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Scared Not to Witness

Ethiopian Negussie Tameru was a gun-wielding bandit at the age of 18. Eventually he killed someone and spent six years in prison. Once set free, he went back to his life of crime till local police took his gun away.

Left hopeless and without a means to support himself, Negussie took a job at the local Baptist mission as a guard. But no one trusted him. Locals told the missionaries that if they hired him they'd regret it.

Still searching for an identity in his life without crime, Negussie reluctantly paid 5 birr—more than two day's wages—for a Bible. It was the first book he'd ever attempted to read. He opened his new Bible to Revelation 21:7-8: "But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death."

Negussie quickly put the Bible away. Not only had he been a murderer, but he had been heavily involved in sorcery and idolatry as well. "I got real scared and decided this was a bad book, so I hid it," Negussie said.

A few days later his boss at the mission, an Ethiopian believer, asked him if he wanted to hear about something really good. Negussie was ready for anything. That's when his boss told him about the forgiveness he could find in Christ.

"I cried and cried and cried that day," Negussie said. "I couldn't believe God would forgive me—not of all the things I'd done."

Negussie was so deeply touched by the gospel that he went to all of his children—even those who lived in the lowlands with his first wife—and made sure they understood they could find forgiveness in Jesus Christ.

"They all became believers," Negussie said. "Now I teach my children the Bible, and we pray together every night."

Now a pastor of a small church in Shola Gebeya, Negussie hopes to take the gospel to neighboring rural areas. "What really scares me is that on the Judgment Day we'll all be standing around the throne and my neighbors will point at me and ask, 'Why didn't you tell me?'"

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