Thank you for praying for the pastors of Arequipa. They need your prayers. They face persecution for their beliefs every day. After talking with some of the pastors individually, I realize that the majority of them are going through very trying times now and many of them seem to be a little disheartened and their faith is starting to lag a bit. Although the group was small, we had a wonderful Pastor’s Meeting this month.
Now I understand why the Holy Spirit very clearly told me to share about faith in difficult circumstances and trying times. I want to share one true story I also shared with the pastors and I pray that it will bless you and encourage you in your faith walk with God.
Wallamo Faith Story
In 1928 the Sudan Interior Mission sent the first missionaries to the Wallamo tribe of Ethiopia. They faced a difficult task, for the Wallamos were Satan worshipers. On the first day of the year the tribe performed a ceremony resembling the Old Testament Passover but that was, in reality, a sacrifice to the devil. A bull was sacrificed, its blood was smeared on the doorposts of each house, and a drop of blood was placed on each family member. The ceremony ended with the head of the household on his knees praying to Satan. Then everyone ate raw meat. Wealthy Wallamos were slave owners. If a slave owner decided his slaves had had enough children, he would have all further babies born to them buried alive.
By 1930 the Ethiopian government was attempting to stop the infanticide and slavery among the Wallamos. In 1935 Emperor Haile Selassie I was in the process of trying to modernize his nation when Italian troops under Mussolini invaded. Italian troops had attacked once before in 1896, but that time Ethiopia had overpowered them. That humiliating defeat marked the first time in history that an African nation had defeated a European invader. Now Mussolini was determined to avenge that defeat. This time the Ethiopians were no match for the well-equipped Italian army. They fought courageously, but in May 1936 the capital of Addis Ababa fell. The Italian army advanced into the tribal areas, demanding that the missionaries leave. On April 16,1937, the day before the missionaries to the Wallamo left, they shared the Lord’s Supper with the believers. When the missionaries had first arrived, there were no believers in the tribe. Now, nine years later, there were forty-eight. The next day Italian army trucks took the twenty-six missionaries and their children to Addis Ababa for evacuation. As the trucks pulled away, the missionaries wondered if they would ever be able to return and what they would find if they did. With the missionaries gone, the Italians tried to stamp out the fledgling church. Many church leaders were given one hundred lashes, and one was given four hundred. After the lashings they could not lie on their backs for months, and three died. Toro, a leader in the Wallamo church, was able to stay in hiding for six months before he was finally captured. He was given forty lashes. Then an Italian officer wearing hobnailed boots jumped up and down on his chest, nearly crushing his rib cage. Later as he lay immobile in his prison cell, he saw a vision of Jesus,, who said to him, “Do not be afraid, You are my child.” After a slow recovery, Toro was released from prison, only to be arrested again when he resumed preaching. This time he and other church leaders were taken to the marketplace, stripped naked, and each given more that one hundred lashes. Back in jail, Toro’s Italian captors taunted him saying, “Where is your God who can deliver you from us? You’ll never get out of here alive.” Hardly able to speak, Toro whispered that God could deliver him “if he chooses-and if not, he has promised to
take me to heaven to be with him there.” Later, Toro and his fellow believers were praying when a fierce thunderstorm descended upon the prison, the gale-force winds literally blew the roof off. Torrents of water separated the mud walls from the foundation. Most of the non-Christian prisoners escaped. The frightened jailers were convinced the storm had come in answer to the prisoners’ prayers. “Ask your
God to withhold his anger, “ they begged Toro, “and we will release you.” They kept their word and released him. Finally on July 4, 1943, the missionaries were able to return to the Wallamo. During the six years that they were gone, the forty-eight believers had multiplied to eighteen thousand.
May God bless you as you walk in faith this week. If you would like to help support this pastor’s monthly meeting, please contact us right away. We are hoping to advertise the meetings so that more pastors can know about them, but that takes money so we need your help. Thank you!