Last summer, we visited my wife’s family in Minneapolis. We went to the Mall of America, and it seemed that half the people there were African immigrants. It turns out that there are about 50,000-70,000 Somalian refugees living in that area, who immigrated as refugees during the Somali civil war of the 90s. We went back to visit over Christmas, and I thought that I should find some gospel tracts in Somali to pass out.
I was hoping there would be some million dollar bills that someone had translated to Somali, but there are very few options for Somali gospel tracts. This was one of the first ones I found. I didn’t like the part titled “2. The Convict”, because it isn’t consistent with Calvinism. After searching some more, and not finding anything better, I decided to use that one, because the rest of it is good.
As it turned out, there weren’t nearly as many Somalis out and about as there were last summer. After five days of our seven day stay, I even gave in to going back to the miserable Mall of America hoping to see Somalis there, but they weren’t even any there.
I did a google search and found a neighborhood nicknamed Little Mogadishu. We drove down a commercial street, and there were a few Somalis walking around, and just as many college kids from the nearby University of Minnesota.
My son and I handed a tract to the first lady, and she was very friendly and asked our names. She was very happy to receive a tract and offered to pay us $5. I of course refused, but it was encouraging. I offered another one to a young man, but said he didn’t read Somali. I asked if there are people around who read Somali, and he pointed to a high-rise apartment building and said a lot of them live there. I tried to pass a few more out, and they all accepted what I gave them except for one older lady.
I tried to hand her one, and she just look confused. I greeted her with “galab wanaagsan” which is supposed to be “good afternoon.” Maybe I didn’t say it right, and she just pointed me towards another group of people that I had already given tracts to. I couldn’t understand what she was saying in Somali, but the lady whose car she had just gotten out of asked me if she could have one.
I suppose many of them speak English–especially the younger ones, but I hope there are Christians attempting to evangelize these people. Maybe even if I gave some Somali tracts to someone who doesn’t read Somali, they will find their way into the hands of someone who does read Somali.
I was told that one of the sayings of Somalia is that to be Somali is to be Muslim, but I doubt the average Somalian in Minneapolis is too devout. I’m sure the light burden and easy yoke of Jesus is something they would like to hear about.
So, I wasn’t able to pass out too many. Maybe I’ll go back sometime and try again. Here is the tract I used in pdf form so you can print it out for yourself. Print it once and then print it again on the other side of the paper and cut in half.