Tonight I looked at a stage where I stood, almost three years ago to the day, speaking to a group of women about how to reach Muslim women for Christ. I remember being nervous, because Raouf was with me — and not speaking — and I was always a bit intimidated by his presence. However, I made it through my talk and afterwards Raouf met the pastor of the church.
It was that initial meeting that began a new work at Tusculum Hills Baptist Church, as Raouf would within the year begin a Bible study in preparation for a future church of Arab believers in Jesus. One of the first people who joined him in that study on Sundays was Nathan Awad, a young man on fire for the Lord and with a heart to reach Muslims for Christ. Raouf eagerly put his arm around him and took Nathan under his wing in an intense year of on-the-job discipleship and mentoring.
Tonight, as I sat in the sanctuary for Nathan’s ordination, Rev. Paul Gunn spoke of what happened only a few short days before Raouf’s death. Over cups of coffee with Paul and Rev. Chad Mize of Forrest Hills Baptist Church, Raouf shared his vision for the Arabic work at Tusculum Hills and told the men that Nathan was the one he was preparing to take over the work. When the Lord suddenly took Raouf that same week, Paul said he and Chad met to remember and write down every word Raouf had spoken to them that day, knowing that it was prophetic.
Rev. William Burton also shared tonight that when he was walking the isle one day with Raouf at the Arabic Baptist Church of Murfreesboro, he turned toward the pulpit and pointed to two young men standing together toward the front and told him: “William, those are my two Timothies,” indicating the now pastors of the two Baptist churches that Raouf began in Middle Tennessee.
As Maged came up to the pulpit to pray for Nathan, I could not have been more proud. While their mentor and guide, Paul (Raouf) was now gone, they would carry on the work of the Lord with the support and prayers of other godly men as well as their churches.
This is what it is all about…running the race…raising disciples…passing the torch…as we give God the glory. May you be pouring yourself into your own Timothy or Priscilla, for the work of the Kingdom must go on.
Grace and Peace