As the war rages on in Ukraine with Russia moving to overthrow the government, there have been many concerns for the people and church there. Currently, there are important ministries that have been active in both countries. No doubt they are praying for the conflict to end and for the ministry to continue. In the meantime, I came across a story that reminds us that God’s work will continue on!
It is easy for us to imagine what will happen to churches and believers throughout the region. I can only believe that there are many who are not only preparing or engaged in battle. Additionally, when life and death are on the line, eternity becomes a reasonable consideration. “What will happen when I die?” “Where will I go?”
The work of God will continue on in spite of the difficult circumstances that they are facing. The work of the Kingdom of God has had many who have opposed it, yet has continued to stay strong. God’s ability to empower the church with faith and courage is abundant. We can be certain that God’s work will continue on! Let me share the story.
There are over sixty references to Ethiopia in the Bible, and Christianity there goes back to the days of Philip in Acts 8. But the modern story of the Ethiopian church also sounds like readings from the book of Acts, especially among the Wallamos. In 1927, the Sudan Interior Mission (SIM) sent missionaries to evangelize this wild tribe, worshipers of Satan. During its annual “Passover” the Wallamos sacrificed a bull to Satan, sprinkling its blood on the doorposts of their houses and serving its raw flesh to every member of their families. The atmosphere smelled of demons.
After several years a small church was established, but missionary labor was interrupted when Mussolini invaded Ethiopia in 1935. When Italian troops reached tribal areas, they demanded SIM leave. The missionaries met a final time with Wallamos believers. When they had arrived, not a single Wallamo had known of Christ. Now after nine years, forty-eight native believers gathered around them. The little church worshiped, wept, and shared the Lord’s Supper. Then the twenty-six SIM missionaries boarded army trucks for evacuation. On April 17, 1937, their first day without missionary support, the little Wallamo church found itself having to stand on its own feet. “We knew God was faithful,” wrote missionary Raymond Davis, “that he was able to preserve what he had begun among the Wallamos. But still, we wondered—if we ever come back, what will we find?”
The invasion of Ethiopia marked the beginnings of World War II, and it wasn’t until July 4, 1943, that the missionaries returned. What they found almost defies belief. The Italian soldiers had tried to stamp out the small church. Church leaders were given one hundred lashes, and one, in particular, was given four hundred. They were unable to lie on their backs for months. Several had died. One of them, Wandaro, beaten in public, preached to the crowds between lashes. Another, Toro, stripped naked in the marketplace and flogged with a hippo-hide whip, bravely shouted out the Gospel. Conversions multiplied, and tribal villages began sending missionaries to other villages.
Instead of forty-eight believers, the returning missionaries now found eighteen thousand.*
Robert J. Morgan, On This Day (Nashville: Nelson, 1997), entry for April 17th.
It is so amazing that in light of the difficult circumstances surrounding the war and opposition to the Gospel, the church flourished! God’s work will continue on as we walk in obedience to His Kingdom’s purposes for our lives. We can trust that he will strengthen us to share the good news that Jesus saves and transforms lives.
May we take a moment to pray for the people of both countries that are affected by this war. Also, let’s pray for the church and ministries that are actively working to give hope, comfort, and good news to people in harm’s way. God is working today and will continue on until Jesus comes back!
It begins with Christ!
If you don’t know Christ as your savior, it all begins with the first step. Committing your life to serve Him is the greatest decision you will make in your life! For more information on serving the Lord: CLICK HERE!
I am on a journey to post 300 blog posts in 365 days. So, join the journey by subscribing to my blog, connecting with my socials, like and commenting on my posts.
Also, go to the beginning of the Journey at this link! Journey to 300~Day 1: New Beginnings
Check out my page of recommended resources. Simply, Click here