Abu Belal is from the south of Syria near the Jordanian border. He was inside his home the day that a rocket hit it, and the house collapsed on top of him. Badly injured, his family brought him to a nearby country for medical care. Now he’s paralyzed.
When my teammate and I first visited Abu Belal, we listened as his wife, Nabiha, told us about everything they had been through. Abu Belal didn’t say a word the whole time.
“Is he able to speak?” I asked Nabiha.
She said he could. So, I pulled a chair up to his bedside and began telling him how God holds our lives in His hands.
“God has kept you alive, so He must have a purpose for you,” I said. “That purpose,” I offered, “is for you to know Him personally.”
He didn’t respond.
My heart went out to him as I considered what his life must be like now. All day long, Abu Belal lay in his bed with no television, and even his guests didn’t talk to him. I thought about how bored he must be and told him a joke to lighten the mood.
“Next time I visit, I’ll come with a new joke,” I promised him.
I’m not a comedian, but perhaps I’m worse than I imagined. After several rounds of weekly visits and jokes, Abu Belal still hasn’t laughed.
We’ve discovered that while he can answer questions and respond when spoken to, he has a hard time making sense of what’s happening around him. In fact, after several visits, I am still not sure if he knows who we are.
But that doesn’t discourage us from sharing the Good News of Christ.
On one recent visit, I asked Abu Belal’s family if they would like to listen to stories from the Bible about the prophets. Nabiha said yes, so we began listening to an audio drama that tells the story of creation to Christ.
So far, we’ve listened to the stories of Adam and Eve, Abraham, and Moses. Nabiha seems to enjoy listening to them and always asks us to send the stories to her phone afterwards.
Each time we visit, we also pray for them. More than once, Nabiha has been moved to tears as we pray.
It can seem discouraging, not knowing how much Abu Belal understands. But I’m reminded of how John the Baptist knew the presence of Jesus when they were both still in their mothers’ wombs. It’s miraculous that one baby could have understood that another was the Messiah. But John knew it, and he leapt for joy.
On our last visit, I told yet another joke to Abu Belal. He still didn’t laugh. But he was much more engaged. At one point, I offered to retell a story to make sure he had heard it.
“I’m listening,” he said.
To whatever level Abu Belal understands or remembers what we share with him, we pray that he receives the Words of Life and that they cause his heart to leap for joy.
Friday 14th December“The harvest is plentiful” Matt 9:37God’s heart is that none should perish but that all would hear and repent. He longs for a people from every tribe, tongue and nation! He has many that are His own and many that are His in the nations where our workers ...Read More
Thursday 13th December“For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.” 2 Cor 4:6Light shines the brightest where it is dark. The places in whi...Read More
Wednesday 12th December“The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” 2 Cor 4:4b The gospel is light. Yet for those who are spiritually blind, they cannot ...Read More
Tuesday 11th December“And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing.” 2 Cor 4:4aEvery time workers tell someone about Jesus they are engaging in a spiritual battle with the powerful weapon of the gospel. This message is life changing, culture chang...Read More
Monday 10th December “So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.” 2 Cor 4:12Many Muslim countries are spiritually dead, but God is calling His body in these places to partner in the sufferings of Christ that, in these days, the life of Christ might be mad...Read More
We have two ladies who are sisters, who help us out in our home with things such as childcare and keeping on top of the relentless dust that you get in a country where it doesn't rain for ten months of the year! We are grateful to God for them as without their work it wouldn't be possible for u...Read More