On a recent mission trip to create a clean water source for a rural community in East Africa, I was invited to the wedding of a Somali man and woman. Both had become followers of Christ, and they were quietly transported to a Church of Christ in an area where many Muslims live.
As soon as we passed through security, we were warned against taking photos or videos. This was partly due to concern about persecution for the bride and groom, but it was more about another guest named Ibrahim, who is known to Muslims as the big kafir (the big infidel). On the other side of the church gates, however, many respectfully refer to Ibrahim as Father.
Ibrahim is a familial father to several of the people we met there, including the Somali couple he was marrying that day. But he is also a father figure to the many people he has led to the Christian faith. He is the first known Somali gospel preacher, and perhaps the first Somali Christian convert.
I was eager to learn more about Ibrahim, so I arranged to meet him at a private residence where an underground church assembles. The testimony he shared with me is akin to that of the apostle Paul, demonstrating that, “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22).