With a population of around 14 million, Somalia is almost 100 per cent Islamic, and it is often dangerous to be a mission worker there. In the midst of suffering, the Light of Christ is shining through.
I’m Abdul* from Somalia.
From five years old till I was in high school, I lived as a Muslim and did my obligations according to the expectations of my parents. I went to the mosque to practise my Islamic obligation, reading the Quran and Sharia law. I believed that the world would become good, if all people were Muslims. My father is a devout Muslim who practises Islamic teachings a lot on a daily basis. My mother, as an avid Muslim, made sure her children recited the Quran and abided by its teachings.
I grew up in this environment and understood the world from an Islamic viewpoint. I knew that the world was divided into two, those of Islam, and the infidels. The idea of accepting Christ was remote because there are almost no Christians in Somalia. They used to tell us that we should not accept Christians or deal with them, because according to an Islamic point of view, they are evil. The Quran and prophet Mohammed told us to be careful and fight until we finish them!
In 2014 I arrived in Uganda for university. There I saw Christians for the first time. They were friendly, welcoming, and they didn’t separate themselves from Muslims. They were faithful and well behaved.
I was introduced to Christ and Christianity. I began to meet with some of them and I read and discussed the Bible. I was surprised to read in the book of Matthew, God says, ‘Love your neighbour as you love yourself,’ and that Jesus says in John 14:6, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one goes to the Father except by me.’
As a matter of fact, I gave myself totally to Jesus.
I gradually parted ways with my Muslim friends and community in Uganda after I received Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I started to connect more often with Christian friends. My Muslim friends at the university took notes, as they also saw some of my posts in my Facebook page. They never saw me back in that mosque again. So, they concluded that I had left Islam.
…I saw Christians for the first time. They were friendly, welcoming, and they didn’t separate themselves from Muslims.
When my family and community came to know about that, they wanted me back to Islam or they would rather kill me. They tried to have me arrested several times in order to deport me back to Somalia. My family intensified the hunt for me through my former Muslim friends, the police and my landlord. One August a group of Somali youths came with policemen, arrested and jailed me for a night on the pretext that I owed them money. In September my mother arrived from Somalia to take me back, guided by a Somali sheikh and my former friends. I was finally arrested and tortured in a bid to force me back to confess Islam. For two weeks, they beat me daily and tied me to a chair and left me outside in the rain and storms. However, by the grace of God, even amid surveillance and military guards, I managed to escape over the fence one early morning, during morning prayers. After I escaped and put up with a Christian friend, that same morning, my mother came and ransacked my room and took everything I owned. I believe the sentence of death is already pronounced over me for apostasy, but thank God for His protection and I do believe that He does not sleep.
I enjoyed Sunday services and being with my Christian family. Before my current situation worsened, I use to go to church, but now after these problems, there is very little chance to show myself in public. I am strengthened by personal quiet time with the Bible. The Bible is my favourite book, especially Matthew 5:43-45; also, all the book of Psalms. My friends teach me more than I know, and I thank my Lord Jesus who showed me the right way. I take fasting and prayers as solace in difficult times and I also enjoy doing it to gather with my friends. I lament my limitations and confinement within a small space, and I don’t have the luxury to visit others.
I know and believe that my Lord Jesus will strengthen me in faith, and that I have a bright future to show my people the love of God through Christ Jesus. I also believe in God’s promise for me and my family, that I will be saved, me and them also. Amen.
*name changed to protect identity
- that we continue to remember persecuted believers, like Abdul, who are undergoing suffering and often martyrdom for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ
- for isolated believers to find Christian fellowship and encouragement
- for the country of Somalia, that its people would hear the Good News and respond.