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In the June/July issue of Lutheran Witness, LCMS president Matt Harrison shares about a conversation he had on the topic of Christian persecution with the current president of the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus, Pastor Wakseyoum Idosa.
The almost 7 million member Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus (“Dwelling place of Jesus” in Ethiopian) led by President Idosa has seen their fair share of suffering for the sake of the Gospel of Christ. Harrison writes,
“The topic of persecution came up. Mind you, each of these men had themselves been repeatedly jailed in the Communist period for their confession of Christ. I cannot begin to imagine the horror of an Ethiopian prison. President Idosa leaned toward me across the table, raised his index finger, and said with all gravity, “Persecution is always good for the Church. Always.” (The Lutheran Witness, June/July 2014)
On December 16th I had the privilege of attending a lecture hosted by Concordia Seminary in which I was able to hear from President Idosa himself about God’s faithfulness in the midst of suffering.
He shared two stories in which radical communist groups destroyed entire villages where the EECMY had congregations. Many of the men responsible were eventually caught and jailed by the Ethiopian government. The faithful pastors of these congregations, who had experienced tremendous loss at the hands of these men responded in a way inexplicable in the eyes of the world. They visited them in their jail cells in order to share God’s free and full forgiveness for the sake of Jesus with them. The men in turn responded in faith, utterly overwhelmed by God’s grace.
Please pray for all our brothers and sisters in Christ throughout the world, who daily face all sorts of danger and distress for the sake of the Gospel. Pray that the Holy Spirit would not only strengthen their faith through Word and Sacrament, but that He would also use their witness to bring many to the knowledge of Grace and Truth.
Click here for prayers and resources in light of increasing Christian persecution.