Meet Hannah...Will you help us share the Gospel?
Hannah is a 20+ year old Ethiopian who grew up in a city in Northern Ethiopia. Her family is strongly Ethiopian Orthodox and her father is an important and powerful man in his community and the Orthodox church.
Hannah graduated from high school and began studying at a local university, majoring in computer science. While there, she came in contact with another student who was an evangelical Christian. Over time, Hannah came to believe in Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior and was baptized.
She did not want to tell her family for fear she would be severely punished. She studied the Bible with her friend at home, using an old Bible that had sat in her family’s bookcase for many years, unopened.
As she became more knowledgeable in the Bible, her old habits melted away and she began to demonstrate Christian living. One tangible sign of the change was that she replaced all the old worldly music on her phone with evangelical music. She never played it around her family because she knew it would cause suspicion. Eventually, her younger brother got hold of her phone and recognized the music. He told his mother. Her mother was incensed. Hannah was frightened because she said her mother was a mean woman. She immediately started abusing Hannah, demanding that Hannah quit all connections with evangelism.
Hannah was so convinced of her faith, that she knew she couldn’t quit going to church and studying the Bible. Finally, her father became aware of the strife between mother and daughter. When he investigated, the younger brother told the father about the music. This caused the father to begin to beat Hannah with a heavy belt and a rod. He and his wife were choking her until she collapsed when a neighbor knocked on the door of their gate, causing the parents to stop the beating.
After this, Hannah was severely restricted in her activities and was forced to be “baptized in holy water” repeatedly and forced to drink it in order to become “holy” again. Her mother told her she could not stay in her house if she continued as an evangelical and threatened to kill her. Hannah knew she had to escape.
Hannah found a way to escape, but was caught and severely beaten again, to the point where she could not walk. Later she found a way to escape and made her way to the university, where a like-minded lady instructor took her in. She made it almost to graduation under the protection of the lady, but was one day confronted by two policemen while she was on her way to class. She wasn’t too worried about this, because it would mean she could safely petition the court for her religious rights (Ethiopian law grants people religious freedom)
“BUT” the policeman turned her over to her father, rather than taking her to jail. This began a whole new reign of terror. She was beaten and tortured. They took her to a ranking Orthodox priest who was filled with spirits. He tried to brainwash her with statements like: “Hannah, you and your father have the same blood, right? Yes. So if that if that is true, then Jesus and Mary have the same blood, right? Yes. So it was really Mary’s blood that was shed on the cross that saves, right?
Hannah tried to go along and play like she believed, but the mother kept saying, “you are lying. The spirits are telling me you aren’t a believer”.
Now, Hannah was not allowed any time alone, because the spirits told the mother she was praying silently to Jesus. Even when she went to the rest room, someone was with her. She was not allowed any quiet time. Someone was always keeping her involved in activity.
At one time during this persecution, things got so bad that she asked her father to just shoot her because she could not give up Jesus. Her father remarked that he wouldn’t waste a bullet on the likes of her. Her aunt then chimed in that if this continued, the would break all the bones in her legs and leave her to sit in one place in the house for the rest of her life.
She was repeatedly subjected to holy water baptism to purify her. They would take her to the spring of holy water where she would enter a booth, disrobe and enter the pool of water. Always when she emerged, her father and brother were there to whisk her home.
One time when she was “bathing in the pool”, her father and brother got engaged in a project of hauling rocks by hand, for the new construction. When she emerged from the baptism cubicle, her father and brother were busy, and not right there. She recognized the opportunity and slipped away in the throngs of people. She made it to the road and hired a taxi. She had somehow managed to hide a 5-birr bill (worth about 25 cents at the time) in her clothing. She made it to the university, where her Christian friends protected her. They moved her from house to house to avoid the father’s agents.
Finally, the father came to one of the friends and told him he would kill the young man’s mother if he didn’t help him find Hannah. With that news, the Christian friends disguised Hannah and sent her to another church in a distant city.
While in the new city, Hannah tried to register for her religious rights, but was told she would have to go back to her home town to do that. So, after a while, she secretively went back and went to the court building. No sooner had she entered the building than someone recognized her and sent word to the father.
The father came with a throng of family and friends to capture his daughter, but Hannah escaped with the help of a Christian friend who had a car. She went back to her new city.
Today (5 years later) Hannah is a church worker and a seminary student who desires to take the Gospel back to her home town and beyond She still does not communicate with her family, even though they know where she is. She went to visit her mother in the hospital once, but the mother said “I cannot talk to you” as she was shedding tears.
Hannah is engaged to marry the man who brought her to the truth.
Help us share the Gospel with others like Hannah by clicking on this link or copying the link to your browser... https://www.gofundme.com/discipleship-in-ethiopia