My faith in Jesus Christ the Messiah
I was born to a very religious Somali family, in a small village in western Somalia. I am a Somali.
I grew up in Mogadishu where I worked and finished high school. My father was a well-known religious leader and also a well-respected tribal leader. He memorised the entire Qur’an in Arabic, even though he could not speak Arabic very well. The Qur’an is roughly the size of the Christian New Testament.
My father trained Muslim religious teachers for the propagation of Islam. In his pursuit of spreading Islam he enjoyed the moral and material support of the military government in Somalia.
My father gave me a solid Muslim religious education for he wanted me to succeed him as a religious leader. Little did he know that I would become a follower of Jesus the Messiah.
How the Lord found me
Since the Qur’an says a lot of good things about Jesus the Messiah, I decided to study Jesus and his teachings as well.
So I obtained the Holy Bible, Kitaabka Qudduuska Ah, in the English language. I shared with my father about my growing interest in Jesus Christ and my suspicion of Muhammad’s claims to be the last prophet from God. He threatened to take my life away if I ever again openly questioned the claims and trustworthiness of Islam.
After three years of studying the Bible, the Lord found me in 1986. The Holy Spirit was certainly working in me since 1983, but I continuously resisted his conviction until 1986.
Many passages in the Bible spoke to me directly, like the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7), but it is the totality of the Scripture and its authenticity which impacted me the most. I remember the day I totally surrendered to the Lord. I spoke to the Lord in my heart and confessed my ignorance and arrogance towards his Messiah and Injeel (New Testament).
I repented of my sins and started a new life with the Lord. The radio broadcast Codka Nolosha Cusub (Voice of New Life) personnel in Nairobi, Kenya, helped me by answering many of my questions, through correspondence, and guided me in my walk with the Lord. It was a difficult journey but worthy of the effort.
The Lord used radio ministers to convict me of my sins and to help me understand my need for redemption. I always knew that I could never please God and earn salvation on my merits.
The Bible assured me that all I needed to do to be saved was to repent and turn away from my sins and accept Christ as my Saviour – no more dogma or empty rituals, and no more constant fear of whether I will end up in hell or in heaven. I got solid assurance in Jesus the Messiah.
Codka Nolosha Cusub (CNC) beamed from the Seychelles blessed me beyond measure. CNC sent me invaluable Bible study materials and I faithfully listened to their radio programmes. Before I met any flesh and blood believers to learn from them and to worship with them, CNC was my main source of spiritual growth during my lonely walk with the Lord.
CNC sent me many materials that were extremely helpful, like Somali Christian hymns, praise and worship songs, and Bible study materials. The fact that I heard Somali Christians speaking my own mother tongue on the radio was also encouraging. It was evident to me that Somalis could also follow the Messiah.
My family was terribly disappointed when I shared with them my faith in Jesus the Messiah. My mother was the first person I confided my new faith in. I first told her that I found the Injeel (New Testament) of Jesus, which our religious leaders tell us was lost a long time ago. Then I showed her the entire Bible and told her that the Torah and Psalms were also there.
Needless to say, my mother did not believe me and dismissed my claims as baseless. I remember her telling me to fear Allah and not to abandon Islam. I could see she was red with anger and disappointment. She thought I was becoming a rebellious son – that was her concern.
Some of my relatives were growing very impatient with me. They first thought I was beside myself and they repeatedly questioned my sanity. They threatened me with every conceivable punishment if I did not recant my faith.
But I insisted on my newly found faith and freedom in the living Messiah, who died on the cross for our sins, and who was resurrected from the dead on the third day and now sits in heaven at the right hand of God.
I explained to them my reasoning for choosing Jesus over Muhammad. My point was clear and concise. I told them that God did not send any prophet to abrogate the Injeel of the Messiah. I told them that the Injeel was the final revelation of God and the Messiah Jesus Christ – the last messenger sent from God.
I was finally told to leave home and I was disowned. This was a very painful experience in a culture where your identity and self worth are derived from your family. I automatically forfeited the acceptance and the protection of my clan and almost lost my job because of my faith in the Messiah.
The Somalis, like most Muslims, do not understand the Christian faith because they have never read the Bible. They only rely and trust what their religious leaders tell them. For a Somali, Christianity and paganism are synonymous.
My family finally took me back as their son when their fear of ‘paganism’ did not materialise. As a devout Muslim, I was always well behaved and was considerate. My good qualities increased when the Lord found me and that surprised my Muslim family, relatives and friends. They couldn’t believe that the Messiah had made me a better person.
Though the Lord found me in 1986, I did not meet any other Christians until 1992. My shortwave radio was my ‘church’ and ‘pastor’. But things suddenly changed in 1992 when I met my first Somali Christian.
I was introduced to him in Mogadishu by a Swedish missionary. Though I already knew this young man, I never knew he was a follower of the Messiah. He was an underground Christian, just like me.
Liibaan Ibraahim and I planted an underground house church in Mogadishu in 1993 and pastored it together. We had 14 members by early 1994. Things got out of hand in 1994, when Muslims found out that there was a small but growing Christian community in their midst. Then, an unprecedented persecution broke out.
Liibaan was the first Christian martyr. He was shot to death early one morning when he was reporting to work. He was a nurse by training. Dr Ahmed Gobe was the next Somali Christian to be murdered. He was shot one evening when he was returning from his clinic. His bullet-ridden body was found the next morning.
Another member of our underground church who was martyred was Mohammed Haji. He was a former university professor, who was educated in Canada. Mohammed was rebuilding the school system in Mogadishu that suffered under the civil war. He was then kidnapped and assassinated.
Another Somali Christian to be murdered was the famous Sheekh Doon. Sheekh Doon was shot and killed, along with his Muslim wife, in their bedroom when some gunmen had broken into their home one night. Their children escaped physical harm.
Another Somali Christian member, Saleebaan Mohammed, was snatched from the bus that he was riding home on from work, and was executed publicly in broad daylight because of his faith in Jesus the Messiah.
Only two members of our underground church in Somalia have survived the carnage – myself and another believer. Of the 14 in our church, 12 were martyred. The murderers are still roaming in the streets of Mogadishu with impunity. The local authorities are not holding them responsible, but the Lord will.
God has accepted those martyrs into his glorious kingdom of heaven. They were faithful to Jesus Christ and his testimony until the end. As Jesus said in Revelation 2: ‘Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life’.
May God grant that those murderers will come to see the light that Jesus Christ is Lord. May they ask Jesus Christ to forgive them of their sins, or they will burn and suffer eternally in the lake of fire, the second death. For God alone has power over the second death.
After several attempts on my life, I left Somalia for another country in 1996 for fear of my life. I joined a Bible college there where I earned a Bachelor of Theology degree after four years of hard work. While in school, I periodically travelled to Somalia to plant underground house churches.
This underground ministry produced strong house churches and capable church leaders. I am now pursuing a Master of Divinity degree in an evangelical seminary. I am the only Christian in my family.