Begging for Hope

Have you ever felt you were in the minority opinion when everyone around you was convinced of the opposite? That’s a hard place to be! But it’s exactly where many believers find themselves.

Working in areas that are strongly Muslim can be difficult in just that way. Many Muslims are convinced they are the ones with the truth. They hold the majority opinion.

Interestingly, however, in many places Muslims do freely mix Islam with local traditional religions. It is as if Satan allows Muslims to mix false things into Islam without causing any concern.

The truth about Jesus is different. Christians are considered irritating people to be ignored or persecuted, until these Christians are forced “to see the truth” as the others see it.

Of course, not all Muslims are identical, in the same way that not all Christians are alike. Some Muslims are just as concerned about the welfare of their families as they are about Islam. This natural concern for their families can provide a unique opening for the gospel to be demonstrated in action.

One of MAI’s teams in a largely Muslim country started well by going to the community leaders, listening carefully to their concerns and then helping them to prioritize their needs. Their need for water topped the list. When the MAI team informed them the water table was not far below the surface of the ground, the community leaders decided to mobilize local people to dig a well together by hand. This resulted in both water and friendship—increased trust between the townspeople themselves, and an amazing level of trust between the local people and the MAI trainers who had come from the outside.

Trust made it possible for people to listen to stories about how Jesus spoke of himself as the water of life, bringing inner cleansing, refreshment and new life. A breakthrough happened when one community leader decided to follow Jesus. He became the nucleus of a thriving church.

It was as if Jesus had made a beachhead in this strongly Muslim area. The laypeople in this new church asked to be trained so that they could reach out to surrounding communities both physically and spiritually—replicating the approach that had been so effective for them.

During their weeks of training the new believers prayed fervently, asking for guidance. They decided God was telling them to target ten surrounding communities at the next local holiday time.

When the holidays arrived, the new trainers were busy! During the day they found the villagers quite open to hearing about physical development. At night stories were shared “from the Holy Books.” When the holidays were over, the new trainers prayed and held their breath to watch what would happen next.

They knew God was in charge, but they were still amazed to see what a movement of the Holy Spirit occurred next. For the first time in their lives, they saw their Muslim neighbors literally begging to hear more about Jesus! In one of the ten new villages, even the local chief gave his life to Christ.

There were lots of testimonies. People burned fetishes and other articles of local witchcraft to show that they were not going to add Jesus to a long list of beliefs. They decided to trust in Jesus alone.

To help these interested people understand more about Jesus, these new “missionaries” showed a copy of the “Jesus Film” in the local language. An outdoor movie was much too interesting for unbelieving neighbors to ignore, so the ground was jammed with people who sat there riveted by the new truth about Jesus. The movie strengthened local believers and added many more new believers to their group. All in all, Satan had a very bad time.

MAI is finding that new believers are often the very best evangelists. They remember so clearly what it is like to live without hope, and the truth about Jesus is new and exciting. However, new believers need a very active discipleship process to keep them growing. Often, the most effective discipleship requires sharing Bible stories, followed by asking simple questions to assure understanding. When Bible stories are combined with personal application and accountability, growth can be dramatic.

Stories of new Muslim evangelists make me hungry to see the Holy Spirit work just like this all over the world. I believe God wants to see this happen. However, for this to happen, Spirit-filled Christians need to be willing to hold each other accountable.

Perhaps that is why God is prompting me to ask you to be accountable right now. Is Jesus speaking to you? Please listen carefully. Maybe he is saying “thank you” for your effective prayers and support for Medical Ambassadors in the past. If you believe God wants you to begin supporting MAI, perhaps it is my responsibility to tell you how you could do that.

  1. The events I told about above would not have happened without many people praying. I believe God loves to accomplish his will in answer to our prayers, because that is a good way for God to receive glory. Praying takes focus and hard work. If God is asking you to pray for his MAI work, please ask for the monthly President’s Prayer Circle (if you don’t already receive it.) Then use it faithfully. This guide also describes answers to prayers of previous months.
  2. Most of MAI’s work is done by local volunteers around the world, frontline servants who serve their communities with love. But this volunteer effort requires a few paid leaders to coordinate and leverage their efforts. Please ask God if he wants you to support their sacrificial work generously.
  3. Is God asking you to give where it really hurts? For many of us, time is precious. Please ask God if MAI is one of his choices for your time.

Thanks for listening. May God bless you as you continue to listen to him.

In the service of Jesus,

John Payne M.D.


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