“Although I want to tell the world that I am a Christian, I don’t because I fear for my life. But God makes it possible for me to survive.”
– HASSAN*, SOMALI CONVERT TO CHRISTIANITY
Hassan’s father, Aaden*, an illiterate shepherd in Somalia, met Jesus in visions while out herding the animals. Hassan tells us, “In these visions, Christ appeared to him and said, ‘It’s me, Isa. Do not be afraid, for I am with you.’”
When Aaden chose to follow Jesus, he was brutally attacked with a panga (a tool similar to a machete) – he still bears the scars today. When Hassan also decided to become a Christian, while he did not face the brutal persecution his father did, he was rejected by his community and insulted, leaving him feeling lonely and isolated.
Most Somali Christians keep their faith completely secret.
Islam is an important part of Somali identity, and for a Somali person to decide to leave Islam and follow Jesus is seen as a huge betrayal – and one that could lead to immediate execution. If al-Shabaab find someone who has become a Christian, the militants will often kill them on the spot.
The many Somalis who live in other parts of the Horn of Africa, such as Ethiopia, Djibouti and Kenya, also face huge challenges if they decide to follow Jesus. Radical Islam is growing across the region, and if the secret faith of our brothers and sisters is discovered, they can face attack and exile from their friends and neighbours, and even their own families.
One of the ways that Open Doors works to support isolated believers like Hassan is through the radio.
Open Doors has been partnering with others to produce radio programmes in the Somali language, and our partners have been broadcasting Somali songs, poetry and preaching in the Horn of Africa for the past 19 years! These programmes are also bringing the gospel to those who may never have heard it before, even in parts of the Horn of Africa where evangelism should be completely impossible.
Lord Jesus, thank You that You are still bringing Somali people to know Your love. May You protect all those who must keep their faith in You a secret, and may You turn the hearts of al-Shabaab militants to Yourself. Help Somali Christians to keep following You, and help them to be a light to others.
*Names changed for security reasons
Your support is vital to help grow the faith of ordinary Christians who live in the most dangerous places on Earth: Somalia, North Korea…and the World Watch List Top Ten.
They choose to live dangerously for Jesus everyday. Would you choose to strengthen them?
- Every HK$80 could provide a secret believer with a Bible to strengthen their faith.
- Every HK$375 could provide a relief pack to help a North Korean family survive for 6 months.