Sube: Going against the odds

“‘Tell Archippus: See to it that you complete the ministry you have received in the Lord.’ (Colossians 4:17) These words have driven me to serve and kept me moving forward.” So says 39-year-old Sube* from Ethiopia about the Bible verse that has kept her going in the midst of difficulties as she follows her evangelistic calling.

Sube has been a Christian since she was 15 years old, when God healed her from an unknown illness. Thanks to your support, she has been able to receive theological training through Open Doors partners, and has since equipped and trained more than 100 evangelists, pastors and elders in her local area to lead churches and preach the gospel.

Sube’s journey of discipleship has not been easy. She comes from a remote area north of Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, where Christians suffer from violence, isolation and denial of certain rights.

When her father found out that she and her sister had become Christians, he was furious, and chased them both from the family home. But this did not deter Sube. She went on to share her faith with the rest of her family, and brought them to Christ. She even planted a church!

Her passion for evangelism meant that when Open Doors brought theological training to her area, she enrolled without hesitation. She says, “The course shaped me and my ministry… Every time I attended a class, I was more convinced how vital this knowledge was to all Christians and I wanted to teach others.”

‘NO STORM, NO CHANGE’

Sube sees her completion of the course as just the beginning. “If God wills, I want to establish training centres for such people where I and other teachers can deliver training. This is my passion. I would like to acknowledge Open Doors for accepting me into the theological training. It has had a great impact on my life.”

Alem* is a mother of three, and has also benefited from the course and Sube’s teaching, going on to start teaching Sunday school and working in women’s ministry. She says, “The course moved me to keep on learning… Sube always taught me to embrace difficulties, saying, ‘No storm, no change.’ I thank Open Doors for making this course available and Sube for teaching it to me.”

Ethiopia is part of the Horn of Africa – one of four countries that make up the most easterly point of sub-Saharan Africa. It is currently ranked as number 29 on the 2018 World Watch List, which ranks the top 50 countries in which it is most dangerous to be a Christian.

Christians in Ethiopia also suffer from Islamic oppression as Islamic extremism is on the rise; believers from Muslim backgrounds face the most persecution, and they risk facing violence and rejection as a result of their decision to follow Christ.

Open Doors has been active in Ethiopia since the late 1980s, working through local church partners to equip Christians for ministry by preparing believers for persecution and offering relief in certain cases, and providing livelihood support, cross-cultural evangelism training and support, management training for church leaders and theological and discipleship training.