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News / Thoughts

Ethiopia: I will endure

June 1, 2015

Jamel’s parents died when he was really young. He was sent to live with a foster family in a small village in the Southern Oromia state of Ethiopia. His foster father is a Muslim extremist, but Jemal became a Christian in elementary school.

“After I became a Christian, my life changed. I had peace of mind which I have never experienced before. I became very joyful, and stopped fighting with people like before,” he says.

His foster parents hated the fact that Jemal had become a Christian. When he wouldn’t give up his faith in Christ, his foster mother refused to give him food. The family insulted and cursed him, tore up his Bible and beat him. They even threatened to behead him.

They also seized the 2 hectares of land that Jemal had inherited from his mother. He has tried to reclaim it through the courts, but has had no success, because of his foster family’s good standing with members of the judicial system.

Eventually, the family chased Jemal away and he was forced to wander the streets.

“There was a time I wished I could take revenge on my foster family because of the injustices I endured. However, the prayers and advice of a compassionate Christian brother enabled me to develop a heart of forgiveness. Jesus is love. He did nothing when He was beaten and crucified, knowing that His sacrifice would give me life. So, I am determined to endure every persecution to glorify the One that loved me this much.”

Jesus is love. He did nothing when He was beaten and crucified, knowing that His sacrifice would give me life.

‘I promised to never stop worshipping him’

The Christian who was discipling Jemal also gave him with three meals a day. Jemal grew in his knowledge of Christ and started ministering at the local Church. He also moved into a small room in the church compound because he couldn’t afford to live elsewhere. But for the young man, life seemed very hard.

“At the time of the harvest, I had to go and help the family who provides me with meals. When I saw the children of the family wearing better clothes than me, I felt sorry for myself. I had only one piece of clothing that I had to wear over and over. I thought, ‘If I had land to plough, I could have provided for myself.’ When I got back home, I cried bitterly.

“But then I started praying to God asking Him to help me remain strong no matter the suffering. I promised to never stop worshiping Him. After only a week, the Lord sent Open Doors. They came to meet me and told me the ministry was going to provide support for me.”

Thanks to the prayers and support of brothers and sisters like you, Open Doors was able to help Jemal with emergency funds. This helped him to buy a few pieces of clothing, and also helped him to get desperately needed bedding, kitchen utensils and medicine. It also enabled him to continue his secondary school education, which is a dream come true for him.

‘Please pray for me…’

Jemal has since turned 19. He remains passionate about serving God wholeheartedly and preaching the Gospel. God has also given him a gift for writing songs, which Jemal uses to bless the local church.

“The different teachings I am getting from my local church and the love and concern from my pastor are bearing good fruit in my life.”

Unfortunately, Jemal’s foster family continues to harass him. They have falsely accused him of threatening them. However, God has protected him against these accusations and the court has dismissed all charges. Despite their continuing attacks, Jemal prays for their salvation.

“Starting faith is one thing, but finishing it until Christ comes is the difficult thing. Please pray for me to be strong and be a faithful until Jesus comes or calls me home.”

*name changed for security reasons


Say ‘Yes’: Support your family in the persecuted church…

Say ‘Yes’ and start a journey with your persecuted family. Commit to pray and speak up for people like Jemal. We’ll give you help to do just that – by sending you some awesome free resources (like our ‘Ten Steps’ guide) that will help you learn from your persecuted family.

Speak out…

You can email your recently elected MP to welcome them to parliament and ask them to make sure freedom of religion and belief is firmly on the agenda.

Please pray…

  • That Jemal will stand firm in his faith
  • That he will continue to know God’s great love and provision in his life
  • For Open Doors staff and local pastors as they support Jemal and others like him in Ethiopia
  • That Jemal’s foster family will come to know Jesus, and that one day Jemal and his family will worship Him together.

We support people who are beaten, tortured,
imprisoned, falsely accused, and hated simply for following Jesus.