Written: June 9, 2016
His question was simple: Where will I go when I die? A simple question, but one with huge implications for his life, because he could not find an answer — not in Islam, not from his imam, not from his family. Because of this, he was not at peace, but spent many years a troubled soul. That was until a man, living in another country, prayed to the Lord before making a return visit to his native land: “Lord, give me 10 people to speak to about Christ.”
One traveled from afar, the other from the capital city — both to end up in the same small village. When the troubled soul arrived, the locals were all talking about the returning stranger. He is so kind, he respects others, he is so good to the children. Interest peaked, he met with the man. A question was asked, which led to another visit and several hours of more questions, but ultimately to the final question being asked and answered. In Christ he found the answer and the peace for which he longed.
He returned north to his work and friends who immediately saw a change. The change led to a hunger for the Word of God, growth and finally an urging by other Jesus followers to go away for education at a seminary in order to return and serve his people more effectively.
This is where the man’s story and our lives intersected, as Raouf served as his professor while studying in Beirut, Lebanon, and we hosted them many times in our home in both Beirut and Tunis. As I listened to this dear brother share his journey from the beginning and how he has remained faithful for over 25 years in his home country, serving the church, sharing his faith, and working with others of Raouf’s disciples to train leaders, my heart overflowed.
Did I read an email from this dear brother or hear about him from a friend? No, God led him to a conference in North Carolina, where our new pastor met him and found the common bond, not only of Christ but of Raouf Ghattas. He invited him to speak to our church, and coming all the way to Tennessee, I had the privilege of translating for him as he shared all God had done and was doing in his life and home country.
We were a pitifully small group at church that night, but if I had been the only one, it would have been worth it, for you see — God not only wanted us to be able to bless our brother with our prayers and support, but to remind me of His goodness. He also wanted to remind me that Muslims are asking questions — questions that cannot be answered in their book or religion or leaders. The Lord, through my dear brother, who continues to live and serve Christ at the risk of great suffering and persecution, reminded me that I need to be continually ready to share the reason for hope I have in Christ with the Muslims in my midst. May he keep you ready too.
Grace and Peace