BARTLESVILLE, OK — Christians around the world will observe Day of the Christian Martyr on June 29, 2023. In advance of Day of the Christian Martyr, The Voice of the Martyrs has released strategic prayer resources and a short video highlighting the life and legacy of Abdiwelli Ahmed, an ethnic Somali Christian killed for his faith in Christ in northern Kenya in 2013.
Abdiwelli Ahmed descended from a long line of devout Muslims from Somalia, where he said, “to be Somali means to be Muslim.” He was taught that Islam was in his blood, but in 1993, while still a student, he began questioning Islam and comparing the Quran to the Bible.
The more Abdiwelli read the Bible, the more he fell in love with it. After many discussions with a Christian friend, he eventually put his trust in Jesus Christ. When other students and faculty learned he had left Islam and started attending a Bible college, they considered Abdiwelli dangerous to their faith.
Abdiwelli’s decision to follow Christ came at a great cost. He was ostracized by his family, threatened with violence and even death. But Ahmed refused to back down. Yet he continued to share his faith.
“I was persecuted. I was chased away, and then I was beaten up,” Abdiwelli said in audio captured before his martyrdom.
At one point, he escaped a mob of 40 people who came to his mother’s house seeking to kill him.
At noon on Feb. 7, 2013, three assassins shot him to death as he talked with another pastor in the center of Garissa, Kenya.
“Ahmed’s death was a tragedy, but it also served to inspire others,” said Todd Nettleton, VOM’s spokesperson.
According to church tradition, June 29 marks the anniversary of the Apostle Paul’s beheading in Rome.
“Day of the Christian Martyr is an opportunity to remember the sacrifices of those who have died for their faith,” said Nettleton. “We must never forget our brothers and sisters who have been persecuted and killed for their faith, like Abdiwelli.”
To help churches and believers participate in Day of the Christian Martyr, VOM has developed a free digital resource kit to inspire your church, small group, class or family to witness boldly for Christ.