The Power of Intercession: 10 Years of Prayer Changed the Life of Widow Lalis in Ethiopia

When Ethiopian Lalis lost her pastor-husband to a stabbing in 2012, Open Doors launched an international prayer and writing campaign to support her. This year, Lalize learned that a woman has been praying for her every day for more than 10 years.

Visiting Ethiopia is like traveling back in time through an amazing array of diverse landscapes.

What about people? Each has its own unique language, music, clothing, food, and also religion. Most of them are Christians, but in some areas the majority of the population is Muslim and the atmosphere towards Christians is toxic.

Buried Bible

The young Pastor Debela, Lalise’s husband, worked as a teacher and pastor in Oromia, one of these unstable regions. In the past, the majority of Oromia’s residents were Christian, but the region’s previous president settled thousands of Muslim families there, creating an environment that Muslims can now rule.

Debela and his team led many to Christ. One day in 2012, he visited a woman who used to be a Christian.

“She returned to Islam and buried her Bible,” Lalize recalls. When Pastor Debela asked why she did this, she replied that she was not only burying the Bible, but also Christians. The woman also threatened to catch Pastor Debela one day.

Pastor Debela and three other religious brothers were outside the woman’s apartment when she suddenly appeared on the scene with a sharpened dagger and stabbed the pastor with it.

Lalize talks about events that she herself did not see: “Three brothers ran away first. But the woman called them to come back and take my husband with them. He was spinning in blood.”

“When the soldiers came to arrest the woman, she told them that my husband was the first to try to stab her. Luckily, the soldiers caught her. She was jailed.”

When Lalis was informed of her husband’s death that same day, she could not believe what had happened. She believed that her husband’s brother was dead and claimed that her father-in-law and mother-in-law had told her so. Gradually, Lalis had to come to terms with the fact that her beloved husband would never return home.

Pray + write = care

Open Doors Mission staff visited Lalis immediately after the funeral. There was now a quiet sadness in her once so lively eyes. Debela’s parents, still mourning their son, tried to console their daughter-in-law.

“She mourns day and night,” Debela’s father said. “I have already lost my son and now I am afraid that because of this grief I will lose Lalis. Will you give her advice and pray for her?”





Photo: Open Doors Finland

Open doors couldn’t do much. Time does not heal, but healing takes time. Open Doors has launched a prayer and writing campaign to support Lalis.

“If you’re living in a house full of despair, you need to know you’re not alone,” says one Open Doors field worker. “You need to know that there is life and caring people behind the walls of the house. We wanted to show her that through a prayer and writing campaign.”

A year later, Open Doors funded Lalis’ studies. She was given the opportunity to go to the ninth grade of school. Did this have an impact on the young Christian widow from Ethiopia? Read on and you will get the answer.

“I’ve never heard of you”

Open Doors recently met with Lalis. Her eyes, once filled with sadness, now shone with happiness. Bright shades of joy lit up in their depths. The lips curved upward into a wide smile. Soft laugh lines were drawn around the eyes and mouth, indicating the genuine laughter and smile that can now often be seen on her face.

“I learned about your ministry from the pastor who works with you. He visited me often, took care of my safety and prayed with us.”

“The death of Debela deeply touched the pastor. The pastor even once said that he would give his own son if only my husband would live. He was so compassionate. He told me about your ministry work because I had never heard of you before,” Lalise says.

Recently, our staff learned that a young German woman prays for Lalis every day, and they told Lalis about this.

“Really?” — Laliza answered in surprise. “I knew that your random visits to me were something special, but I did not know that so many people knew me and constantly prayed for me. I am very happy about it!”

“Tell them that their prayers have been heard and answered. My life has come to life. Now I have a testimony because God helped me. In 2018, I married a loving man, and in 2021 we had a child. I want to thank you. God bless you,” she says gratefully.





Lalis with her little son (Photo: Open Doors Finland)

When did hope return?

If hope is like the sun, God has opened the veils of Lalis. But when?

Lalis remembers this well and says: “At the beginning of the new 2015 school year. When I started school, I was afraid of other students and of failure.”

“After finishing ninth grade, everything has changed. Hope has returned to my life. Now I call on many people who are in trouble. Sometimes I tell my testimony to show that God is with them. Sometimes I just tell them that God is with them.”

How could education have such a significant impact on the life of a devastated, grief-stricken widow? It’s hard for Lalis to describe it in her own words. The farmer said being in school gave her purpose. She proved to herself that she could achieve anything.

A mission worker says: “The journey was long and difficult, but now Lalis has noticed that she is not alone and that life is worth living. God used thousands of brothers and sisters around the world to change the course of her life. She is still a faithful witness of the Lord.”

What do we learn from this? Small acts like praying, writing, or opening a window in someone’s house of despair and letting hope in.

Source: Esirukouksen voima: 10 vuotta rukousta mullisti Lalise-lesken elämän Etiopiassa | Open Doors Finland


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