As my family and I were celebrating the peace treaty between Ethiopia and Eritrea the other day we talked about some of our friends who are Eritrean and who have families they haven’t seen in more than 20 years and what this means for them. We’ve been rejoicing over the news that around 400 evangelical believers were released from prison and asked one another if our dear friends husband was one of them. Our friend was lucky enough to make it out of Eritrea but her husband and kids were left there, he was imprisoned for his faith in Christ Jesus and he took his sentencing as his ministry to those in prison, she on the other hand has been on a journey of rebuilding a life destroyed by war and trying to find her kids whom she was separated with in refugee camps.
Two days after finding out all this good news, I saw a video of a supposed “prophet” who traveled from Ethiopia to Eritrea on THE FIRST flight out there once the peace treaty was signed and he apparently preached on the streets (had a crusade). The video was excruciating to watch as he was yelling and crying out loud as people around him were saying yes and amen. In my head I’m thinking, wait why are you there in a country that’s been closed for missions and hasn’t been allowed to openly practice faith for decades and what is your yelling going to produce? Really, do people think those who have been paying with their lives, for the spread of the Gospel for more than 20 years need a so called prophet to make mockery out of their faith in public 2-3 days after the government signed a peace treaty? Really???? Where is the common sense in this??? What does one’s mega phone screaming of Jesus saves going to produce in the lives of those needing to hear the good news?? Please someone help me understand…..???? WHAT ARE YOU DOING!!
Let me break it down for you:
1) For those who are still in prison or recently released, their reality is that their wives/husbands & kids are scattered around the globe in refugee camps and they still need to find a way to connect with them, and figure a way out to rebuild their lives. Please don’t make their lives even more difficult by your immature and impulsive actions?
2) For those who have been quietly worshiping God in underground churches, they still have a long way to go in order to find a middle ground with the government to be allowed to gather and worship in public, LEGALLY and SAFELY. Your actions are only going to raise a flag to the government that Ethiopian prosperity gospel is going to take over Eritrea as well, there fore they should probably delay their public gathering.
3) For those who are seeking and searching for truth, they need to hear the Gospel from someone who can teach them the journey of this suffering filled life called christianity. Being a student of the life and death of Jesus Christ is not glamorous as the so called prophets would make it look. It is painful on this side of heaven, and one that costs ones life. It costed Jesus his life, and his disciples theirs, and our Eritrean brothers and sisters theirs. Don’t make a mockery of the Lord, He is not man to be mocked.
4) The Eritrean Church wrote a very polite” letter to Ethiopian Evangelicals with a message that basically says “thanks for coming and we love you but please don’t come back again, we have enough of our problems to deal with don’t add fire to the flame”. My gosh, can we wake up and respect the wishes of the Eritrean Church, let them lead the way and ask how you can help make their lives easier. Don’t push your own agenda of prosperity and fame….please in the name of God I beg you! Let’s back off!
Ethiopia has enough of a prosperity gospel plague that has taken over the minds and souls of our people and we need to do a lot of healing, let us not spread it to the rest of the continent, especially one that is not ready to deal with outside problems yet…let our brothers and sisters breath, let them taste freedom at least for a day and pick up the pieces. Let them seek God and ask Him where he would have them go, and let us ask how we can support them and come along side of them. We have so much to learn, let us be quick to listen and slow to speak. May God give us wisdom and discernment to be involved in a way that will only glorify Christ and bless our Eritrean brothers and sisters.