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Flickr / Rod Waddington

Seven Christians were recently charged with holding "illegal meetings in secret locations" -- a charge they deny with the explanation that they have fulfilled the legal requirements. The men were released on bail after a court hearing on May 11th. Local church leaders worked together to pay the necessary bail charge of 5,000 Birr (approximately $300 CAD) each, after police were granted another week to conclude investigations.

The believers were first arrested on April 25th following a service in which 40 new Christians were baptized. They insist the church had all the necessary approvals for the gathering. During the raid, an estimated 15 police officers surrounded the church's meeting place, arrested the three church leaders, and chased after four of the newly baptized Christians who had fled out of fear. The four attempting to avoid further persecution are from Muslim backgrounds and had faced pressure from their families to return to Islam. They were later arrested at a local bus station. Police also confiscated documents providing details on church membership. Church leaders say they are concerned the incident may lead to even greater pressure on the already vulnerable community of new Christians.

Please bring these fellow believers to our Lord in prayer, asking that their faith be strengthened in spite of the hardships they are presently facing. Request that the charges brought against those who were arrested be dropped. Especially intercede on behalf of the converts who are also facing familial pressure because of their love for Jesus. May each of their unsaved family members personally experience a life-transforming encounter with the Risen Saviour who longs to reveal His tremendous love for them, as well as His wonderful plan of salvation. Finally, pray that God will greatly bless and encourage His growing church in Ethiopia, mightily using it to reach many others with the Gospel message.