A Muslim woman last year showed up at one of the Bible study groups of a native Christian ministry in Syria and asked to see the leader.
Her face riddled with anxiety, she told the group leader that her son had a high fever, and that she could not afford any medical care. She had heard that the Christians prayed, and she asked him if they would pray for her son.
“You know that we pray to Jesus, right?” the group leader said.
“That is okay,” she replied. “As long as my son is healed, that is all I want.”
The director of the native ministry said the group prayed for her son.
“The lady, grateful that we cared enough to pray and take her concern seriously, then left for home,” the director said. “Upon arrival at her house, she went inside to find her son, and there he was, sitting on the floor playing with his toys, and the fever was gone.”
Overjoyed and astonished, the woman immediately got her son ready to leave, and she returned to the Bible study with him, he said.
“Upon arrival, she introduced us to her son and showed us his miraculous recovery,” the director said. “She then told us that she wanted to know more about Jesus. In response, we shared the plan of salvation with her and invited her to receive Christ as her Savior. And she did!”
War and the COVID-19 pandemic in Muslim-majority Syria have left people of other religious backgrounds more open to hearing about Jesus.
Syria’s descent into civil war compelled a mother of two children who had been raised in a traditional denomination to begin attending a native ministry’s church new in her area. Workers helped Amena* understand that her family’s church heritage did not make her a Christian, and she began a personal relationship with Christ.
Soon her husband took exception to her faith and ordered her to stop reading the Bible to their children. A few days later, he became furious to find the kitchen unkempt and his wife reading the Bible, and he hit her, the director said.
She began cleaning the kitchen, and her husband said, “You are going to stop going to church and reading the Bible, and if you do not, I will break your legs.”
Though emotionally wounded and angry, Amena attended a church meeting and asked the group to pray for God to transform her husband. Three days later, he went out for a coffee but did not return. Within 24 hours she learned that police had put him in jail.
“Amena thought, ‘This must be my fault, because I prayed for him, and I am still so very angry at him after what he did to me a few days earlier,’” the director said. “By the second day, her fear of what had happened was being subdued, for God was teaching her not to be afraid. On the third day she repented of her anger toward her husband, asking God to protect him.”
Amena spent much time with native workers and others in the group praying for his safe return, and 10 days later he was released – but was much more quiet, not the same man, the director said. Her husband would not say anything about what happened to him or why, and was no longer opposed to her church involvement.
“She does not know what her husband experienced and is very burdened in her heart for him,” the director said. “Amena is praying that her husband will come to know Jesus so that he can be healed and that, as the Word of God says, she and her family will serve the Lord.”
The Lord sometimes surprises workers in ways they never imagined.
At one of the ministry’s house churches, a Muslim woman began attending but was so disruptive that workers came to believe she was mentally ill.
“But the moment that we turned on our audio teachings about Jesus, she would calm down and listen,” the director said. “We found that to be very interesting – and confusing for us as well, because when she was peaceful it was almost as unnerving for us as leaders.”
At a small group meeting one evening, the woman said she realized she was in spiritual bondage and asked for prayer.
“In response to our prayer for her, she looked at us and said, ‘I want to become a Christian,’” the leader said. “And at that moment, she gave her life to Christ. This woman is now hosting a new Bible study group in her own home with six women who are illiterate.”
Workers are braving difficult conditions in Syria to bring the message of Christ’s salvation to the lost. Please consider a donation today to enable them to fulfill their calling.
*Name changed for security reasons