March 18, 2014 — Upcoming Events
In a few short weeks, “Tibebu” author Lishan Agonafer will be travelling and sharing her testimony in several US cities — LA, Houston, Dallas, Portland, DC area, and NYC! Details are below, for anyone in the area who would like to hear her testimony in person. For more details, click Photos to see “Upcoming Events (2014)” event flyers.
LA — Sunday, April 6, 2014 (10 am & 6:30 pm)
Ethiopian Christian Fellowship Church
3405 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90019
HOUSTON — Wednesday, April 9, 2014 (6pm)
Ethiopian Christian Fellowship Church
8526 Northern St., Houston, TX 77083
DALLAS — Friday, April 11, 2014 (7:00-9:30pm)
Sunday, April 13, 2014 (10:00am-12:30pm)
Ethiopian Evangelical Baptist Church
2822 S. Jupiter Road, Garland, TX 75041
PORTLAND — Sunday, April 20, 2014 (11am)
Ammanuel Evangelical Church
5004 NE 6th Ave., Portland, OR 97211
DC AREA — Friday, May 2, 2014 (7-9pm)
Family Builders Fellowship
5411 Franconia Road, Alexandria , VA 22310
DC AREA — Sunday, May 4, 2014 (10:30am)
Ethiopian Covenant Gospel Church
1210 North Highland St., Arlington, VA 22201
NYC — Saturday, May 10, 2014 (4-8pm)
Sunday, May 11, 2014 (11am)
Emmanuel Worship Centre New York
2407-2409 E. Tremont Ave., Bronx, NY 10462
March 6, 2012 — The Friend Zone
I never get tired of hearing stories, especially love stories. I enjoy asking couples how they met and fell in love – which means I usually asked my parents the same questions over and over, begging them to “tell me again, how you guys met and fell in love.” Their usual response: “We were just friends – like brother and sister.”
When I was younger and heard my parents use these terms “friends,” and “brother and sister,” I didn’t find their story romantic or even attractive. Growing up, I was more attracted to the idea of “love at first sight” and thought that couples normally tried to avoid “the friend zone” out of fear that once they became friends, they could never date without ruining or compromising their friendship.
Today, a simple Google search on “the friend zone” brings up articles advising one to “avoid” and “escape” the friend zone. But to my parents, “the friend zone” was not someplace to get stuck; they valued friendship for what it was and when their relationship became deeper, their friendship helped rather than hindered the process.
About her relationship with Dad, my Mom says, “There was already a closeness and friendship between us, so it was natural.” It was so natural that they felt no need to date or “get to know each other.” Naturally, the next step for them was getting engaged and then married – since they had already developed a close friendship and since, more importantly to them, both believed it was God’s will for them to marry.
My parents’ friendship with each other and especially with God allowed their relationship to thrive in times when physical closeness or intimacy was not an option. When my father was a prisoner of war in Somalia, and rejoined the family after eleven years of separation, Mom says “it was like no time had been lost between us.” Contrary to the idea that true friends can never be separated, a truer sign of friendship is when two friends can experience separation and endure it. Not only were my parents able to endure separation but by God’s grace, Mom says they did not even feel a sense of lost time – like good friends, they were able to pick up right where they left off with each other.
November 29, 2012 — A Holiday Gift
With Christmas and New Years approaching, here are three reasons why our book Tibebu would make a great gift (to yourself or someone else) for the holidays:
1.) If you need inspiration for the new year…
“All of us have a special assignment to do on earth that God has prepared before we were born… Dr. Tibebu understood that assignment and executed it by the grace of God. Let his story be an awakening for all of us again to know our calling and live for it.” -Ephrem
Many of us make New Year’s resolutions– though statistics show that few of us actually achieve our goals! This book will inspire you to know God or know him better, and to live more fully and on purpose.
2.) If you want to see God in everything…
“Reading this classic book entitled Tibebu: Yemedrebedaw Eregna is like drinking water in a desert from an oasis. In the midst of so many self centered books, the value of such a Christ focused book is indispensable to our generation. ” -Mesay
Although this book is Tibebu’s biography and is named after him, it points beyond him to the God behind his story. As my sister Rekik pointed out in a previous blog, the deeper meaning of this book’s title is found in the meaning of our father Tibebu’s name, which means “His wisdom” or “God’s wisdom.” When she wrote the book, my Mom’s goal was to highlight God’s wisdom and grace; “this was the very intention I had when writing the book,” she says– so she’s happy when readers can see that.
3.) If you love good stories!
Dad didn’t talk much about himself. Whenever he shared stories from his past, they were down-to-earth and relatable. He rarely told me stories from his imprisonment in Somalia or UNICEF career. But Mom was always a great storyteller! I loved sitting at her feet for story time– but being her daughter, you may think I’m biased:
“I just read and finished the book, I couldn’t put it down” – Meseret
“Once you start reading this book, you won’t rest until you’ve finished.” – Pastor Bekele
This would be a great book to read and share with your family, friends, and anyone you come across who needs inspiration and encouragement this holiday season!
Though it’s written in Amharic, we plan on releasing an English version of this book too– and we will keep you updated on the writing process. For our Amharic-reading audience, you can find and buy the book Tibebu in our online store!
August 30, 2013 — A Celebration of Life
Exactly one year ago, I determined that my family would celebrate two lives on August 30th. Mine, because it’s my birthday; and my dad’s, because it was the day he passed away. I remember that day clearly: my uncle and cousin picked me up from my college campus and took me to the hospital, where family and friends had spent the last two weeks around Dad’s hospital bed.
They didn’t tell me until we got to the hospital lobby, where a few of our family friends had gathered. One of them took me aside and asked me if I knew what had happened. No, I said, what happened? I spoke calmly but there was a loud pounding in my ears. He told me what happened. The pounding was replaced by a question: Really, God?! In that question, there were feelings of hurt, betrayal, and astonishment. Like a slap to the face that stings. I thought I was ready for that day to come, but I wasn’t ready for that day to be the day.
I walked to the elevator, stepped out, walked to my dad’s room, and fell to my knees at the side of his bed. Really, God?! I thought I was ready because God had started preparing my heart for the end — but I guess I wasn’t as strong as I thought. I stayed there for a long time, on my knees. Someone nudged me and urged me to get up but I stayed.
Today is my birthday and the one-year anniversary of Dad’s passing. I’m not sure why it had to be August 30th, but the bitter taste has left — and I’m left with sweet memories of him.
August 18, 2013 — The Meaning of “Tibebu”
My beautiful mother, here at the Colorado book release event for her autobiographical book, “Tibebu: Ye Midrebeda Eragna” (“Tibebu: Shepherd in the Wilderness”). The book’s title is a play on words with two layers of meaning.
The surface meaning of the title refers to Tibebu (my father) and his role as an advocate, teacher, doctor, father, counselor and more for his fellow Ethiopian civilian prisoners-of-war during their 11 years of imprisonment in Somalia.
The deeper meaning of the title refers to “Tibebu” (the word means “God’s Wisdom”) and refers to God’s wisdom as He leads His children through various wilderness experiences.
In this book, Mom beautifully, eloquently, and captivatingly chronicles God’s amazing, steadfast faithfulness, and trustworthiness through all the seemingly impossible and insurmountable challenges (wilderness experiences) our family faced over the years — from Dad’s imprisonment to his miraculous release, from being exiled to traveling the world as diplomats.
This is the story of how the oppressed in many ways became the liberator of his fellow prisoners as well as of his oppressors because of the God who lived in him. This is the story of how God can and does take all the good, the bad and the ugly things that happen in our lives and works them out for our good.
Pain, suffering and hardships are guaranteed as we walk out our lives on this earth. This book chronicles how God is able to redeem the pain and suffering for our good. Because of Him, our family came out stronger when we should have been destroyed.
Thank you Mom for your love, thank you for modeling for me the way to strength during time of hardship … I’m not quite there yet, but slowly but surely, I’m getting there … Thank you for this book. Thank you for this constant reminder of God’s faithfulness by recounting how He led you and dad through your wilderness experiences. It will serve as a continual source of encouragement for me as I face my own wilderness experiences. I love you. I’m proud of you … and when I grow up, I want to be just like you! Empuaaa!
August 8, 2013 — “Gursha”
If I had to choose one photograph that perfectly depicted my father, it would be this one. In this picture, Dad is giving someone a “gursha” (Amharic for “hand feeding”) — something he was well known for. Whether we were at home or someone else’s house for dinner, Dad was often served a bigger plate than everyone else. A couple of our family friends even served him an entire tray to fill with food, whenever we came over for dinner!
Dad would pile his plate (or tray) with food while people like my uncle Engda (who knew what was coming) would dish out small portions for themselves as they anticipated Dad’s gurshas. Those who knew Dad had learned from experience that it only took a few of his large, well packed gurshas to start getting full! After making his usual rounds, Dad would dish out one last portion — this time for himself.
I am reminded of something my cousin Betty said during her eulogy at Dad’s memorial service last year. She used the words “aggressive love” to describe my father’s character. A year later, I asked her what she meant: “He didn’t know to love quietly or passively,” she says. How fitting! With his filling gurshas and energetic, rolling-on-the-floor-laughing “lefya” (playful wrestling matches), Dad’s kind of love was tangible, passionate, and totally infectious!
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