Once From Prison, Once from Hunger, Once From Sin

Once From Prison, Once from Hunger, Once From Sin

Part Two:
Not long after his miraculous escape from slavery, Bahar moved his family to a new town. But catastrophic flooding across the country soon placed Bahar and his family in a new life-threatening challenge: they had no way to get food. 

Bahar’s new town is one in which Samir and Nuh have been sharing the Good News and making disciples. Samir and Nuh, you may remember*, are disciple-makers who were befriended and trained by Frank and Helen. 

When Bahar heard that Samir and Nuh’s church was helping the flood victims by providing food, his family visited the church, hoping to receive help. They joyfully received one month’s food supply on the day of distribution. Jesus, through his disciples, had rescued Bahar’s family again.

While at the church, Bahar, his wife, and their 12-year-old son heard more about this Jesus who had released Bahar and his uncle from prison and of His Good News of salvation. Together, the family decided to follow Jesus.

Bahar and his family are telling their family, friends, and neighbors about how Jesus rescued them three times: once from prison, once from hunger, and once from their sin. Bahar’s friends are now asking him, Samir, and Nuh to come share the Good News of Jesus. 

Related Stories:
Thrown into Slavery (Part One)
Trading Tradition for Multiplication 
Empowered Disciples
Bearing Fruit in a Radically Different Culture

“Would You Like to Hear the Story?”

“Would You Like to Hear the Story?”

*Lisa and a friend were seated on the floor of *Rosa’s small living area. As Rosa’s twin grandsons jumped and hopped around, she told her visitors about her daughter *Wani’s rare blood disorder, and her need for transfusions. 

Though Lisa is still learning the language, she boldly asked, “Would you like to hear the story of when Isa (Jesus) healed a woman with a blood issue?” When Rosa agreed, Lisa told the story from Mark 5:25-34

Later the women asked what Rosa would like God to do. She quickly responded that she wanted God to heal Wani. 

“That’s great! You can ask him yourself,” Lisa said. Rosa hesitated at first, then offered a heartfelt cry to God to heal her daughter and provide the blood she needs.  

When the two women visited several days later, Rosa excitedly shared that Wani was better and back home again. Lisa asked if Rosa remembered that she had asked Isa (Jesus) to heal Wani.

Yes, and I told Wani the story you shared with me.” When Lisa gave her a printed copy of the story, Rosa turned and read it aloud to Wani who had joined them. Lisa left the story with them to read and talk about with their husbands, saying, “When we come back we can talk about it, and we’ll tell you another story.”

Please pray that God would reveal himself to Rosa, Wani, and their husbands. Ask God to heal Wani so His glory may spread through their influence. 

*pseudonym

Earnest Pilgrims

Earnest Pilgrims

Many of the women waiting in line with Natalie* held young children. As they approached the entrance to the holy cave, they removed their shoes and ensured their heads were covered before entering. 

The line moved slowly past some relics. Dampness and the smell of body odor filled the air. With palms raised, many stopped to pray for Allah’s blessing. After praying, they wiped their hands over their faces and those of their small children so they too could share the blessing. Though several signs cautioned against praying due to COVID, many still unfurled their prayer mats and bowed toward Mecca.

Once outside again, Natalie talked with two women who visit every year. She was surprised to learn that they even read the Qur’an in their own language — a rarity, as value is believed to come from reading the original Arabic, even if one doesn’t comprehend it. “Still, it seemed that they were spiritually deaf,” Natalie noted. “One even told me, ‘Perhaps how you follow God is more blessed and holy, yet this is our fate.’”

Though Natalie visited to learn about the culture and history of the people she works among, the earnest pilgrims came seeking God’s help. The experience reminded Natalie of when Jesus was moved by the crowds who were “harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” (Matthew 9:36) As Jesus commanded His followers two verses later, let’s Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” (v.38)

*pseudonym

Why Had Jesus Appeared to Her?

Why Had Jesus Appeared to Her?

One day, out of the blue, it occurred to Sue that she should pray for three of her Turkish Muslim friends to encounter Jesus through dreams and visions. She often prays this prayer for Muslims in general and for her friends in particular, so this notion was not out of the ordinary for her.

A few days later, she received a text from Adile, one of the friends she had prayed for. Adile is a conservative Muslim woman who has been part of a group doing Discovery Bible Study (DBS) with Sue. And she had seen Jesus in a vision!

While doing the prescribed prostrations for Islamic prayer, Jesus appeared and spoke to Adile. “The road [you are all on] is not wrong,” he said, “but a good step still has not been taken. Reading Scripture is not sharing Scripture. How are you [all] applying these verses to your lives? How are you consciously obeying them and, when you do obey them, what benefit do other people receive from it?” 

Adile thought a lot about Jesus’ words and also contemplated why Jesus had appeared to her rather than her honored prophet Muhammad. She knew the questions were not just for her; they were also for the others in the DBS group. When she shared what had happened, everyone in the group was deeply impacted. 

One man, a local partner, said, “Adile’s conversation with Jesus binds me even more to this group. Sometimes, even while we’re meeting, I wonder if I’m doing the right thing. Should I continue with this, or are we deceiving ourselves? This vision, though, affirms us . . . and challenges us. We have been fed and filled; we have learned and drunk. But how much have we been filled? Completely satisfied or just a little? Have we drunk deeply or just gotten our lips wet? How well have we understood? We’ve been asking the discovery questions but we haven’t placed importance on the last two questions: ‘How will you obey this?’ and ‘Who will you share with?’ From now on, let’s take obedience and multiplication seriously. What you’ve been fed, feed others. What you’ve understood, explain to others. Don’t keep it to yourself. We need to focus on that. ‘Reading Scripture is not sharing Scripture.’ What a great saying! I’m excited! Jesus is leading us, and he really knows what he’s doing.”

Sue was elated. God had answered her prayer! She began to wonder: “Does God answer that prayer every time I pray it? Has a Muslim somewhere had a dream or vision every time I ask God to show himself?”

Please pray for Adile and the two other Muslims in the Discovery Bible group. They love Jesus and read the New Testament but haven’t yet accepted him as Lord. Pray they see Jesus as more than a good teacher and prophet. Pray they would follow him as Lord and Savior and become winsome disciples.

*pseudonym

 

Caught Between the Lion and the Lambs

Caught Between the Lion and the Lambs

Upon arriving back in Asia after several months’ absence, Helen* met with her Muslim friend Mira* to catch up on each other’s lives. As soon as they sat down, Mira mentioned a dream she’d had the night before Helen called. In it, she was being welcomed into a foreign family’s home and accepted as one of their family. This family shined so brightly that she wanted the light they were giving off in her own life too. Mira believed that Helen’s family was the one from her dream and that they had returned to welcome her into their family and give her a special light in her own life.

Mira told Helen of other dreams she’d had in recent months. In one, Mira was walking through a park when sheep suddenly appeared and began following her. She turned to the right and left to get away from the sheep, but more and more followed her, multiplying rapidly. Try as she might, she could not evade the sheep. 

When she saw a big building nearby, she hid behind it because she was afraid of all the sheep. Suddenly, a huge lion appeared and found her hiding place. She was scared at first but quickly realized that it was friendly, peaceful, and loving. The lion comforted her, and she stepped out from behind the building. Then she woke up. Mira immediately knew the lion was special. She had felt safe with him nearby. 

Helen and her husband Frank* are excited about what these dreams seem to indicate God may have in store for Mira: leadership of multiplying disciples of Jesus. They ask for your prayers for Mira. She does not yet want to study the Bible. She is afraid and needs to approach the Lion who comforted her. They are praying the Father would continue to pursue Mira and that she would step out in boldness to follow Jesus: the Good Shepherd, Lion of Judah, and Light of the World.

*pseudonyms used