A word from Terri Stipanovich, Faith that Works Founder
As I prepare for my upcoming trip to Ethiopia I get asked by friends and family, “Why do you go back?” The Somali people I work with in Ethiopia have become family to me - that is one reason. They are not a job, or an obligation, not a people group I would have ever expected to capture my heart so fully, but here I am, on my 13th journey back. As I speak to our Somali leaders through static and lost connections on a wireless phone application, we discuss how happy we are to be reunited again soon.Terri in Ethiopia I will be there in just a few days, eating strange food, walking the dusty roads of small villages, and hearing the Muslim call to prayer that has become so familiar. I will sit with men and women, listening to their heart-wrenching testimonies and their daily struggles, always trying to arrive at solutions to lessen the pain. I feel like a reporter, witnessing hardship that I have never had to endure but desire to understand so I can help these wonderful people.   The desire to make a difference takes me back again too. When I am there I will see Christian Somali women struggling as widows to feed their children, knowing they could easily go back to Islam and find the support they need, and yet still choosing to follow Christ instead. I will see children who are unable to attend school due to their refugee status and feel their lack of hope. I will listen and learn, searching for ways to address these struggles, all the while feeling that I have entered this struggle too. Their problems have become my problems in a way, and a burden I gladly bear. We recognize that our struggles become easier to endure when they are shared with another. So I go and learn more of how Faith that Works can continue working with our Somali partners to plant the first Somali Church, which would provide a unifying structure to help the Somali Christians better care for one another and their neighbors. We work to help unify a people, raising up leaders who will care for their communities and provide for the physical and spiritual needs of fellow seekers in Christ. Our Somali partners tell us such a Church - a unified body of Somali Christians - will be unprecedented and have the ability to break down clan prejudices through a shared love and passion for Christ. I go back because our Somali friends and partners need help in this establishment. They ask for discipleship teaching and books, and tools so that they can do this work. The Somali people we work with are proud of their amazing heritage and want to maintain who they are as they grow spiritually. They tell us they desire to have their stories known, and for the world to know they are not all terrorist or pirates. Though forms of radical Islam contribute to unrest and violence in the Horn of Africa, we see our Somali brothers and sisters standing against such violence. We seek to encourage them to be beacons of light for others.   We remain amazed and excited by the growth happening among the Somali people we work with, and we need you to join us in this work now more than ever! Please consider becoming a Faith that Works Global Partner and supporting the Somali Outreach through giving and prayer. As we develop our team and build into the Somali fellowships, our donors are a crucial part of this growth. God is raising up Somali leaders with a passion for the gospel who are willing to risk their lives in love, and we want to support them by raising awareness and equipping them with needed resources. By becoming a Global Partner you help us go and continue encouraging, empowering, and equipping our leaders in their works of love and development.
Share This