By Terri Stipanovich, Faith that Works Founder One day from our recent trip to Ethiopia I recall as the best day. We spent a day in a Somali neighborhood working with kids at one of the literacy centers we partner with in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa.

Kim leading a lesson at one of the Somali Community Literacy Centers

We worked with around 50 children, and they were all eager to meet our American team. Our team was also eager to jump in and interact with the kids. Kim Wilson, who traveled with the Faith that Works team and has a teaching background, led the kids in interactive educational activities like creating a wall mural of the 54 countries in Africa. We sang songs, made maps, worked on crafts, and blew bubbles. It was a happy time for the kids, and they began to smile more and give us hugs as they saw we could be trusted. However, we noticed that not everyone was happy about our presence. We met a hostile sheik at one of the literacy centers who had his own agenda. He was there primarily to teach the Quran and radicalize these young students. We continued our program and did our best to ignore the side conversations (arguments) between our leaders, the directors of the centers, and the sheik. I felt a peace as we worked with the kids, knowing we were called here and had every right to love these kids in Christ’s name. When Jesus said, “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden,” I take that to mean that we as believers must position ourselves in places where the world can see us. We cannot be hidden, but must be visible and seen in the darkness that is in the world. I felt the truth of that verse all day during our visit to the center. I knew we were there to show love in the flesh to a people group that primarily thinks of Christians as pagan, idolaters, and immoral. Our team represented a God of love, the one true God that many of the Somalis we worked with that day have not yet known or understood. To many Somalis, their God is angry and someone to fear. We showed the truth of a loving God that day, and the sweet children responded.
Blowing bubbles

Blowing bubbles

There were many other great moments of this trip, but that day stands out because we have seen incredible outcomes since that day: 3 adults want to learn about Christ who are Muslim. The sheik, who gave us such a hard time, apologized, and the center’s director and teachers want us back to teach again. I know the light of Christ is something powerful within us, and it needs to shine forth. We do not stand on our own merit or wisdom but trust that it is CHRIST in us that people will see and respond to in hope. That is exactly what happened that day in the literacy center, and we are still seeing the power of Christ’s love and its effects days later. It is a blessing to serve the Lord in this small way - going where people do not know Him and having the opportunity to make Him known among the nations. What more could we ask for than that?   You can help make Christ known among the Somali people in the Horn of Africa by supporting Somali Christian pastors and house fellowships through a monthly or one time donation. Despite persecution and danger, the men and women we work with boldly share the message of Christ’s love with their Muslim neighbors. Your partnership allows us to continue our outreach work such as training native pastors, equipping Somali Christians with Bibles and discipleship materials in their language, providing a safe home for persecuted Somali women, and supporting education for Somali refugees through our partnership with a Somali Community Literacy Center. Give here.
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