TESTIMONY: Finding Faith on the Internet

Karim’s search for God started online. But his journey really began before then, when he was serving a sentence in a Moroccan prison. While he was there, Islamic spiritual leaders visited him and gave him lectures about what a bad person he was. “There was little grace,” he says, “only a wide chasm between me and the expectations of Islam.” Their words seemed meaningless. He struggled with the rigidity and lack of compassion he saw in spiritual leaders and was longing for something different.

After he was released, Karim searched the internet for answers and, finding a media outreach website in his language, filled out a simple contact form. To Karim’s surprise, a local believer named Elias sent him a message the very same day.

Finding answers to his questions

Elias invited Karim to download a copy of the Bible on his phone and begin reading it. As he did, Elias was there to explain the parts he didn’t understand. “I had so many questions,” says Karim. “How can you say Christ is God? How can I become a Christian? What is the difference between Jews, Christians and Muslims?”

Karim came to appreciate the grace and warmth he saw in Elias. It was a huge contrast to what he had experienced with spiritual leaders in the past.

“Elias was so open to talking with me, never preaching, always gentle, honest and willing to answer my questions.”

After four months of messaging and studying online, Karim asked Elias if they could meet in person. This was a big step for Karim. He was both nervous and excited. He didn’t fully understand what it would mean to follow Christ but continued to meet with Elias over the next six months. “I could see that the Word of God was already at work in me, changing me,” he says.

Then, in early 2021, Karim came to faith in Christ.

Finding fellowship and introducing others to Christ online

It was only natural that online tools would play a part in Karim’s growth. Elias invited Karim to be part of a Zoom group where he could find fellowship with other believers. The first time he attended, he invited his mother to join him. A few weeks later, his sister came to the group, and in time, she became a believer, too.

Karim saw the joy and freedom Elias had when he shared the story of Jesus with others. Elias took him under his wing and they started a new Zoom fellowship group, introducing others to Christ and the fellowship of believers. Elias is training Karim to share Christ with others who are searching online. Now, he can come alongside others who had the same questions he did.

“My life has been transformed by the power of God’s Spirit,” says Karim. “And it all started with a click on the internet.”

Finding those who search online

Today, smartphones are connecting every corner of the earth. Websites and social media platforms provide new means for believers to reach people like Karim.

A group of Pioneers missionaries has been using digital media outreach strategies for years. Now, they are coaching other missionary teams and their partners like Elias to do the same. These strategies can result in missionaries meeting with 2 to 10 times as many spiritually open people as in the past. We have partnered with other mission agencies to build a team of coaches who can help missionaries develop contextualized media content for specific unreached people groups, connect seekers with local believers or missionaries and engage in the face-to-face follow-up that can lead to a church planting movement.

This article first appeared on the Pioneers USA website.

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