This week, please pray with us for Wubshet Teklewold in Ethiopia.
Home to nearly 118 million people from over 80 ethnic groups, Ethiopia is Africa’s second most populous country after Nigeria. Around 68% of Ethiopians are Christians and 31% are Muslims. According to the 2007 Census, over 34% of Ethiopians are ethnically Oromo, 27% Amhara, 6% Somali, 6% Tigrayan, and 4% Sidama. In northern Ethiopia, a civil war between Tigray regional leaders and the federal government has left hundreds of thousands dead, millions displaced, and many more traumatized by rape and threatened by famine. Recently, in a separate attack in western Ethiopia, the rebel Oromo Liberation Army reportedly killed hundreds of Amhara civilians. In the east, Ethiopia faces Sudan in a border dispute that has escalated after seven Sudanese soldiers and a civilian were killed. Please pray for our Lord to comfort and uphold all who dwell in danger. Pray for the Church in Ethiopia to be sowers of peace, overcoming evil with good.
Wubshet is pursuing a PhD in Intercultural Studies (Islamic Studies) from Africa International University (a client of the Vital SustainAbility Initiative) in Kenya. His dissertation investigates the influence of political Islam on contemporary Ethiopia and interfaith relations. Raised in a devout Muslim family in a Muslim-majority region of Ethiopia, Wubshet came to the Lord 25 years ago, and has since planted and pastored multiple churches in areas where Christians remain a minority. Through his research, Wubshet seeks to foster peaceful coexistence, religious tolerance, and neighborly understanding and cooperation between Christians and Muslims.
While completing his PhD, Wubshet serves as Head of Muslim Outreach for the Ethiopian Kale Heywet (Word of Life) Church, an Evangelical denomination with 11 million members worldwide. He has also served for over a decade as the denomination’s Director of Training and Outreach. In addition, Wubshet teaches at Evangelical Theological College (a client of the Vital SustainAbility Initiative) in Addis Ababa. Wubshet and his wife Adanech have three daughters – Tseganesh, Beimnet, and Rediet – and a son, Natnael.
Wubshet shares the following message:
I thank you so much for your prayers and for always standing beside me. I really appreciate you from the bottom of my heart.
About My Studies and Ministry
I serve in the Ethiopian Kale Heywet Church headquarters, leading the Muslim Outreach Program and providing training for ministry with Muslim-background believers (MBB).
I’m pursuing a PhD in Intercultural studies, with an emphasis on Islam, at Africa International University in Nairobi. My dissertation is an “Assessment of the Influence of Oromo Kharijite Muslims: Towards Exploration of Contemporary Christian-Muslim Encounter in Asandabo Town, Ethiopia.”
I’m teaching part-time at Evangelical Theological College and other theological schools in Ethiopia, as well as at the Butajira MBB training center. Training and mobilizing churches for sending MBB missionaries are my ministry priority. In the past six years, we’ve sent 700 MBB Missionaries to Muslim-dominated areas of Ethiopia and neighboring countries. Thousands of former Muslims have come to Christ and hundreds of churches have been planted. Really, God is moving and in charge in our ministry!
I thank God for my wife Adanech, and my children, Beimnet, Rediet, Natnael, and Tseganesh, as they’re always beside me and encouraging my ministry.
The conflict between the Ethiopian federal government and the administration of the northern Tigray region has continued, resulting in the highest levels of political violence in Ethiopia since the end of the Ethiopian-Eritrean War in 2000.
In November 2021, Ethiopia’s civil conflict passed the one-year mark. The “quick victory” promised by both sides has now dragged into a second year with daily clashes and many high-fatality incidents of violence against civilians. Because of war between the federal government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front and Tigray Defense Forces, so many from the Tigray, Amhara, and Afar regions have suffered. Thousands of civilians have been killed and millions have been displaced. Civil infrastructure in several regions have also been devastated by looting, shelling, and destruction resulting from ethnic clashes.
Last month, more than 700 innocent civilians were brutally killed in Wollega, Oromia in western Ethiopia. The most recent violence targeted Wollo Amhara Muslims. It was a shocking and brutal incident that also attacked innocent women and children.
Fighting between the federal government and guerilla groups (Oromo Liberation Army/Oromo Liberation Front) is still going on in western Oromia, Wollega, eastern Oromia, and Guji. Likewise, anti-government insurgents from the Benshangul-Gumuz region have been active, despite significant attempts by the Ethiopian military to stabilize the area.
The rest of this year is likely to be both fruitful and difficult for Ethiopia. Millions of hectares of land have been harvested, billions of trees have been planted, and the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) has been filled for the second time. The work of evangelism and church planting is moving forward miraculously, but conflict in the country is deeply rooted and complex. Though the government has announced a national dialogue, finding solutions to Ethiopia’s many conflicts will be a long and slow process requiring input from dozens of political actors with competing stories.
1. Please pray for Ethiopia as a nation that has been going through unceasing ethnic clashes for almost four years, with the media and politicians aggravating conflict.
2. Please pray for peaceful negotiations between the federal government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front.
3. Pray for peace among Ethiopia, Sudan, and Egypt. They are still looking for a binding agreement on the filling of the Renaissance Dam. As Ethiopia continues filling the dam, Egypt and Sudan may strike.
4. Pray for continued missions to Muslims, church planting efforts, and the perseverance of Muslim-background believers. Because of conversions, there is persecution and attacks on our churches and MBBs in radical Muslim-dominated areas.
5. Pray for my studies as I am planning to defend my proposal via Zoom in August.
4. Pray for my family to grow spiritually and in their ministries.
Thank you so much for your support and encouragement. We are also praying for you, your families, and your ministries.