A Christian community in the Muslim dominated SNNP region south of the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, is in mourning following the murder of a A Christian from a Muslim background who comes to Christ. (MBB) that occurred the end of March. The victim was a woman in her fifties known as Workitu. Her last name and the exact location of the incident have been withheld for the protection of her three sons, aged from late teens to early twenties. She died from her extensive injuries five days after being severely beaten by her Muslim husband and a neighbor.
On March 19, Workitu’s Muslim husband and a neighbor came and demanded that she sell government drought relief aid she had collected earlier. She refused, however, because she needed the food to feed her own family. During the ensuing argument, her husband and the neighbor began to beat Workitu. They continued ruthlessly attacking her even after she had collapsed on the ground
Villagers took Workitu to a clinic in a nearby town for emergency care, but after four days without improvement the clinic referred her to a nearby hospital. Following her death, police arrested her attackers and charged them with murder.
Local Christians told Open Doors that since Workitu converted to Christianity last August she had endured repeated beatings from her husband as well as threats from the community intended to force her to return to Islam. She was the only Christian in her entire extended family. Workitu’s husband has another wife with whom he spent most of his time following her conversion.
After Workitu told church leaders that her husband threatened to kill her unless she returned to Islam, they advised her to report the threats to authorities in writing. In February, Workitu wrote a letter to police and local government officials to report the abuse and tell them she feared for her life. However, sources report that officials ignored her request for protection and now deny ever having received the letter.
Christians from the nearby town and surrounding villages arrived en masse in the village for Workitu’s funeral and showered her sons with love. Two of them, Mustafa* (in his twenties) and Kedir* (17) decided to follow Christ after their mother’s death. Their mother was the only Christian in the family and the boys told Christian leaders they want to know more about the Savior their mother worshipped. Another villager, who was a close friend of Workitu’s, also decided to follow Christ.
“Workitu is like Stephen,” commented a local evangelist. “Her death was honored by the bringing of her sons to new life. I know she would have been extremely delighted had she witnessed her sons’ decision to follow Christ.”
* representative photo used to protect persecuted Christians
Heavenly Father, full of compassion, we pray for Your mercy and comfort to fill the spiritual family of Workitu–the body of believers in her village. Thank You for the Christ honoring love they showered on her sons and for the two sons who have taken a bold step of faith and turned to Christ in the wake of the love that was shown them. We pray for the other sons as well as they reflect on the godly life of their mother. Protect the faith of these new believers, including the friend of Workitu, from family and neighbors who may put strong pressure on them to return to Islam. Provide those older in the faith to disciple them; strengthen them by the power of Your Holy Spirit at work in their lives and by the foundation of faith from Your Word. We pray for the gospel of Christ to move across the land of Ethiopia, raising up a generation of believers to lift high the name of Christ. In the name of Jesus who has won the victory, Amen.