PODCAST: Whyte House Family Spoken Nonfiction Books #119: “100 Most Influential Black Christians in History”

Welcome to the Whyte House Family Spoken Nonfiction Books podcast: Black History Month edition episode #119. Today we are celebrating the life of Abagole Nunemo from the book “100 Most Influential Black Christians in History” compiled and edited by the editors of BCNN1.


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Abagole Nunemo
Ethiopian church leader

Acts 16:31 says, “And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.”

“If it is the will of God, I too shall drink this cup.” (on his impending death)

Abagole was born in 1894 at Dubancho in the Hadiya region, southern Shoa Province in Ethiopia. His mother was called by the affectionate name of Adeye and his father, Nunemo, was a killer who wanted to satisfy his desire to be famous. Nunemo named his son, Sofebo. Later on, Sofebo grew up to be a brave young man and his name was changed by his fellow cattle herdsmen to “Abagole” meaning “he who has the ability to gather people around him.”

In his early life he was a sorcerer, an idol worshipper, a known rebel, a slave trader, and a murderer. Due to his ability to manipulate the spirits, his relatives and neighbors brought him the firstborn of their domestic animals and “chuko,” a delicacy made from the flour of roasted barley mixed with butter and salt to form a tasty thick paste.

During the Italian invasion of Southern Ethiopia from 1937 to 1941, Abagole, with his compatriots from Hadiya, fought the colonizers. He also helped fleeing SIM missionaries by giving them shelter and food as they cautiously made their way to Addis Ababa. He heard the Gospel through them, but did not respond initially. One day a marauding army burned and looted his house, taking his wife and children. He pursued the looters to Wolaitta, attempting to reclaim his lost possessions and his family. While negotiating with the bandits he spent the nights on the vacated SIM compound near Soddo, where he was befriended by the guard who enthusiastically testified about Christ. One night in November of 1936, God gave Abagole a vision and the next morning he accepted Jesus Christ as his personal Savior. He was soon reunited with his wife and children and returned home to Dubancho in the Hadiya region.

He was filled with the Holy Spirit soon after his conversion and began to preach the Gospel in his home district of Dubancho. God helped him open up the Scriptures to others even though he lacked formal training. His evangelistic outreach began extending beyond his own district of Dubancho, to Ololicho and then to Amburse. He ministered not only in the Kembata and Hadiya regions but also in many other parts of Ethiopia. He preached all over Ethiopia, except in the region of Wollega. He continually encouraged those who became believers in Christ to learn the Amharic alphabet, to read and write, and to become teachers in their own villages.

Abagole was God’s instrument for establishing churches inside and outside Ethiopia. He was given the opportunity to preach in America and in Canada. When he was in Nigeria for nineteen days, many believed.

He played a significant role as one of the founders of the Ethiopian Kale Heywet Church (EKHC). He was a EKHC leader for twenty-eight years in the regions of Kembatta and Hadiya. He was one of the founders and first chairman of the Fellowship of Evangelical Believers Association (founded in 1963), in which organization he served as the first president for four years. He was also one of the decision makers when the name “Ethiopian Kale Heywet Church” was chosen in 1971.

As a EKHC leader, he sent many evangelists to preach in various geographic areas of Ethiopia such as Arsi, Keffa, Mareko, Wollo, Tigray, and Gurage. He also coordinated operations and raised funds to build churches in Bobicho, Mochia among the Gurage ethnic group and at Geja in Addis Ababa. He did the same in Hosanna town and in the Dubancho district.

Abagole also helped to establish primary schools both in Hadiya and beyond. At first, elementary schools began in local Kale Heywet churches and then developed into recognized public and government schools. One such school was the KHC/SIM Bobicho primary and secondary school (near Hosanna town) which was a prime mover in breaking the bondage of illiteracy. This school produced many who became professionals, who are now scholars, doctors, and ambassadors.

Abagole also helped widows, orphans, evangelists, and the sick with the gifts and offerings he collected from believers. He bought mules for evangelists so that they could avoid having to walk to distant areas. He also helped the drought-stricken victims in Wollo by donating grain and cash. As a founding father of EKHC, Abagole left a proud and enduring legacy.


Thank you for joining us for this episode of Whyte House Family nonfiction books. You may purchase a copy of this book and any other Christian nonfiction books read on this podcast from Amazon.com.

Now, dear listener, please know that God—the divine Author of all things—wants to write a great story with your life as well. But first you must give Him the pen by trusting Him with the life He gave you and surrendering your heart to Jesus Christ as Savior. Here is how:

1. Accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Ecclesiastes 7:20: “For there is not a just man upon earth that doeth good, and sinneth not.” Romans 3:23 reads: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”

2. Accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”

3. Accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” The Bible says in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”

4. Accept the fact that you cannot do anything to save yourself! The Bible states in Ephesians 2: 8, 9: “For by grace are ye saved through faith: and that not of yourselves: it is a gift of God. Not of works, lest any man should boast.”

5. Accept the fact that God loves you more than you love yourself, and that He wants to save you from hell. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

6. With these facts in mind, please repent of your sins, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and pray and ask Him to come into your heart and save you this very moment. The Bible states in the book of Romans 10:9, 13: “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.”

“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Dear friend, if you are willing to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation, please pray with me this simple prayer: Heavenly Father, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I now believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.

If you believed in your heart that Jesus Christ died on the cross, was buried, and rose again, allow me to say, congratulations on doing the most important thing in life and that is accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour! For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door”. Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”

May God bless you until next time.

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