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The destroyed church in Harar.
Photo: International Christian Concern

Local authorities in the Muslim-majority city of Harar destroyed a church building on November 28th. Heaven's Light Church, which served approximately 100 congregants, had ministered in the area for five years. At last report, these Christians are now meeting in the homes of individual believers.

In the days preceding the destruction, officials forcibly removed the church's exterior sign and warned believers not to worship there, citing complaints by a local Muslim. Authorities also told church members who had previously congregated at the church "not to gather under what remains of the church building." Furthermore, Christian leaders who protested the mistreatment were illegally detained, released only after community members called for their immediate release.

According to religious freedom advocates, there are numerous ongoing battles over land rights occurring between churches and local governments across the country. Efforts by the Muslim-majority populations to "eliminate the public presence" of churches has resulted in the forceful closure, destruction and demolition of several church buildings in recent years.

In the aftermath of the destruction of their church building, may these Ethiopian brothers and sisters in Christ be strengthened and encouraged through the abiding presence of the Holy Spirit. Intercede for these dear believers, requesting that another suitable building will soon be found. Until that time, pray that each one of them would be able to continue meeting together for worship without any further opposition. Also remember the authorities and local Muslims involved in this case, asking God to use the witness of His children in Harar to draw many to our Saviour and Lord Jesus.

Current Ministry Project

VOMC has partnered with a ministry to strengthen the witness of the local church by equipping evangelists with the means to build sustainability through the development of a small business in a tentmaker project.

Project Fund: Relief and Development

Country Information

Designation
Persecuted

Population
110,871,031 (July 2021 est.)

Ethnicity (%)
Oromo (35.8), Amara (24.1), Somali (7.2), Tigray (5.7), Sidama (4.1), Gamo-Goffa-Dawuro (2.8), Gurage (2.8), Welaita (2.3), Afar (2.2), Other (13)

Religion (%)
Ethiopian Orthodox (43.8), Muslim (31.3), Protestant (22.8), Catholic (0.7), traditional (.6), other (0.8)

Leader
President Sahle-Work Zewde (2018)

Government type
Federal parliamentary republic

Legal system
Civil law system

Source: CIA World Factbook

Pray for Ethiopia

Ask the Lord to direct Ethiopia's governmental leaders as they continue to work toward solutions to the ongoing religious tensions in the country. While this is taking place, pray that His people will not become weary in doing what is right. Rather, may they be further strengthened and encouraged to boldly proclaim the Gospel, overcoming hatred with the powerful love of Christ.

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