Warriors of Ethiopia
Ethiopian National Missionaries
Heroes of the Gospel in the Omo River Valley
Kingsgrove Press Pty Limited, Australia, 2006, 233 pp.,
Dick McLellan went to Ethipia in 1954. He served with SIM for 23 years, opening up new areas with Ethiopian evengelists in the Omo River Area in the southern part of Ethiopia. Like so many generations before them, they were all there in spiritual darkness, waiting. He continues to return to this area for the encouragement of God's people.
These are the remarkable stories and heroic exploits of national missionaries who have served God faithfully in spite of severe hardship and persecution. It portrays "that intersection between the missionary and those Ethiopian evangelists. It is a brief record of some of these chosen men of God who left their fields, the famiiarity of their culture, the security of their families and who, with Bible and water bottle in hand and confidence in ttheir Saviour, took the message of Christ Jesus over the mountain ranges and beyond the rivers to those who had never hear of Him. It is about their conviction tha people without Christa re trully and eternally lost. It is about their dedication to the One who had said, 'Go! I'll be with you.'" (Foreward)
Here is one story:
Gwobata's son decided to leave his village and go north to where the coffee trader made his fortune. None of his ancestors had ever left the village and his father begged him not to go, saying, "If you go you will never return." Sure enough Gwobata's son fell extremely ill and was eventually directed to the SIM hospital far away in Soddo. He was found to be dying of cancer but no one at the hospital knew where he was from or could speak his language or tell him the Gospel or that he was dying.
The coffee trader who came through once a year had an abcessed tooth and he too came to the hospital at Soddo to have it treated. He was put in the bed next to Gwobata's son, and by God's providence spoke Gwobata's language. He interpreted for the doctors as they explained salvation to the dying young man.
Providentially Joy Ridderhof, the founder of Gospel Recordings, had arrived with a recorder to record Gospel stories in as many languages as possible. They recorded the Gospel stories as repeated back by Gwobata's son before he died.
The recordings were stored for a long time for no one knew what language or people they represented. Twenty years later Gwobata heard the Gospel for the first time through the voice of his long dead son.
"These stories of spiritual warriors -- heroes of faith -- the real 'front-line' missionaries -- some of the Ethiopian evanglists who opened up vast valleys, new villages and unreached language groups of people to the Gospel of Christ challenge us to faithful prayer and total commitment. Often living on small allowances from their home churches, they crossed swollen riviers, climbed steep mountains and trekked long distances over the plains to spread the good news that they had found for themselves -- new life in Jesus Christ.
"Of more than 250 evangelists we knew, that we shared the trail with, with showm we laboured and laughted and talked and prayed, most are still busy for the Lord. Some died of unknown fevers in isolated huts, some died in prison chains, some were martyered --" of whom the world was not worthy" -- losing their lives to fierce warriors whome they longed to win for Jesus. Only the Lord knows the full story of the hardships, pain, suffering and sorrows many of these men went through in their serivdce 'as good soldiers of Jesus Chrsit.' At the command of Chrsit, they went forth as 'lambs among wolves, ' putting their lives 'on the line.' (A Final Word, p. 231)
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