We eagerly await spring.
All our local friends say that winter ends on March 1. They welcome the start of spring by bundling up and huddling over hot cups of tea. It’s not much different than how they’ve spent the days of the Central Asian country’s long, cold winter.
“Remember the blizzard that happened just after the start of spring last year?” they reminisce. They speculate how this year’s spring snowstorms will compare to previous ones.
In spite of winter’s long grip, March does bring warmer days when icicles drip and birds chirp. But the nights still see sub-zero temperatures.
This weather reflects the spiritual reality surrounding my teammates and me in our Muslim community. We’ll see a glimmer of hope in a meaningful conversation with a friend or neighbor. But so often, that spiritual interest cools by the next time we see them. Deep spiritual apathy keeps people in our country from seeking God.
Winter’s grip is still strong.
My husband and I met a man and his wife who couldn’t stop asking questions about Jesus. We’d long been praying to meet Muslims who are hungry for the Gospel. We thought this couple must be the answer.
We met with them once and read the Bible together.
The second time, the man came alone. He affirmed that he wanted to learn more from God’s Word. But since then, he’s stopped responding to my husband’s phone calls and texts.
And then there’s the young Muslim woman who told our teammate, Ashley, about her search for spiritual truth. She wanted to read the Bible and suggested a time and place to meet three days later to begin studying the Word together. But the young woman never showed up and hasn’t responded to Ashley’s efforts to contact her.
We see this happening among local believers, too. One Muslim-background believer seemed eager for God to use him to share to introduce his people to Jesus Christ. He told us that he was going to start actively looking for Muslims who want to hear the Gospel. The next week, he was sullen and said he had no interest in sharing the Good News with others.
A couple weeks, ago I met with my neighbor Tasha. Like so many other Muslims we know, she’s bound by pain and fear. But God is opening her eyes to her spiritual need, and she’s hungry for the Gospel.
“What is this awfulness inside of me?” she asked, her voice full of anguish and frustration. “What is this dark stuff? How do I get it out and be rid of it?”
I love introducing her to the Savior and the love that frees her from sin. She’s moving closer to the Kingdom. But she still can’t quite fathom the love of the Father who has rescued her from death once and for all.
Winter’s grip is still strong. But the great thaw of Spring is drawing near.
**This account comes from a long-term worker. Names and places have been changed for security.**