My name is Guret. I work with the Friendship Support Association in Ethiopia. I was born in eastern Ethiopia. I’m a part of the Afar people. We are nomadic and herd livestock like goats and camels. As a young man, I was in charge of tending to camels but I felt very restless. I didn’t know what it was, but I felt the strong urge to go for a walk.
After several hours of wandering, I found myself at a building that had beautiful music coming out. I’ve never head music like this before so I went inside and listened. I returned to this building several times. I don’t know what was really going on there but I loved the music. One day, my father and my uncle, who was the leader of our tribe, approached me and accused me of converting to Christianity. They had heard I was going to church and demanded that I stop and denounce my new faith. “This was impossible,” I told them. I had not converted to Christianity and I wasn’t going to the church.
They didn’t believe me and banished me from the tribe. Being exiled from the tribe would typically mean certain death.
They were my livelihood, my family. Apart from them, I felt life would have little value. I had nowhere else to go so I returned to the building that had the music. It wasn’t long before I began to learn about Jesus Christ and his love for me. I learned how he had died on the cross and risen again so that I might have salvation.
My heart began to feel called to my people, the Afar. The same people who had disowned me and set me adrift. I now wanted to return and serve them. Because of their nature and their livelihood, the Afar people didn’t have much that you and I might think is normal. There are no regular schools set up for children to attend. For the Afar, when you turn 8 years old you are considered a man. Women did not have access to reproductive health services but most of all they do not have a chance to hear about Jesus.
I returned to my people and launched a ministry that would provide literacy programs and health services and share the good news of Jesus Christ. We have many challenges, not least of which is the Afar people are firmly deep rooted as a Muslim people, but we are seeing God in new ways every day.
Because of your faith promise, we have been bringing the gospel to the 1.2 million Afars and his redemption story is taking hold. You know, the very man, my uncle, who banished me from my tribe came to have a personal relationship and accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior.