September 1, 2016

My friend Fattiah

Written by  Tybie Brenneman
Fattiah (left) and Tybie. Fattiah (left) and Tybie. Photo provided by the author.

This article appears in the September/October 2016 issue of Missionary Messenger; sign up to read more articles like this one.

I knew nothing about the Muslim people of the world before I entered into the YES program. I didn’t expect to end up in Mombasa, Kenya, a coastal city distinctive in its unique blend of Swahili and Arabic culture, and heavily populated by Muslims and Somali refugees.

Despite the fear that exists between Muslims and Christians, Fattiah, a 25-year-old Somali refugee, was my dearest friend.

Fattiah’s mother and sisters call me their own. "Do not forget your Somali family," they tell me. Fattiah and I are truly sisters in our need for God’s unconditional love.

One afternoon I was dozing on my friend Fattiah’s couch. I awoke drowsily to see a stranger’s eyes looking at me from behind a veil. The girl said something in Somali to my friend, who was just walking into the room. Fattiah casually translated: "She is asking why you don’t fear us."

Sleeping peacefully in Fattiah’s home, I had done something profound without even realizing.

Tybie was a member of the 2015 Kenya YES Team. She lives in Grantsville, Md.

This article appears in the September/October 2016 issue of Missionary Messenger; sign up to read more articles like this one.