Ethiopia flag and map

eNews and prayer update November 2016

21 November 2016 |

Unrest in Ethiopia: urgent prayer request

With all the news reports about the war in Syria, it is easy for unrest in other parts of the world to be overlooked. Many of us may be unaware that there has recently been unrest on a large scale in Ethiopia.

Frew Tamrat, Langham Partnership’s Preaching Coordinator for Ethiopia reported last month:
“Political unrest all over the country, with clashes between political protestors and government forces, is making it difficult and dangerous to hold Preaching training seminars”.

Political protests have been taking place for almost a year, centring on discontent among different ethnic groups in the country. Reasons for the unrest include farmers being displaced, certain communities opposing inclusion in different parts of the country and Muslims being unhappy about government-approved leaders. The BBC recently reported that what is happening is an accumulation of years of frustration from ethnic groups who say they have been marginalised by the government. Two people groups, the Amhara and Oromo, have joined in opposition to the ruling authorities, adopting the same protest symbol: arms raised and wrists crossed as if in chains. An Ethiopian Olympian famously made the gesture when he crossed the line in the Games in Rio 2016, an image that sent shockwaves across the world.

55 people were killed at a religious festival in the Oromia region on 2 October. Opposition activists said that the deaths were caused by police creating panic, while the Government is blaming ‘anti-peace’ groups protesting in the crowd. Human rights groups report that at least 500 people have died during the protests overall.

A state of emergency to last for six months has now been declared. Some of the things restricted under the state of emergency include social media, broadcast media, protests, political gestures, freedom of movement and guns.

Former BBC Ethiopia correspondent Elizabeth Blunt says that political protests in Ethiopia are a major challenge to the country’s ‘secretive government’. Concerns have been raised about the arrests of journalists in the country, as freedom of speech appears to be under threat.

So how can we respond? Pray!

Frew Tamrat, Langham Preaching’s Coordinator for Ethiopia says: “Pray for the peace and stability of Ethiopia so that the gospel can be preached peacefully and church leaders equipped for the work of God’s Kingdom.” We are commanded to pray for leaders in 1 Timothy 2: “I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people – for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.”

Please stand with the Christians in Ethiopia at this time of uncertainty, in the knowledge that only the Gospel of peace can bring real hope. Please pray for vital preaching training to continue, bringing light in a dark situation.

Langham Scholar Anwar Mehammed Berhe, who is studying at Melbourne School of Theology, will be travelling with his family back to Ethiopia (his home country) in late January, to do research for his PhD studies. Pray for safety and that all will go smoothly for him and his family. Please also pray that he will experience a complete healing from a chronic health condition.

[This article is taken largely from one written by Victoria Hawkins, Digital Content Producer for Langham Partnership UK & Ireland.]


Join us in prayer…


Please pray for Phil Nicholson who is commencing as new Regional Coordinator for East Asia this month. Pray for a good transition as he picks up this role from Paul Barker. Pray also that the Lord will provide the right person to be Regional Coordinator for South Asia.


Please pray for effective distribution of the recently released Slavic Bible Commentary. Pray also for those working on the Latin America and Arabic Bible Commentaries.

Pray for the planning of a Writer’s Workshop in Ethiopia, to be held in early 2017. Pray that Ethiopian academics will be keen to write books for Ethiopian pastors and lay leaders and will have wisdom to know what topics need to be addressed in their own context.


Pray for the Scholars Program leaders Riad Kassis and Ian Shaw, that the Lord would grant them wisdom in all their decision-making and skill in their leadership of the Program.


  • November 13 19 Rwanda, South Asia
  • November 20-26 SE Asia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Colombia, Uganda (2)
  • Nov 27- Dec 3 SE Europe, SE Asia, Indonesia, Zimbabwe, Benin, Botswana
  • December 11-17 Tanzania
  • Please pray for these upcoming events: for safe travel, good learning and that participants will practise what they learn

Langham Australia CEO Gillean Smiley writes…

We welcome Rev. Dr Paul Barker back to Australia to take up his new role as Bishop in Melbourne. We are grateful for Paul’s committed service and leadership as Reginal Coordinator throughout the Asian region for both Langham Preaching and Scholars, and are delighted that he will be continuing his close association with Langham as a member of the LPA Committee (the equivalent of a Board).
 Langham Scholar Anwar Berhe, Bishop Paul Barker, Tsigi Berhe, Gillean Smiley
 Langham Scholar Anwar Berhe, Bishop Paul Barker, Tsigi Berhe, Gillean Smiley
It was a joy to celebrate Paul’s consecration as Bishop with Langham scholar Anwar Berhe and family – which was the same day as Anwar and Tsigi’s 10th wedding anniversary.

Thank God for the men and women who coordinate the Preaching Program across countries and regions (like Steve Williams in the Pacific) and also for those who support our Scholars with pastoral care and practical advice for the whole family. This care and support, as often as possible from within the relevant country/ies is one of the unique features of Langham, that has seen over 90% of Scholars successfully adapt to their new study environment and also successfully transition back to their home country to fulfil their commitment of at least 10 years of leadership, usually within a theological institution.

We also thank Joel Atwood for his valuable contributions as a member of the LPA Committee, and pray for him and his family as they head to Vanuatu to take up a role with University student ministry. We are grateful for the many people who volunteer their time and energy to help LPA continue to flourish.

Thank you for your prayers and support