A message from Bethlehem

bethlehemThe faint sound of the Muslim call to prayer from Bethlehem’s mosque blended curiously with the warbling of a bird outside the open window. Nasir’s* fingers hovered over the computer keyboard. He looked at the screen and read what he had written so far:

“Dear sir, I am so honoured and glad that you wrote to me. What I said about the book was not just nice comments. It was the truth.”

Now how to articulate just what he felt. He thought back to when he had first received a copy of All that the Prophets have Spoken. He remembered meeting Dale at a wedding of a mutual friend. They got to talking about how Nasir had come to Christ. As a parting gift, Dale gave him a copy of All the Prophets, saying it was written with the Islamic worldview in mind. This immediately tweaked Nasir’s interest. While Nasir had not been raised Muslim, he lived in the West Bank, in the heart of the Middle East, and knew from experience that reaching Muslims with the gospel was a challenging task.

It hadn’t taken Nasir long to read the book. He emailed Dale to tell him that he thought it was very helpful and useful, and that he would appreciate it if Dale could send his regards to the writer. Nasir was convinced that All the Prophets would be extremely helpful to Muslims—to help them understand the reason Jesus had come to earth. He wanted to encourage the author and to find out whether the book was available in other languages.

Dale passed Nasir’s email on to John Cross, who ended up responding directly to Nasir. Now Nasir had the opportunity to tell him just what he thought of the book and its potential in the Middle Eastern world he called home.

He continued typing:

“Your book is an awesome book and it will have a great impact on the people who read it. I can say that because I live with 98% of Muslims and this book will open their eyes. It is so clear and easy to understand.”

Nasir paused again. John had asked him how he became a believer. He thought back to his upbringing in a traditional setting and how he had considered himself a Christian simply because he went to church and performed the ceremonial rituals that were required of him. He had no idea what real Christianity was until he won a scholarship to a Christian university in the States.

He smiled as he remembered the culture shock of those first months:

“I hated the rules, the worship and the church. It was totally different from what I came from. Many people were preaching the gospel to me but I thought that I was a better Christian than they were.”

He paused once more, shaking his head over how confused he had been. Then he smiled again and continued typing:

“One day, after two and a half years of fighting, God got hold of me and I started to read the Bible. After that I got saved. Since then all my life has changed. An 180 degree change occurred in my life and, since then, my goal is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ wherever I go.”

And that was why he was so excited about All that the Prophets have Spoken. Here was a resource—a tool—for his culture, his people, his time. John told him that it had been translated into Arabic and this only made Nasir more excited. He wanted to give it to his neighbours and friends. To see it distributed across the Middle East. To see many lives transformed by the gospel through it.

But there was something more he wanted to tell John. As he brought the email to a close, he wanted to emphasize just what All the Prophets had done for him personally:

“Thank you so much for this great book. It helped me a lot, as a Christian even, to understand God’s plan in a better and more organized way.”

Not only had it given him an easy-to-use and clear resource to share the gospel with his own people—it had also had strengthened his own faith and equipped him to be better prepared to share Jesus with others. For this he was grateful.

The muezzin’s call to prayer was over now and the bird had taken its singing elsewhere. As the afternoon shadows lengthened and the warm breeze brought the heightened sounds of city traffic, Nasir finished his email:

“God bless you and keep you. Keep up the good work.

Your brother in Christ,

Nasir from Bethlehem”

(*Names changed as per GoodSeed policy.)

(Editor’s note: This is a story from the GoodSeed archives.)

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