If ever there was a thorn in the flesh of Islam in her country it was “Sophia”. We first met her at a self-made orphanage outside of Mogadishu during some of the worst months of the Civil War in Somalia. We tracked her down through the unusual means of hearing children singing in a destroyed section of the capital city where there were no songs. Over the years our lives have touched and crisscrossed through the tragedy which is the Somali people.
As the persecution increased in Mogadishu she escaped with her daughter, along with hundreds of other Somalis, to a neighboring country inside of a boat intended to transfer cattle from one country to another. Once upon the high seas, those who could not produce an additional monetary rite of passage were callously thrown into the ocean. Surviving such ordeals, Sophia found herself in a refugee camp among a people who were almost as dangerous to her faith as those in the country where she had recently fled. While she was a stranger in a foreign country, we were able to discover that her children, long thought dead along with her husband, were still alive! There were many efforts to reunite her with her children only to be told by her in-laws, “as long as she was a follower of Jesus, she would never be allowed to touch her children again.”
She was forced to marry someone within her deceased husband’s clan. Submitting to this plan she chose to marry a man who was very interested in her faith in Christ. Soon after her marriage she found herself pregnant once again. She was known throughout her small-town as “that evil woman” whose witness was converting many Muslims to Jesus. Through the status of her marriage and the strength of her witness, they could not silence her. The day arrived when she was in labor with the child of her new husband. There was a serious problem with the position of the baby so she went to the hospital for assistance from the professional medical community. Quickly she befriended those in the hospital especially one medical orderly.
He was to be used by God to save her life.
As her contractions continued over an unhealthy length of time, this orderly heard a doctor and nurse discuss the case of Sophia’s pregnancy. He heard them discussing that this woman had caused many people to turn to faith in Jesus Christ and all the attempts used to silence her had not been successful. To his horror, this aide overheard the doctor and nurse consent to do nothing to help her, allowing her to die “normally” giving birth to her child, thus erasing such a witnessing thorn from the flesh of the community.
The orderly acted quickly with inspiration. He went to a public phone and called the only believer he knew in the capital city of his country. This believer quickly contacted a believing airline pilot with the national carrier who arranged to change his flight schedule with another pilot. Flying immediately to this small desert city, the believing pilot left the airplane in the hands of his co-pilot, climbed into a bush taxi, rushed to the rural hospital, and found the believing sister, still painfully having contractions, lying untreated in the hospital. He wrapped a blanket around Sophia, picked her from her bed-tubes intact, placed her in the taxi, took her back to his airplane, strapped her in a First Class seat, and flew her to the capital city. Believers were waiting for the airplane and took her by ambulance to a local hospital where her son was successfully born by cesarean section 3 hours later.
Two days later I was able to visit with her. I held this baby boy, another miracle child saved from the clutches of a modern day Pharaoh or Herod and their cronies.
Being a New Testament light in the midst of the Old Testament is never easy and it is always dangerous. Be prepared for evil yet never forget to watch for the miracle.