Archive for August, 2008

Somali is mostly a land of lawlessness right now, so it sadly isn’t too surprising to see reports of violence and bloodshed. It would be easy to miss the death of a Christian there because killing Christians is fairly common and deaths are occurring all the time.

It is a little interesting that this news report caught my eye, maybe I’ve just been missing them or maybe this is the first one reported. My sources say that Somali is very hostile towards Christians living in the country – maybe worse than other majority Muslim countries. This is made possible because of the lack of laws and general facets of civilization in most of the country. Some parts of the country – specifically Mogadishu – are alot worse than others as far as violence and persecution of Christians.

The article didn’t publish much information about the 28 year old man identified solely as Hussein. It does say that he was a teacher (I assume school teacher) and had been a successful evangelist. Persecution tends to build the church so we should be praying for his family and other believers who might see this testimony.

I should admit that I might not have had the guts that he exhibited. Before being killed he was asked if he prayed towards Mecca – Muslims believe you must pray towards Mecca for your prayers to be heard. I might have said, “Sure I pray towards Mecca” which would have been truthful because I’m sure sometimes I pray towards the East. But Hussein knew the price and spoke the TRUTH saying that our God is “omnipresent and he [Hussein] can face anywhere to pray.”

What a powerful testimony. I’ll close with the first and last stanza of a great song written by Keith Getty and Staurt Townsend – In Christ Alone.

In Christ alone my hope is found;
He is my light, my strength, my song;
This cornerstone, this solid ground,
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My comforter, my all in all—
Here in the love of Christ I stand.

No guilt in life, no fear in death—
This is the pow’r of Christ in me;
From life’s first cry to final breath,
Jesus commands my destiny.
No pow’r of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand;
Till He returns or calls me home—

Here in the pow’r of Christ I’ll stand.
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The month of August is dedicated to praying for Somali women while the entire year of 2008 is dedicated to praying for Somalia.

There is some good information at the YOPS site. Somalia is one of many developing countries that still practices Female Genital Mutilation. In addition to the FGM, Somalia is a traditional Muslim country. With that tends comes a lot of oppression towards women.

It is interesting as I wander around Minneapolis to see the disparities within Somali women. Some are loan officers or other non-CSR positions at local banks (obviously a position of power). While others stay at home, in a more traditional role. Maybe to clarify – there is so much diversity within the Somali culture that it is impossible to stereotype anyone in a traditional culture. It does seem that the longer the family has been here the less strict they are with some of the little nuances – such as a woman shaking a man’s hand.

It is fun to interact with these neighbors and to learn about their lives. As a man I am careful to navigate the traditional roles and boundaries but also be open and approachable so that individuals can see that I don’t agree with some of those roles.

The prayer request is:
Please ask your compassionate Father to give you His compassion for Somali women.

Here is an interesting video about the biases of the media. Not in the traditional line of thinking – conservative or liberal. More along the lines of bias towards Brittney Spears instead of world crises. It is a little dated but I’m pretty sure the information is still valid.

HT: Through Twitter… the producer of the video is Public Radio International.

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July really flew by. Things were pretty busy with summer school in full swing and volunteering with a youth enrichment program in the afternoon. I recently gave a pretty lengthy update so I don’t have much else to say about July! I turned 27 this month so I’m officially getting old, or something!

If you decide to visit Minneapolis, be sure to let us know and maybe we can hang out, otherwise we created a list of things to do here! Marathon training continues to go well. Be sure to catch up on all the training and other running news over at Team Cross Runs.

I finally got around to writing a book review of A Dangerous Faith by Joel Vestal. It is worth a read and its pretty easy to do so!

Last Year’s Highlights include:

The Million Muslim Outreach
Several book reviews including: Dealing with People you can’t Stand, Primary Colors, Vanity Fair (magazine), and When God Doesn’t Make Sense.

I ran 2 races last year while living in Indiana: Lapel CdLS 5K and Chesterfield 10K

Two Years Ago I wrote about the African Bible Commentary, Indiana as a Potential Terrorist Target, the State of Indiana’s Children, and 12 Myths About Hunger.

The most read post for July 2008 is… Learning About Ramadan. Followed by my review of the book, Long Way Gone and 10 Rules for Internet Safety.

There is nothing more important than having a passion that drives you. You probably know that two of my passions are running and Africa (if you didn’t know you do now!). I have decided to bring these two passions together to create something exciting and hopefully powerful and life changing. Read on to learn more!

A few years ago while lining up for the Indianapolis Mini-Marathon, I noticed a guy wearing a bright orange jersey with the World Vision logo all over it and the words “Team World Vision”. I found that quite interesting, but didn’t really have time to talk with him before the race started. When I got home I did some research and found out that World Vision has a fund raising program where individuals join the Team, raising money while competing in an athletic event.

Since then I have thought about when would be a good time to join Team World Vision and combine running and Africa. When I started thinking about running my first marathon, I decided this would be the time. I will be running the Twin Cities Marathon, here in Minneapolis on October 5, 2008. I am about halfway through the training and it is going really well. Christy and I decided that this would be a good time to raise money for World Vision in honor of our friends across Africa. We set a goal of raising $2,000, which is roughly $76 per mile! My goal for the marathon is to cover the 26.2 mile distance in 3 hours and 10 minutes.

Will you join our team and support me as I train for this important race and vision? Your gift of any size will have tremendous impact. World Vision is one of the most respected humanitarian organizations in the world today. You can make your tax-deductible donation by visiting the secure website at http://www.firstgiving.com/teamcross

Thank you for your friendship and your ongoing support!

With thanks and hope,

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