Tamirat Woldegorgis, arrested in August after a Muslim co-worker accused him of inscribing “Jesus is Lord” in a copy of the Quran, has been languishing in jail for the past two months according to church leaders. The Muslim associate, whose name has not been established, went to a nearby mosque with the accusation. Angry sheikhs at the mosque subsequently had Woldegorgis arrested for desecrating the book sacred to Islam. A church leader who requested anonymity told Compass News that two days after Woldegorgis was arrested, two friends inquired about him at the Moyale police station; authorities responded by jailing them for two weeks as well.
In Ethiopia’s federal state system, each state is autonomous in its administration, and most of those holding government positions in the state where Woldegorgis is being held are Muslims. “We fear that our brother might be taken to Islamic court in Jijiga for trial, which will further threaten his life,” the church leader said. Sources also said that authorities are offering to release Woldegorgis if he will convert to Islam. Woldegorgis is physically weak but strong in his faith, the church leader said, adding that he needs food and other material assistance, as well as an attorney.
Open Doors, working through partnerships with national and international production companies, are producing multimedia Christian programs for internet, radio and satellite television. Through these programs we are able to train and disciple (secret) believers in the Middle East, and to encourage local Christians.
Khalid shares this story:
“I was born and raised in an Islamic culture and I didn’t know anything but Islam. But I never found true peace in Islam. I am 30 years old. One day I was watching satellite TV and especially some programs about Jesus. I found the truth about closeness to Jesus and I knew it was true. But I feel great fear about declaring this because I haven’t told anyone here what has happened with me. All I do is sit in front of the TV and cry. And at the same time I thank the Lord but fear fills my heart that anyone would discover that I have become a Christian. Please pray for me.”
Hannah shares her testimony:
“I was brought up in a Muslim family and I was very committed to the Arabic and Islamic forms of worship. I didn’t know anything about Christ except that He was a prophet like the Koran says. Then I started observing the Christian celebrations of New Year and Christmas. I started wondering, “Who is this Christ that they go to such lengths to celebrate His birth?! I started looking on the internet and that led me to the website of a Christian satellite station. At first I didn’t understand anything but then I decided to communicate with them. I tried calling the number that appears on the screen. I started talking with them on the internet and then by phone. As I learned my love for Jesus grew. I eventually asked for the a Bible and started doing a discipleship course. As I studied I understood that I am a sinner and realized that I needed to accept the Lord Jesus as my personal Savior. I called the brother at the office and told him of my decision. This day I can never, ever forget. There were tears and there was joy.
But shortly after this great joy, my husband began to notice the change in me. One night I was watching Christian satellite TV and my husband came in and realized it was a Christian channel and he started hitting me without mercy. He called my family and told them I had become an infidel and heretic. I had two choice to renounce my faith or the run away. In the middle of the night, I made the choice to escape. I had no one I could turn to except the brothers I knew from the satellite channel . They put me in touch with a pastor, who helped me. I lost my family and loved ones but God gave me a new family of believers in Christ. This is just the beginning of my testimony. Every day is new with God and I love Him so. I am so thankful to the brothers and sisters for their faithful ministry to me.”
Algeria (continued call for prayers)
Last week we prayed for the October 10th trail against four Algerian Christians accused of ‘illegally opening a place of worship’. Last Sunday the president of the criminal court requested postponing the trail to November 28; this request was granted. Please continue to pray for these four men, that they will be acquitted and allowed to worship freely.
Free to Believe-Just as these brothers in Algeria desire to worship freely, later this year a resolution will likely be introduced at the UN that could undermine these freedoms. To learn how you can help defeat this dangerous resoltuion visit the Free to Believe site and join the movement.
Father keep our brothers and sisters strong, knowing that their perseverance is not in vain. Give them hope as they consider their present sufferings and help them to fix their eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. We join today in prayer for Tamirat in Ethiopia who is awaiting trial and ask for provision for all his needs. We also ask for justice to prevail in the court proceedings for Tamirat and for our brothers in Algeria. And Father, we pray for those who do not yet know You; may they come to a saving grace through Jesus just like Khalid and Hannah. Increase the opportunities for those to know You through satellite TV and the internet, may these powerful tools be used to advance the kingdom…giving all the glory to You.
Praying with you,
The Prayer Force Team