One of my first trips to Mogadishu I got off the plane and as I’m walking out to meet Nick in the truck and his team that was there, a young boy (he couldn’t have been more than fourteen or fifteen) walks up to me and he has an AK-47 in his hand. He points it at me. The boy looks at me and in broken English says, “I’m going to kill you.” My only thought was a quick internal prayer and I said, “why do you want to kill me? What have I done? I’m just here to feed your people, you. I’m here to serve you all.” He said, “well I want to kill you because you are one of those missionaries!” That’s how he said it. The only thing I could think of honestly was to ask him was, “what do you mean by missionary?” He said, “you’re one of those trained preachers from those schools and you have come here to change us.” I said, “if that is your definition that’s not me. I have never been to a trained school to teach me how to preach or anything.” He said, “but you’re a Christian.” I said, “Absolutely, I am a child of God. I am a Christian but is that wrong?” He said, “no, we don’t mind a Christian being here but we don’t want any of those missionaries here that are trained to change our culture.” He said, “since you are not a missionary, you go on and feed our people.” From that time on I realized that you never know. The next time that you get off the airplane walking through the airport, you may be killed.
Somalia’s have this interesting statement that they make. They say this about their own country. They say, “me and my country against the world. Me and my clan against the country. Me and my family against the clan. Me and my brother against the family. Me against my brother. Me.”
So, it wasn’t much longer after that (six months or so after that) we had a feeding center set up there among these people. It was late afternoon and a man walks in. I thought he was an old, old man by looking at him. He had on a regular Somali robe. He had on a beat up nasty looking jacket. In his arms, he had a bundle. It looked like a big loaf of bread of some kind wrapped up in cloth. We got an interpreter and he came stumbling in. We got him a bottle of water. He sipped on a bottle of water. The first things he said through the interpreter to the team, myself and those that were there, he said, “this is my only son. Save his life for me. Don’t let my only son die. That’s all he said at that moment. We had nurses and they took the little baby. We began to talk to him and he told us his story; that months before he had left his village because of militia fighting. It was he, his pregnant wife and three daughters. They carried a little bit of stuff with them. Along the way they kept going from place to place looking for food, looking for water and they found very little. One girl died and they buried her just beside the path. Another girl died and they buried her beside the path. Then the mother gave birth out in the wilderness to this little baby boy. He said every morning when we walk, my young daughter would go and try to find something that had dew on it and we would rub it on the babies lips because we had no milk. He said, ‘then my daughter died and I buried her out there. Today we have come here and you must save my son. That night the little boy died. The nurses said there was just nothing that they could do. They tried needles to get fluid into him and he was probably more dead than alive when he came in. Nick had to go sit down with this old man later that night and tell the man, “your only son has died.” That gave Nick the opportunity to talk about another “only son” that died. This only son was the son of God that died. The old man looked at him. The old man looked at him and said, “that may be true but you know, we Somalia’s are a people that nobody loves. We’re unwanted. We’re unneeded. There is no hope for us. We don’t have a nation anymore. We are not even a people. We are the people that God has turned his back on. There is no hope for us.
Looking back on those eight years that we worked there and then a few extra years after that we supported the work, we had very few people that came to faith. We planted a whole lot of seeds. We gave a whole lot of cups of cold water but we had very few people that came to faith. It was a few years after we left that some other teams were working with Somalia’s over in Ethiopia and a few Somalia’s started coming to faith. As some of them came to the faith they were discipled better than Nick and I was able to do in our environment and they began to share their faith. Today there are hundreds and hundreds of Somalia’s that have come to faith. Some people plant the seed. Some people throw some water on it. Others get to come share and see a little bit of a harvest but it’s all one big team. It’s all different people working for the Kingdom of God to see an unwanted, unloved people group that says they have no hope find hope, a hope that’s in Jesus Christ.