This is a letter from Luminita Prisecaru, Luminita Prisecaru, missionary in Ethiopia
Greetings in the Lord from Kawwata town of Qale, South West of Ethiopia
Recently I’ve heard a story that sounds a lot like one of Kipling’s. Once upon a time, in the forest, all the animals had a meeting where they’ve decided to kill the turtle only because she is different and annoying. Because the turtle was not present in the meeting she is informed of the decision that she should be killed. After hearing this dreadful news the turtle asks if God was in their meeting. When she finds out that God wasn’t where she says that she will ask the Lord to have mercy on her. And the Lord answered her by giving her the hardcover which she did not have before. In this way, during the attack, the turtle could hide from all her attackers. Some of them even were stepping on her while trying to look for her.
I do not know what situations you are facing lately with the pandemic restrictions and risks but I do pray that this letter will find you well under the wings of the Almighty. Here we are facing the risk of infection with the virus in a very remote environment where testing and medication are very limited. Nine confirmed cases were found here and sent in Arba Mich hospital but none of them were in serious condition.
For the last nine weeks, we were experiencing great difficulties because of a conflict between The Qale and the Konso which is the neighborhood tribe. Konso people are a very numerous people group, almost four times more numerous that the Qale people. The Gospel has been brought to Qale more than 50 years ago by evangelists from Konso as well. Being a smaller group and with less influence, it is only 10 ago that they were given the right to have their own administration. Since then the people’s lives here were improved: electricity and running water are here (at least some times), schools, clinics, and roads were built. Now their language is being developed and they are having an equal stand with all those that years back used to be their “rulers”. It might be this and many other reasons why so much hate and jealousy have aroused. The Konso people were using for years the Qale land at the border. When the Qale people asked them to pay taxes for using the Qale land to the Qale Government the Konso answered with scorning and burning the first Qale area of five villages called Tatane and 109 families were dislocated. To that followed the retaliation from the Qale burning Konso houses. So it continued until today. Because the people from Save the Children came so promptly offering material help to the dislocated families I know the total number of dislocated families from the locations of Karkama/Woipale 285 families and from Koroze 70 families.
These numbers might be a lot more since the last 3 days a whole extended area at the border called Talpena-Kaama was completely burned. Houses were burned and for many of these people, it will be very hard to rebuild their life which was already very difficult. It is like from being very close to zero now many are below zero. We thank the Lord for the people from Save the Children who came with blankets and things for basic use for all these families. Only looking after them will be plenty to do but the war is still not finished. The Konso continue their attacks every day from different locations at the border. I wonder at how the Lord kept us alive here all this time. I wonder and I give Him thanks! Apparently, the last three days were planned for genocide here in Qale ….but the Lord did not allow it indeed. I do not know why this is happening and why is not stopping? One thing I know the Lord wants us to rejoice because this is most certainly a test for the faith of many of us God’s children. We do not know how this will end and most of all when. Meanwhile, the last 3 weeks were especially difficult for us to do any translation work. It is a lot of stress and fear that we are facing.
Coming back to the initial story, I hope you see the connection now. I actually heard a story about an old man (I know his granddaughter) who was hiding under some grass and they actually stepped on him not seeing him there. It is ugly. Wars are ugly and it is hard for me to find the words to tell all these. I’ve heard another story about how a Qale person was following the Konso over the border and since he was from another part of Qale and not very familiar with the place, he ended up being around Konso people and very candidly asked them for more bullets showing his empty gun. When he spoke Qale and the Konso people realized who he was they wanted to catch and kill him but he escaped miraculously. I have other stories of miracles like this. The most important miracle it seems to me to be the fact that this small people group, with very limited financial resources, who are getting perhaps 4 or 5 bullets a day (if those are available) are facing a giant who has automatic guns and endless bullets every day. And still, the number ofthose killed in all these weeks is below 10. This is a miracle and we gave thanks to the Lord for it. Today one young man died from our neighborhood, women cried but after a short time, they restrained themselves because it is considered irreverent to cry out loud for someone dying the death of a hero defending his borders. Pray for God’s comfort for these mothers and families left behind, not only here in Qale. Some rumors are that there are a lot more on the attackers’ side. Pray for their families as well. Pray the leaders will come to their senses and stop this madness.
Pray for us in the midst of all these to be able to endure and see the four Gospels and Acts printed. This will be a great gift from the Lord if we could get back to work. Pray for the translators who are very stressed and de-motivated because of all this mess around. Pray for all the Christians here including me to know how and when to be a grain of salt for the lawlessness around and a light in the darkness and despair.
in Him, yours Lumi