He was one of the first Muslims to come to know Christ during our time in his North African country. Loved by his friend, who acted as his Andrew, Moncef came to visit my husband, Raouf, who led him to Christ. That began a beautiful time in our life, as we watched him change, grow and serve others.
Moncef was an active part of the Tunisian church and was an amazing encourager to others. Though Moncef’s heart changed, his body did not.
He had cancer.
Through good days and bad, Moncef did not let cancer or his family’s rejection of his conversion stop him from loving and living for Jesus. He loved to sing praise to the Lord in our times of worship, and there was a song which became his favorite:
My heart is longing for the moment of our reunion. For when you come, my hope will be sealed.
He is all my hopes, and I am in refuge. Jesus is my beloved, all what I desire.
No matter how long I’ll be waiting, I will see you. This is the desire of my heart; to dwell in your presence forever.
The storms will calm down, and the winds will slow. And I will see my beloved, and my heart will rest forever.*
When we left on a short vacation, the church moved to the home where Moncef was living with some other single men. It was a great step of faith and wonderful to see his leadership in the church during that time.
Through the one year that Moncef lived following his decision to follow Christ, he never waivered in his faith. He told us as his death drew near, “This has been the best year of my life.” Family surrounded him in the hospital in his final days, begging him to turn back to Islam and say the Word of Witness, so he wouldn’t die an apostate. Moncef, strong till the end, turned his head and refused, putting his final hope in Christ.
The death of Moncef was the first, among the growing number of believers in that country, and though we could not attend his funeral, we did visit his grave shortly thereafter, rejoicing that no matter how he was buried, his soul was with Christ.
Moncef’s life reveals so much about the cost paid by Muslims who come to Jesus, but also tells me that we, as those who are commissioned to share the Good News, need not let that stop us. Moncef did not regret one moment of his decision to follow Christ — we should not regret sharing.
It is worth the cost.
Grace and Peace
*قلبي في اشتياق