A Story of Persecution from Ethiopia
On 22 April 2012, a church in Lalibela was having their usual Sunday morning service when police and municipal officers had gathered outside the building. After the proceeding, the unaware congregation was met with flashing cameras. As they were exiting the building, the awaiting officials started taking pictures of each member without their permission. The police entered the church and informed the leaders that they have orders to close down the church. The leaders attempted to discuss the matter with them and enquired about the official letter giving the orders, but they were patently ignored.
What happened next no one anticipated. Right after the police locked the doors and sealed the keys with an official stamp, some men started beating the church leader, Tesafa, his wife and Tesafa’s brother in law. A stone was flung at Tesafa which hit him in the chest. Struggling to breathe, the pastor’s wife tried to shield him with her body. The aggressors pulled her off and slapped her in the face. Eventually when more police arrived on the scene, the assault was defused. Tesafa was taken to the nearest hospital but because of his critical condition, Doctors referred him to a better hospital in Weldiya. Fellow Christians had to collect money to pay for a driver and fuel to take him to Weldiya.
After x-rays was taken of his injuries, Tesafa was transferred yet again to another hospital in Dessie, 300 km from Lalibela. He received proper treatment for most of his injuries but the pain in his chest remained.
Finally, Tesafa and his wife decided to seek specialized medical attention at a hospital in Addis Ababa. But the treatment cost exceeded their means which placed them in very desperate circumstances. After Open Doors learned about Tesafa’s ordeal, they offered to take care of the expenses. He is still in Addis Ababa, progressively recovering from the chest injury.