There are over sixty references to Ethiopia in the
Bible, and Christianity there goes back to the days of Philip in Acts 8. But the modern story of the Ethiopian church also
sounds like readings from the book of Acts, especially among the Wallamos. In 1927, the Sudan Interior Mission (SIM) sent
missionaries to evangelize this wild tribe, worshipers of Satan. During its annual “Passover” the Wallamos sacrificed
a bull to Satan, sprinkling its blood on the doorposts of their houses and serving its raw flesh to every member of their
families. The atmosphere smelled of demons.
several years a small church was established, but missionary labor was interrupted when Mussolini invaded Ethiopia in 1935.
When Italian troops reached tribal areas, they demanded SIM leave. The missionaries met a final time with Wallamos believers.
When they had arrived, not a single Wallamo had known of Christ. Now after nine years, forty-eight native believers gathered
around them. The little church worshiped, wept, and shared the Lord’s Supper. Then the twenty-six SIM missionaries boarded
army trucks for evacuation. On April 17, 1937, their first day without missionary support, the little Wallamo church found
itself having to stand on its own feet. “We knew God was faithful,” wrote missionary Raymond Davis, “that
he was able to preserve what he had begun among the Wallamos. But still we wondered—if we ever come back, what will
The invasion of Ethiopia
marked the beginnings of World War II, and it wasn’t until July 4, 1943, that the missionaries returned. What they found
almost defies belief. The Italian soldiers had tried to stamp out the small church. Church leaders were given one hundred
lashes, and one in particular was given four hundred. They were unable to lie on their backs for months. Several had died.
One of them, Wandaro, beaten in public, preached to the crowds between lashes. Another, Toro, stripped naked in the marketplace
and flogged with a hippo-hide whip, bravely shouted out the Gospel. Conversions multiplied, and tribal villages began sending
missionaries to other villages.
of forty-eight believers, the returning missionaries now found eighteen thousand.
Morgan, R. J. 2000. Nelson's complete book of stories, illustrations, and quotes
(electronic ed.) . Thomas Nelson Publishers: Nashville