• Bekele Shanko

My Tribute to My Mother

Updated: Jul 24, 2018

Adah, my mother, was born in a rural village known as Millisa in the Angacha district in South-Central Ethiopia, probably around the year 1938. As was the custom of the firstborn child, she was responsible for caring for her one brother and four sisters. They all witnessed how loving, kind and responsible my mother was.

When she was old enough to be married, parents from both sides had agreed to arrange a marriage between my mother and father, and a new family started. The first few years of their marriage was very difficult. These were the years prior to the arrival of the Gospel of Jesus Christ into their community. The worship of evil spirits, spiritual bondage, and the curses from witchdoctors ravaged not only our family but the whole community. As a result, four of the nine children born from my mother perished while still babies and toddlers.

But when I was five years old, God miraculous intervened in our family, shining His light and binding our brokenness. As Prophet Isaiah predicted, "The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; and those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned." (Isa. 9:2)

After we received salvation and hope in Jesus Christ, the marriage of my parents became a shining example of unconditional love, trust and faithfulness. Until my father passed away five decades later, my parents prayed every day and served the Lord with great commitment. Our home, once a place of conflict and chaos, became a place in which the hungry would eat, the homeless would be sheltered, and the motherless would find a mother.

As polygamy was a common practice and a sign of status in the community, my father had three wives and 18 children. Sadly, 12 of the children died. The six of us-five from my mother and one from the third wife-are alive mainly because of the power of the Gospel. Through the love of God and the power of the name of Jesus Christ, our chains were broken, our darkness was lifted, and we received freedom, beauty and dignity. Jesus has transformed our broken past and gave us abundant life.

She knew the power of education

Through her five children (three boys and two girls), my mother now has 25 grandchildren and six great grandchildren, all are followers of Jesus. As a very intelligent and wise woman, my mother was a coach to many people and loved hospitality. Our home was always full of people. She worked very hard to generate additional income to provide clothing and school supplies for us. She never went to school but she knew the power of education. Hence she made sure that I never missed school and always finished my homework. She was always farsighted and never blinded by short-term gains.

A great leader and mentor

Because of hunting, working at faraway places or mediating conflicts, my father was absent from home for extended periods of time. During such times, my mother took care of our family, farm, and livestock. She was a great leader, counsellor, and organizer. She had a very sharp mind and a powerful memory. She was a woman of prayer, firm in her faith, bold in her actions, and a good steward of time, people and money.

After being sick for about three months with liver complications, she passed on to glory on January 23, 2018, exactly seven years and five days after my father had passed away. I believe God through His providence added those five days so that I could accomplish four specific ministry objectives in Ethiopia. On the day she passed away, I was in Ethiopia and almost done with all I had to do on that particular trip.

Two important things that shaped my life

Her funeral service was like an evangelistic conference and attended by thousands of people. I had the opportunity to share my testimony and present the Gospel. I was able to encourage people to follow Jesus and to educate their kids at any cost-two important things that have shaped my life and leadership.

We buried my mother on January 25, 2018. Now both my parents are gone, the void is deep. But I know where they are and look forward to seeing them with all the saints in the glorious kingdom of God.

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