Many of you know, and some of you may not, that Ethiopia has been in a state of severe Civil Unrest for quite some time. Things escalated in November of 2020 to a point that some would call Civil War.
This war is primarily taking place in a region outside of Addis Ababa where a majority of our students attend school locally and close to home in Korah.
We did, however, have a small handful of university students who were attending school away from home, and in the heart of the war zone.
Our staff as per usual, administered wisdom, care, and concern in deciding to try to extract these students and bring them home to safety. While they were ultimately successful in bringing these students home, they were then faced with the trauma these students had faced in having been exposed to severe civil unrest.
The staff reported to us:
“According to the discussion with the students, after the leave of the federal government force from the region, things get worse and there were a long nights and days of fear, hopelessness, starvation and uncertainty of what comes next. They were shut down with electricity, network blockage, bank service and any social contact with the outside world. They have spent long nights without sleep to protect their lives and materials from dorm breakers/ thieves, fabricated news of possible killings from unknown sources for supporting the federal government, the agony of losing security from anywhere and many other untold scenarios. Because food and water was an issue for the students after the federal force has left the area, they were forced to sell some of their materials (shoes, t-shirt…) to buy water and food. They were uncertain whether they eat or not in the days.
In this entire situation, the students were thankful for the communities and friends who feed them during the hard times, helped them to escape the misery and the prayers provide to them by their families, donors and the staffs. As explained by the students, they have gotten a lot of lessons from the tragedy of being in a war zone. Some of the lessons mentioned by the students were:
- Being able to pass any life challenges with God’s help
- How to behave in a very uncertain situation where everyone sees each other as a threat
- How to cope with misinformation and skeptical of the fabricated stories
- How to cope with stress and contemplating on God’s purpose for their life in such situations.”
Our staff has continued to actively and intentionally serve these students and take care to address their mental and emotional health as they process what happened to them.
One of the things our staff mentioned would be helpful to these students, is having their Sponsors write them a letter.
Below, you will read the exchange between one of these students, Meseret, and her Sponsor:
I have just heard that you recently went through some very hard times while at university. I am so sorry that you had to go through that. I’m so thankful that God protected you and that you are home now. You are extremely brave and strong. God is good to bring you through such hard times and I am praying that He will show you HIS plan for you in your next steps. You are in my thoughts and prayers often. I am just a message away if you need to talk about how you are feeling. Sometimes we do not understand where God is leading us, but His plans are always for our good and for His glory. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” -Proverbs 3:5-6. I also have learned that no matter what I go through, God is there holding me up. He never leaves our side! Psalm 32:7-8 says: “You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance. I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you will my loving eye on you.” I am praying for you Meseret! I love you very much!
Hello, how are you? How was everything in your family? I hope everything is okay. I am happy when I read your letters. It’s not easy for me. I am surrounded by kind persons those who care about me and pray for me. The letter that you wrote to me shows me this. Thanks.
I am fine and I feel good. I had a hard time, but I am in new beginning. When I was there, I see God’s protection. He protects us in every second. He never left us.
The Lord is my Shepherd I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside the still waters. Psalm 23.
I read this in the Bible when I was quiet in Axum. I like this word. I see his great mercies in every day I live. Now I am saying He is my Shepherd because He saved me by his protection, and I escaped from that danger moment by the help of God.
I want to say thank you for everything you’ve done for me.