The Christian Broadcasting Network


Revival in Ethiopia

By Gary Lane -

Seventeen years of communism, ending in 1991, could not shake Ethiopia's deep-rooted Christian faith. In fact, the church emerged from severe persecution with thousands of new believers. Ethiopia's Christian revival was evident last month during the country's first major crusade in a quarter-century. Four days of meetings in Addis Ababa were led by Texas evangelist Sammy Tippit. The stadium was filled to capacity with 40,000 people crying, shouting, and praising God as hundreds came forward to accept Christ. "Under communism we couldn't dream of such things," said Tippit. "God has expanded our vision." And God is expanding the vision of many Ethiopians as they return to their spiritual roots in Christianity.

Gary Lane, reporter

Ethiopians are seeking an identity -- a direction -- as they approach the new millennium. Their challenge? Will they embrace Islam as it advances across the Dark Continent, or will Ethiopians return to their Christian heritage? Christian voices were nearly silenced in the 1970's and 80's during the brutal Marxist rule of dictator Mengistu Mariam. Christians suffered for their faith. Some were persecuted, jailed, and tortured. Many were forced to worship underground. Ethiopians were plagued by poverty, famine, hunger, and war.

But Mengistu fell from power at the start of this decade. The result? His reign of terror and political persecution has actually spawned spiritual revival. Villagers chase after Ethiopia's latest Christian phenom, 32-year old evangelist, Mohammed Amin. They can tell you all about Mohammed's miracle -- the day Amin was healed of AIDS. Two-and-a-half years ago this former Muslim sheik was confined to an Addis Ababa hospital bed. Mohammed says this medical certificate proves that he was HIV-positive. His weight had dropped to about 80 pounds and sores covered his body. Mohammed was without hope.

Some Christians came and prayed for him and Mohammed said several days later he had a vision that looked like this.

The doctors told me that this was the end of my life. I was just waiting for my life to end, says Mohammed Amin. I believe that it was Jesus and I told him that I was weak and dying here. And Jesus said, 'No, you will live.' When Jesus spoke to me He said, 'Rise up,' and He told me that I would be serving Him.

Mohammed says he converted to Christianity at that moment and, he says, he knew his body was being healed immediately of the deadly AIDS disease. One month later, Mohammed went in for a checkup. He says medical personnel were shocked to report that he was now AIDS-free. Christian evangelist Firew Lemma took Mohammed into his home and cared for him for six months. Firew says he witnessed Mohammed's recovery firsthand.

This was a miracle because I know the first time when he came to me, says Lemma. So it was very, very -- it is a miracle.

Mohammed received pastoral training and discipleship from Lemma and others. He's traveled to villages throughout Ethiopia to tell of his miraculous healing. He's already led nearly 2,000 Muslims and others to Christ. Among them, former Muslim cleric, Jafar Jebel. Jebel had studied Islam in Saudi Arabia and Ethiopia. He taught the Koran for ten years. In more recent years, Jebel says he began to question why his Islamic faith made him feel so miserable.

Every time I was working for Allah, problems were coming one after the other in my life, says Jebel. So that made me very depressed and very much unhappy.

Enter Mohammed Amin. Mohammed felt the time was right to approach his friend Jafar. First, a discussion of theology and answers to some questions. And then Mohammed led Jafar to Christ.

I was filled with the gladness of the Holy Spirit, says Jebel. And I don't know how I can explain but it is really day by day in my life.

Jafar converted to Christianity in November of 1998. His goal is to join Mohammed in a ministry to Muslims.

Half of the Koran talks about Jesus, he says. So I believe that with all of these different experiences that I will bring many Muslims to Jesus Christ. So this is the vision I have for my life.

Mohammed Amin and other evangelists are amazed at the number of Muslims coming to Christianity in Ethiopia. The Ethiopian Evangelical Church is now among the fastest growing in Africa. Since the mid-1980's, the number of evangelical Christians in Ethiopia has doubled -- from 4 million to 8 million. The Evangelical Church's Fellowship of Ethiopia reports that 18,000 people converted to Christianity in 1997, and 100 new churches were planted. Church services are packed. Many attendees stand outside windows and doorways because no room is available inside. This is a church in Woldya, about 150 miles south of Addis Ababa. It's only about two years old. Seven hundred and thirty-five former Muslims have converted to Christianity. They're attending services here.

This is a mother church that is spreading revival throughout Ethiopia. It all began when Mohammed Amin led a Muslim family of eight to Christ in Woldya about two years ago. They began worshipping under this tree then moved to a small building nearby. And today they worship with more than 700 former Muslims in this church building.

And the story is similar in other villages where Mohammed Amin has evangelized. Just three years ago there were no Christians in the village of Orga. Today 404 Muslim converts now worship in this small building. Strategic World Impact, the SWI ministry, is now helping to construct a church building here. Mohammed Amin says his outreach to Ethiopian Muslims will continue even though his ministry has faced many difficulties. Irate Muslims have beaten him. He's been jailed and has even received death threats. Mohammed says he's unafraid. God will protect him.

And we give glory to God for all the things that have happened, he concludes.


  • Translate
  • Print Page

Are you seeking answers in life? Are you hurting?
Are you facing a difficult situation?

A caring friend will be there to pray with you in your time of need.

Do You Know Jesus
Grow In Your Faith

Need Prayer?

Call 1-800-700-7000
Email your prayer request

Email iconSign up for E-mail Updates Full List