The following is an account from the work and ministry of Dr. Andrew, an evangelist and church planter working in an unspecified country in the Middle East. Dr. Andrew’s primary calling and gifting is in evangelizing Muslims and working to see churches planted among them.
I wanted to inform you that we have a new brother in Christ! Below is the story of Ahmed and how he turned from Islam and began following Jesus. This story is one of many illustrating how the Lord is faithfully working in the Arab world…
Ahmed’s story begins with a curiosity and thirst, like many other Muslims here and across the Arab world. He was curious and thirsty to know more of the Christian faith, but had many questions and simply needed a willing person to risk and take the time to share with him. One day, Ahmed met an Arab Christian man who was willing to open up to him about his Christian faith and answer some of the questions on Ahmed’s mind. They talked for hours discussing Islam and Christianity but there were some questions the Christian man was unable to answer due to his lack of knowledge of Islam. That led the Christian man to refer Ahmed to some local contacts that he knew could answer all of his questions. I was one of those local contacts doing my ‘underground’ work nearby.
I and two other people met with Ahmed last year on January 12, 2012 for the first time. We talked for two and a half hours and answered all of his questions. His two main questions dealt with the following:
The reason for the cross
The language the Bible uses in Song of Songs
To help you understand the second question, Muslims struggle and misperceive greatly Song of Songs and the description of a woman’s body parts, which in Islam is considered shameful. In order to clarify this misperception, we, as believers, have to explain and show them what the Bible teaches about women overall. We showed him that women are not conveyed as sexual beings in the Bible, but they are to be loved, honored, and respected. My question to Ahmed was, “Why is it shameful for the Bible to mention the body parts of women, and it’s not shameful to mention the body parts of men? The answer simply is because Islam has been teaching you to see women as sexual content only. So, before reading Song of Songs, you need to understand and see women in the right way the Bible teaches.”
After this meeting, I, along with other staff members working in the south of my country, continued meeting with Ahmed, building a friendship with him, and being readily available to answer any questions he might have along the way.
One day, after a long conversation about the faith, Ahmed looked at me and asked me: “If I want to pray to God – your God, not the god of Islam – what should I tell Him?” That was such a shocking statement for me! Ahmed was able to recognize that the God of Christianity is different than the god of Islam without me saying a word!
I then explained the Gospel, that all humans are sinners by nature. I explained the necessity of the cross and the crucifixion of Jesus, and that without the cross and the death of Christ, we are left in our sin and unable to stand before a Holy God. I showed him how Jesus is the only One able to meet the requirements of the justice of God.
We continued to meet with Ahmed for months, watching him struggle between the new discovery of the cross of Christ and the faith of Islam that he had always known. In the midst of this constant struggle, I gave Ahmed a Bible and a commentary to be able to read and dive deeper into the Christian faith.
One day, Ahmed had to travel home to stay with his family for two months and leave the city he had been working in. (Many Arab men leave their families to work in another country to provide and only come home to visit for a short time). He was worried that during his stay, his family would discover he was reading the Bible, which would guarantee major trouble for him. So he took his Bible and hid it in a drawer that he knew his wife rarely opened. After the two months had passed, he began to pack his bag to return to work. Suddenly, his wife began frantically searching in his bag until she found the Bible and took it from him.
Ahmed looked at her with eyes wide open, in shock, wondering how she knew that there was a Bible in his suitcase. Ahmed’s wife told him, “You are not taking this book, ‘the Bible,’ with you. I have been reading in it for the last two months, and I can’t stop reading.” Ahmed’s worry of his family finding the Bible turned out to be the door of salvation for his entire family to know Christ!
In December 2012, Ahmed called and asked to meet me at 11:00 PM. He shared with me the challenges of becoming a follower of Jesus and all the persecution from the government he would face when they found out about his conversion. He understood for his conversion to be official, it meant he had to go to the government office and ask for his religious status to be changed, which is what is required in Islam. I explained that God does not require permission from the government to be His child, only to know your sin and believe in His Son as the Savior from your sins. After this, God would do all the changes inside of you, within your heart, through your faith in Christ. Ahmed was amazed and shocked at this answer!
A week later, at 12:30 AM, Ahmed asked me how to pray to be saved through the blood of Jesus. Ahmed prayed exactly as follows…
“God, thank You for Your love to me.... (silence for two minutes)
Ahshado an la elah ella Allah and ashhado anna Yasou’ ebn Allah.”
His prayer translated means, “I testify that there is no god but God and Jesus is the Son of God.” Usually, Muslims say this sentence to testify their faith in Islam, but they say Muhammad is the prophet of God instead of Jesus as His Son. Ahmed knew this sentence and had quoted it for years and years as a Muslim, so he modified it to affirm Jesus as the Son of God, denying Muhammad as the prophet of God.
Ahmed now considers himself a follower of Jesus and has decided to live his life for Him despite probable persecution. Ahmed is going through a discipleship process and will soon be baptized when we are sure that he understands the full meaning of baptism and the meaning of being a follower of Jesus.