An important lesson.
Why have over 45,000 Eritreans risked their lives to escape their country, many drowning in the Mediterranean Sea? One reason why Christians leave is, that unless they belong to a state-authorised church, they face imprisonment, possible torture and even death. Muslims who are 50% population are increasingly radicalised and often pressure coverts.
Aberash in prison looked forward to the half hour walk in the sun allowed to the prisoners. He was arrested when an informant gave away his illegal prayer meeting to the authorities. For eight months, among his fellow eight believers they shared their cells with drunkards, hard core criminals and insane people, then they faced cruel questioning. After two years he was deeply depressed and angry with God asking why when he had been doing nothing but good God had let this happen?
But soon Aberash got an answer. He learned God wanted him to stop fighting against his imprisonment. “I needed patience because God has his own ways and timing,” he says. He was taught to hope in Christ. And blessing came in the form of Bible pages smuggled into the prison that were like gold to the believing prisoners, that became spiritual food to keep their souls alive and their minds steadfast. They also listened to a Christian radio station clandestinely that was like “manna” from heaven AND got money and food from abroad.
The prison officials saw the change. Believers shared their food from families and he got to share the gospel with guards and fellow prisoners (Phil.1:12). Aberash even lost the desire to leave prison but after three years he heard he was to be released. He took time to recover but he realised his imprisonment had transformed him. He saw the blessing of sharing the gospel with people he would otherwise never have met: thugs, murderers, poor, rich, politicians etc., because as he says there is equality in prison!
Thank God for his witness and pray for those still languishing that God would encourage and sustain them and that the good news would be spread throughout Eritrea.
Efewerki dictator of Eritrea and his language