Ethiopian, Rebel Fighter, Prime Minister, Prisoner, Christian Leader
Ethiopia Background Information
Ethiopia is located in the Eastern Part of Africa- surrounded by Somalia, Sudan, and Kenya (World Fact Book). The country is approximately twice the size of the state of Texas (World Fact Book). It is one of the oldest nations in the world- it is mentioned in the Old and New Testaments (Tamrat Layne). It is also the only ancient African country to have never been colonized by outside powers (Ethiopian Government Portal).
Tamrat- the start
According to his website, Tamrat grew up under communist dictatorship in Ethiopia where he also went to college. In college he joined a rebel fighting group, the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front, to speak out against the corrupt government. This group soon became hated by the government for all the protests and demands., therefore the government then started to crack down on this college group. One day military troops showed up to a house where Tamrat was living with some of the other rebel group members. Tamrat was able to escape out the back window, but unfortunately all of his friends were killed in the house. Tamrat ran to the mountains to remain hidden from the military troops who were trying to kill him.
Tamrat then spent 15 years living in the mountains with other rebels. While in the mountains he started a revolutionary army of guerilla fighters. This group grew and grew until it reached approx. 125,000 fighters. These fighters even included a large portion of the governmental army. Eventually, Tamrat led the guerrilla fighters into war with the communist government, they were successful at overthrowing the corrupt government. With this overthrowing Tamrat and his other leaders took over the government, with Tamrat being the first in command as prime minister. Tamrat’s best friend and also a key leader in the guerilla fighters was second in command.
The story continues
The two leaders served together for 4 years doing the best they could at changing the system but didn’t see their efforts as being super successful. Tamrat decided the country needed to move into a democracy and free market for big change to actually occur.The number two in command saw this type of government as a threat to his power so he falsely accuses Tamrat of corruption and gets Tamrat thrown into prison despite claiming to be innocent.
The prison years
Tamrat spent his first 6 years in prison angry, rude, depressed, and plotting the way he would kill his friend who got him thrown into prison. During that 6th year in prison Tamrat got very sick and had to be sent to a local hospital. While he was in the hospital a nurse slipped him a document about Christianity. On it was the verse John 14:6 “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the father except through me.” Tamrat kept reciting that verse over and over again in his head. When he was fully recovered he was sent back to prison.
According to Tamrat’s Testimony, one night in prison Jesus came to Tamrat’s jail cell. Tamrat was awoken in the middle of the night by his whole cell being illuminated by a bright light and a figure standing in the corner of the cell. He fell onto the floor, as would most people in the presence of God. Jesus then spoke to him saying “I am the way, the truth, and the life, follow me and I will set you free”- Tamrat found this statement fascinating and intriguing. However he was confused so he prays that if that truly was Jesus that he would come back again the next night, sure enough he does. This time Jesus says the same thing as last time but also says a little more. He says that he will set him free and release him from prison. After these Jesus encounters Tamrat starts requesting Christian books and the Bible and begins studying the word of God. Each day he is eagerly awaiting his release from jail, yet God’s perfect timing had a different plan. Tamrat spent 6 more years in jail before he was set free. Looking back he says that those years were crucial for him to be in jail because it gave him tons of time to study the word of God without many distractions. At one point during those remaining years one of the guards comes to Tamrat and brings him a cell phone and a slip of paper with a phone number on it. The guard tells Tamrat that it is Mulu’s (his wife’s) number. Immediately Tamrat calls her so anxious to talk to his wife for the first time in 7 years. During their conversation, Mulu tells Tamrat that she has had an encounter with Jesus and became a Christian. They shared their amazing stories with each other and figure out that they were both visited by Jesus on the same night!
After 12 years of being in prison one day Tamrat got told he can leave. Confused he asked where he can go. The guard told him he can go home or wherever he wants because he has been set free. One of the first things Tamrat did after being set free was go to his previous best friend who sent him to prison and told him that he forgives him for what he has done as well as shared the gospel with him. Then Tamrat moved to Colorado to be with his wife, son, and daughter.Tamrat currently lives in Centennial, Colorado and lives his life for Christ daily, waking up asking God what he wants of him that day and going out to do it. He travels all over the world sharing his story and the gospel.
Some helpful links regarding Tamrat:
Photo citations: Top Left (3.), Top Right (2.), Bottom (6.)
- “Ethiopia Flag.” Ethiopia. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Jan. 2017.
- “Former Prime Minister of Ethiopia Tamrat Layne Admassu will present lecture on “Transformation of Life in Jesus” March 13.” Whitworth University News. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Jan. 2017.
- Gladys May 19/03/2015 “Tamrat Layne, Former Ethiopian Prime Minster Shares Story Of Redemption.” EthioScoop. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Jan. 2017.
- “History – Ethiopian Government Portal.” History – Ethiopian Government Portal. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Jan. 2017.
- “Meeting Jesus in Prison – Tamrat Layne.” Simply Jesus. N.p., 04 May 2016. Web. 21 Jan. 2017.
- “Tamrat & Mulu’s Story.” Tamrat Layne. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Jan. 2017.
- “The World Factbook: ETHIOPIA.” Central Intelligence Agency. Central Intelligence Agency, 12 Jan. 2017. Web. 21 Jan. 2017.