Statistics show that, for a Muslim to begin seeking after the name of Isa (Jesus), he or she needs to have experienced at least twelve positive encounters with Christianity.
There is no way to know the validity of this data, but one thing, especially after today, I know for certain: that Jesus commanded us to go to the ends of the earth and bring the nations to Him. He told us that this is the cry of His heart. He also told us that we would never be alone.
This morning, our team fully grasped this mandate and this promise, and we went. What a beautiful thing it was to witness God upholding His word to us, as He always does.
Several times a year, the center that Anna and I are ministering with makes its way into some of the busiest commercial areas of the city to distribute ‘free gifts’ to the many Muslim shoppers in the markets, most of them women. The leaders of our group reach out to these people in the most gentle and loving way, and in Arabic and Spanish they relate to these precious ladies what is included in this little gift. In perfect tongues, they tell them that the gift includes the story of Jesus (a New Testament written/recorded in Arabic), as well as a way to learn more if they so desire. What these beautiful women do not know, and what we hope some of them will soon discover, is that in this little gift that they were handed at the market, amidst their shoe and purse shopping, is the Free Gift of Everlasting Grace, Hope, Joy, and Peace. They were handed the Gift of Life.
I had the privilege of walking through the market with one of the workers from the center, an Egyptian woman, fluent in Arabic, Spanish, and English. It was an amazing experience to watch her move through the market; stopping every Muslim woman she came across, with such grace, wisdom and strength. It was as if the devil, even if he had dared to attempt, could not have slowed her down in any way. She spoke to about forty women this morning, and was given only one, “no, thank you”.
I want to recount for you one of my favorite conversations from the morning. My friend told me that this is what took place:
“Good Afternoon” (In Moroccan Arabic)
“If you have a moment, I have a gift for you. Can you read Arabic?”
“This book is a gift for you. It has more of the story of Isa. Would you like to have it?”
“I am sorry. I know who you are, and I am a Muslim.”
“Yes, I know and I understand. But wait, please take it. I want you to know, that this book changed my life. Please have it. It’s for you.”
As I sit here now, my heart is in a constant state of prayer for the many families who now have The Living Word in their homes. Whether it is now sitting on their kitchen table, still in their shopping bag, or maybe in their trash can, I pray that the Spirit would move, and that these people would be given the courage to read, learn, ask questions, and be changed in some way by this encounter.
This day reminded me of a song that sweet Anna always hums to herself. The words go: Jesus, Name above all Names, Beautiful Savior, Glorious Lord. Emmanuel, God is with us. Blessed Redeemer, Living Word.
(One of my favorite pictures ever. Borrowed from an online source)
Jesus, draw them to You. Help them to seek after Your name, the name above all names.
(For safety reasons, and out of respect, none of our real pictures of the women we are working with will be posted on our blog.)