TESTIMONY: Choosing Jesus over his tribe

Ahmed* grew up in a Muslim tribe in rural North Africa. He had only heard of disturbing comments designed to put him off the Christian faith. Myths included that believers got drunk on Sundays and took part in cannabalism during their communion service.

But his mindset changed when he met a church-planting team in his community and went on a spiritual journey.

Exposed to good news

Ahmed attended a storying workshop, which is an interactive way to enable people to learn and memorise ideas off by heart. This approach is ideal for sharing truth in accessible ways with oral learners – especially those in communities with no written language.

On one occasion, the team explored a passage from Luke’s Gospel. It was the first time that Ahmed had ever heard that Jesus the Messiah was real and that He could be known in a personal way.

Surprised by joy

Ahmed recalls how the story of Jesus had left a deep impression.

β€˜On hearing this message, I was full of joy from everything I heard, but I didn’t know why I was so happy.’

Over the next eighteen months, Ahmed met several times with some of our cross-cultural workers serving in his Arabic-speaking country. They spent time discussing his many questions and unpacking God’s Word for answers – often late into the night.

Seeing the light

One evening Ahmed was again with the team as they explored the story of another night-time visitor, Nicodemus, discussing spiritual truth with Jesus in John’s gospel.

β€˜But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.’ John 3:21 (NIV)

Ahmed listened intently. After further reflection on Jesus’ teaching, his spiritual eyes were opened. Something had clicked inside and he beamed with a smile. A few days later, he confessed Jesus as his Saviour and Lord.

‘It was the first time that Ahmed had ever heard that Jesus the Messiah was real and that He could be known in a personal way.’

The backlash from his tribe

Ahmed was encouraged early on to tell five trustworthy people about his new-found, liberating faith in Christ. As well as sharing his testimony with other believers he also bravely told his wider family about his choice of leaving Islam to follow Jesus. His father was very angry and responded harshly publicly denouncing his son. His brothers threatened to kill him for apostasy.

The backlash from loved ones is not altogether surprising as Ahmed is the first known follower of Christ from his people group. He is a true pioneer and has persevered in his walk with God despite hardships, even leading one of his friends to trust in Jesus. He continues to share his passion for the Lord with those around him with his words and actions despite needing to flee from his family home.

Earlier this year, Ahmed and a few other new believers were baptised together. They continue to study God’s Word with the church-planting team and draw strength from their friendship and support. Ahmed’s story is a living example how God is changing lives in the Arab world today.

The story continues

The church-planting team in North Africa featured in this story share regular updates in our confidential prayer bulletins.

Join our prayer network and intercede for the growth of this fellowship in the Arab world.

*NB. Names have been changed and library images used for security.

This article originally featured in awmlink, AWM’s free supporter magazine. Why not read an editorial to get a flavour of what to expect and SIGN UP today to receive each new edition direct to your home every three months?

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