in the seattle metro area
A small number of Somalis first came to Seattle in the 1970s and 1980s as college students and engineers for companies like Boeing. The Somali community expanded in the 1990s as refugees came to escape Somalia’s civil war. About 30,000 Somalis now live in the Seattle area, with many concentrated in suburbs like SeaTac and Tukwila.
Somalis have flourished in Seattle as entrepreneurs and business owners, in part due to an informal system of pooling and sharing resources, known as ayuuto or hagbad. Somali social services have also been helpful. The Hope Academic Enrichment Center, as well as Horn of Africa Services, were begun by Somali immigrants to help Somalis, Eritreans, and Ethiopians with education, advocacy, referrals, and holistic support. Another important service is the Somali Health Board, which works to reduce health disparities among immigrants.
The American Community Survey 2019 estimated 14,486 people with Somali ancestry in the Seattle area. Because census numbers are often undercounts, especially for groups suspicious of government representatives, the number of Somalis in the Seattle area is likely much higher. Local community estimates, such as here, here, and here, most often estimate 30,000 Somalis in the Seattle area.
- Runta is a popular news source for Somalis and other East Africans. It is written in English and Somali, and it features African news stories, cultural stories, and events of interest for East Africans in the Seattle area.
- Seattle has several fine Somali restaurants, like Safari Restaurant and Juba Restaurant. Runta, described above, is a good source for reading about Somali cuisine in Seattle.
The Abubakr Islamic Center of Washington offers sermons in Arabic and Somali, as well as many other services such as family counseling, weddings, funerals, and financial aid. The Abu Bakr Academy is a branch of Abubakr Islamic Center. It combines Islamic studies with secular studies for children in Kindergarten through 8th grade.
Unreached people groups can also be viewed as "hidden" people groups (i.e., they are largely unnoticed and unaffected by the global Body of Christ). In the prayer gallery section below, as well as through the Google Earth prayerwalk tool, you can visualize these hidden people group communities. By doing so, we pray God gives you insight into how to pray through what you see. By scrolling through major points of interest in the prayer gallery section, pray for people you see, and pray that the peace and hope of Jesus will become known to people who frequent these places. Through the Google Earth prayerwalk tool linked at the bottom of the page, you can virtually prayerwalk through the community, praying "on site with insight." You could also take the route and points of interest from that tool and save them to your "Google Maps" to prayerwalk in person. Allow the following three steps to guide your prayers using these tools, and try prayerwalking with another person or small group! God hears the voice of His people, and He responds to our prayers!
Praise God for who He is. Thank Him for His blessings and salvation that is extended to all peoples. Praise and thank Him for appointing the time and boundaries of this people group's presence in North America so that they might seek Him and find Him (Acts 17:26). Pray Scriptures that come to mind about His glory being made known among all peoples and nations (e.g., Rev 7:9-10).
Luke 10:2 says “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest." Pray for God's laborers to share Christ's love through hospitality to this people group. Pray for laborers among this community to establish loving relationships and proclaim the gospel. Pray for Christians to emerge from within this people group who will reach their friends and family members.
Most members of unreached people group communities remain unreached because they have failed to hear the gospel in ways they can understand. Others have heard the gospel but have many barriers to overcome before receiving the gospel. Pray that this community will understand the gospel. Pray for God to draw them to Jesus and remove the barriers that keep them from salvation in Christ.
Visit this page to learn general information about Somali communities in North America and their religious beliefs. Also, discover resources to help share Jesus with them in their language.
Prayerwalk through some of the main Somali restaurants, places of worship, and businesses in Seattle using a tool we developed in Google Earth. You could also do a prayerwalk in person using the same points of interest.