New Lutheran center in Ethiopia brings Gospel to searching Somalis

Categories: Catechism, Ethiopia, Somali, Somalia

In militantly Muslim Somalia, admitting one’s Christian faith often invites death.

Yet each day, God calls His Somali children to faith in Him. Often, the Holy Spirit uses LHF translator Mohamed*, a former Muslim who is determined to establish the first Lutheran churches in Somalia.

Though he is risking his life, Mohamed continues to share the Good News with fellow Somalis in a variety of ways, including two websites, a Facebook page, a YouTube channel and a Twitter feed he hosts.

“Almost all the Somalis who know me are aware of my Christian faith,” Mohamed said. “This helps those interested in Christianity to either approach me directly or contact me by phone. For instance, last October when I was in Jigjiga (the Somali region of Ethiopia), I met two men on a street. One was an old friend of mine; the other was unknown to me. My old friend asked me, ‘Mohamed, are you still Christian?’ I said yes. The next day, the other man called me and visited me in my hotel to ask me questions about Christianity and for a Bible.”

“Most Somalis know very little about Christianity,” Mohamed said. “All they know is what they learned from Islamic literature, which is usually distorted and falsified.”

“The books published by LHF are the only Christian resources we have [in the Somali language],” he explained. “The Small Catechism is our main textbook in teaching/learning Christian faith. We are distributing the booklet The Good News about Jesus, which is being read by many Somalis – seekers as well as Muslims.”

In addition to translating books like the Small Catechism and A Child’s Garden of Bible Stories into the Somali language, Mohamed has established a new Lutheran center in the Ethiopian city of Addis Ababa.

There, Somalis can travel in person to study the catechism, worship and be baptized.

“Since Islam never allows questions about faith, they enjoy the freedom of asking questions and receiving answers,” said Mohamed. “Once they are convinced that Christianity is the only true faith, they become bold enough to ask for baptism, and some even dare to share their new faith with their family and friends.”

It’s a risky move, to say the least.

“We recently baptized Farah, a 17-year-old Somali girl, who came from Somalia to participate in our catechism seminar,” Mohamed revealed. “However, Farah’s parents saw her Small Catechism and discovered her conversion to Christianity. They molested her and chased her from the house, and she is currently in hiding. Farah told me that she will rather die than compromise her faith in Christ.”

Like Farah, Mohamed knows what it is like to suffer persecution for being a child of God. He has lost employment and his home. Several of his children have been taken from him by Muslim family members, and he’s received many serious death threats.

Yet, “I am not afraid of anyone or anything for I know I will die one day,” Mohamed said. “Saint Paul wrote to the Romans:  ‘If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord (Romans 14:8).’”

“The faith of these Somali Christians is humbling and inspiring,” reflected Rev. Matthew Heise, LHF executive director. “With help from our supporters, LHF remains committed to providing these free resources for our Somali friends, so that their faith in Jesus may grow.”

*Mohamed’s last name is being omitted for his personal safety.

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