It happens from time to time, but it had never happened for one leader of a ministry based in the Middle East – each of two Muslim relatives finding out the other was secretly seeking Christ.
In a country undisclosed for security reasons, a 22-year-old Muslim recently passed by the local ministry’s church site and picked up a New Testament from the stack outside available for the taking, the leader said.
“He took it home, secretly read from it and hid it, because he feared what his family might do to him,” the leader said. “He thought for sure that if they saw him reading a Bible, they would get so angry.”
Meantime, his 24-year-old brother was watching the same ministry’s gospel messages online. He saw a video on basic Christian doctrines on social media and secretly put his faith in Christ.
“One day he was chatting with his younger brother and said to him very quietly, ‘I’ve become a Christian,’” the ministry leader said. “His younger brother was so happy to hear this news and said to him, ‘When we get home, I’ll show you the New Testament I’ve been reading, because I picked up one for myself.’”
The next day both brothers went to the church site and discussed the gospel with the ministry leader, he said.
“Then they declared themselves to believe in the gospel message in front of our church,” he said. “They are attending our Bible studies and hope to be baptized in the near future. It’s the first time we’ve heard of two in the same family coming to Christ at the same time.”
From Mocking to Miracle
A young Muslim in another city was also viewing the ministry’s online gospel messages – so he could publicly malign the church in that area.
“This young man was using the website to mock anything to do with Christianity by spreading false propaganda about our church on social media,” the ministry leader said.
One day the young man showed up at the church site looking for more “fault” to broadcast and to argue with the leaders face to face, the leader said.
“Our brothers respectfully listened to his complaints and answered him with verses from the Bible,” he said. “He was so touched by their peaceful responses that he fell on his knees and repented of his sins.”
The man received Christ, was baptized and now his social media messages lift up the name of Christ as he spreads the gospel, the leader said.
“It’s amazing how God changed his heart,” he said. “It was 2,000 years earlier that a similar thing happened to Saul, who became Paul, who was also miraculously changed.”
In the Middle East, where more than 90 percent of the people are non-Christians, online outreach has grown in importance especially as COVID-19 restricted gospel gatherings.
Most of the people in the region might never meet a Christian, and many countries forbid evangelization.
“We’re giving a lot of importance to our social media sites, because it is by this means that God is drawing many lost sheep into His kingdom,” the ministry leader said.
The pandemic has reduced the number of new people visiting the ministry’s church services, but local missionaries have deepened ways of welcoming those who discreetly show up during the week, giving them tours, answering their questions and giving them New Testaments.
“All of the guests are taking a New Testament with them when they are leaving,” he said. “We were usually bringing a box of 20 to 30 New Testaments from storage once a month, but now people are coming and taking 20 New Testaments with them daily. God has started a great awakening.”
Refugees from hot spots in the region and beyond are among those coming to Christ. Local missionaries helped one 50-year-old woman from Afghanistan to find a home, furniture and food, and they helped her obtain work caring for the children of a couple in her host country. When she put her trust in Christ, the Muslim couple were shocked that she wanted to leave Sundays free to attend church services.
“They said, ‘You’re a Muslim Afghan person who doesn’t go to church,’” the refugee said. “So, I shared my testimony with them, telling them of how God changed my life and blessed me abundantly.”
The couple decided they wanted to accompany her to the church service to listen to the sermons, the ministry leader said.
“Look how God works in miraculous ways to bring people to Himself,” he said. “God is even using the refugees in a marvelous way to bring nationals into the kingdom.”
Such evangelism and discipleship is taking place throughout the region. Please consider a donation today to help local missionaries bring the grace of Christ to people in the Middle East.