Tuesday, April 24

What is happening at Holle Sire

Holle Sire is located in the Western part of Ethiopia 130 miles from Addis Ababa, the capital. The regional government considers it as the remotest part of the region. All the community in the area are farmers.

In the area there is one wizard. He is worshiped by most of the people. He almost rules the area. He has 12 wives and one of them is his own sister. He has more than one hundred children. Currently such witch doctor activity is viewed as an Oromo traditional religion and is authorized by the Oromia regional government, by calling it waqa feta. It is considered as one of the religions like Christianity and Islam.

The wizard, by having political support, economical power and religious followers in the area, has become like a king of the area. Two months ago I was there to visit churches. We have six churches in that area. One of them was facing persecution at that time. They received land from the local government and started building a church. While they were in the middle of building, the government officials came to them and commanded them to stop work. They even ordered them to dismantle what they had already built. When they asked why, the officials told them that it is the territory of the wizard. Fortunately I was able to speak to the district officials in the village. They had a big meeting with the village leaders. I had a good discussion with them. After that they allowed them to continue building the church and stopped the wizard from bothering Christians in the area. But actually he continued his bad activity against church plantings.

Three years ago God opened the door wide to planting churches in the middle of this situation and to winning people for Christ. God has used people of the area for the evangelization of the community. One person came to Addis Ababa to seek a better life. He was hired as a guard in one of our local churches, Mekanisa Addis Kidan Baptist Church. Our Lord Jesus Christ touched his life and he became converted. God also burdened him to evangelize his community. He decided to spend his off times from his work with his village people. While doing that on several trips the community observed his life change and he got their attention. He preached the gospel and won energetic passionate leaders of the community. Currently there are six churches around the area with a total membership of 700 baptized, 1500 children, as well as many non-baptized people.

Abebe Lechisa, the chair person of the village, was one of the first converted people. He has taken the lead in the evangelization of the area. He is not only the leader of the community, but he is also a man who is in a good economic situation. He has a grain grinding mill which works by diesel. Since the day of his conversion he has given all his life for Christ. The church started gathering in his house. Whenever guests went to that community he is the one who hosts the guests in a good way. He travels in the neighborhood and tells the gospel to his people, encourages new believers, and protects the churches from any attack. In my observation he is a key person for that area work.

Satan is working currently to paralyze the work of Holle Sire. As a strategy he targets brother Abebe to discourage him. Ten days ago they had a spiritual conference and a wedding in a neighboring church of Holle Sire. All believers of the six local churches gathered in that church. They invited all the non-believing community and all attended the program. Not only the believers, but also all the non-believing community members were so excited about the conference. All the community came, even the main people of the wizard. Abebe was the leader of all this activity. On the last day, last Thursday, they all went to their houses. Abebe arrived at 9:00 pm. He was tired so he was quickly in a deep sleep.

Abebe heard loud shouts around 3:00 am. Since he was tired he felt as if he was in a dream. The shouting increased. He heard a big knock on his door. He woke up and jumped up from his bed. His father called him and informed him that something was burning around their grinding mill. When they arrived there, they found all the community trying to stop the fire. Everything was almost burned up by the fire by that time. They tried with all their effort to stop it but they couldn’t do it since there is no source of water in the village. The fire burned the grinding mill and the property. They lost everything in a few hours. The machine, the house and other properties are worth about 65,000 Ethiopian Birr which is $7,500. They are farmers so it is a huge amount of money for them.

I was there yesterday to visit and encourage them and all the believers in the area. Both Abebe and his father said, “It is not the property we feel sad about but why the people do this while we are doing good for them.”

All the community gathered together and discussed it. All of them were weeping and were saying, “It is not only Abebe and his father’s property. It is ours. People who did this are our enemies.”

We encouraged them with the word of God to be strong in the Lord while they are in such a hard situation. We also encouraged them that God could return what they lost in his own ways. Their plan now is to reinstall another machine if God provides a way and continue their commitment for the Lord. Abebe suspects the wizard did it by hiring another person.

I asked them to make a brief survey about the price to reinstall the machine. The total price needed is 30,000 Ethiopian Birr which is $3500.

Encouraging Abebe is encouraging Holle Sire area work, hastening the evangelization of that area, and delivering all that area from the bondage of the devil. Pray for him, tell other people about him, and do whatever God shows you to encourage him.

Ermias Zenebe
General Secretary, Ethiopian Addis Kidan Baptist Church.