Kenya is predominantly Christian, but several tribal groups in the north remain largely unreached, and much of the coastal region is predominantly Muslim. Additionally, in north-eastern Kenya, in the region which is part of Greater Somalia, 90% of the population is ethnically Somali and fervently Muslim. In these areas, Christian missionaries from other parts of Kenya and converts from Islam are often attacked and killed.
In eastern Kenya, the al-Shabaab Islamist terrorist group attacks Christians, bombing churches and killing believers. In Muslim-majority areas along the coast, Christians are rejected by families and communities.
As a Somali Christian, living in Kenya, Pastor Ethan knows that he must watch out each day for signs of danger. When Ethan left Islam, he was rejected by his wife’s family, who stopped him from seeing both her and their children. Even today, some years later, the family still prevents him from seeing his eldest child.
Moving to another region for safety and to look for work, Ethan grew in faith with the help of our UK mission’s ministry partner. He started leading a congregation of believers and eventually got married again. He and his new wife Ruth have been blessed with two young children. For their personal safety they remain on the move constantly. At night Ruth sometimes wakes to look out of the window. Recently she noticed that she was being followed home. Ethan knew it was time – again – to move home to avoid a potential attack by militants.
A small cell church of about ten people meets in their home each week, where they study the Bible, share communion and enjoy fellowship. He also travels to different villages in the area to comfort and disciple new believers.
Ethan is prepared for the long haul, knowing that his family faces many other pressures. For example, at school, his children have sometimes been called names because their parents no longer follow Islam. Ruth sometimes suffers anxiety and says she would like to move to another country to avoid the constant threat of persecution. However, by the grace of God, their small congregation is growing. Ethan now has a small business that helps to support their ministry.
Pray for guidance and protection for Pastor Ethan and his family. Pray that the growing number of believers will remain steadfast.