Sunday, July 02, 2006

I will continue my work (Tumisa Gudina)

Tumida Gudina was the secretary general of the Mekane Jesus Church, a Lutheran Chruch, in Ethiopia. During the Marxist persecution in Ethiopia, the police arrested Gudina and brought him to the dreaded police station, which was known for it’s cruelty to the prisoners. After searching for him, his family discovered where he was kept, but the police won’t release him. A few days later, the police brought him to Asilla city and asked him to collaborate with them in giving the impression to the Western world that the Church and State relations are good and so that the West would send money to Ethiopia in the name of Gudina.

He was released, but was rearrested again in 1979. He was going to Wolissa, a small village where he usually preached, to conduct a worship service. But among the faithful are policemen dressed in civilian clothes. The next day, he and his wife reported this to the police. But the policemen arrested him on the spot. They asked him again to collaborate with the Marxist government, but he refused. His sixteen-year-old daughter was arrested, but they were soon released due to pressure from the faithful.

The faithful never ceased in asking Gudina to hide. But Gudina told them, “No, I will continue my work. I am in the hands of the Lord. He is my refuge and strength.”

On July 28, 1979, he was arrested again. The morning before he was arrested, he held a worship service and preached about the message from the Gospel, “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again?” (Matther 5:13) Then, at evening, he held a Bible study seminar. When he returned home, he was arrested together with his wife. His wife was soon released, and Gudina was no longer seen again. Each time his wife asked anyone if they saw Gudina, everyone would say, “We do not know.”

Gudina’s wife, Adele, was rearrested and imprisoned for ten years. After her release, her family continued looking for Gudina. A former police told them the place where Gudina was buried. According to him, Gudina was strangled to death the day after his arrest and buried on the spot.

In his funeral, the secretary general of the World Lutheran Federation said, “Gudina did not die in vain. The Church continues to be the voice of the voiceless, the friend of the poor.”


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