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

113I 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.


-Tidi Haileselassie


November 29, 2012 — A Holiday Gift

gift 2

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!

-Tidi Haileselassie


August 30, 2013 — A Celebration of Life

BLOG daddy

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.

-Tidi Haileselassie


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!

-Rekik Tibebu


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!

-Tidi Haileselassie


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  • Taye Gemechisa says:

    I do not have words that express my internal feelings while I was reading the book Tibebu Yemedrebedaw Eregna. Finally I understood if a man is committed to dedicate himself to God, God will take the lead.

    Tibebu I feel sorry only for one thing, I did not know you physically in this world.

    Glory, Glory, Glory to the almighty God

    • Muluwork Mekuria Teshome says:

      Dear our beloved sister Lishan,
      Many greetings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
      I would like to say thank you for your big contribution for His kingdom, to be honest I have no equivalent word to say about the book.
      However about two weeks ago I had a meeting at Sweden for the NORDIC leadership meeting, and saw the book on the table, at the next day which is on Sunday after my preaching bought the book and eager to read, but because of my old friends fellowship I had no chance to read it, but I said to my self after the fellowship my priority is to read this an historical book.
      When I arrived at the Stockholm Arlanda air port to go back where I lived in Finland starting to read with a lot attention, usually during my flight after taking my meal I like to sleep, that is must but today I could not sleep because of this wonderful book ,I was reading next to my Bible with a lot of admiration, tears, joy,…………….etc.
      Dear sister may God bless you for your writing style, I felt I am taking with some body near to my place, also at the night I was reading to my wife and she surprised and decided to read by her self too.
      After finishing the book, I was thinking to call to sister Atenaf who is the member of the NORDI leadership meeting to have your address and with out my knowledge I got your sister at Face Book and I told her about my self because it is a long time to see each other in Nairobi and lastly she told me there is a website to give a comments.
      Still I remember your situation when I meet you at Nairobi in 1987 also I do not forget what a wonderful time we had, I am the good friend of Pastor Mulugtea Abat who serving together at Esel fellowship, also when I was in USA from 2007 to 2009 I had a chance to serve the Lord with him too again.
      At the end you are a blessing of many people, also I proud of you because you are a woman of prayer, writer, mother,……………..etc.
      You know still Dr.TIBEBU speaking like ABLE as written in the book of Hebrews, also Dr.Tibebu promoted from glory to glory too; I believe some good things you will see out of this big book.
      I am talking to every people to buy and read this book as much as possible.
      Be blessed.

      • Lishan Agonafer says:

        Greetings to you too, brother Muluwork! I am so glad you came across the book! Yes! You are right in that my husband’s life is still speaking, preaching & showing us how to live a godly life. Together with my daughters & so many prayer warriors, I had fought in prayer so he stays longer here on earth to serve the Lord. But the Lord told me exactly what you have said: “He is still serving…” I have proved this time & again ever since. Whoever has read the book has been affected, challenged, touched positively & I know why. It is not because of who we are, but it is because of Who He is!! This book is all about Him, who has led us through the thick & thin of life, not about how strong we were. I am humbled & grateful. May all the glory & honor be to Him & Him alone, who deserves it!

        • Muluwork Mekuria Teshome says:

          Dear sister Lishan,
          Many greetings from Finland!
          Just got your message and thank you for your good word to exalted our God .
          You are in my prayer to do more things in His kingdom.
          Have a blessed future with your family.

    • Lishan Agonafer says:

      Amen glory & honor be to this amazing God, who can do mighty things in feeble people like us. Yes Taye, many have expressed likewise, but if you had met him in this world, you would have met a vibrant man full of genuine love.

  • Lidia Shibre says:

    weyne, weyne, weyne are the only words that come to my mind whenever i open to read this book. i don’t even have words for it. it really is a constant reminder of God’s greatness, faithfulness, and unending love. Thank you Lishan for writing this book for everybody to see our almighty God. Stay blessed guys :-)

    • Lishan Agonafer says:

      Yes Lidya dear! We sure can’t help but say something like that, when we come to see a glimpse of the greatness, faithfulness & unending love of God! He is an awesome God! What a mighty God we serve & what a glorious life we all are called to live!

  • Hiyab Hiruy says:

    My words will not do justice to comment on the book. So I’ll humbly comment on the effect it had on me.
    Christians who have gone through persecution are very dear to my heart. But your story is unlike anything I’ve
    ever heard my whole life. The Lord speaks through the story. At one point I had to stop and go kneel down to pray
    as the Holy Spirit led. Finished reading it through tears and laughter. Your daughter Tidi’s experience ran along the same
    line as mine. May God Bless you all. Thank you so much for the book.
    – Hiyab H. Tsige
    Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

    • Lishan Agonafer says:

      Thank You Hiyab! Finishing this book with tears, laughter and prayer has been a common denominator of all readers, but expressed in many different ways! Which part of Tidi’s experience resembles yours?

      • Hiyab Hiruy says:

        Loosing a loved one is never easy – even if we think we’re ready for that day. It takes the Holy Spirit as well as our willingness to look back and say, “Ok, thank you God for the precious time that you gave me with this person” and to celebrate the life of the person.
        The fact that her birthday lies on the same day that her father went to be with the Lord, and now she is just left with sweet memories.

  • Hasset Chenu says:

    Dear eteye Lishan,
    You wrote a wonderful book. What a story!!!!!!!! May God bless you so richly. I have learned a lot from the book and I have seen the mighty works of the Almighty throughout the book. It is a big contribution in the Kingdom. God bless you!!!

    • Lishan Agonafer says:

      Thanks Hasset dear! Yes, that is what I desire for readers of this book to take note… To see God & give Him the glory!

  • Getachew Demissie says:

    Dear Lishan: I can’t express my feelings when I read the book, especially when I read about “anderbi” and how God used you to convert your family to faith in Christ, really I can’t control my tears. I have asked God in tears that why He don’t use me to convert my dad and mom just in the same way as he used you and of course my faith has been lifted up to intercede for my families and I believe that they will be saved.
    Dear Lishan: I learnt a lot from Dr. Tibebu’s life about commitment, dedication, faith, submission, hope, love and how to serve God and from your life I have seen that your love to God, to husband , to children and faithfulness and respect for Godly marriage covenant.
    Finally I wish to see you face to face and to hear from you and hope to share Godly life

    May God bless you abundantly !

    • Lishan Agonafer says:

      Getachew, that’s the way! To trust the Lord all the more! It is His desire to save your family and it will happen beyond what you ever expected! It is His grace which enables feeble people like that and makes us strong in the midst of challenges, helping us live the godly life… and I can assure you it is available for us all!

  • Amarech Agidew says:

    Dear Lishan, I an Amarech Agidew from Awassa Full Gospel Church. I just finished your book with tears and blessing the Lord Jesus for His mighty works on the lives of your family. The book grew my faith in The Lord more and more. I will read it again and again. While I was reading it, I think sometime I am reading the stories in the Bible and praise the Lord for making such an amazing miraculous story in your life and His divine help to you to write it and share us.
    May the Almighty God bless you more and more abundantly.

    • Lishan Agonafer says:

      Thanks Amarech dear! I bless the Lord for using this book to impact people’s lives in such a positive way! Many are telling me they’ve read it again and again because of the way it is touching their lives. It is wonderful that the story in our book could draw readers closer to the Lord and lead to growing their faith! May He take all the glory and honor!

  • Sue Zelleke says:

    Our dearest Lishan
    Belay just received your book yesterday via Yeshi and unfortunately I can’t read it yet, just the pictures, so looking forward very much to the English version. Tidi’s post of Aug 2013 about Tibebu’s infamous gusha rituals is exactly how we describe him to our friends when discussing our time spent with you in Nairobi. We missed you in 2006 when we were in Addis Ababa, so we were saddened to hear that we will have to wait til we reach our heavenly home to see Tibebu again. I pray that we will still have an opportunity to see you once again. You and your family were our blessing when we lived in Nairobi and our lives are richer because of your faithful witness and loving friendship. May God continue to bless you and your family. all our love Sue & Belay

    • Lishan Agonafer says:

      Dearest Sue & Belay!
      Many apologies for this delayed response to you and all our website visitors! My days and months have been so very busy. So many things happening at the same time, but they’re all good. I’m sorry the English translation of the book is in its early stage, but hopefully we’ll have it sooner than later.

  • Zenebe Akalu says:

    “…For for me to live [is] Christ, and to die gain;” Philipians 1:21. Dr. Tibebu lived for Christ. I read about an ideal physician and his wise wife.

    • Lishan Agonafer says:

      Thanks Zenebe! My husband finished the course gloriously and I trust in the Lord for more of His grace to finish ours!

  • Tibebe Belay says:

    What a God!!! What a Family!!! Our God has his witnesses through all the ages. You – Tibebu’s family as the whole, are the 21century witnesses of The Living God. May The God of our Fathers bless you! In The Name of His Beloved Son The Lord Jesus Christ!! Amen!!!

  • Fanuel Brhane says:

    i am a 24 years old christian living in Addis Ababa and while reading the book i have asked the same question tidenek tibebu asked…is all this story happened in my country… am so revived… and also shaped with the life of Dr. tibebu and lishan…

  • Nemie Lenjisa says:

    I was not a military person but a civilian who was living around Guresum area. I was caught and stayed for 11 years in Somalia as a war captive. I can be an eye witness for Dr. Tibebu’s contributions to the civil Ethiopians who were stayed in Hawaii, Somalia. Lishan, the author of Yemederebedaw Eregna, put the story without a bit of exaggeration. I read the book through, and I suggest that the story written in the book is appropriate and 100% true

  • Meron Tesfaye says:

    Dear Lishan, Emnet, Rekik, Tidenek,

    The only thing which comes out of my mouth is just wow. Leka all is possible in Jesus Christ. I lost my Dad last year on the 29th of June 2013. My Mom gave me your book to read it few months after his passing I started reading it and when I was reading the hospital bit I couldn’t take it I just had to stop as the pain was just unbearable. It kept of bringing back every memory of Dad at the hospital bed. I kept the book aside.

    This month I picked it up and started reading, what I learnt from Dr.’s and his family life is that all is possible in Christ Jesus leka. I have always been lukewarm in my Christianity but I tell you this book has been an eye opener.

    Thank you very very much for sharing such a great testimony of your life and the work of our Almighty God. Last not list would love to have a personal contatc with you if that will not be of a problem to you.

    May God bless you abundantly.

  • Atsed says:


    Turning to the last pages of the book was like a departure from loved family. It took me to each detail of the life path; it seems to be I was with you throughout your life journey.
    •Glory for the name of God who always see the complete pictures of our lives and lives in absolute now.
    •Praise to Almighty Lord who gave wisdom to W/o Lishan by the reason of one year journalism course [which had been considered as irrelevant at first] on how to write and how the story flows.
    •I magnify the name above all name of Jesus Christ who left us a sample life of Dr.Tibebu’s family to our generation.
    Lesson Learnt:-
    ‘Am a born again Orthodox Christian living in Addis , looking Christ as a model .This book mainly taught me the life time disciplines to follow .
    The Character I like:-
    Wondim Mekuria may who is blessed & have graces to be concerned on unseen matters like “tara liy silemitalu dimetoch”

    May our generation also be saved and covered with Jesus Christ name

  • Ema says:

    It was hard to put down this book … to say the least I had to set my busy life to pause mode to finish this book…from skipping gym to cutting down my time with my lovely little boys.
    My life is so inspired by this book, I am sure my prayer life will change forever, because in the book you repeatedly taught me the boldness that comes from prayer and faith.
    Yes, I started telling myself if I have had cried out to God like her all those times I picked up a phone to get human comfort, things would have been so different in my life now.
    And I am glad that you mentioned that you are hodebash kind of women like me, now I am telling myself it doesn’t matter how emotional/hodebasha we are, God is able to give us strength when we cry out to him.

    I wish I knew you were in Washington dc area last May, I would have come and see you and hear you because now I feel like I know you for a long time, you and of course amazing Dr. Tibebu and your wonderful family and friends.
    Thank you for writing this book, thank you for your faithfullness to the Lord and your family.

    With love,

  • Eden says:

    ye egziabher madan bezih metsehaf sltegelete ye Egziabher sem biruk yihun.metsehafun kanebebku gena 1 wer almolagnem.hulem kelebe maytefa tarik new.lemagegnew sew bemulu slezih metsehaf aweralehu.le nante yalegnen akberot ena feker meglets alchelem Tibebu,Lishan,Eyasu,Emnet,Rekik & Tidi.yemawkachu yahel yesemagnal.betam ewedachehualehu.betam betam.keri zemeneshen egzbr yibarkew Lishu Ewedeshalehu.

  • SY says:

    Dear my sister Lishan

    You are so lucky that the Lord is using you and your family to show His glory. Don’t ask me how deeply moved and affected (for good) I am by the book I just finished reading.
    You gave me new / enlarged perspective of prayer, knowing/seeking/searching God’s will, obeying the revealed will of God, trust him in our ups and downs above all sending our request to the target – our Father who listens and responds.
    As you always do, praise Him who made you a couple who lived for His glory – you still do. Though I don’t know you in person (I have seen the interview and the panel discussions since yesterday) it seems after reading the book I know you personally Dr. Tibebu as a big brother and you as a big sister.
    Dr. Tibebu is lucky to live a life worthy of its cause and to preach God’s goodness even after saying good bye to this earth. You are a life witness that we have a God who orchestrates things in His children’s life, we have a God who really takes care of His children, we have a God who is near as like the air we breathe …
    Lishan my dear God has granted you abandoned grace to preach His glory. My sister your prayers have been answered … this book is working a miracle in people’s life …wake up calls for many marriages.
    You are beautiful inside out. You have beautiful daughters who know the Lord. I love what one of your daughters said (on one of the pages of this great book) when you were about to say good bye to Dr. Tibebu … it is the Lord’s grace who made us to pass through all these … it is yegzayabher tsega. Yes yes yes you have it abundantly.
    You challenged me and many others with your life witness, it is not some hypothesis, you talked about your life when it seems dark and when it is bright, you talked about your life when it is full of uncertainties and when it is full of “certainties” Yes yegeta tsega has been with you and it will be.
    May the legacy of our brother Tibebu live forever to bring more to Jesus, to make marriages strong, to help us to come closer to the Father in prayer, …!!!

    Praise the Lord for the gift he has in Dr. Tibebu, you and your children.

  • Abraham says:

    What a GRACE!!!
    Etye Lishan, I thank God for what He did and still doing in your family. I become encouraged and inspired to trust the Lord through this beautiful testimony.
    Abraham Teklemariam

  • Lishan Agonafer says:

    Wow! Tikikel! May the glory, honor and praise continue to be His and His alone, who was and is the author and finisher of it all! It is His presence in our life that brought forth such amazing stories to be shared! It is all about Him, whose love and grace enables ordinary people to do the extraordinary. I’m just deeply touched, humbled, and comforted whenever I come across comments from readers of this book. I am grateful the Lord is using it in impacting lives of all ages. People are asking the story to be presented in animated form for kids… to be included in schools to help students learn about the Ethio-Somali War in 1977… to make a movie, a documentary … Audio, etc. So many ideas & suggestions are surfacing from the readers! May He take this story in any way and direction He desires for His glory and the expansion of His Kingdom.

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