Have you heard the expression “Boots on the Ground?” Well our Live Dead Missionaries are the boots on the Silk Road. Here we’d like to take a moment and allow one of them to share part of their life with you. Some names and details have been changed, but this is a true story from this colorful, vibrant, and sometimes surprising region and those who God has called to work here.
I’ve been living along the Silk Road for nearly 6 months and have been mainly learning the language. As part of the language learning process, I’ve been living with a local Muslim family. I have had many opportunities to share the Gospel with the son in the family who is a bit younger than me and, by God’s grace, is now a believer. However through a mixture of language incompetency, hard-heartedness on their part, and sinful fear on my part, I haven’t had many spiritual conversations with the parents in the family.
Then Covid-19 came on the scene. Spurred on by my team leader and some others to make the most of the fear of death that many have, the Spirit gave me courage to broach the subject with my host mom after dinner one day. I asked her if she was afraid of Covid-19, and she promptly replied, “yes, because I am old and likely to die.” I, then, asked her if she was afraid to die, and she said, “Of course.”
There was an awkward pause, and she wasn’t asking me what I thought like I had hoped. Would I have the courage to proclaim the glorious hope we have in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the full and free forgiveness of our sins, and a secured place among the throne in heaven?
I didn’t put it that eloquently, but I did respond by saying, “I’m not afraid to die.” Again, her response was immediate and said “Are you stupid?” She paused. “No, you’re just young.”
No awkward pause this time. “No,” I responded. “In my religion, I believe that Jesus has died on the cross and taken away all of my sin, and he has forgiven me.” I continued, “I am 100% going to heaven.”
Maybe I didn’t say this in an eloquent way, and it was definitely less eloquent in my host family’s native language I’m still learning. Nonetheless, I was just so happy that my host mom had a clear presentation of the Gospel or at least some key components of it. God graciously opened His arms wide to her in that moment.
How did she respond? Sadly not with repentance and faith and that still feels a long way away. She kind of looked at me funny for a moment then said, “Allah Akbar” and moved on. “Allah Akbar”, in my limited experience of talking to the older women, is something they will say to almost reaffirm their faith when you share Christ with them. It is as if they shut down in an instant when the subject of Christ is broached. Often, they say, “Allah Akbar” many times, and some may head off to say prayers and ask for forgiveness for the fact that they even heard Jesus’ name.
However, my host mom listened, engaged on a religious topic, seemed to understand, and only said, ‘Allah Akbar’ one time!
Looking at it from a different perspective, one day when I stand before Jesus and give an account of how I used my time with my host family, I will be able to point to that moment where the offer of eternal life in Christ was extended to my host mom.
And all that from Coviod-19…
What can we learn from this story? Many things, but to name a few:
- Use the opportunity. Covid-19 is global and so is the fear of death. Make the most of it. In this context of fear of death, the gospel offers such an amazing hope.
- Take responsibility. Often opportunities don’t come on a plate. Sometimes God is very kind to put them on a platter and deliver them to us. Often we have to go and make them. If you broach the subject and if it is awkward or doesn’t go as planned, press on and declare the excellencies of Christ.
- Keep going. My proclamation of Christ was feeble. The prospect of her conversion still seems light years away, but hopefully, regardless of how people respond, you can be encouraged from my weak efforts to keep adding, and keep adding, and keep adding your own efforts to Jesus’ world conquering mission until He calls you home. Keep going friend!
His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ – Matthew 25:21
Please spare a prayer for my host mom. If everyone who reads this prays once for 5 seconds then I’m excited to see what could happen.