EASTERN AFRICA — As a young teenager in eastern Africa, Tariku was beaten and kicked out of his home for becoming a Christian. Life on the streets was hard, but he survived by carrying loads like a donkey for pennies a day. He wanted to go back to school but never dreamt what God had in store for him. Here’s the story of a young Ethiopian who is now leading students to Christ on university campuses across eastern and southern Africa.
Meet Dr. Tariku Fufa. In spring 2019, he achieved what at one time seemed impossible – earning his doctorate degree from regent university’s school of business and leadership. And he was voted the school’s outstanding student. He says he did it for one purpose.
Tariku Fufa: CRU Campus Director East Africa
This is what I’m going to do. Revival for every heart; gospel for every sinner; discipleship for every believer; and leaders for every nation.
But as a young boy growing up in Ethiopia, he was far from a respected student and leader. When he was 3, Tariku became an outcast among his family and his village because he was abandoned by his mom. Although his father took him in Tariku never went to school … instead he became a sheep herder from the age of 4-9 years old.
When my dad told me that I would never, ever go to school, I thought my life is over and it was so painful.
But when Tariku turned 10, the government made his father send him to school. Tariku excelled, but at 13, he learned something from his half brother that would change his life – the love of Jesus Christ.
For the first time I knew there is somebody interested in me, loving me. So that day Christ came into my life
When his father found out, he and his step mother beat tariku unconscious and left him on the streets to die. For the next 6 years he did whatever it took to survive.
I was like those donkeys, you know, I carried stuff for people. They would pay me maybe like a penny. I buy food with that.
He was also asthmatic. One day when he was 15 years old he was cooking over an open fire. He suffered an asthma attack so severe, he knew he was going to die.
As I was crying and-and yelling to God, I heard silent and the quiet voice of the Lord. And very clearly saying, “Tariku, my son, don’t cry. You are not without help. Count three months, I will heal you from this asthma. Once you are healed, count another three months, I will take you to another town and open door of – door of education for you. You will go to university, and move on to preach my gospel all over the world, in the language that you have never spoken.”
Months later, Tariku says he was healed of his asthma. He was also attending high school where he earned a government scholarship to college as one of the top students in his country. As Tariku neared graduation, his father learned he was still alive and went to see him to ask for forgiveness.
I said, “Dad, Jesus, whom I followed, … took care of me. He healed me of the asthma. Jesus gave me hope. I said, “Yes, Dad, I forgive you because I follow Jesus.”
Tariku returned home with his father and shared his story of survival. As a result, the entire village, including his father would give their lives to Christ.
Seeing them receiving Christ, it was the highest fulfillment in life.
Tariku went on to earn his masters and join the staff of campus crusade for Christ where he met Buze and they later married. He also became the national director of student ministries in Ethiopia. He preached the gospel all over the world and helped lead thousands to faith in Christ.
In 2015, Tariku enrolled in regent’s doctorate school of business and leadership.
The reason why I came to School of Business and Leadership was also that to get more skills on how to lead from the Word of God. I want to get all this so that I can develop more leaders who can lead like Jesus.
Praise God!, I’m going to be called Dr. Tariku Fufa Gemechu.
Tariku was able to take his regent classes on line while working full-time for campus crusade training leaders in 24 countries.
After four years, Tariku graduated with a 4.0 from regent on may 11th, 2019. He received the outstanding graduate award for the Ph.D. In organizational leadership.
- Global News Alliance, From Sheep Herder to Leading Campus Ministries Across Eastern Africa
- Regent University, Official Website