Testimonies from Missionaries: War Zone in the Middle East
Originally posted at: https://anglicanfrontiers.com/testimonies-from-missionaries-war-zone-in-the-middle-east/
I had known Yakoob for 10 months when I first had the “come to Jesus” talk with him. We had worked side by side in difficult circumstances, serving people in desperate need and in a combat environment. We spent long hours together in a pick-up truck traveling the rugged roads across the countryside, making contact with the local military strongmen and assessing the security environment before allowing our relief teams to have access to a particular area. Our extended time together and the intensity of our environment allowed plenty of time to talk about life and the truth of the Gospel.
This is a closed and complicated culture, and Islam truly has a vice grip on it. It is difficult to step away from Islam here, as it can cost a new Christian their family, their job, sometimes even their life. As much as I had shared the Gospel and as much as Yakoob had been reading and discussing the Bible with me, he was nonetheless fearful and could not clear that cultural hurdle–even after having two dreams in which Jesus appeared to him. Dreams and visions are not uncommon here. Make no mistake, Christ is actively working in this land that is largely devoid of Christians. Jesus is calling His own, and His “sheep” will know the voice of their shepherd.
Two months after our pivotal talk, I was giving Yakoob his annual job performance feedback. When I came to the section that evaluated his Christian witness, it was blank. I yearned for him to repent and put his faith in Christ, but until then, measuring his effectiveness as a disciple was like dividing by zero; it couldn’t be done. Although it would have no bearing on his employment, I began to tell him that I could not evaluate him on something he did not believe. As I spoke, Yakoob’s eyes began to well up with tears and he interrupted me to say he “made a decision last night.” He went on to explain, after months on the precipice of faith, he had finally made the decision to entrust his life to Jesus.
After 3.5 years in the Middle East, Yakoob is the first personal acquaintance I have led to Christ. It is the Lord who saves, and from the outset we answered God’s call to ministry with the understanding that we may not see results in our lifetime. What a blessing and privilege it is to now disciple Yakoob and help him grow in his faith. Please pray that he, and others like him, will grow in understanding and courage so as to not only be able to boldly face persecution that will come, but to bring their families and fellow-Muslims to faith as well.