Television screens are awash with yet another tragedy in Kenya: the massacre of non-Islamic young men and women. Some of these young people were having their “morning glory” prayer time when the attackers struck. They had no idea that terrorist bullets would usher them into God’s glory on that fateful Thursday morning.
The DOVE team in Garisa had the opportunity to share with the university Christian Union last year; some of those who died were known to them.
Martyrdom is not what Christians look for. Yet it happens in the most painful and inappropriate ways.
Garisa and indeed the northeastern part of Kenya have been quite resistant to the Gospel. But we did not expect that the resistance would lead to people being killed for their faith. The Westgate mall attack, the bus and quarry attacks in Mandera and now the Garisa University attack have a common theme besides just senseless killing. They are going for Christians. To avoid the bullet, you need an Islamic name and you might be asked to recite a verse in the Quran.
The Somali terrorists have been quite consistent. They have a clear message to pass on: “Kenyan Christians must die” in retaliation for the efforts of the Kenyan Defense Forces (KDF) to help restore law and order in Somalia. They would have preferred to maintain the status quo of lawlessness there.
The KDF troops in Somalia include lots of Muslims. But that is beside the point. We are witnessing a modern-day martyrdom of Christians in the hands of Islamic fundamentalists, some of whom also desire to be martyrs for their faith!
I believe that this region that has been so resistant to the Gospel is going to see a greater witness of our Lord. I would not be surprised at all if Somali Muslims begin to see visions of Christ and accept him as their Savior. After all, we have a man called Saul who went all-out to kill Christians. Then… he met Christ and became His fervent witness. May the lives of those who have now gone to glory be a seed that will bear Kingdom fruit as we celebrate Christ’s victory over death this Easter.