Our special series about a burden for people living in the 10/40 Window continues with concerns for Christians in Ethiopia.
Ethiopia is one of the world’s oldest countries. Archaeological findings show that Ethiopians did business with Egyptians as long ago as the Old Kingdom period. Moses, who grew up in Egypt, married an Ethiopian woman. Ethiopia is mentioned many times in the Old Testament in reference to its relationship with Israel.
Ethiopia is located in the northeast part of Africa in what is known as the Horn of Africa. Its closest neighbors are Sudan, South Sudan, Kenya, Somalia, Eritrea and Djibouti. Ethiopia’s government changed from the ancient feudal system under Emperor Haile Selassie in the 20th century. Ethiopia is now a constitutional republic with a prime minister and parliament.
Ethiopia has a population of more than 118-million people. More than 20% of the population live in extreme poverty. Some parts of the country continue to experience extreme famine with millions of people suffering from hunger and malnutrition.
Ethiopia is a majority Christian nation with one of the oldest Christian communities. The introduction of Christianity to Ethiopia dates back to the time when Philip preached the Gospel to an Ethiopian .
Now an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip, saying, ‘Arise and go toward the south along the road which goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” This is desert. So he arose and went. And behold, a man of Ethiopia, a eunuch of great authority under Candace the queen of the Ethiopians, who had charge of all her treasury, and had come to Jerusalem to worship, was returning. And sitting in his chariot, he was reading Isaiah the prophet … So he commanded the chariot to stand still. And both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and he baptized him. Now when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught Philip away, so that the eunuch saw him no more; and he went on his way rejoicing. Acts 8:26-28, 38-39
The Ethiopian Orthodox Church is the largest religious group followed by Islam and Protestant Christianity. Roman Catholicism has a very small following in Ethiopia. Voice of the Martyrs lists persecution of Christians in Ethiopia as hostile.
Persecution of Christians in Ethiopia is different than in Muslim-majority countries. Depending on what part of Ethiopia a Protestant Christian lives, they may face persecution from the government and the Orthodox Church. Some Protestant churches are restricted from holding meetings and many Protestant Christians have been denied government aid during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Another problem facing Protestant Christians in some parts of Ethiopia is Islamic extremism. They often face discrimination and violence. Many churches have been destroyed. Muslims who convert to Christianity have an especially difficult time from their family and community. Open Doors estimates that almost 400 Christians are murdered every month in Ethiopia. Muslim leaders have ordered shop owners to not sell their goods, including food and medicine, to Christians, especially those who converted from Islam. Some Muslims are using the promise of food as a way to get Christian converts to return to Islam.
How To Help
There are many ways for Christians in the United States and other Western countries to help their suffering brothers and sisters in Ethiopia. First and most important is to PRAY. Second is to find a way to donate to organizations that can bring food, medicine and other relief to persecuted Christians. Third is to find ways to help persecuted Christians individually.
For example, we’ve hired a Christian in Ethiopia who is translating some of our GraceLife Bible studies and Faith and Self Defense articles into the Afaan Oromo language. You may find other ways to help individual Christians in Ethiopia and other hostile countries.
Here are some other ways to help.
Persecuted Christian Resources
Thank you for your prayers and donations for persecuted Christians in Ethiopia.
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