HOW SHE SHARED THE GOOD NEWS WITH MUSLIMS
By Karen Bejjani
If you had told me fifteen years ago that I would be passionately inspiring and empowering Christians to help Muslims find and follow Jesus, I would have laughed out loud! Back then, I didn’t even knowany Muslims. Recently, through the iHOPE Community, I learned that Stephanie* had a similar experience. About six years ago she was fearful of Muslims. And yet over time, as she became inspired and empowered, she began to develop authentic relationships and share the Good News with Muslims in her city.
Here is part of Stephanie’s inspiring story…
When we entered my son’s college campus, I was struck by the large Muslim population. I’d never been in an authentic relationship with a Muslim before—all I knew of Muslims I’d learned from the news. If I’m honest, I feared Muslims and was suspicious of their intentions in America. I overheard many of them speaking a different language and struggled to establish a mutual glance with any of them. Their body language seemed to say, “do not approach” and I was very uncomfortable.My husband jokes that I could make friends with a rock, but I could not think of a way to say so much as ‘hi’ to these Muslim women.
In the months following, I shared my discomfort with members of my church. I became frustrated and wanted to figure out how to connect on a basic level with the Muslim community and maybe even share Jesus with them. When I asked how to reach out to a Muslim neighbor, one ministry leader suggested that I simply “pray, and then just do it.” I was baffled at how easy he thought it would be for me. Did he not hear all my obstacles? I was not convinced this would work, so my efforts to reach out to the Muslim community stopped there, with the exception of praying.
Four years passed and yet I still had the nagging desire to engage with Muslims. Then one day, I felt a strong pull to teach ESL (English as a Second Language) at church. I knew God had led me to this and that I needed to volunteer. When I showed up for my first day, I was amazed. I had students from 12 different countries and many of those students were from Muslim countries. This was the first time I interacted with Muslims in my entire life!
I kept showing up to teach the class. And when Christmas came, I invited two Muslims from my class to a church Christmas fellowship with our family (assuming they would decline). Not only did they attend, they accepted an invitation to church service again the next Sunday! When I recovered from the shock, I told them we’d love for them to sit with our family. One of these two gentlemen continued to attend Church regularly and was baptized as a follower of Christ 5 months later.
I also become close with some of the Muslim women. I learned many of them had the same fears about Christians that I had about Muslims when I went to my son’s college campus. They hadn’t known a Christian before and through the ESL class, we learned to trust one another. These women taught me a lot about fellowship. They wanted to be invited to my house, not a restaurant. They wanted to share home cooked food and have real spiritual conversations, not shallow ones. Now our family hosts get-togethers, filled with food and Gospel-centered conversations a few times a month. My whole family is involved!
God answered my prayers and filled our hearts with an intense love for this community and a desire to share the Gospel with them. Initially, I wanted to make it complicated, but the truth is really simple—Muslims are people just as we are people in need of the love and grace of Jesus Christ. Once I became willing to bring the Truth to Muslims, I saw them set free! I know if my family and I can do this, you can too!
I love Stephanie’s story because it illustrates things every Christian can know and do with Muslims:
- She was convicted to share the Good News with Muslims and started praying about doing it.
- Despite feeling uncomfortable, she looked for a “person of peace” (someone who was open to knowing more about Jesus) as she planted Gospel Seeds in conversations around her family’s dining room table.
- She put her friends in front of the Bible by bringing them to church.
- She loved her Muslim friends in words, actions and deeds – often around home-cooked meals filled with deep, Gospel-centered conversations.
She didn’t mention this specifically in this story, yet I know she also prayed with them in Jesus’ name.
How does Stephanie’s story inspire you? Around 1.43 billion Muslims, an unfathomable number, have never heard the Good News about Jesus Christ. Are you willing to reach just one? Here are some things to do to get started:
- Pray: Ask God to help you see Muslims as He sees them. Pray that He would guide you toward “persons of peace.”
- Invite your Muslim friend to church. Don’t prejudge.Many Muslims are curious about what happens in Church. When your friend says “yes,” it could mean they are that “person of peace” you’ve been looking for.
- Have a get-together at your home. Deepen your relationship by asking curious, open-ended questions, then listening and looking for opportunities to plant Gospel seeds. Friendly conversations around the dinner table have been known to open many doors!
Note: Names and locations have been changed.