Accused of setting fire to an Orthodox Church in Debiremarkos, Ethiopia, Tibebu Mekuria, Dawit Jemberu, and Belete Tilahun were scheduled to appear in an Addis Ababa court for their appeal once again on June 29, but once again, the court date was postpone, this time to July 27 in. Belete in particular is facing this difficult time with a heavy heart as he is mourning the loss of his father who died of an unknown illness in May.
“Belete Tilahun has lost his father,” says an Open Doors field report, “an incident which was traumatizing for him in jail. Belete’s father Tilahun was deeply saddened to see his son sentenced to 9 years back in 2015. He was depressed after attending hearing after hearing at the courts in Debiremarkos. Once, when the judge at the higher court upheld the ruling by the lower court, he was heard saying, ‘May the God of truth vindicate your name,’ with deep frustration. A devoted EOC follower, Tilahun was not convinced about the accusations against his son. For Belete it has always been very concerning to see his father tirelessly attending all the hearings at such an old age. After first receiving the news of his father’s death, Belete was shocked and spiritually bruised, unable to accept the death of his father. But later on he was able to accept the reality and commit everything into the hands of the Lord.”
Father, we pray for these three Christian men in Ethiopia who claim innocence in the charges made against them. As they face this new day, give them strength, both physically and spiritually, that they might endure this difficult time with strong faith and hope. We pray for the charges to be overturned, that justice might be accomplished. And we pray for their families, that they might be sustained and comforted by Your Holy Spirit in this long wait. We pray especially for Belete, that Your consolation might be his as he grieves the loss of his father. May he find comfort in the sure hope that one day they will be reunited, in perfect health and in glorious freedom to worship You with pure joy throughout eternity. In the name of Jesus, who loves righteousness and justice, Amen!