Our pastor has just returned from a week in Ethiopia. There he worked alongside PAOC missionaries Brian and Val Rutten, taught in the Bible College, visited the Child Care Plus facility and the school for kids. His message on Sunday morning included some incredible stories. Here is one, told in his words:
I met a man and we sat and talked. He told me his story. This man had been born and raised in a Muslim family. He had become a teacher of Islam, was a teacher in a mosque and an authority in the Koran. He was hostile to Christianity and was not interested. He’d met a Christian but had no interest whatsoever. That’s the background.
The circumstance was that both he and his wife lost their jobs and they had run out of food. They were down to one small bowl of macaroni and physically that’s all they had left in their place. He said there were so few macaroni inside he could count them. And so he and his wife sat down at the table with this small bowl of macaroni, to eat.
As they were sitting down to eat, there was a knock at the door and a guest arrived – a friend of his wife. The custom is that you invite the guest in and you share whatever you have with them. So they invited this woman in to sit with them and share their food. Now there are three of them sitting around this little bowl of macaroni.
They began to eat and continued to eat. “My wife thought I was doing something sneaky, and I thought she was doing something sneaky, but we were able to continue to eat – the three of us,” the man said. “We ate until we were satisfied from this one bowl. And at the end there was still the same amount of macaroni in the bowl.”
“So,” he said, “I was confused by this. But there was nothing more to do so I left them talking and went to bed. While I was sleeping, I had a dream. And in my dream Jesus Christ appeared to me and said, ‘If you give me your life and follow me, I will multiply your life the way I have multiplied the macaroni in your bowl.’”
The next day he got up, found the Christians and became a believer in Jesus Christ. He was discipled for a period of two years. They had baptisms every three months. He postponed his four times because he had troubles balancing the Islamic worldview and the Christian worldview. But he finally came to realize that Jesus was not only a prophet but that he was the Son of God, that He had died and risen again and that He was indeed the Savior of the world. So he was baptized. He then went to Bible college. He is now the leader of ten tribes among Muslim people.
I asked him (and I had to push him to tell me), “Tell me, how many people have come to Christ in those ten tribes that you’re working among?”
He said, “At least ten thousand are now following Jesus. Many, many more.”
Every night they meet to talk and they ask questions. He said what the Muslims do now is they test the power of God. They come and they ask questions. Because the Christians say that God will answer their prayers. So they haven’t believed in Jesus yet but they’ll bring prayer requests to test and see if Jesus will answer prayer.
And so what this man does now is he goes and teaches in the mosques. He starts with Jesus and the Koran and then takes them to John 1:1, “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” And the strategy is simply to start, not on the street corners, not in the market place but to actually be in the mosques and teach those who want to hear. It’s the most amazing thing.
They have vision and they have people who are ready to go to any of the Muslim nations of the Middle East that you want to name – the most severe under Sharia law, it doesn’t matter. They’re prepared to go and share Jesus Christ in this manner with those who are hungry. It’s exploding; it’s beyond comprehension. It seems impenetrable, impossible, where your life is on the line. If you convert, you can have your head literally cut off, you’re separated from your family, you lose all economic opportunity, you’re ostracized, you’re treated as dead, and they’re saying it’s growing and expanding every day, every day.
Go here to listen to all of last Sunday’s sermon.