Nigusse….A Special Privilege & Responsibility
In 1975 a little boy was born in central Ethiopia. He was surrounded by people who believed that Mohammed was the last & greatest prophet from God. But his father & mother were followers of Jesus Christ. The spiritual ground of this place has always been very hard. Missionaries worked there for 10 years without successfully planting a church. But 3 Ethiopians moved there & started the church that exists today. Now there are many churches established in this area, but there continues to be great persecution of the believers.
The name of this place is Alaba. And the name of the little boy, who has now become a strong man, is Nigusse.
While in his teens, Nigusse’s heart was touched strongly by the love of God. This was God’s grace at work. Nigusse became a leader in the church, attending Bible school and then earning his bachelor’s degree in the capital. He graduated top of his class. While many who graduate from advanced education remain in the capital city, Nigusse returned to his home district to work in difficult circumstances.
For the past 5 years he has been head of the rural Bible school in Alaba, and he has served as “pastor” of the main (mother) church, and he has supervised the rural evangelists sent by the mother church into the outlaying districts. Many, many times he has had to place his own life between aggressive Muslims and his fellow Christians & co-workers.
In Fall, 2010, severe persecution broke out in one of the rural towns. Christians woke up to find notices posted on their doors. The notice read “Convert to Islam or leave town.” That day the evangelist from the mother church was beaten & the Christians were threatened in the streets. “This is a town for Muslims! You must become a Muslim if you want to live here!”
Nigusse & other church elders travelled to this town to seek peace with the Muslims. As they entered the town, the vehicle was stoned; all windows were broken. The people reached thru the broken windows and began beating the elders. It was a pure miracle that the elders were able to escape.
In the following months, Christians around the world began to pray seriously for the Alaba church. Voice of the Martyrs and other organizations reported what was happening; even FoxNews had an article on the events unfolding in Alaba. The mother church sought legal action. Ethiopia’s constitution guarantees freedom of religion; it is the right of any person, regardless of their religion to live anywhere in Ethiopia.
During these legal proceedings, Nigusse represented the church, so he became the target of the Muslims. For months he was hunted; he could not go outside his home without being surrounded by Christians for protection. Once, he went to meet a special speaker at a bus stop, only to find the speaker had been ambushed. For 4 days he was held without food or water; the Muslims were trying to use him as bait to get Nigusse. Eventually, the ambushed man was dumped by the river for the Christians to collect. Thankfully, he was unhurt except for emotional trauma & dehydration.
Such has been the life of Nigusse. Faithfully serving in difficult situations, though a thousand invitations were coming to serve in other places…with a better salary, easier circumstances, more prestige.
But Nigusse stayed faithful at the difficult work.
Then, in January, 2011, God spoke to a couple on the Hill. “Bring Nigusse here to study. Prepare him for work in the broader church of Ethiopia. He has proven himself faithful.”
And so began the long, difficult job of paperwork! First, the blessing of the Alaba church elders was sought; it was readily given. Second, the application to a seminary here had to be processed; it was accepted, along with a full-tuition scholarship. Third, the process of gaining our government’s permission to enter the USA. Finally, the arrangement of travel & orientation to the USA.
It has been a long road, but by the grace of God, Nigusse has landed! At 4:22pm today his plane touched down at RDU airport. Thirty folk came to greet him at the airport, waving banners & balloons. The high shrill of the Ethiopian celebration call came out across the airport. Hugs, claps, kisses….the sights & sounds of love. Most who came to greet Nigusse have met him in Ethiopia. To date, folks from Bethel Hill Baptist Church have sent 4 groups to serve the Ethiopian church; a 5th group is preparing to go in November. The bond of love is strong between the Lord’s church in Ethiopia and His church on the Hill.
If God is willing, the next 3 years will find Nigusse living at Rosewood Farm, home of Dave & BeckyLynn Black. He will be working for his Master’s degree in Advanced Biblical Studies at Southeastern Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, NC. While here, he will be speaking & sharing in many churches, including those who have participated in the Ethiopia work. (If your church would like him to come, please contact us at the church email…..firstname.lastname@example.org.)
These past 6 months have been lots of work! Obedience requires energy. It is a choice to allocate resources in the direction of the Master. But what He commands, He also supplies.
And today is a day of celebrating His wonderful provision of all things necessary to obey His command.
As our internet family, will you join us in praising His Name, for His love, for His direction, for His word, for His provision…..and most of all, for the privilege of participating in His Kingdom!