Paul, our Arabic ministry director, received a call on WhatsApp from an unknown number. The photo above was the caller's profile picture. Written briteside the picture of the fearful child is Isaiah 35:4: “Say to those who have an anxious heart, “Be strong, fear not! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God. He will come and save you.”
Paul knew that this caller would be a Christ follower, likely a former Muslim, living in the Muslim world. The photo is emblematic of the fear, yet desire to be known, that is so familiar to former Muslims living in Muslim nations.
Paul returned the call and connected with Abdul, a young man in his 20s who lives a few hours’ drive from Baghdad, the capital city of Iraq. He is from a well-known and respected Shiite family. After questioning and and eventually rejecting Islam two years ago, Abdul recently gave his life to Jesus.
“What caused you to start to question Islam two years ago?”, Paul asked him.
Abdul told him that when terrorists occupied his city he was shocked at the killing and violence, the enslaving of women for sex and the random killings in the markets targeting infidels and fellow Muslims, like himself, who are of a different Islamic sect. Although this group is now officially defeated in Iraq, radicals from within its ranks still blow themselves up in the markets and shoot people in the streets who do not believe as they do.
Abdul could not believe this terrorism was based on the Islamic faith, so he decided to investigate Islam for himself. After deep study, he arrived at a shocking realization: the actions of these radicals are similar to those of the prophet Muhammed and his followers of that time. It is a true expression of Islamic zeal and conquest. Once this became apparent to him, Abdul no longer wanted anything to do with Islam.
“When I was studying Islam, I realized that even a nominal Muslim, if he starts searching deeply in Islam, will conclude one of two things: if his heart is soft, with a respect for human life, he will leave Islam. If his heart is hard, he will become a terrorist.”
Abdul expressed that any Muslim who truly knows Islam, will no longer be able to sit on the fence. He will need to choose to reject it outright or wholeheartedly embrace it.
Abdul’s faith in Christ is growing and he is seeking greater understanding and fellowship. Although Paul knows other believers in his city, he cannot risk introducing Abdul to them because of the extremely dangerous and hostile environment in Iraq. Instead, Paul continues to disciple him and introduce him to other Muslim background believers online.
Will you please pray for this brave young man of great conviction? Pray that he will be strong and courageous and released from his fears. Remember him and the many other believers who desire to live out a strong faith in Christ in the Muslim world. Pray that God will protect them and give them courage and joy in their suffering. Pray God’s Kingdom will advance in this part of the world.
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