Last week, the leaders of Ethiopia and Eritrea officially ended an 18-year long ‘state of war’ between the two countries.
Eritrea’s President Isaias Afewerki and Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed signed a declaration during a landmark meeting in Eritrea’s capital Asmara.
A peace deal in 2000 had ended a war in which tens of thousands of people were killed, but normal relations never resumed because Ethiopia refused to accept a ruling that the border town of Badme was part of Eritrea.
But now Ethiopia is recognising Badme as belonging to Eritrea and the countries have agreed to re-establish trade and diplomatic ties.
Impacting Eritrea’s leadership
One trainer, who does not want to be named for security reasons, said the peace between the two countries is a “historic moment” for believers:
“Right now the Eritrean government is very very oppressive, persecuting believers. There are so many of them in prison. This goodwill between the two countries will impact the Eritrean leadership to release some of the prisoners in Eritrea. We are praying that will happen.
Taking Jesus back home
“Eritrea is opening up its borders to Ethiopians. This Wednesday, there will be flights from Addis Ababa to Asmara. That’s very significant, I’m sure many Christians will travel there. My hope is there will be gradual change and then the Eritreans will be free to come directly to Ethiopia.
“There are lots of Eritrean refugees who are living in Ethiopia, I’m sure most of them will return to their country. They fled from their country and many of them have become Christians. They will take Jesus Christ with them back to Eritrea.
“There will be a big spiritual revival eventually, I’m sure the Church will thrive. It’s a historic moment in that country. The Church is growing underground, there are so many believers. People who are escaping Eritrea to Ethiopia, most of them are believers.
Prepared for mission to Muslims
He asked for prayer for Langham Preaching’s work:
“The Eritrean government will come down, just look at Mugabe in Zimbabwe. I see the refugees we are training as the future leaders of the Eritrean Church. I see Langham Preaching’s work as preparing those leaders.
“Eritrea is very close to Arab countries – people can maybe go from Asmara to Saudi Arabia. Maybe the next generation of missionaries will come out of Eritrea to evangelise the Muslim nations. Our work through Langham Preaching trains leaders who will go beyond the borders of Eritrea, to the Middle East to evangelise. Our primary purpose is to serve the people of Eritrea, but we see beyond Eritrea.
“My prayer is for the Church to continue, for God to work in the hearts of the leadership of the Eritrean Government. Our work is not in vain. Eventually we will start a Langham Preaching movement in Eritrea!”
The landmark declaration has come as an answer to many prayers of Christians around the world.
The trainer said he is hopeful for Ethiopia too, since its new Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed was elected in April this year, the first leader from the Oromo ethnic group. Oromo people were at the heart of nearly three years of anti-government protests. He is seen by many as being able to instigate real transformation in Ethiopia.
Langham Scholar Meron Tekle Gebreananaye is from Ethiopia and is currently studying for a PhD at Durham University. She recently requested prayer that “the promising turn in the political situation in our home country will result in sustainable peace and justice for all people”.
She is very thankful that tensions “seem to have abated recently, and serious escalation no longer seems imminent”.
Please keep praying for Ethiopia and Eritrea, and especially Langham Preaching’s work equipping future leaders in these countries. Please also pray for Langham Scholars such as Meron who could have a lasting impact when she returns to Ethiopia after her PhD.