GOD'S LOVE BREAKS THROUGH
I’d see Nabil nearly every day in a cafe bar in the heart of the city. He was a well-educated teacher and quite open to the gospel. I took a genuine interest in his life and gave him time to ask his questions as I introduced him to the Bible. Soon we began praying together for all kinds of things and saw God answer many of them.
At one point he was finding his teaching job quite stressful because they had put lots of extra subjects on him, so we prayed about it. Two days later he came to me excitedly, exclaiming, “The headmaster’s been replaced and the first thing the new head said to me is that I’m doing too much and he’s cut my workload down!”
That was the moment he really grasped God’s love for him. That night he came to Christ. For two years I discipled him, using the Bible to show him answers to his daily problems. He saw me as his adopted father as well as teacher. I believed he’d be the person of peace to spark a movement to Christ across the region. At that time just a handful had come to faith.
One day, Nabil went up to the capital city for a teaching course; he was the only follower of Jesus there. Each teacher was asked to write and present a paper on somebody they considered a good leader. The vast majority chose Muhammad or Ali; Nabil chose Jesus. You can imagine how he felt when he was called up first to read his paper to everyone, sharing about what made Jesus a model leader. Some opposed him but others were intrigued by Jesus and, for those who were, he hosted Bible classes at lunchtimes, sharing with students and staff alike. I’d give him New Testaments. “Father, I think I need more Bibles” is easily one of the best text messages I’ve ever received. Nabil, a person of peace, began finding other people of peace.
A MOVEMENT BEGINS
That year I had a Christmas party in my apartment. Nabil came along with a friend who he’d met and led to Christ on the way to my house! A few others came too, and we celebrated Jesus’ birth with cake and balloons. I read to them the account of the birth of Christ in Matthew and the following day, Christmas Day itself, everyone did the same thing in their homes with their Muslim families. Over time some of their families came to faith in Jesus, which greatly emboldened the new believers.
They’ve since led many others to Christ, including three senior Imams who had many connections. Since then the gospel has spread like wildfire and now there are over 700 believers within this movement! Some of the groups that make up this movement are led by Imams who lead their mosques by day and secret meetings by night, their wives often leading women’s groups. There have even been cases of Bible studies running in mosques. Praise God!
Sebastian // Middle East