The Secret Life of Christians, Revealed
Recently Muslim refugees from Syria secretly put their faith in Christ, but it did not escape the notice of Muslims in their makeshift tent camp in Turkey.
Relatives were the first to notice. Not only did Sayid*, the father of a family who became Christian, shave the long beard symbolic of Islamic devotion, but he also seemed to be a kinder, gentler version of himself. He stopped bearing grudges and took deliberate steps to reconcile with estranged relatives in four other tents.
For three years indigenous missionaries in southern Turkey had been delivering aid, and in opportune moments the gospel, to Sayid’s relatives. The head of the indigenous ministry has Syrian ancestry and had shared Christ with them in fluent Arabic, and a colleague who spoke Kurdish had done the same, as the families came from a Kurdish area of northern Syria.
In each of the four families’ tents, the native missionaries had been answering their questions about Christ for so long that they were sure they secretly believed or were on the verge of belief.
The families gathered in Sayid’s tent with the native workers, something so conspicuous they had never done it before – or would ever do again.
“Every time we answered their questions, they were more logical,” the director said. “You can feel that Spirit. But they weren’t ready to receive Jesus Christ; sometimes it takes very long to receive Jesus Christ.”
It wasn’t until Sayid’s relatives saw the difference in him and his family that they invited the workers to tell them more about Jesus. The four families gathered for the first time together in Sayid’s tent with the native workers, something so conspicuous they had never done it before – or would ever do again.
They discussed the person and mission of the Son of God with the 16 members of the families, and the Kurdish-speaking pastor invited them to repeat his prayer to trust in Jesus’s saving sacrifice and resurrection. Four couples and two of their adult daughters, 10 in all, repeated after him to receive Jesus.
“It was a miracle for us,” the ministry director said. “We were very joyful because we had been talking with them for three long years. It was amazing to have them accept Jesus Christ.”
In a closed community of Muslims for whom apostasy is forbidden – radicals do pass through the camp – there is no way for the five families to come together again for Bible study and prayer. Each family studies and prays quietly in their tents. But neighbors have noticed the change in them.
“The neighbors know they believe in Jesus Christ from their lifestyle – they became joyful, started to love people,” the director said. “Normally the refugees from different cities hate each other. Those people started to respect the new Christian families as well.”
In tent camps, run-down apartments and abandoned buildings throughout the Middle East, such native missionaries are bringing infant formula and diapers, food, medicine and other aid in the name of Christ to refugees from war. Please consider a gift to help native missionaries bring eternal life and relief to desperate people.
*Name changed for security reasons