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Smuggling Digital Bibles

January 26, 2020

A military spokesman for al-Shabab issues a statement south of Mogadishu. Feisal Omar/Reuters

The following article is excerpted from “Smuggling the Digital Word” in the April 2019 edition of The Voice of the Martyrs Magazine.  It drives home how precious the Word is.

“Al-Shabab militants came for Christian schoolteachers Philip Okumu and Daniel Wekesa in the middle of the night.  They surrounded the men’s house in their small Kenyan village…then tossed a grenade through a window.  As flames spread…Philip and Daniel ran for the door and were shot to death…for sharing the gospel with their students…

Although based in Somalia, al-Shabab terrorists move freely across the country’s borders with Kenya and Ethiopia…

Somali Bibles are impossible to obtain inside the country and… even difficult to find…in…Kenya, a majority Christian nation…[G]etting caught by al-Shabab with a Bible almost invariably results in immediate execution.  Christians, therefore, prefer digital versions…”

“VOM supplies Christian workers with Somali Bibles on memory cards, which are then smuggled across the border a few at a time…

According to front-line workers in Somalia, most of those currently coming to faith in Christ are women.  Because women are largely restricted to the home, it is easier to have private conversations with them.  In addition, women do not attend mosque, so no one notices a sudden absence when a woman becomes a believer.  When men convert…they must find creative explanations for their absence from mosque…The men who come to know Christ often do so…through social media and the Internet…

Digital Bibles made available on SD cards, thumb drives and through download online…are…easy to conceal on cellphones and computers.  In addition, digital audio Bibles enable believers to listen to Scripture privately through headphones.

As extremists try to eradicate Christianity with grenades and guns, the Good News continues to spread among Somalis through the courageous acts of Digital Bible smugglers.”

Digital Bibles are crucial in hostile regions such as Somalia, North Africa, North Korea, and Iran.  There are 3 ways Christians can pray for Bible distribution in these dangerous places:

  • Pray for successful Bible distribution to Christians living in hard to reach areas.
  • Pray for creative approaches to delivering God’s Word in countries where it is illegal or where those caught with it may be beaten or killed.
  • Pray that those receiving a Bible will understand God’s truth and that their hearts will be stirred to faithfully advance His Kingdom.


  1. The irony of it all! Nations go to such extreme measures to destroy the message of the One they claim does not exist in the first place!

    How precious is the Word of God that men and women will risk death in order to acquire it? Meanwhile, here in America the best selling book of all time gathers dust as it sets unused on our coffee tables.

    Thank you for this touching and informative post Anna.

    • That was my reaction exactly, Ron. Sadly, we take for granted the freedom we have here in America to practice our religion.

    • “Nations go to such extreme measures to destroy the message of the One they claim does not exist in the first place!” Doesn’t make sense, does it, Ron?
      I was also thinking of the contrast between these believers and those in America, Anna. How little we sacrifice for the One we say we love above all else. I wonder what God thinks when we say we’re too tired to go to church this week…

      • And that is the least of it. I wonder what God thinks when we do not choose to share our bounty w/ those less fortunate (the very bounty w/ which He blessed us), when we forbid mention of His Name in our schools, or when we abuse and murder our own children. I fear there is a great reckoning coming.

  2. I never understood forced conversion.. or mandated religion.
    Love can not be forced or mandated..
    Love comes from the heart, but the same heart that can love, can also harvest hate..
    I pray for multitudes to receive the true gospel of Jesus Christ.. it is one of love, and never forced or mandated..

  3. God and faith are beautiful things. But some people go to such extremes in their beliefs.

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