When he was a young boy (just 12 years old), Zewde got involved with the wrong group of friends. They led him into betting, gambling, and not taking advice from those who advised him to stay away. It kept getting worse, until one day some people he cheated cut his wrist, intending to kill him. Thankfully he lived, and one of his friends, who was a part of a church choir, offered him a place to stay in an attempt to guide him away from his dangerous lifestyle. After several conversations, and after attending church services a few times, Zewde accepted Christ. He never went back to his old life, and he gradually began to change. He attended church and studied the Bible for several months, and was finally baptized a year after his first introduction to the church. His friend got him to join the choir, and he even started attending a Christian school!
Some time later there was a problem in his area – someone was stealing maize from the local farms. The father and brother of the boy who was doing it knew about it and beat him for shaming their name, but they did not report him. This went on for quite some time, and the farmers were becoming very angry and began watching their fields more closely. One day Zewde caught the young man in the act, and recognized him from the church they attended together. Zewde called him by name, and he dropped the maize he was carrying. He fell at his feet and begged him not to tell.
Because of his own background, Zewde was compelled to show him mercy. He took him in to his family’s home, hid him, and started discipling him. If the farmers had found him at this point, they would have killed him. Zewde advised the boy to leave this life – to no longer be called a thief – and to start a new life based in God’s Word. During this time, though, Zewde’s son found out that the young man was staying at their house and told people that his father was hiding him. Zewde then advised him to go to the church elders and confess his sins against the community. Now he is working hard at a sugarcane factory and serving in the church.
The church Zewde served in started going through a rough period shortly after this. He served as a leader there, but he was not happy with the direction the leadership was taking the church. He had vision and dreams for this community, but they were not being met with enthusiasm by the rest of the leadership team. He felt like his voice was not being heard, and he contemplated leaving his position for a time. Fortunately, the training he was going through at the time with our ministry made him realized that he needed to stay.
After going through this training, Zewde said, “This has changed my life. I realize now that because of the attitude and behavior of the church ministers, I started blaming others rather than focusing on the Lord and serving Christ. Now I know that being a leader is difficult and to do the right thing is painful. I needed to change the way I live. Before, I was living my life without bearing any fruit. Like Moses, I realized that I need to share my work with others, and I need to equip the next generation. I have served twenty years in this church, but I feel like I am now starting as a new beginner.”