The Night of Power and the Infidel

The Night of Power, an especially holy night near the end of Ramadan (the Muslim month of fasting), had arrived for Rahmad. 

His neighborhood mosque received many guest speakers on this auspicious night. As he waited for the next speaker, Rahmad wondered how his acts and prayers became exponentially more powerful on this one night.  

Strangely, his mind wandered to a foreign man he’d recently met. Weren’t all foreigners — especially Westerners — considered infidels? 

His mosque had instructed that infidels should never be allowed to enter the homes of the faithful. From his imam’s cautionary admonitions, Rahmad also understood that no teachings other than those from the Qu’ran (or other Islamic sources) were valid. Yet, when speaking with this foreigner and his Indonesian friend, Rahmad observed a distinct difference between what he had been taught and what he had seen. 

Rahmad remembered how the foreign man dared to broach an unthinkable topic: “Have you ever considered that God has revealed truths of His kingdom that He desires mankind to discover? I am praying that God will lead my friend and me to people who want to study the Taurat, Zabur, and Injil [roughly equivalent to the Torah (Pentateuch), the Psalms, and the New Testament] so they can know and understand God’s heart and His kingdom ways. Are you one of those people? Is your household searching for God’s path?” 

Rahmad’s soul tingled with the memory. He and his family had been meeting with the men for the last few weeks. They had discovered powerful truths while studying prophets from the Old and New Testaments. Perhaps on this holy night, God would guide him with divine wisdom to the truth.

*pseudonym

Living Out Loud

Grace* had recently returned to Southeast Asia when she was flagged down by a familiar face: Her house helper’s husband ran across a busy street to greet her. He insisted that Grace sit at his sugarcane booth to wait for his wife to arrive. Soon Grace and Bi Indah* were seated on a bench, talking about life, family, and gifts from God.

As they talked, many curious people came over to engage Grace in conversation. One man asked about her religion. When she answered that she followed Isa, Bi Indah spoke up and told him how that was different from their usual understanding of “being a Christian.” She explained what it means to follow Jesus, how Grace stayed pure, and how Grace’s faith looks different from that of other Christians Bi Indah had met.

“At that moment,” Grace says, “I realized that most of the things she said weren’t things I had told her, but rather things she had observed. I don’t get to choose how God uses me, but I delight in the fact that God can and will use our daily obedience to draw people to Himself.”

Grace obeys God’s word both in what she says and the way she lives. It shows her love for Him. As a witness, Bi Indah is already sharing what she has learned from Grace about following Jesus, even though she herself is not yet a disciple.

*pseudonym

I Have Been Waiting for You

Through your generosity, lives are being transformed each day as men, women and children encounter Jesus for the first time.

Following the Spirit’s leading, Rebecca and two friends she was discipling brought supplies to some poor communities after a flood. They asked God to multiply the harvest through their small outreach.

In most villages, God directed them to the homes of the community leaders. The team asked them to distribute the goods to the families in need. This allowed for more time to build relationships with each leader and his family. Each man welcomed a story about Isa (Jesus), allowed a prayer in His name, and invited Rebecca’s team to return.

In one community, however, they had a different entrance — their car ran into a ditch near a village of trash collectors. As they dealt with the car, they noticed a woman staring intently at them, so they stopped to visit. The woman and her sisters ushered them into their home and began talking about the flood. Suddenly, one of their daughters had a demonic manifestation. 

Rebecca and her team were allowed to pray for the girl in Isa’s name. When she calmed down, they asked if the women wanted to hear a story about Isa healing the sick. They listened eagerly, exclaiming “Amin!” at several points. As their conversation continued, the matriarch asked, “Are you the three mentioned in my dream?”

She explained that her husband had died four months previously, and each night she prayed that God would see her and her children. Then one night, she dreamed that a man stood before her. He told her God cared for her and her family and that three visitors would soon come whom she should welcome into her home. 

She was confused. Who would visit her home in the trash yard? She asked her son, a Muslim cleric, about the dream. He said to wait and see what happened.

When the widow saw Rebecca and her two friends get out of their car, she became very excited. “And there the three of you now sit in front of me. You are strangers, and you prayed over my daughter and brought a blessing. You must be the ones I have been waiting for.” 

Rebecca asked if they could return another day to share more stories about Isa. All the women agreed they should come again. “We will be waiting.”

In a city with scores of people groups, God led this team to their focal people group at each stop. The two newer disciple-makers were especially encouraged and excited by their first-hand encounter in ministering alongside our Father. 

On behalf of families like this one that have now witnessed the power of Jesus and the unstoppable gospel, thank you! 

Go Small to Go Big

For years, three Muslim-background followers of Jesus lived and ministered together in the same Muslim community. The three friends would gather large groups and share Bible stories, but they never had any fruit.

Then, about three years ago, God told them to separate. They obeyed, and each man gathered a smaller group in which they were the only follower of Jesus. It wasn’t long before they all began to see fruit.

The three friends realized that they used to spend a lot of time discussing what each knew about the Bible and what they had learned at some Christian conference or retreat. But when they separated, the new groups’ discussions became centered around what God was doing. The Lord began to use His Word and His Spirit to speak to and guide the Muslim seekers.

These groups have now become over 175 baptized followers in more than 29 house churches. The groups recently came together twice to baptize over 60 new followers, as their Muslim community watched from boats and the shore. These events have led to many conversations and some tensions within the community. Still, the disciples see this as an excellent opportunity to share their testimonies about what it means to follow Jesus with their friends and neighbors.

Isa (Jesus) Sent You Here

While looking for people of peace, a local team met Mrs. Nuri.* After chatting for a bit, she told the team that she used to work as a dukun (shaman).  

In Indonesian culture, especially in rural villages, people commonly go to a spiritual healer if someone is sick or suffering from a prolonged or difficult illness. These dukuns exercise spiritual power and often have demonic manifestations.  

It soon became clear that Mrs. Nuri had allowed demonic influences into her life. But when our team entered her house, she acknowledged that the Spirit of the Lord was on them.  

They shared some stories with Mrs. Nuri and talked about the power and hope they have in Jesus. As the team left, Mrs. Nuri invited them to come back the following week.  

When they returned, they shared stories from the Bible illustrating the power in Jesus’ name and the freedom His followers have. Mrs. Nuri admitted that she had seen Isa (Jesus) in a dream when she was younger. “Yes,” she agreed, “it seems like Isa sent you here.” 

Would you please pray for Mrs. Nuri? She is afraid of persecution from her community if she were to become a follower of Jesus. Pray that Mrs.Nuri would accept the Truth and experience freedom in Him, and that her whole community would come to know Isa through this influential woman.

 

*pseudonym

Day 312 of Following Jesus

Murni* is from a small country where there are few known followers of Jesus. She learned about the Truth after searching online, reading the book of Hebrews, and receiving a dream confirming her course. 

Every day Murni texts her friend and mentor, Donna,* to report and rejoice, “This is day 312 of following Jesus.” By poring over the Scriptures together, Murni’s understanding of God is deepening. She is learning about making disciples, people of peace, having spiritual conversations, and other movement principles. 

She wants to be a disciple-maker, but she would likely pay a heavy price if the wrong people discovered that she was telling others about Jesus. Despite the risks, Murni recently told a dear friend and a family member that she had become a follower of Isa al Masih (Jesus the Messiah).

Though her relative did not want to hear more and her friend warned her about continuing to share about Isa, Murni intends to share the Good News with another family member who is a very devout Muslim. 

Donna and Murni are asking God to reveal the best way to share God’s love with him. 

“My family needs to know about Jesus,” Murni declares. “My community needs to know. My people and my country need to know.” 

*pseudonym

Bible Study in the Mosque

Four ulamas (Islamic theologians) visited a community with a growing number of culturally Muslim Jesus followers. Having heard concerning reports, the ulamas decided to investigate. 

Dowad*, the community’s leader and a new disciple of Jesus, brought them into the mosque where the local followers frequently study the Bible. There, one of the ulamas spotted a copy of the Injil (New Testament) in their language.

The ulama picked it up. “What is this?”

“This is what we study and follow!” Dowad answered. 

“Don’t you study the Qur’an?”  

“We can’t read the Qur’an,” Dowad responded, “but we can read and understand the Injil.” 

The ulama read some verses. “This is different and very concerning!” 

“What is so concerning?” Dowad asked. “Have you seen our community? Have you seen how many people worship, pray, and fast? Do you realize that in our community when one person is sick or dies the family doesn’t worry because everyone helps them? And do you realize that other communities come to us with their conflicts because our community helps make peace? Here. You can each take a copy of the Injil and read it. Then come back and talk to us.”

Praise God! Dowad has a firm foundation in Jesus, and he speaks with the authority Jesus gives his followers. 

*pseudonym

Baptized in an Irrigation Canal

Amisha led five women in reading prophet stories from the Bible: a good way to introduce the Word of God to Muslims. Participants then share the stories with their family and friends, and obey lessons God impresses on them during their time together.

Three of the women have had visions of Isa al Masih (Jesus the Messiah). In the dreams, He had instructed one to forgive her husband and encouraged another by confirming that she was studying His Truth. The third had a simple yet profound vision of being embraced by Jesus!

Before long, all five women became followers of Isa. Amisha baptized them in the irrigation canal of a nearby rice paddy.

Amisha is a layperson who has been trained in Disciple Making Movements and longs to hear and obey Jesus. All six women are in the process of learning to become reproducing disciple-makers. 

These women were the first in their families to come to Christ. Pray as they engage their husbands with the Word of God and encourage their spiritual leadership. This process can sometimes be messy, but it is so important in bringing the whole household to faith. 

Thank you, BEYOND donors, for the role you played in this story!

*pseudonyms

Engaging the First Seekers

Hari*, the local partner of BEYOND field workers, was exhausted and ready to walk away. He was thankful for his job in the coffee industry, which allowed him to pursue his passion to see God glorified in his country and provided for his family. But Hari was tired.

He did not waiver, however. He stayed focused on God and His vision for those with whom Hari worked. His relationships with workers opened the door for him and his wife, Dewi*, to pray with families and share truths about their Source of peace and freedom from fear.

Thankfully, following a busy season of harvest, processing, and distribution, families enjoyed a slower pace of life and the ability to connect at a deeper level. 

In January, one family showed interest in learning more about the peace and freedom that Hari and Dewi spoke about. The father agreed that his whole family should explore these things together. 

Through the Holy Spirit’s work in this village, three families are now discovering biblical truths together!

Please pray for the Father to draw people in and teach them from His Word. May the message of the Kingdom spread throughout this village and into surrounding areas.

Thank you, BEYOND donors, for being a part of engaging the first seekers from this village!

*pseudonyms