A Somali woman in Mogadishu. [UN Photo/Tobin Jones]

Hardly a day goes by when we don’t receive an email from an African faith-leader requesting partnership with APF. Messages from pastors in Uganda, Nigeria, Kenya and Cameroon arrive like clockwork, appealing for funding, training courses or education sponsorship.

In July, however, we received a first: a partnership request from Somalia. As this poverty-stricken and war-torn country on the Horn of Africa is reportedly 99.8 percent Muslim, we were cautiously interested. To find out more we set up a meeting with an APF associate currently based at Mogadishu Airport…

Rev D runs a Somali Christian development network of faith-based organisations from all over the Somali-speaking region. He works to promote peace, reconciliation and community development. He also supports Jesus following faith communities around the country including several tiny gatherings in Banaadir District. He told us what worship was like for a Somali believer:

In a small single-room house in Banaadir District, dozens of Christians worship in secret out of fear of persecution in a country where no official churches exist. They sing, dance and testify, though not as exuberantly as in Christian services held in other African nations.

“I thank you, Jesus, for giving me this opportunity to worship you,” said a man wearing a red cap as he stood amongst the gathering. “Protect my family and all Christians around the world. We know and believe that, Jesus, you are the Lion of Judah who can defeat our enemies.” Another woman wearing a blue dress and holding her Bible prayed to herself. “I give thanks to Jesus Christ for saving me from attacks and not being hit in the explosions,” she said.

D explained how Somali Christians live in fear of extremists including al- Shabab jihadists linked to al-Qaida and rogue elements among their otherwise peaceful neighbours who might attack or even kill them if they found out that they held Christian services.

Please pray for Rev D as he continues to meet with the APF associate and other regional APF friends. Pray for wisdom in knowing how to proceed with a potentially significant but sensitive partnership. Give thanks for all Somali Christians, praying they would sense God’s presence and peace.