Not your average seven years

03 Nov, 2016 | Africa
OM International
One OM base in central-north Africa operates many of the same outreaches as other OM locations: teaching English, sports for children, and a widows’/women’s ministry. The difference in an area heavily populated by Muslims is that Peter* and the rest of his team don’t advertise the purpose of their outreaches.

Teaching English is just that in their city: English lessons. The underlying purpose of the lessons—sharing the Gospel—remains unknown. But once inside, those who come to learn a new language are introduced to Jesus through the casual conversations of OMers.

It was a student who asked the question that left Peter speechless. He had heard the common idea that it takes years on average for a Muslim to find new life in Jesus; coupled with the fact that sharing the gospel is forbidden in the area, Peter avoided the topic of faith when talking with his students.

“I didn’t want to jeopardize my life or the ministry,” Peter says.

One Arabic-speaking student, a Muslim, approached Peter, who was teaching at a Swiss mission center. He asked Peter if he could receive extra English lessons, but Peter already gave extra lessons to several students in his already-full class. The man persisted, and Peter came up with an alternative: he would give him extra help, but they would have to study the Bible. Peter expected the man to reject the idea, but instead he gladly accepted.

And so Peter began to walk through the book of John with the man.

After a month of one-on-one tutoring, the man approached Peter early one morning and told him he wanted to tell him something after the English class. The man told Peter that he had seen Jesus on the cross in a dream.

“This was a Muslim, talking about Jesus, but also about the cross, which many of them don’t know. I was touched,” Peter says.

The man asked him how he could know more about Jesus, and Peter showed him the Jesus film in Arabic, leading him to faith in Christ after the movie had finished.

A month later, the man came to Peter with the Bible Peter had given him, telling him he wanted to show him something. He told Peter to open to Genesis 1:1, and then he began to recite from memory: “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth…”

He continued until Peter, in awe that someone with just a month of Christianity behind him could memorize Scripture so accurately, made him stop. The man also recited from Luke.

“After that, he asked me a question—a question that changed my whole perspective on speaking to Muslims,” Peter says. “When we’re in training, we are told about all the things to do and not to do, to be wise. So when I arrived here, that was what I used to do. But the question he asked me that day changed everything.”

“He said, ‘I have known you for quite a long time. In all this time, why did you not tell me about Jesus?’ I said, ‘You know we’re not allowed to do that.’ It was the only answer I could give him. He added, ‘Suppose I died without knowing what I know now—where was I going to go?’ That was coming from a Muslim. And obviously I knew where he was going to go. I didn’t have anything to say.”

That day, Peter says, everything changed.

“I told God, ‘I will do anything to share the gospel with the people here. I don’t care about my life; I want to hear what the Spirit is saying and then I’ll say it, even if I’m going to die.’”

Pray for Peter to proclaim the good news boldly as he continues to serve in north-central Africa.

*Name changed

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