pray for somalia {advent, day 1}

somalia5I’m not exactly sure when Advent is supposed to start. Always on a Sunday? Four weeks to the day before Christmas? December 1?¬†America time or Cambodia time?

I’m just going to start on the 1st of December. Jesus will forgive me if I’m off a day or three.

Our family is praying for a different country each day from now until Christmas. (Here’s a post on where we got the idea & our list of 25 countries.) I will most definitely NOT be writing a blog post for every day. I WILL be writing a Facebook post (or four) each day with prayer prompts for the countries (and will do a blog post as time allows–or if I just have way too much to say about a certain country).

somalia flagSomalia is one of those countries for me. (Isn’t their flag beautiful? It’s my favorite.)

For all of 2014 we lived in an apartment complex in Columbus, OH where the vast majority of our neighbors were Somali refugees.

And we fell madly in love with them.

We are so, so different from them. And we are so, so, so much the same as them.

And we are better for knowing and loving (and being known and loved by) them.

What We’re Praying For Somalia:

For peace.

somalia4

In 1991, the government collapsed and Civil War began. And life has never been the same. Thousands upon thousands (millions?) of people were forced to flee the country for their lives. Many ended up in refugee camps in Kenya. Some of our friends lived there for over a decade before they came to the U.S. The country is ravaged and war-torn and full of unrest and instability.

For Somalis who live in America.

somalia1For those of us born and raised in America, it might seem like land of the free and home of the brave and all that, but soooooo many of our friends would go back to Somalia in a heartbeat if they could. One friend, a wonderful young father of five kids, told us, “In Somalia, there are wide-open spaces. Kids can be outside and run free. Families live together. It is so happy. Here we are crammed in tiny apartments. There is no place to play, no place to run. We are separated from our families. It is hard to find work, to learn English, to make a good life.”

For girls.

somalia2There are many things to pray for girls around the world. Safety. Education. Freedom from poverty. Rescue from trafficking. For Somali girls in particular, I want to pray against female genital mutilation (the partial or total removal of external genitalia for no medical benefit). 95% of Somali girls ages 4-11 have this ritual performed on them (many without anesthetic). I’ve read recently that a law might be passed that will ban it, but nothing has been done as of yet (that I know of). I personally know young women who have endured this horror, and it breaks my heart.

For Isa (Jesus) to speak to Somalis in dreams.

somalia6I know this might sound kooky to you, but it’s happening. Jesus is appearing to Muslims in dreams, and they are turning to him. We have discussed matters of faith with many Muslim friends. We respect their beliefs and have not made it our mission in life to change people’s minds or convert them to Christianity. What we ARE doing is sharing what we believe about Jesus, loving them like we believe Jesus would love them, and praying that he would show himself to them in whatever way possible–including dreams.

For American Christians to get over their fear of Muslims.

somalia3The way many American Christians talk about Muslims is a tough tough pill for me to swallow. If I thought it was Christlike, I would dump all of them on their heads (or at least unfriend them on Facebook) and just hang around with people who act more like Jesus. LIKE MY MUSLIM FRIENDS. I try so hard to have grace, but I have so little tolerance for the hate and fear. LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.

My friends from Somalia, I am blessed to know you. I pray for you every day, and I thank God for your friendship. I look forward to next summer when we visit America, and I can hug your necks and see your beautiful faces (and drink sha!!!) again. Love and hugs from Cambodia!

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