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TABLE OF CONTENTS Introduction ......................................................................................................................................1 Background Information ..................................................................................................................2 History, Language and Culture ............................................................................................2 Economy, Religion, and Family ..........................................................................................3 Regional Information ...........................................................................................................4 Current Mission Work .....................................................................................................................4 Proposed Strategy and the 10/40 Window .......................................................................................6 Possible Missionary Strategy ...........................................................................................................8 Conclusion .....................................................................................................................................12

INTRODUCTION The Somalia Garre people are located in the northeastern section of Africa. They are nomadic people seasonally migrating with their herds. Their homes are usually portable in order to move quickly throughout the region. Their wealth is measured in the amount of herds they possess. The villages consist of interwoven family member. The most interesting fact about the Garre people is their beliefs. The major fraction of them is one-hundred percent Muslim; however, their belief system and religious practices exhibit some signs of orthodoxy. With the ever increasing droughts and health issues, a need for missions to this area is essential. Since there are no Christian influences and no missions programs concentrated to this area, Christian missionaries as well as missions tools is urgently needed in order to win the Garre people to Christ. Using information obtained from our denomination as well as the Joshua Project, this paper will focus on the historicity and geography of the Somalia Garre people with reference to their culture and religious backgrounds. It will also summarize the need for Christian missions in this area order to win them to Jesus Christ. However, before the content of this project is presented it is proper at this point to point out that it is imperative that contemporary missionaries have an inclusive understanding of the Garre people before missions is engaged. Without this understanding, short term missions work or for that matter long term missions work will meet futility. Understanding their culture and religious affiliation gives a deeper sense of their conviction and to what degree they are receptacle to the gospel message. With the appropriate amount of background information, a proper approach is attainable.


BACKGROUND INFORMATION History, Language and Culture With a total population estimated at about 8 million, the Somali people traditionally occupy a large expanse of territory in the Horn of Africa, stretching from the Awash valley in the north to beyond the Tana River in northern Kenya in the south.1 The Garre tribe is a subsidiary of the larger ethnic group known as the Somali. Dispersed throughout northeastern Africa, the Garre tribe along with most of the Somali people observes the same religious faith (Islamic) and cultural tradition. The major divisions that separate these indigenous people are language and clan differences.2 Ott states, Nomadic Somalis have a culture and worldview that are somewhat

I.M. Lewis, Understanding Somalia and Somaliland: Culture, History, Society (New York, NY: Columbia University Press, 2008), 1. Joshua Project, (accessed on September 23, 2012).

different from those of urban Somalis. And Somali women have a different way of looking at their world than Somali men do.3 The Garre population numbering 169,0004 is not limited to Somalia however. Kenya and Ethiopia also contain a small Garre populace. Their native language is Af-garre an Afro-Asiatic language spoken by the Garre people inhabiting southern Somalia, Ethiopia and northern Kenya. It belongs to the family's Cushitic branch, and has an estimated 57,500 speakers5; however, the Garre speaks Arabic as well. It is essential to understand that language and ethnicity dictates the living conditions of the Garre population. Schlee asserts that language determines the major fraction of ethnicity.6 Therefore, the Garre are more isolated because of their unique language. With regard to their domestic culture, the Garre prescribe to Islamic law permitting a man to have up to four wives. With this arrangement, the wives do not live in the same hut; they each live in separate quarters in order to rear their own children. The Joshua Project states, the divorce rate among the Garre is high. The children of divorced parents are usually split by gender, with the wife taking the girls and the husband taking the boys.7 Economy, Religion, and Family

Craig, Ott, Stephen J. Strauss, with Timothy C. Tennent, Encountering Theology of Mission: Biblical Foundations, Historical Developments, and Contemporary Issues (Grand Rapids: MI, Baker Academic, 2010), 269.

Ibid. Wikipedia, (accessed on October 12,

2012). Gunther Schlee, How Enemies Are Made: Towards a Theory of Ethnic and Religious Conflict (Oxford, NY: Berghahn Books, 2008), 99.
7 6

Joshua Project.

The number of their herds establishes the majority of wealth attained by the Garre. As roaming herdsmen, they seasonally move around with their camels, sheep, and goats. Their nomadic homes are actually portable tents. The husband and wife share in the herd ownership. With respect to religion, the Joshua Project states, The Somali tribes were converted to Islam in the 1400's, and today, the Garre are virtually all Muslim. Some Garre believe that they descended from Arab Muslims; however, linguistic research disproves this theory. Although they are quite orthodox in their religious practices, few have a deep understanding of Islam.8 As with most Muslim believers, the Garre regard Christianity as an inferior and false religion. Within the context of family, Garre villages are set up with related family members living closely around each other. The primary responsibility of the men of the village is to care for the herds. Other obligations include decisions related to migration and trade. The primary responsibility of the women is to maintain household duties (e.g., preparing food and rearing children). Through the experience of living in a Somali United Nations compound, Fogarassy describes a close bond between the Somali women and children.9 Regional Information The climate is a key factor for the Garre in their nomadic lifestyle. The entire family cluster moves together when weather conditions are unfavorable for their grazing herds. As a complimentary gesture, the Garre position their family groups on the land in order to share water and pasture. CURRENT MISSION WORK


Helen Fogarassy, Mission Improbable: The World Community on a UN Compound in Somalia (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 1999), 133. 4

Unfortunately, the Garre population presently has no Christian resources available to them. With severe droughts and inadequate health facilities, this geographic area of Africa not only has a need for resources but also the gospel of Jesus Christ. According to statistics from the Joshua Project, there is very few, if any, known ministry efforts from evangelicals in this region of the world. Furthermore, the percentage of professing Christians is less than five percent of the population.10 This region is in desperate need of the gospel. Inundated by Islamic teaching and culture, the Garre people are less likely to respond immediately to the gospel message of Jesus Christ; however, the opportunity for missionaries to minister to the Garre over a long-term basis is achievable. As with any unreached people group, receptivity may be the real obstruction in ministry initially. Since the Garre are the least reached and the least unengaged people group in Somali, the greater the need for missions. Since Islamic teaching overwhelmingly influences the Garre, understanding current issues helps in formulating a strategy for Christian missions. First, Muslim receptivity today is submerged by deep-rooted conflicts from history. It is no secret that Muslims have a resistance to Christianity because of enormous religious differences. Furthermore, it is also safe to say that Muslim opinion of Christianity post 9/11 is the same as it was pre 9/11 but with a degree of more hatred. Unfortunately, hostility has escalated substantially within the past century. Secondly, anti-colonialism (ruling nations forcing colonization efforts) also plays a big part in the way Islamic people view Christian culture. To Islamic extremist, the westerners are a dominant force that infringes upon other nations for its own benefit. Within this context, the effect of Christian witness confronts negative viewpoints and assumptions. Therefore, Christian missionaries meet


Ibid. 5

hostility and rejection based upon political and cultural opinions before they introduce the gospel of Jesus Christ. Although there are various Christian missionary organizations ministering in and around the surrounding geographic area, missions to the Garre is nonexistent. Currently, the Joshua Project lists at least twenty-one ministry concentrations in Somalia.11 In other words, the gospel is reaching the people of Somalia in some fashionthe Amhara Ethiopians are listed as ninetysix percent Christian with a high level of missions, the French of Somalia are listed at sixty-one percent Christian, and the Italian of Somalia are listed as eighty-three percent Christian.12 Therefore, amidst Islamic influence, the gospel is present and accounted for within the surrounding area of the Garre populace. PROPOSED STRATEGY AND THE 10/40 WINDOW

Source: IPHC,

Our denomination, the International Pentecostal Holiness Church (IPHC), places special emphasis on the 10/40 Window (rectangular area of North Africa, the Middle East and Asia between 10 degrees north and 40 degrees north latitude). This particular area is significant as it relates to a majority of non-Christian nations. The IPHC places emphasis on this region because


Ibid. Ibid. 6


it contains the largest percentage of unreached people groups living beyond the immediate contact of the Christian church. Several barriers prevent the propagation of the gospel into this region such as government, religion, political unrest, language, culture ethnic or tribal groups, and poverty.13 With ministries in over 100 countries in the world, the IPHC strategically focuses its missions outreach within several major regionsAfrica, Europe, Middle East, Asia and Latin America. With an understanding the areas of the world that are non-Christian helps in understanding how to fulfill the command of the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19). The Christian church must appreciate the fact that focusing on the 10/40 Window for missions does not mean the church should neglect the rest of the world. The fact is that the least evangelized people live in this particular area. Furthermore, a majority of the worlds poor lives within this region. Additionally, this area contains billions of spiritually impoverished souls14 because of dominant Muslim, Hindu and Buddhist beliefs. Christ gave clear instructions to the disciples that are good direction for the 21st Century church, But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8, NIV). Within this context, a parallel directive is noticeable. A home mission is necessary and is parallel to the instructions of Christ to be witnesses in Jerusalem (the home territory). An extended mission is necessary to reach people outside the area of home influence and is parallel to Christs instructions to be witnesses in Judea (neighboring territory). A foreign mission

IPHC Local Church Missions Manual, (accessed on October 12, 2012), 6.


Ibid. 7

approach is necessary to reach people outside the churchs comfort zone and is parallel to the directive to be witnesses in Samaria (different culture). Finally, the Acts 1:8 ministry challenges the Christian church to extend missions to the ends of the earth. The Christian church must respond to the Acts 1:8 approaches in order to reach the world for Jesus Christ. Appropriate care is necessary to insure propagation of the gospel. The IPHC views the mandate of world missions as an obligatory issue. However, evangelism must consider the culture and its barriers in order to be more effective. Of course, the primary significance of the 10/40 Window correlates to biblical accounts. From the first man and woman (Adam and Eve) to the Tower of Babel, this particular geographic area has been an important component of Gods plan. What is important to God is significantly important to the Christian church! POSSIBLE MISSIONARY STRATEGY It would be imprudent to summarize a systematic approach to reach the Garre people. Realizing that their major religious affiliation and practice is Islam, missions projects must be the first course of action. The IPHC is making great strides to reach the people in the 10/40 Window and is currently giving greater emphasis to the Somalia area. In a conversation with IPHC International Missionaries Ron and Michelle Wooten, they described their efforts in this region. In fact, the Garre population is a focus in their work. The strategy includes making contact with the Garre people in order to become accustomed with their culture. After initial contact, a nontraditional approach in providing resources such as medical supplies will help develop a relationship with them. Demonstrating a willingness to invest in the Garre people is a top priority.

As already stated, devoting nontraditional methods to make a difference in the lives of the Garre population is more effective. The Wootens recently pulled together medical teams to minister to the Somalia people. Their focus was on creating medical clinics that would meet the needs of nomadic lifestyles. Using movable tents, the medical teams provide service wherever there is a need. This resource is a perfect arrangement for the Garre people due to their nomadic lifestyle. Other resources are in the making as well. Movable tents that provide clean drinking water for the people and their herds demonstrate the concern for their personal well-being as well as their herds. In addition, by providing resources for crop and new farming techniques make obvious the investment. More than anything, the necessity of missionaries that are sensitive to understanding the Muslim culture is necessary to carry out these plans. Cultivating appropriate relationships formulates mutual respect! A biblical model of pursuing missions and cultivating mutual respect points to the Apostle Pauls missionary strategy that is worth mentioning again. The work of the Apostle Paul achieved success through the power of the Holy Spirit; however, the apostle also used his intellect and sense to accomplish the will of God. Throughout the Pauline epistles, the evidence of effective ministry is present. The methods he integrated into his personal ministry varied with each area and contact. At the outset, Pauls ministry reached beyond the local area where his work originated. He did the work of a faithful missionary. Moreau emphasizes Pauls short tenure after planting churches in different locations. He did not remain as a permanent pastor in the new church

plants.15 He was inclined to establish a permanent congregation of believers; however, he was not apt to remain as a steady leader. For the most part, he encouraged others to assume those roles. That doesnt mean he abandoned them or the work; he constantly kept contact with the congregations established through his missions endeavors. Ultimately, the one force that directed all of his methods was the divine guidance of the Holy Spirit. Glasser makes a valid point concerning the mobile team of the apostolic band. Parallel to the guidance provided by the Holy Spirit for the Israelites in their wilderness journey, Paul and his ministry partners received guidance from the Holy Spirit in their missions work16 Under Gods divine guidance, the Apostle Paul went wherever the Spirit led. Another admirable method of Paul was his concern to teach people past the point of retaining knowledge on to the point of maturity. A good example of this is found in Ephesians 4:13 (NIV), until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Moreau emphasizes Pauls primary concern went beyond winning people to Christ;17 he was interested in establishing mature congregations within communities in order to further the gospel. Another highly regarded method of Paul was his ability to his willingness to meet people where they were as a starting point to bridge to the gospel.18 Understanding the culture and civilization is important to minister effectively. Understanding a groups shared beliefs and

Scott A. Moreau, Gary R. Corwin and Gary B. McGee, Introducing World Missions: A Biblical, Historical, and Practical Survey (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Academic, 2004), Kindle edition, loc. 1418. Ralph D. Winter and Steven C. Hawthorne, eds., Perspectives on the World Christian Movement: A Reader (Pasadena, CA: William Carey Library, 2009), 150.
17 16

Moreau, loc. 1444-1445. Ibid, loc. 1450. 10


values must be the starting point. The message of the gospel remains the same; however, the method of deliver must change. The most effective method or strategy in reaching the Garre population is through a cultural sensitive missionary team. Being culturally sensitive is the foundation to effective missions. A missionary team will experience short-term missions efforts if the team has a selfdirecting approach. When the goal is to attain self-satisfaction, missions is ineffective. The missionary team must secure information about the culture, ensure attentiveness to the culture, and declare respect for the culture. Influencing the Garre people, an unreached people group in Somalia, is a difficult task; however, it is the mandate of the Christian church. The Garre are among the numerous groups in Somalia that are unreached making the difficulty level higher. Fortunately, the Garre population needs resources making it a prime location for missions projects and evangelism efforts. In this research paper, the purpose in choosing to analyze the Garre of Somalia over the larger nearby groups like the Ethiopian Amhara, is to consider how to evangelize an unreached people group that is not being impacted by missions projects. To effectively evangelize this unreached people group, a ministry endeavor between local churches and denominational groups must occur. A joint effort involving pooling resources (i.e., finances and supplies) is an effective way to minister to the Garre people. When a missionary first arrives the Garre region, there are a number of key principles that will serve as a guide for success in the ministry. First, the missionary must adapt to the area. A missionary that does not connect to the Garre people and their culture will soon find himself separated and isolated from the people. Adjusting to the culture requires interacting with them in order to establish a relationship.


Second, within the same idea of adapting to the area, overcoming the language barrier is of utmost concern. The more familiar a missionary becomes with the culture in which he/she ministers the less language will be an impediment. While immersed within the culture, the missionary becomes involved in the language learning experience. Third, the missionary must attain a positive identification within the culture. In order to convince others that serving Christ is essential, the missionary must seek to present the gospel so that the culture in which he/she ministers are positively affected by the missionarys own lifestyle. From the customs of the people to their way of life, the missionary is responsible for offenses and encouragements. Therefore, it is imperative to eliminate obstacles in order to present the gospel of Jesus Christ. The Apostle Paul stresses, I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some (1 Cor. 9:22b, NIV). Lastly, open-mindedness to different worldviews is crucial to missions ministry. Christianity presented in light of a persons cultural background and the culmination of their belief system produces a better outcome. Knowing what the Garre people believe helps in the witnessing process. A proper study of their belief system is essential in order to better understand how to present the gospel to them. CONCLUSION The most important characteristic of missions is concern of the local church. This includes the whole church involved in the Great Commission. The scope of involvement cannot be limited to a select fraction. It must include an effort by the whole. Although a comprehensive plan for missions is not available in scripture, the foundation for an effective one is. Without a doubt, ministering to the Garre population will not be an easy task. First attempts may fail but ultimately delivering the gospel of Jesus Christ is the foundation of a


successful missions endeavor. With collective efforts between local churches, local conferences, and international missions departments, the Garre people will hear the gospel of Jesus Christ and will see the love of God expressed as the result of it. The result will be team ministry success!


BIBLIOGRAPHY Fogarassy, Helen. Mission Improbable: The World Community on a Un Compound in Somalia. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 1999. Joshua Project. (accessed on September 23, 2012). Lewis, I.M. Understanding Somalia and Somaliland: Culture, History, Society. New York: Columbia University Press, 2008. Moreau, A. Scott, Gary R. Corwin and Gary B. McGee. Introducing World Missions: A Biblical, Historical, and Practical Survey. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Academic, 2004. Kindle edition. Ott, Craig, Stephen J. Strauss, and with Timothy C. Tennent. Encountering Theology of Mission: Biblical Foundations, Historical Developments, and Contemporary Issues. Grand Rapids: MI, Baker Academic, 2010. Schlee, Gunther. How Enemies Are Made: Towards a Theory of Ethnic and Religious Conflict. Oxford, NY: Berghahn Books, 2008 Winter, Ralph D. and Steven C. Hawthorne, Eds. Perspectives on the World Christian Movement: A Reader. Pasadena, CA: William Carey Library, 2009.