Brother V from Arab J nation
After my return to Arab J nation, everyone was asking me “How was the F.O. ?” I answered them in one sentence “I didn’t want to return back.” It was so amazing. I wanted to stay in Maghreb A nation. I had never ever felt such a joy in my life. Waking up in the morning reading the bible, worshiping and going to evangelize and then returning after a few days to share the wonderful stories God did through us. This is an amazing lifestyle, living completely for God, to God and with God. All in all it was a wonderful experience that impacted me deeply.
I loved witnessing about Jesus, but witnessing to Muslims was a new challenge for me. Though I live in Arab J nation, I engaged with very few Muslims only. Most of the people I shared my faith with were of Christian background, so the F.O. to Maghreb A nation was something completely new.
After Vision School an F.O. was scheduled to Maghreb A nation. The decision to go was not that difficult. Financially I was comfortable, work was not a problem, and with the encouragement of some friends I decided to go, without knowing what to expect. I was neither excited nor in fear, to the contrary of the people around me who were either in fear that I might get killed or were excited that I am going. I knew it was going to be a new experience but did not understand how it would turn out to be. I had been told what I will do there but did not comprehend the reality of the situation until I reached Maghreb A nation.
Being the only person from Arab J nation in the group made me feel a little homesick in the beginning especially when I saw the Jordanian and the Egyptian teams, but that feeling soon dissipated when I got to know the people there. We were Christians from different countries with a united purpose in heart; we wanted to raise the church of Maghreb A nation. Though we had different theological beliefs, different gifts, different experiences; all had one goal, to revive the church that had disappeared 1400 years ago. It was a beautiful picture to see Christians from all over the world having no other agenda in their hearts except Christ returned and His kingdom established. The Holy Spirit showed me that this was the church he wants to raise in our Arab countries; a church who is united through Him.
Not only ministering to Muslims was new to me but also the method of this ministry. I was shocked when we were told that we were going to do toilet ministry (knocking on doors and asking permission to use the toilet in order to enter the house and start witnessing). I thought to myself this is a very bad method to witness to people, nobody would open their door to a stranger so that he or she uses the bathroom. I was dead wrong. To my surprise toilet evangelism worked and many people opened not just their bathrooms for us, but also their kitchens and bedrooms for us to sleep. Most of the people from Maghreb A nation were very hospitable and welcoming to tourists which made the evangelism process very easy.
As the days passed, the dryness of Maghreb A nation was felt by almost every person on F.O. Maghreb A nation lacked love, lacked life and lacked a freedom that only Jesus Christ can provide. The absence of the church was not just visible but also sensible in the land. Everyone from small children to old aged men was infected by this dryness. The people of Maghreb A nation were dry but also thirsty; they were looking for a way to satisfy this thirst. Tu-nation was miraculously open to the gospel message and during the 10 days in Maghreb A nation around ten people submitted their lives to Jesus and many families heard the good news and were impacted by this new hope of salvation. Especially youth were eager to listen to this new message that was hidden from them for so long.
The spiritual condition of the people was a little complex. More than 95 % of the people I met have not heard the true message of salvation. They either had a wrong view of Christianity or they know nothing about it. There were many people who did not know much about Islam also. They did not have a strong reason to believe in Islam, but considered Islam either part of their identity or just part of their culture. I thank God that he gave me the opportunity to meet different kinds of people from Maghreb A nation, from atheists to ISIS followers. One of the things that saddened me is that I met some people in Maghreb A nation that I believe would accept Christ as their Lord and savior if they listen to this message often.
Some of the families I met in Maghreb A nation I can never forget my entire life. They opened their houses for us, fed us and sheltered us and after 24 hours they were saying their goodbyes in tears. We only knew each other for a day or so but it felt as if we knew them for years. Some of those families did not accept Christ yet felt the love of Jesus in us. The only common language we had together with the people of Maghreb A nation was the love language. They all understood what love is. Maybe we describe it or explain it differently but as human beings, I constantly saw in Maghreb A nation that an expression of love was stronger than an expression of words. Whenever an argument arose a loving sentence silenced it. It was amazing to see that when we expressed love the icy hearts of the people of Maghreb A nation started to melt.
It was amazing to see that God had a reason for sending us to Maghreb A nation. He had children in Maghreb A nation whom He wanted to reach with the gospel. There were people who were ready to accept Jesus but needed somebody to tell them about him. As apostle Paul says in his letter to the Romans “How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? How will they preach unless they are sent?”
Miriam was one of those whom we met in Maghreb A nation. She wanted to know about Christ even before she met us and now she got her chance. While we were sharing the gospel with her family at night, her father turned to her and said to her “you should be happy now for you wanted to become a Christian all your life”. These words meant to me a lot. It showed that there are many in Maghreb A nation who are waiting for the message of the gospel as Anna was waiting for her beloved Messiah and Cornelius for the message of Peter. Miriam believed in the Lord Jesus and gave her life to Him.
As days were passing I grew in love towards Maghreb A nation, day after day I felt a connection with the land. This connection was not sentimental, since the country was not that beautiful nor the food that great, but there was this strong need in that country. The loving presence of Jesus was needed; people who can share the gospel in Arabic were and are needed. Maghreb A nation was an open country ready to explode in revival, but only few missionaries are there. This broke my heart immensely. I wanted to stay so but I wanted to obey God more and I knew in my heart that God wanted me to return to my country now.
In the end it was more difficult to leave Maghreb A nation than to go to Maghreb A nation. During the 8 years of my walk with Christ, I had never felt the feeling I felt there. I felt a freedom and a joy I had never felt before. I had my share of difficulties there but all was easy compared to the knowledge that I am sharing the most important truth of life. I am creating history in a land that will have a future for Christ. For two weeks I was like the apostle Paul preaching the gospel in a land that didn’t know Christ. All these experiences combined showed me that I am called to live this lifestyle; the lifestyle of a missionary. Now finally I am sure of my calling and I pray for the will of God, according to His timing, be fulfilled in my life.