Disillusioned Central Asians Ask Persistently and Find Answers in the Gospel
Feb 23, 2018
Amir and Musa are two of only a handful of believers in their city in Central Asia. They and two other local believers sat down to dinner with our team from the Summit, and as we started eating, I was overcome with the realization that this was a unique and precious opportunity. Craig, the Summit-sent missionary and team leader there, gave us permission to ask whatever we wanted. I immediately jumped in. “What’s your story? How did you come to know Jesus?”
Amir is pretty shy and quiet, but he began to tell us his story in the local language. Even before Craig translated into English for us, tears welled up in my eyes at the enormity of what God has done. Amir’s father is a mullah, a Muslim cleric. Amir started having questions about Islam. Because he can’t read Arabic and the Quran can only be read in Arabic, he reached out to his father. But his questions were met with stern disapproval and anger: “You sound like an unbeliever. Stop asking questions. Just believe.” Amir became disillusioned with Islam.
Meanwhile, Amir was working as a driver for a single missionary there. On their short drives, he began to ask her questions about Christianity, and she would share stories about Jesus. She and the rest of her team had been praying diligently for Amir. Amir became interested in Christianity, yet confused and frustrated, so he turned to prayer.
He prayed, “God, I don’t know what is right—Islam, Christianity, something else … I just want to know the true way, no matter what it is.” God soon answered miraculously through a vision. Amir dreamed that he was wearing all white. He entered a building where all of his American, Christian friends were applauding him, cheering for him, and shouting congratulations. Stunned by the significance of his dream, he sought the counsel of his Christian missionary friends. Perhaps this was the answer he had been praying for!
Amir’s friends agreed: This dream was God’s answer to Amir’s prayers. Christianity was the true path to know God.
At this point, Craig added his commentary. He told us that the strategy for their mission work is twofold: Love the people, and pray for God to give them dreams and visions. What a strategy! This means that their work is entirely dependent on God to move in the hearts of their Muslim friends. They can only pray, wait, and be available for the time that God will answer. They trust Jesus’ promise in John 14:13: “Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son” (ESV).
The others around the table that day chimed in that if Amir’s father ever found out that he had become a Christian, he would surely kill Amir. And yet Amir privately reads his Bible in the local language and meets with other believers in secret, confident that Jesus is the true way. Just recently, Amir decided that he wants to share the truth with his friend, Samim, who he thinks is ready to hear. This is extremely risky, so pray for wisdom and protection for Amir. Pray for God to work in Samim’s heart, that he too will have dreams and visions of the true way.
While Amir is soft spoken, Musa is charming, funny, and chatty. As we sat on the floor for our local dinner of fried fish, Musa seemed surprisingly Western. He spoke excellent English and wore modern clothes—jeans, a T-shirt, and a leather jacket. He grew up in a typical, large Muslim family that was atypically open-minded. Like a good Muslim, when he became a father, he named his firstborn Muhammad. “Peace” is at the root of the word Islam, yet Musa saw conflict rather than peace in his Muslim family. He grew disillusioned with Islam and stopped going to the mosque for prayer, yet his family was surprisingly open-minded, and they respected his decision.
Musa declared himself an agnostic, “not Muslim, not Christian, not Buddhist—no religion.” Until he was sure he knew the true and right way, he could not have peace in any religion. His Christian friends and coworkers were praying that God would reveal to Musa the true Prince of Peace.
One of Musa’s friends, a national Christian, gave him the Bible in his language. He urged Musa to look for truth in the pages. They began to read together, and Musa asked his friend dozens of questions. Occasionally they would bring in Craig to help answer his questions.
One day, Musa asked a particularly challenging question: “If Christianity is from God, then where does Islam come from?” Craig assured Musa that he would not like the answer to the question, yet Musa persisted. “You have to promise not to be angry with me,” Craig told him. Musa assured Craig that he would not be angry. Craig asked Musa three times if he would be angry with him before answering, “Islam is from Satan.” Musa did not like this answer, but he wasn’t angry. He continued to pray and ask questions.
Finally, in an answer to many prayers, God moved in Musa’s heart. Musa began to see and experience the peace that came from a life devoted to Jesus. Since then, his life has changed dramatically. His wife was so astounded by the change she saw in her husband that she too decided to become a Christian. They have since born another son, whom they named Masih, the Persian word for Messiah.
Musa and his wife, along with Amir and the few other Christians in their city, meet together and pray in secret, asking God to bring peace to their city through the power of the gospel. Pray for them and with them that God will establish and protect his church there.
By Sarah P.
*Names have been changed for security.