Then, the only choice they had was to ground me inside the house.”

“Early in the morning in that two years the high priest came to our house from the church and baptized me with the water, with very, very cold water to cast out the religion spirit.”

Getaneh challenged his listeners that while this incident might make them laugh, they need to know and appreciate the freedoms they have here in America .

Recounting how he became a Christian at age 13, Getaneh said that during the time his parents grounded him for two years, “and the Lord did a big miracle in our family. “My Great Aunt one day asked me how to be delivered from that evil spirit. I didn’t know what to do, I haven’t prayed for sick people before. I didn’t cast out evil spirit from people before. But I know the Word of God, which was given to me by American missionary, a small New Testament, which is given out by The Gideons. I have that New Testament, I read that New Testament more than twenty 25 in my ‘freedom house.’ I call it freedom house because that is true. The only time I had freedom to read by Bible or pray was when I went to the restroom, the other time is not mine. Always I have somebody to control me or to watch over me. In that two years I read my Bible and I developed that intimacy relationship with almighty God and he helped me on that day to use Mark, chapter sixteen, the last chapter. It said that signs and wonders will follow you if you follow me. Don’t follow the signs and the wonders, follow Jesus and then the signs and the wonders, the miracles, will follow you. I used that word literally and I prayed for my great Aunt and she was delivered from an evil spirit.”

In describing his great aunt, Getaneh said that when she was seven she ran away from home and she lived with wild animals in the forest for another eight or nine years.

Getaneh explained: “We lost our freedom. We are the only country from Africa which has not been colonized by any white people. We have this big pride, which is not broken from us easily. And we are different people from Africa . We have white people, black people, dark people. Ethiopia is a different country. I don’t know why God made Ethiopia like that. Then Communism came and took our pride, our freedom, from us in one night. We lost everything. They put the king in jail and they killed 66 people in one night and they buried them in one hole. They put us in prison, they burned our Bibles.

“First they came to our farmhouse and the village area when we are praying and they took us and they put us in prison. They asked me if I’m working for CIA, because I accepted this Bible from an American missionary. I don’t know where they buried my Dad even now. I don’t know how he got killed. But what we know, we know one thing — he’s in glory. But we don’t know where they buried him. I don’t know where they buried my cousin. We have been in prison together. But I haven’t seen her since that day. I know she’s in Heaven. They killed three of my church members in front of my eyes.”

Getaneh said the Communists found him baptizing people at two o’clock in the morning at the riverside.

“We don’t have the freedom to baptize people openly like you do in your church, in your country. They caught me and they asked those people to deny Jesus. These people are new Christians, they haven’t been in the Church a week or two week. They just came to know the Lord and they give their life to the Lord and they are asking me before leaving that area to baptize them. I brought them to the church, to the riverside, and there was somebody (present) who knows our secret, what we were doing. You know who is that? Do you think everybody who is singing ‘Amen and Hallelujah’ and praying is a Christian? Jesus Christ trained twelve people, he lost one.

“Always there is a Judas in the midst of us. Our church deacon is the one who brought the security people to the riverside. And they asked those three new Christians who don’t know their Bible, who haven’t read their Bible, who haven’t played the game that we play here in the church. They said ‘No, we are not denying Jesus.’ They got killed in front of my eyes. Their voice still the echo is clear and new on my ear what they said, ‘In our blood the church will build. We love you. We pray for you.’ They died there shouting this. I know they are in glory. I know they’re in Heaven. I know one day I will see them. But here I am always thinking about them.

“Here I am asking, ‘Why I remain here, you know why I am here? I want to let you know there’s a price to pay when you follow Jesus. Then my turn came they hung me upside down. They started to pour boiling oil over my feet. Let me ask you one question this morning. How many of you fry potatoes or chicken inside the kitchen? I know most Americans cook their own food. When the splashing oil touches your body how painful it is. It’s painful; I was terrified. And I was ready to deny Jesus. But the Holy Spirit helped me to pray this prayer ‘Lord God it’s enough, take me home.’ God said this ‘I love people.’ I want to let you know, God loves everybody. God loves people. I said the people who kill me, the people who kill my Dad, the people who kill me, the people who destroy the church, the people who burn the Bible, the people who mocking you, you love them? He said ‘Yes, I love them. Tell them how I love them dearly how my blood is still running for them, to save them.’ It’s very difficult for me I ask God, ‘OK, give me the strength and give me the joy.’ Without joy you can’t talk about Jesus. With sadness with murmuring you can’t talk. And then the joy started to bubble from my belly. I start to tell them about Jesus.

Two of them who persecuted me were very interested, they are asked me what drives me crazy. I started to tell them the same verse which Doctor Eshelman came to my homeland and told me: John 3:16, ‘God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten son.’ Then they accepted the Lord in the prison. He showed me how He’s powerful to change that rock-hardened heart and soften it and to accept Jesus Christ. This is your god and this is my God.