Shining A Light on the Dark Continent

Category Archives: Religion

A Christian in a Muslim country

 

Sometimes we run into someone who leaves a lasting impression. For Dave that person is Toufik Housseine from Moroni, Comoros. Toufik is the director and Dean of the American English Language School. He also is a First Lieutenant in the Comoran Defense Force

Toufik attended the Language Institute at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas to learn English. He was there at the same time Dave attended the Air Force Officer Orientation Course in 1992, but their paths never crossed.

Dave and Toufik talk in Toufik’s office

He’s visited the United States several times to take advanced English courses and the U.S. Government helped him set up a learning lab for his students. Toufik even flies a U.S. flag in his office. “He tells his students ‘this is United States territory, ’ and they cannot cross the line without permission,” Dave said.

The language lab at the American English Language School in Moroni, Comoros.

Toufik is one of the few Christians on Comoros Island. In fact, he went to jail for his beliefs. He found Christ while at Lackland AFB. When presented with the Gospel, he explored both the Bible and the Quran and found the Bible answered his questions in a way the Quran couldn’t so he got baptized. When he returned to Comoros he landed in jail for two years because he told people about his conversion. Citizens of Comoros must be Muslim. Since Toufik was a member of the national police force, the government made an example of him. He hired a lawyer and made the case his decision was a matter of faith and did not affect his loyalties to his country. He won the case, but agreed as long as he wore the uniform, he would not advertise his Christianity.

After his changeover, Toufik refused to take bribes, a common practice among the Gendarmes. If he wrote a ticket and someone tried to pay him money, he took them to jail. “We even tested his claim that everyone knows him by asking people around the area and at the airport if they knew Toufik. They all smiled and said, ‘yes’,” Dave said.

Because of his national fame, Toufik, taught the past president, the present and past vice presidents and other government leaders English and served as a translator for the past president.

“What a fascinating man who’s excited about his faith. As he said, once he realized his freedom in Christ, there was no turning back. He couldn’t deny Christ. He had to go on,” Dave said. “He even named his son after the apostle, Matthew.”

 

Chaplains need to focus on values

When engaging with Africans, chaplains need to know the people’s view of them and build their trust, according to Colonel Monwabisi Andrew Jamangile, Brigadier General-Select for the South African National Defense Force Chaplain Service. Jamangile was speaking to the U.S. African Command Chaplains’ Conference in March 2011. Jamangile was speaking as the head of theContinue Reading

A Rabbi is a Novelty in Kenya

“So there we were — a Rabbi, an Imam, an Anglican Priest and a Presbyterian minister — all teaching and sharing together” at the Hour of Prayer on March 2, 2011 in Manda Bay, Kenya. It was quite a sight and quite historical since no one besides Dave ever saw a Rabbi in person before.Continue Reading

Dream or Divine Intervention?

“I had a very interesting dream on my first night in country.  A Middle-Eastern photographer was showing me pictures of my daughters’ weddings. He was offended by other “surprise” presentations that he did not know about and turned to leave.  An angel glowing above my head appeared complete with angelic music after I asked GodContinue Reading

Forward

On the drive to Addis Alem, Ethiopia to visit the Compassion International site, I was anxious. I did not know what kind of reception I would get. I was sensitive to perceptions – a white man, driven by an Ethiopian interpreter from the American Embassy, accompanied by an Ethiopian from Compassion International and my NavyContinue Reading