We met Aleymatu (page 17) in Ethiopia. She is the mother of Ayalkebetz, her
only son, born to her when she was only 15. She raised him as a single mother
and as you can imagine, her choice to keep her baby came at a great cost for an
uneducated, single, young girl. All her life’s time, treasure, and talent, was spent
on raising her son. In sum, he was her great treasure.
He grew up, married, and gave Aleymatu two beautiful grandchildren.
Unfortunately, Ethiopia’s terrible economy pushed him to leave Ethiopia and
migrate to Europe. The only problem was that he had to go through ISIS controlled
Libya to reach a better life.
His life was taken on April 19, 2015, as he and 32 other Ethiopians were beheaded
by ISIS soldiers on the shore of the Mediterranean in Libya. His wife found
out that he was among the 33 beheaded martyrs when she saw his face while
watching the ISIS propaganda video of the incident at an internet cafe.
Months later, when we met with Aleymatu in Ethiopia and discussed what had
happened to her son and the after-effects in her life, she said something that was
incredibly striking, that rings in my ears.“God is the one who makes known our story. God is great for us and I testify to His goodness!”
Aleymatu is in the midst of intense pain, like nothing she has ever experienced before. I picture her speaking these words
above, the rain lashing her face, as raging flood waters rush by her and lap at her feet as she stands on the small circle of
land where her home once stood. All that’s left of her home is one great corner post, which she clings to as she cries out, face
raised to heaven with tears mixing with the rain. She shouts, “This great tree, sunk deep into the ground, will hold me and I
will not be washed away. It is secure and will hold me even if everything else washes away in this flood of evil.”
While this picture exists only in my mind, I think it captures the essence of her heart and mind. Her declaration hints at the
great secret of persecution. That is, persecution (or great pain) causes you to lose your “investment” in this world and its
system so that if you respond rightly, it causes you to go “all in” with God. This is at the heart of our Christian walk and the
path God is taking you and I on. You see it over and over in Scripture but I always go to Jesus’ challenge to the rich young
ruler who was asking for a North star to get to the land of eternal life.
“‘If you want to (find eternal life) go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven;
and then, come, follow Me.’ But when the young man heard this, he went away grieved and in much distress, for he
had great possessions” Matthew 19: 21-22 (NKJV and Amplified Bible).
Most of the time you and I (like the rich young ruler) have one foot in the Kingdom and one foot in the world. We love the
Lord and want to follow Him wholeheartedly but the world calls to us. It acts as some cosmic venus spy trap that mimics the
color and aroma of life but only yields death.
We fear the future and the now, and see ourselves as alone and the only maker of our destiny. Therefore, we seek life from
the false gods of relationship, money, power, sex, career, hobbies, intellectual pursuits and a thousand other small false gods.
When we are lucky enough to have the great teacher Pain come into our life, we have the chance to awaken to truth. For
when the flood waters are raging, all has been washed away, then we can see clearly that the only thing that remains is the
tree to which we must cling with all our life. Then, like Aleymatu, we can see clearly and declare, “God is the one who makes
known my story. God is great for me and I will testify to His goodness!”
Please join us as we bandage and build Aleymatu and other members of His persecuted Church. I think you will find, like me,
that they are worth your time, treasure and talent. Your donations will be used efficiently, effectively, and ethically. I promise!
International Christian Concern http://www.persecution.org
Bus pass carrying 65 year old disciple of Jesus Christ. Member of Covenant Protestant Reformed Church, Ballymena. Married to Marianna. Son Joseph at home. Two daughters Marie Isabel and Kirsty in England. Enjoys keeping fit, watching track and field, nature and nature documentries. Got hip replacement on Saturday 5th April 2014 awaiting major surgery to re-align right knee. Blessed in the Covenant love of God in Christ. Retired Emergency Medicine Specialty Doctor.
View all posts by Julian Kennedy