Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Somali Famine

“For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger and you invited me into your home.” Matthew 25: 35

These days we see devastating pictures on TV of a famine happening in the Horn of Africa. Little children especially are dying in great numbers desperate for water, food and shelter after trekking for days across the hot desert sands. The pictures affect me profoundly because my childhood home was in Somalia. Praise God for the agencies delivering food to those hungry and thirsty.

We can see Somalis far away across oceans on the TV but they are also close by in some of our neighborhoods. Scattered throughout our western nations are some of these same Somalis who have suffered from political conflict and lived in Dadaab refugee camp or in other transit accommodations. After a lengthy wait they received permission to come to our western nations and today they live around our churches and on our streets. They are strangers to most of us over there and here.

These transplanted strangers are still experiencing a famine. Not a famine of needing physical water and food anymore. Thank God there is abundance of water and food here. But rather a famine of the soul. Except I’m not sure how many are desperately thirsty, or if they are, know where to get the spiritual water and food that would “taste” familiar to a Somali. They live in the Land of Many Churches but the average Somali would consider the Living Water and Bread offered to them very foreign if they visited one. Just like it is difficult to get physical humanitarian aid to the suffering masses of Somalis so is it difficult to get the spiritual Water and Bread to them. But it is possible. Nothing is impossible with God! Imagine my surprise when I sang the chorus, Jesus Loves Me in Somali on a recent visit to a Somali home and the old grandma rose up excitedly from her lounging position and said, “That’s Somali!” She hung on to every word and sang it along with me. She had the same look of satisfaction on her face as if she was relieving her physical thirst. Somalis can be given the evangelistic website:  http://www.noloshacusub.net/  On it are Youtube worship songs, cartoons with spiritual teaching, the Jesus dvd, and Bible readings and messages - all in Somali.

I thank God that in His divine wisdom and grace He has directed thousands of Somalis to western nations where they can enjoy physical water, food, and shelter but also have the opportunity to discover spiritual food to satisfy their souls. They may never walk into a church service but maybe their opportunity will come through YOU! Let’s invite these strangers into our hearts and prayers and if they are in our neighborhood - our  homes.

Dear heavenly Father, You love the Somalis. Use each of Your children powerfully who are ministering to them - whether it is giving a cup of cold water or Living Water. In Jesus’ name, Amen.