Gospel Softens Hearts in the Middle East

The Muslim father of a teenage boy in the Middle East noticed his son leaving the house each Sunday.

“Where are you going every Sunday – have you become a Christian?” he asked Nizar*, according to a local ministry leader.

The leader said that as Nizar was telling him about the exchange, tears filled his eyes.

“I really had only one answer for him,” Nizar said, “yet I knew that it would cause my earthly father to be angry and give my earthly body some pain and put me out of the house. I knew I couldn’t deny my heavenly Father. So, by faith I replied with some fear, ‘Yes, Dad, I do go to church, and I am a Christian because it has blessed me so much.’”

“His father got even more angry and made plans to send him to his grandmother’s village to finish school where there is no church.”

Nizar had been secretly involved in Bible studies and worship services at the local ministry leader’s church for months. After his baptism, his mother had noticed he had a New Testament and had reprimanded him for becoming a Christian – but kept it secret to protect him from his father’s wrath.

Without going into details, the ministry leader said that Nizar’s father punished him with “drastic” and “nasty” measures, but that the boy continued sneaking to worship services whenever possible and one day showed up at the church site after school.

“His father got even more angry and made plans to send him to his grandmother’s village to finish school where there is no church,” the leader said.

Thus far Nizar has been able to resist being sent to the other village.

“We’re doing our best to comfort this young man,” the leader said. “Pray with us that his family will soften their attacks on their son and see the light.”

Power of Prayer

Prayer is helping the gospel to overcome other tough barriers. The leader credits prayer for enabling the Word to break through the hardened hearts of ultra-conservative Muslim women covered head-to-ankle in burkas.

Muslim friends of a woman in his congregation regularly came to the church site to ask questions about Christianity, and recently one of their equally ultra-conservative friends, Souzan*, joined in, thinking she would use the opportunity to help them see all that was in error in Christianity.

“But she was shocked by all the loving gestures from those she met in the church, so her feelings of opposing them stopped as she wanted to know why they were so loving,” the leader said.

As she learned the Bible, her desire to know truth grew, he said.

“After each Bible study or Bible reading time, as she was searching for mistakes, she’d text me from home saying, ‘I’m falling in love with Jesus, and my heart is full of joy,’” the leader said. “Then I would respond with a text, ‘Why aren’t you believing in Him, my dear friend? Don’t you see how Jesus is standing at your heart’s door and knocking? Open that door and invite Him in.’”

Souzan would respond that she needed to do more research, he said.

“Then she came one day to see me and told me that she had studied Matthew, Mark and Luke and was just reading John 4, noticing how Jesus showed such love to the Samaritan woman,” the leader said. “She said, ‘If Jesus loved her so much, then He also loves me and rescues me from my sinful ways.’ She then declared faith in our Lord Jesus.”

Such ultra-conservative Muslims are usually completely closed to hearing about Christ, he said.

“Your valuable prayers enabled strong firm foundations to be formed here and hard hearts to be softened –12 extremely conservative, covered Muslim ladies have just recently been baptized,” the leader said. “God is able to reach the very hardest people in this world. Some of these ladies continue to wear their covering even though their hearts have been changed by Christ.”

Afghan Refugees

During a recent prayer meeting, a refugee woman from Afghanistan showed up and interrupted a Christian as he prayed, “God, You are the God who loves all of us as the God of all mankind.”

“This lady suddenly burst out, saying, ‘Really? Does God love Afghans? Does God love me?’” the ministry leader said.

The Afghan woman had been befriended by another Afghan refugee who came to faith in the native ministry’s congregation and had shown her the love of Christ – sharing food and continually praying for her and her four daughters.

When the refugee mother interrupted the group prayer, local missionaries assured her of God’s love, the leader said.

“We then gave her a New Testament to read, and as she read it, she said that her heart found more peace,” he said. “It was two weeks later that she came declaring her faith in Jesus. She’s gone through our New Testament studies and has recently been baptized.”

Local missionaries are co-laboring with the Lord to overcome such gospel barriers throughout the Middle East. Please consider a donation today to equip and encourage them.

*Names changed for security reasons.

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