Gidada, meaning “the one who weeps for people”, was born in Ethiopia and at age five tragically became blind due to smallpox. For the majority of his early life, Gidada was a blind beggar in the streets of Dembi Dollo Ethiopia. However, in 1920 he was radically saved and dedicated the rest of his life demonstrating God’s love to others.
Learning braille opened up a whole new world to Gidada. Instead of just memorizing Scripture he could read it for himself and show others as well! In 1924 Solan married Dinse Sholi. They had two sons who played major political roles in Ethiopia. Solomon Gidada became the Ethiopian ambassador to London and Negasso Gidada eventually served as President of Ethiopia from 1996-2000! (Gidada Solan)
photo: Negasso Gidada- President of Ethiopia 1996-2000
Solan Gidada is known for his evangelical ministry throughout Ethiopia and his unique ministry to the Bench people of Mizan Teferi. Because of his ministry, ten Bethel Evangelical Churches were planted. The Bethel Evangelical Church was the very first evangelical church in Ethiopia and to this day holds a population of 6 million! Solan was imprisoned twice in his lifetime. The first time he was accused of being a spy for the British by the Italians during World War I. The second time he was imprisoned by the Ethiopian Orthodox Church who saw his mission as a threat to their own power. However, both times Solan was miraculously set free with no physical harm. (Gidada Solan)
Even through opposition from the Italians during World War I, persecution from other Christians, and being imprisoned twice, Gidada never ceased to spread the Gospel. He was eventually ordained under the Allegheny Presbytery of New York and holds the title of being the first evangelist and pastor of Bethel Evangelical Church. After his death in 1977, the Gidada Theological College was founded in Solan’s honor. His life of service to others, dedication to evangelism, and love for Christ will forever be remembered in Ethiopian Christian history. (History of Gidada)
Gidada Solan, http://www.gidada.org/history.html
History of Gidada, http://www.dacb.org/stories/ethiopia/solan_gidada.html
Featured photo: Solan Gidada