"Ethiopia's River of Death" can be found online here.

How did Christianity Today first become aware of the Kara Tribe's child sacrifice practices?

Journalist Matt LaPlante approached CT editors in March 2011. He told us about these horrific practices and what local Christians were doing to respond, as well as some American Christians who were working in country with limited success. After much internal discussion, we agreed to give Matt credentials to travel to Ethiopia with a photographer, Rick Egan. Both are seasoned journalists and aware of the health and security dangers. In this part of the world, people die every day of preventable disease; there are violent groups in the greater region; Americans may not be welcome, or may be viewed as prospects for street crime.

What resources were required in order to get LaPlante and Egan into Ethiopia to report on this situation?

Getting in and out of this remote part of the world is no small undertaking. We verified that Matt and Rick had local hosts in position to help them out. They were going to an extremely desolate (and beautiful) area of southern Ethiopia. Very few Westerners ever travel there, much less to do journalism. It is quite expensive to underwrite this kind of trip for two working journalists. But they volunteered to pay all expenses up front. After their return, and their successfully filing of three articles for CT editorial, we reimbursed them at a fair rate. They were among the very few to turn one overseas trip into three published articles, including an article on overseas adoption in Ethiopia and a third on evangelical growth in Ethiopia. That's an amazing achievement.

How were cultural and language barriers overcome?

In many cases, we rely on local Christian contacts to help with ground transportation, housing, meals, translation/interpretation. We are always surprised to find that CT has such a solid reputation in the most obscure parts of the world. It is known throughout Africa and the Middle East among Christian leaders. This really helps open doors and pave the way to amazing interview opportunities. Interviewing people from ancient cultures is difficult at best. Matt and Rick found one or two very capable Christians to help conduct interviews, including American missions personnel.

Did any obstacles surface that threatened to prevent this story from getting told?

The main obstacle concerned the breakdown between several Americans working with the Kara tribe and one particular local Christian leader. They were developing an orphanage, but a dispute caused them to sever their relationship abruptly. After much discussion with Matt, we agreed that this problem should be referenced in the story, but it should not be the central point of focus. The story's central theme is one of engagement.

From Christianity Today's perspective, why was it important to devote energy and resources to share this story with American Christians?

This story is important on more than one level. We wish to inform readers that the problem of child sacrifice is one of the present era, not just for the history books. At another level, this story is a case study example in which a model of ministry is explored. In many stories about missions, nothing good seems to happen until the educated Westerner comes on the scene. In this article, we show the resourcefulness of local Christians and the ability of Westerners to come alongside the indigenous church leaders as agents of change. Showcasing effective models leverages the power of one article into another context. Not long ago, we worked with Tim Stafford on an article about a microenterprise model in Metro Manila. Sometime later, Tim was traveling in India and met a local Christian leader who was so familiar with the Metro Manila article that this leader used it like a textbook to launch microenterprise projects in his own home city. It's exciting to see how carefully CT is read!

See the story behind the story of other award-winning content from the 2012 Evangelical Press Association convention.