About the Author
Lishan Agonafer Haileselassie has always had a passion for writing, and hails from a background in journalism. She started her career as an anchor and news editor for the Ethiopian Radio Broadcasting Service. Later, she served as an editor for the Christian magazine “Birhan,” which was banned by the Ethiopian Communist regime. Miraculously, she managed to escape imprisonment by the regime, and had to live outside of Ethiopia; for some time, this meant being separated from her daughters Emnet and Rekik, who were already missing their father due to his imprisonment in Somalia. While living in Kenya, she went on to host a Christian radio show called “Hiyaw Tesfa” (Living Hope) with a group of close friends and fellow believers in Nairobi. The show was widely broadcasted to the underground Ethiopian Evangelical Church, and attracted many new believers by spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Lishan’s passion for writing and her family’s compelling story led her to start working on her book Tibebu in 1995. In past years, whenever Lishan told stories from different chapters of her life with Tibebu, her listeners would beg her to write. Those who didn’t know she was already writing would exclaim, “Why don’t you write a book?” All along, Lishan had a heavy burden to share her family’s history, and testify about God’s goodness and faithfulness through their story but, she says, “I couldn’t write unless my heart was ready, until I was ready to sit down and give this book the time and attention it deserved.”
Meanwhile, Tibebu’s job with UNICEF took him and his family around Africa and the Middle East. Lishan started writing her book in Lesotho, and carried it with her to Ethiopia – while Tibebu lived and worked in Iraq – and later took it with her to Israel, where she and Tibebu were reunited and lived together with their youngest daughter Tidenek.
Lishan’s writing process came to a halt when Tibebu became seriously ill. For the next five years, she was content to devote her time and energy to taking care of her husband. Although “we had some victories and some room to breathe” during these five years, she says she understands why it was important to live in the moment and wait on the proper time to continue writing: “God wanted to bring us full circle, to complete the amazing work that he had started in Dad. It really made it complete when Dad victoriously went to be with the Lord… (because) he didn’t succumb to the power of death. You can preach about patience and love, but living it is different. Tibebu was tested and God gave him victory in all these areas.”
When Tibebu passed away, Lishan found healing and solace in the writing process, which she started again while mourning the loss of her husband. Seeing God in their story was a comforting reminder as she dealt with her family’s loss. Readers will be touched by Lishan’s labor of love, which was finally completed in God’s time.