I had a post all prepared for today. I had it planned out ever since my last post. I was really on top of things. As I went to upload the post however I felt like I needed to share something really incredible going on in the life of one my close friends. Though there are so many topics useful and important on a blog for women who want to serve Jesus I think sometimes we need to hear stories of how He uses us and the incredible work He does through His children. It is truly amazing to see Him transform lives!
Here is a brief version of my friend’s story from her point of view:
“About five years ago I was walking home to the apartment where I live with my parents and my two younger sisters. It was the rare moment I had alone in my day. I spent my time at school or our families’ small apartment. I almost never went anywhere else because I didn’t really have anywhere else to go. I was bored with life. In my late teenage years I began cherish this walk home alone. I had privacy though on a busy street.
On this particular day however I felt like my thoughts were sort of being controlled. I felt as if God was telling me to get close to Him. Naturally as any good Muslim would, I was eager to begin this quest. I decided to be faithful in prayers five times a day. I would be faithful to memorizing the Koran and faithful also in encouraging others to do the same.
Day after day I followed through on my commitment. My family was impressed and they too began to show more devotion. I felt good about where I was going. I was sure my good works would be seen favorably on the last day. My friends even encouraged me to “live a little”. I responded by telling them they needed to pray and take the religion of their fathers much more seriously. I was determined to fill the desire in my heart to know God. Still though after months and months of trying to do my best I still felt like I wasn’t doing enough. The emptiness was still there. The whole was unfilled.
I began to go on line to webpages that taught about Islam and how to be a better Muslim. By accident on day I saw a page from Egypt. It was a Christian website. It was not an evangelistic website really, but one teaching believers about God’s love and forgiveness. I found it interesting and slowly I started making friends online with Egyptian Christians. My intention was to show them the truth. To help them find the true religion, Islam. These orthodox Egyptians told me about God’s love and really gave me a huge desire to understand what exactly a Christian truly believes. I continued to search on line for answers.
Then a few years ago I saw an advertisement offering free Bibles. I was scared but since you can not go out and purchase a Bible in Arabic here I decided to take a chance and send in a request. I was shocked a few days later when a person speaking the dialect of Arabic I speak called me to ask where I could meet to receive the Bible I had requested. I could not believe there were Christians in my country! I wasn’t sure if I should be scared or not. I was so excited.
By this time I had been so unfulfilled by Islam. I had poured so much of my time and effort into doing everything just right to win the favor of God. I was not praying five times a day anymore. I hadn’t really told anybody about my conversations with the Orthodox Egyptians. I was just trying to understand.
A few weeks later I met a Christian guy from my country for the first time. He was the first Christian I had ever met. He gave me the first Bible I had ever seen. I received the gift and quickly went on my way. My way from there took many turns. I was so disillusioned by my religion but not sure at all about the God of the Bible. I tucked the Bible away in safe place and then tried to ignore God.
I began studying in the university and experienced more freedom for the first time. I made some very bad choices that left me feeling desperate for change in my life. I had not answered the calls of the Christian guy that had given me the Bible for a few months. I didn’t know what he wanted or why he kept calling every so often. One day I answered. He asked me if I would like to meet a female believer. He invited me to see how Christians worship. I accepted the invitation. I knew by this time there was no hope or truth in Islam. I knew God loved me and I wanted to know more. I knew Christians talked a lot about forgiveness and I was in real need of true forgiveness.
I went that day to the Bible study. I was amazed to see people from my country and a few foreigners worshiping together. They had such a love for each other . Some where rich and some were poor yet they all seemed the same. I had never seen anything like it. I decided that day I wanted to be a Christian though I was still unsure what all I would need to do to join.
You can imagine my extreme relief and great joy to learn the truth. To learn that the work had already been done for me!! My friend explained to me how I could have complete forgiveness in Jesus. I repented of my sin that day and asked Jesus to be my Lord.
For over a year I kept my faith a secret. I was terrified what my family and friends would say. They would surely be terribly angry if they knew. I had seen and heard of others who were kicked out of their parents’ homes and others who were called names and treated very badly by their loved ones for their faith in Jesus. I kept the secret very painfully guarded in my heart. It hurt so bad to watch my friend struggle as she fought cancer as a 20 year girl. I would cry thinking of parents and sisters in Hell. Still how could tell them I had become a Christian. My friend who is teaching me the Bible told me to simply pray for the right time and the right words to tell them. The words of Christ were so clear to me of my responsibility , yet at the same time such a challenge. I felt weak in my faith but still the desire to follow Christ.
14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.
16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
That time came just a few weeks ago. My family basically arranged a surprise meeting to confront me. I have been a believer for almost 3 years now and over the last year as my relationship with my Savior has grown stronger I have been dropping hints to my family in the form of ideas or by quoting verses without telling them they are Bible verses. So after a year of this they decided to sort of attack me.
My Aunt was there and she came right out and asked me if I was still a Muslim. I knew the time had come. I hadn’t planned it. God had. I answered the question honestly telling her that I was not a Muslim any longer. But that now I have a special and very personal relationship with God. My family responded very angry at first. They yelled and said awful things to me. My Aunt criticized my parents for being terrible parents to have raised me to turn out this way. It was very hard to keep composed during this hour of ridicule. But God is faithful! He helped me hold my tongue. I patiently responded. In the end I was able to share Christ with them for almost 3 hours. I answered question after question! I opened my Bible and God led me to verse after verse!
It was truly amazing how God worked through me. If you ask anyone who knows me they could tell you I am not the best at finding Bible verses. It was just God’s timing, His time for me to share my treasure with them. I told them that in those words. I apologized with tears for not having told them sooner. They laughed and tried act as if I they didn’t care. As if what I had told them was completely false and useless. But I knew in my heart and I could see in their eyes the uncertainty they have in their own hearts. They saw my peace! They saw Christ!
It is for this reason I believe with all my heart they will believe. I am asking God to work in my sister’s heart. She is the angriest of all my family. She also has the most questions. Lately my friends and I have been spending a lot of time with her. We spent the night at my friends house and my sister said to me again what she has said before; “Wow, Christians really are very different. You guys really love each other. It even feels like they love me, too.”
Please pray for my sister. Sometimes I feel lonely without a lot Christians here in my country, but nothing compares to the loneliness of still being a Muslim here in this Muslim nation. I pray the Holy Spirit will do the work only He can do so she too can have the whole in her heart full of joy and peace!”
I hope you will pray with my friend and I as we continue to love her sister. My heart is so full and I feel so overwhelmingly privileged to be able to share this story. Honestly any inconvenience or difficulty ever faced on the mission field fades far from memory in the light of truly seeing God’s purpose for our lives!