I was awoken this morning by the howling of roosters all over town. Did I mention the walls have absolutely no sound proofing here? With four concrete walls and a concrete floor, no alarm clock is needed. Amidst the din of rooster calls, I faintly discerned a man’s voice over a loudspeaker in the distance. A little after 5, I heard the Muslim call to prayer at the large mosque at the center of town, a landmark of the city. Before the first rays of dawn hit the dusty landscape, the testimony rang out that this city did not belong to the Kingdom of God, that Jesus was not Lord of every heart.
Now, this is not an unreached city, per se. There are Christians in the city, but only in some tribes. In the same way North and South Atlanta are two different metropolitan areas, so this city shows significant divides among its tribes. Among the Meru, there are many Christians. Among the Borana people group, a heavily Muslim group, less than 5% are Christian. The division of neighborhoods is remarkable. You could walk the streets near the ministry at which we stay and see “Jehovah God reigns” in white painted on a fence made of the blue strip metal so often seen in Africa, and on a Sunday, the sounds of shouting preachers and PA systems thumping with praise-dance music echo off the wall, but only a five minute ride away on a boda-boda (their word for motorcycle taxi), you have landed firmly in the Borana Muslim neighborhood. Women walk about in hijabs, men dress in long robes, and you can almost feel the spiritual temperature drop ten degrees. Those who turn to Christ from this tribe face being ostracized by family or even physically persecuted.
Islam and Christianity have swept like great tides across Africa–Christianity from the south, and Islam from the North. In this city, the two colossal waves collide, and here amidst the roaring surf and crashing spray, we will soon open up the prayer room. This is the gospel frontier; these are the front lines. The battleground: their hearts and minds. The weapons: prayer, fasting, worship. The objective: praise from every heart, incense from every heart.
Lord, prepare our hearts for when the true challenges come as the spiritual war heats up.
Stay hungry, my friends.