Alem was born in the district of Akule Guzai in Eritrea and was raised in the family of Orthodox Church followers. He did his initial schooling in Asmara and as a teenager joined the Infantry Division of the Army in Asmara. Because of his physical prowess and intelligence, in 1960 he was selected to join the Air Born unit and was transferred to Debre Zeit, located near Addis Ababa. While in Debre Zeit he pursued his education through to high school by attending evening school. Because his supervisor noted that Alem was a keen student, it was recommended that Alem should enrol in the three-year technical training programme in Holleta, Shoa province. Upon graduation he served for ten years at the military base in Harar, in eastern Ethiopia. In 1980 he had an opportunity to do a six month field electronics course in the Soviet Union. When he returned to Ethiopia, he was assigned to the Debre Zeit Air-Ground Defence Unit. Soon he discovered that his Soviet electronics training was inadequate for his designated work. Eventually he was assigned as an instructor in the woodworking division – a position he held until 1991 when he was discharged from the Airborne Division. Subsequent to that he was employed by the non-government agency, SOS. Then, from 1999 until his death in 2004 he served in his local Debre Zeit Full Gospel Church.
Alem Tekle’s lasting legacy in the Debre Zeit Full Gospel Church was his servant/leadership role in ministry. He was an ardent evangelist among his peers at the Debre Zeit Airforce Base. He was also an able discipler and bible teacher in the house church movement during the communist era. He was a man of wisdom who shared godly counsel to the many members of the church, although his greatest contribution to the members of the Debre Zeit Full Gospel Church was his prayer life. By his prayers various members of the Debre Zeit congregation were healed; others were delivered from their anxieties by his prayers. Because of Alem’s steadfast prayer life, the spiritual and physical needs of hundreds of adherents of the Debre Zeit Full Gospel Church were met.
E. Paul Balisky
Adapted from Alemu Werku, “Biography of Alem Tekle,” a term paper presented to the Ethiopian Graduate School of Theology for the course, “Evangelical Movement in Ethiopia,” 2004.
This article was received in 2014 written by E. Paul Balisky, a former lecturer at the Ethiopian Graduate School of Theology, a DACB participating member. Paul and his wife Lila now reside in Grande Prairie, Alberta, Canada.