My view of life from the cheap seats… Art Chartier
Peanut Gallery: Christian Persecution – Somalia #5 on World Watch List
It is too dangerous for believers to meet openly in this strictly Islamic state. Terrorist groups such as al-Shabaab target converts to Christianity and eliminate them.
Aid workers, Christian or otherwise, require tight security due to the risk of abduction.
The election of a new parliament and president in 2012 created a framework for a more legitimate government. But for Christians the future still looks bleak, as the provisional constitution does not allow for religious freedom. (Population: 9.8 million – a few hundred Christians)
Prayer: Heavenly Father – May your Kingdom come… and your will be done… in Somalia, as it is in heaven. Feed your people and deliver them from evil. Lord Jesus – Come in power to Somalia… break their bondage to sin and death… set them free – may your Word go forth with power accomplishing your Kingdom purposes. Holy Spirit – Move among your people… strengthening, encouraging, protecting them. I ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Islamic leaders maintain that Somalia remains a strictly Islamic state with no room for Christians. Children attend mandatory Madrasa Islamic classes, people are buried with Islamic burial rights whatever their religion might be, and it is extremely difficult to openly declare faith. It is too dangerous to meet openly and families of converts are fearful that they might be suspected of conversion and risk execution.
Terrorist groups such as al-Shabaab are a threat to Christians and the general Muslim population in Somalia. Christians and expatriate aid workers face persecution from Islamic extremist groups. When Christian converts are identified, they are eliminated, and aid workers – Christian or otherwise – require tight security due to the risk of abduction.
All regions in Somalia are affected and al-Shabaab remains a threat as it has backing from al-Qaeda. In September 2012, the election of a new president and parliament created a framework for a more legitimate and transparent government. However, for Christians the prospects are significantly less positive, bearing in mind that the provisional constitution that was passed does not allow for religious freedom. There is some hope though, as returnees have been exposed to Christianity, and are bringing more tolerance towards Christians. The government is starting to take charge and house fellowships are emerging. (World Watch – Open Doors UK)
The Insanity of God: Uploaded on Oct 25, 2012
“The Insanity of God is the personal and lifelong journey of an ordinary couple from rural Kentucky who thought they were going on just your ordinary missionary pilgrimage, but discovered it would be anything but. After spending over six hard years doing relief work in Somalia, and experiencing life where it looked like God had turned away completely and He was clueless about the tragedies of life, the couple had a crisis of faith and left Africa asking God, “Does the gospel work anywhere when it is really a hard place? It sure didn’t work in Somalia.
Nik recalls that, “God had always been so real to me, to Ruth, and to our boys. But was He enough, for the utter weariness of soul I experienced at that time, in that place, under those circumstances?” It is a question that many have asked and one that, if answered, can lead us to a whole new world of faith.
How does faith survive, let alone flourish in a place like the Middle East? How can Good truly overcome such evil? How do you maintain hope when all is darkness around you? How can we say “greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world” when it may not be visibly true in that place at that time? How does anyone live an abundant, victorious Christian life in our world’s toughest places? Can Christianity even work outside of Western, dressed-up, ordered nations? If so, how?
The Insanity of God tells a story—a remarkable and unique story to be sure, yet at heart a very human story—of the Ripkens’ own spiritual and emotional odyssey. The gripping, narrative account of a personal pilgrimage into some of the toughest places on earth, combined with sobering and insightful stories of the remarkable people of faith Nik and Ruth encountered on their journeys, will serve as a powerful course of revelation, growth, and challenge for anyone who wants to know whether God truly is enough.”