From Muslim heritage, a Christian ambassadorBy John A. Lapp
As Somali society degenerated into civil war, Haile determined his priority should be peace and reconciliation. Most of the believers died as victims of the civil war or fled the country. Groups like Eastern Mennonite Missions, Mennonite Central Committee, Lutheran World Relief and World Concern struggled to find ways of overcoming the tribal and ideological divide.
Now with a child, Ahmed and Martha returned to North America. He continued to travel back and forth, nurturing dialogue and peacebuilding. In January 1992 in Mogadishu he was injured by a rocket-propelled grenade. After hours of enormous suffering without medical assistance or anesthesia, his leg was removed. He was airlifted by World Concern first to Nairobi and then to Milwaukee. By then infection had set in. His life hung in the balance.
With good medicine and, he believes, divine intervention, Haile was healed. Within months he resumed his work in the peace process. In 1993 he was invited to join the faculty of Daystar University in Nairobi. He taught courses on Islam and served the Somali congregations there until he returned to the U.S. for medical treatment in 2009.
This is an exceptional memoir. The 140 pages are packed not only with Ahmed’s life story but also with fresh and insightful reflections on Christ-centered peacemaking, Muslim-Christian relations and cross-cultural experience.
The unusual partnership of Ahmed Ali Haile and David W. Shenk has produced a masterpiece both as memoir and spiritual guide.
John A. Lapp, of Goshen, Ind., is executive secretary emeritus of Mennonite Central Committee.
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