Did other Ethiopians become Christians? Perhaps a few did. But the large-scale evangelization of Ethiopia did not occur until three centuries later. And it happened by accident.
The accident involved a man named Frumentius, from the city of Tyre (in modern Lebanon), sometime near the beginning of the fourth century. The account that survives is sketchy. But it seems that Frumentius took a trip through the Red Sea. Unfortunately, his ship sank near the African coast. At the time, this must have seemed like an unmitigated disaster. But it turned out to be a fortunate event for Ethiopia. (Is there such a thing as being shipwrecked in the Spirit? See Acts 27.)
Frumentius got to shore and traveled inland to Aksum, the capital of Ethiopia at that time. There he met the emperor and his son. Frumentius was a Christian, and he shared the gospel with the two royal figures. The son, Ezana, became a believer. In 330, when Ezana succeeded to the throne, he established Christianity as the religion of the land.
At this point, Frumentius traveled north to Egypt to consult with the bishop of Alexandria, the great Athanasius. St. Athanasius ordained Frumentius a bishop and sent him back to spearhead the continuing evangelization of Ethiopia.
Christianity took deep root in Ethiopia. Historically, the church in Ethiopia has had strong ties with the church in Egypt. At present, about two-thirds of Ethiopians are Christians. The great majority belong to the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. There is also a small Catholic minority.
Frumentius lived long enough to see some of the good that God brought out of the shipwreck he experienced. His story encourages us to trust that God can bring good out of the disasters we experience as well.
This is taken from Kevin Perrottas Prayer, Fasting, and Almsgiving.