Within six months of being inside Somalia our team of 8 were feeding 50,000 souls per day, resettling refugees, attempting mobile medical clinics, and providing necessary tools and seeds in “food for work” projects that enabled rural farming families to reestablish their lives after eating even their planting seeds during the famine.
We were in-country for over 6 months before we met a female over 13 who hadn’t been “used” by men in excess of 6-8 times. Burying babies and the aged was a daily activity.
All this was attempted in the midst of a famine and war zone. Our team was less than a mile away when the horror of “Black Hawk Down” took its place in the American narrative and psyche.
To add to this terrible unreality was the gruesome and growing persecution of the few Somali believers. Of the 10 million Somalis in-country, there were an estimate of 150 Somali believers. As civil society continued to meltdown, a more conservative form of Islam infiltrated Somali culture with believers being hunted down and killed, much in the same manner one hunts and kills a rabid animal.
Such radicals killed 4 of my best friends. These 4 brothers-in-Christ were stalked, followed, and assassinated in 45 minutes on one of the blackest days in Somali history. Their bodies were taken and thrown into latrines, garbage dumps and into the Indian Ocean where the sharks fed.
For 25 years, from 1988-2013 the believing community never had a Somali believer’s body at their own funerals.
Fast forward 23 years. Those who sought to bring life to the all People’s in Somalia during their famine and war zone had been cast out of the country. For years few believers from the West could live anywhere in-country. While the country slowly rebuilds, Somalia remains ungovernable outside of Mogadishu. Fundamentalist Islam is the order of the day while many Somalis have rejected Islam as a failed religion.
Yet hope is once again on the rise as, increasingly, a new generation of Somalis embrace Jesus. It would be foolish to give details of numbers of believers; where they dwell, what numbers there might be, or to whom they relate. Suffice it to say that God always finds a way to make Himself known and believers from outside of Somalia remain committed to taking Jesus and His Good News to the toughest environments on earth.
Obedience is always a trait of those who are “in Christ.” And obedience to share Jesus among all peoples of the earth, giving the access to the kingdom of God always leads to new life. The love of Christ and eternal life grows again in Somalia.
There is nothing new or unusual in this.
Yet, as faith grows in Somalia so does persecution toward those who embrace Jesus. Evil never surrenders its territory and the lives who dwell under its current dominion. Once again Somali believers are being hunted. Once again they are being chased from their homeland. Once again they are experiencing imprisonment and beatings. Once again they are facing death.
There is nothing unusual in this.