We thank God for enabling His children to pass on His love in everyday life and to do good to others. In our ministry in the Islamic world, we experience time and again that Muslims are impressed by Christians who deal with them in love and, despite rejection, continue to share the gospel in love. Sometimes Muslims very quickly recognise the truth of the gospel and turn to Jesus. Very often, however, our co-workers in the world of Islam are challenged to keep praying for years and never to get tired of sharing the gospel again and again.
Our co-worker Bro. Abukari from northern Ghana describes such a case. He, who found faith in Jesus himself as a young Muslim, writes: “I would like to share a story with you that consists of 6 years of praying and waiting. Brother Gariba was a Muslim who was a politician and businessman, but also a very influential leader in a suburb of Tamale in northern Ghana. I met Gariba for the first time seven years ago. I talked to him about Jesus and gave him some of our booklets. We met a couple of times.
After several weeks, he told me: ‘Look, I am deeply rooted in Islam and I can’t just leave my religion. Our whole family is closely tied to Islam. Since I am an influential man, apostatising from Islam would cause a big uproar among the Muslims here in town. I can’t do that.’
When we heard him say this, we still did not give up, but took his rejection as a prayer request. In the following years, we visited Gariba and his family time and again. After one year of visiting the family regularly and praying a lot, we were able to build a close bond with this family. For this reason, Gariba even allowed us to take his children to Sunday School and to the youth group in our church.
Gariba’s son Issah (now 16 years old) and his daughter Rahana (now 9 years old) were very happy to be able to participate in these activities in the church. For years, my wife Mary and I would drive by Gariba’s house every Sunday to pick up the children for the church service. We had almost always short conversations and we always knew how the family was doing. Once, Gariba’s motorbike business was doing so badly that he could not even pay his children’s school fees. In this situation, we stepped in and took over the school fees during this time.
Two years ago, Gariba’s son Issah came to believe in Jesus and was baptised. During those years, Issah had heard a lot about Jesus and had become friends with our sons. He also got insights into how Christians live their everyday lives. Issah and his sister Rahana learned more and more about God and their lives were being changed.
One Sunday last summer, I was preaching in church. God surprised us beyond measure. I had barely read out the Bible passage and was about to start my sermon when Geriba entered the church. I had no idea that he had intended to attend the service. He raised his hands, approached me and said, ‘Teach me how to be saved’. Shocked on the one hand, but also overjoyed, I asked Geriba to sit down first and listen to the sermon.
After the service I spoke to him. He confessed his sins and accepted Jesus Christ as his Saviour. Geriba later confessed that our years of personal effort and the love shown to him and his family did not let go of him and eventually convinced him. After six long years, God Himself brought about the harvest from the seed of His gospel!”
Dear Friends of our Mission, quite often we have the impression that our efforts and our sharing of the gospel are in vain. But God is working! He is working in His ways and according to His own schedule. If we request this from Him, God also wants to help us not to grow weary, but to continue serving Him with joy, courage and confidence.