In college I had a professor tell my class that we were facing an unprecedented missionary opportunity among the Somali people simply because thousands of them have had to flee to places like America. Often, he said, American Christians will bemoan the fact that missionaries are unable to enter countries like Somalia (or any closed country), while ignoring the reality that many of those very people are living right in their neighborhoods. I think he is right in a lot of ways. And if this is true about the increasing numbers of people from the nations literally coming to our doorstep, then we should be informed about our new neighbors.
Today’s country is Somalia. Somalia is located in West Africa and has a population of over 14 million. Islam is the official religion of Somalia and less than 1% of the population is Christian. After a bloody civil war ended in 1991 and UN withdrawal in 1995, no formal government was established, making Somalia the most lawless country in the world (according to Operation World). The country is run by warlords primarily and has no formal economic system. Because of the lack of economy and stability many Somalis are totally dependent on aid and family assistance from outside of Somalia. Hundreds of thousands of Somalis, including 25% of children under age 5, have died due to famine and violence.
Many Somalis have been forced to flee the country due to lack of food and the fighting in their own land. And many have fled to America.
Ways to pray:
- Pray for the Somali Church. It is thought that there are maybe 2,000 Christian Somalis in the world. Pray that this is would increase and that God would use them to spread his name among their fellow countrymen.
- Pray also for the Somali believers facing persecution. The Somali Church is an underground movement, if anything. It is a dangerous thing to be a Christian in Somalia.
- Pray that God would grant true and lasting peace in Somalia through the shed blood of Jesus Christ. UN peacemaking efforts have failed and only Christ can bring unity and change to a country.
- Pray against the barriers to the Gospel among the Somali people. Many Somalis associate oppression with Christianity. Pray that the Christians who come in contact with Somalis would only show compassion, care, and love to them. Many Somalis also think that being a nomad (which many are) is not compatible with Christianity. Pray for Christians who are willing to disciple Somalis and show them that cultural practices (that aren’t sinful) have no bearing on your acceptance before God—it is by grace.