Woman to woman: how social media enables discipleship among some of the world’s least-reached women
By Mercy Kambura
Today, a Somali woman living in Ethiopia can simultaneously disciple women in Djibouti, Sweden, Norway, and the Netherlands, regularly hosting virtual Bible studies and prayer meetings. Some women gather weekly at a home with good Internet connection to be taught by her.
Over time, Kawser Omar has built a network with Somali Christian women in Europe, North America, and the Horn of Africa.
But Kawser was not always a Christ follower. Born into a strict Muslim family in Ethiopia, she moved with relatives to Djibouti after secondary school. In Djibouti, the dreams started.
In the first strange dream, a baby spoke to her, “I am the way, the life and the truth; follow me and I will give you peace.” She felt that peace. After several nights came another dream – a hand with a beautiful, diamond cross in the middle, beaming with light. The voice said he had chosen her and wanted her to believe in him, follow him and never deny him in front of people! Again, she felt great peace.
She narrated her dream to a neighbour’s Ethiopian maid who was a Christian. The maid knew what the dream meant but was terrified to be caught evangelising and deported. She sent Kawser to an Ethiopian Protestant church in Djibouti. Kawser dressed up one Friday as if she were visiting the mosque, but went to the church instead. People she met there explained the dream and discipled her for a year; then she was baptised.
Telling relatives she had found a mosque in another part of town, every Friday she went to her new church home.
One day, Kawser stepped out of the church into the bright sunlight; her fears sprung to life in full colour. There stood about ten relatives! Someone had told on her.
She remembered the words of Jesus in the dream: “I have chosen you, never deny me in front of people.” So, she told the truth, “I am a Christian.”
Religious leaders and family members pressured her to apostatise, tried to exorcise demons, beat her, imprisoned and starved her. She stood her ground. Fearing a family conflict with her parents in Ethiopia, her relatives stopped short of killing her. Instead, they disowned and threw her out with injuries and the clothes on her back. Ethiopian Christian refugees like herself helped her recover.
Today, she’s able to identify with Somali women who become Christians. In Somalia, they may be killed, but in the diaspora, persecution is mostly inflicted by discrimination, intimidation and severe isolation. Personal technologies carry the gospel safely and privately into the homes and ears of listeners.
To supplement one-on-one discipling, Kawser always encourages women to find a local church for physical, psychological and spiritual support and to replace the community they’ve lost.
Kawser Omar and husband Abdi Duale are the first Somali members of SIM, a mission agency that has reached out to Somalis for nearly 80 years. The couple recently relocated from Belgium to Ethiopia. She produces programs for radio broadcast Codka Nolosha Cusub (‘The Voice of New Life’ in English), reaching Somalis in 20 countries, and makes Christian memes for the website. She and her husband also established two Christian websites and YouTube channels.
- For wisdom and patience from God as Kawser disciples women.
- For God’s protection for her and the women from physical and mental persecution.
- For God to provide for these ladies and the children they raise alone especially in places where there is no institutional support.
- For churches to welcome these women into their midst.