The team with the Sheikh
What we read in the media subtly teaches us that Muslims are not to be trusted. We should fear them.
From the other side of the world, a World Race team has seen another perspective. Jeremy Devers reports:
Our contact arranged for our team to travel to an Islamic boarding school in the capital city. We were being placed in the midst of radical Muslim followers – a school where students are fed Islamic beliefs and teachings around the clock. Students wake up at four every morning for their first of five mandatory prayer sessions that day.
Students are taught Quranic Arabic to be able to read and recite their holy readings. Many boarding schools are stereotyped as centers where Islamic extremism are birthed. Not even a week before our arrival Muslim extremists had killed or injured over 20 in the same city we were heading into.
We took the open door we had as a unique opportunity to share Jesus in a very dark place. We took this opportunity with great joy.
Upon arrival we were immediately greeted as guests of honor. We were taken to comfortable rooms and were fed great food. God had shone us great favor and our hosts were incredibly open to us, knowing we were believers of Jesus. The following day our team was broken up into groups to share English with several classrooms.
Most classes were split between all girls and all boys, as segregation of genders are very common within conservative Islamic groups. Many of us had the opportunity to share Jesus and even read from our Bible. Two teammates later explained that students rushed to them as they saw a Bible for the first time in their life.
Our second day there our host shared that there would be a great gathering of Muslims in a neighboring city. The president of our Islamic boarding school is the disciple of a great sheikh (religious leader) who holds monthly gatherings that host hundreds of Muslims from around the nation.
Upon arrival at the sheikh’s home, we were were greeted by hundreds who had arrived early for the event. As eight “buleh” (a white person) we clearly stood out. We were immediately ushered to the great sheikh.
They fed us a wide variety of snacks until we could hardly stand up. We retired for the evening and returned for the large gathering the next day.
The following morning, we arrived to the main event. Cars were parked everywhere around the mosque and hundreds of devout followers had crammed their way into the main mosque hallway.
The men sat near a podium where our speakers were, while the sheikh sat in a comfortable chair. All eyes were on the buleh as we entered the event. The women were ushered by the wive of the sheikh and the men were immediately taken to sit at the feet of the sheikh. Front and center!
There was a buzz in the crowd, “Who are these white people? What are they doing here? Who invited them?” I tried to grasp the beauty of the opportunity we had. We were likely the first Jesus followers to have stepped into such a great event attended by nearly a thousand devout Muslims. God had indeed done immeasurably more than all I could have asked or imagined.
As I sat down I immediately began to pray, “Lord, interrupt this meeting and let me get on that microphone.” Not two minutes had passed when our host whispered into my ear, “Jeremy, later you will get on the microphone and share for five minutes?”
Are you kidding me?! I received what I asked for – now it was my time to pray into what the Holy Spirit wanted me to share.
All the men were given Islamic hats from men at the event.
My time eventually came and I approached the podium. Our host served as my translator as I addressed the people. I introduced the team and thanked the Sheikh and the people for their incredible hospitality towards us. I was able to share about our intention of learning about Islamic and the local culture.
I shared with them our intention to go back home to America and to tell our communities how amazing the Muslims are. That the vast majority of Muslims are not radicals, but extremely gentle and hospitable people. I was also able to share about our faith in Isa al-Masih (Arabic for Jesus) and the kind of life that we had through him.
As we left that day (following seemingly endless amount of pictures with the locals) I couldn’t help but rejoice in the amazing opportunity Jesus had opened for us. We pray that God will continue to minister the sheikh and the people we met that day.
“But if I were you, I would appeal to God; I would lay my cause before him. He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed, miracles that cannot be counted.”
This is a powerful testament to God opening doors. Thank you for sharing Seth.
It is amazing to see what God is doing around the world.
Thanks, Seth. I’m dealing with this very issue currently advocating for a suspended professor at our beloved Wheaton College which has succumbed to the misperceptions.
You’re welcome, Butch.
Such great timing. I am just sitting on a couch with a friend who was cautioning me for friending a muslim on Facebook that I met the other day and telling me the reasons why it is a bad idea to be friends with Muslims. He was making sense and I am a foreigner here so I started to doubt myself a little. He turned and literally took no more than 2 steps when this email update popped up in my inbox. “Should we be afraid of muslims?” Nope. Awesome story.
Imagine if the apostle Paul would’ve had that perspective about Gentiles!
The Prince of Peace continues to turn the religious tables over of “missing the point”.
God ain’t doing squat yo.
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