WHAT LIVING FEELS LIKE
By Karen Bejjani
I recently wrote about how my apathy and fear prevented me from helping Muslims find and follow Jesus. When I learned that sharing the Gospel with Muslims wasn’t as scary or as hard as I’d imagined, everything changed. I found that planting Gospel seeds was actually deeply fulfilling and glorifying to God. My hope is that you discover the same joy and fulfillment in sharing Jesus with Muslims you meet. Let me tell you a story…
A few years ago, I became so busy traveling with my new corporate job that I struggled with work/life balance. I no longer had the time or the bandwidth to intentionally seek Muslim friendships or share the Gospel. I was in survival mode and wasn’t living out God’s command to “make Him known.”
On the cusp of burnout, I took time away to be still with the Lord. I was convicted that I needed to make a lifestyle change and be intentional again about “knowing Him and making Him known” to others. Shortly after, Renod and I connected with a local international student organization. Through that organization, we met a sweet young Muslim couple, called Max and Mary,* who were college students from Iran.*
When I first met Mary, I said, “Hi, I’m Karen, and I’m a follower of Jesus.” She tilted her head to the side in a thoughtful way, and said, “I’m Mary, and I’m Muslim. But I don’t really practice my faith.” Then, she jumped up and said, “Let me show you how Muslims pray,” and she modeled for me right there how Muslims pray.
I had one of those “out-of-body” experiences where I couldn’t believe the conversation was actually happening. Mary was fun, earnest and inquisitive. We had arobust conversation about prayer and specifically how the Lord had answered my prayers. We talked about a million other things as well, and by the end of our time together, Mary had adopted me as her “U.S. mom,” and she my “Iranian daughter.”
Since then, Renod and I have been intentional about loving and building a Gospel-centered relationship with Max and Mary. We’ve practiced speaking English, counseled them in their careers, kayaked, celebrated birthdays, hiked mountains and introduced them to a traditional American barbeque, all while planting Gospel seeds and praying with them in Jesus’ name.
We care deeply about them, are grateful to call them our friends. We’re praying they will come to know Jesus as their Lord and Savior.
I’m so glad I took that retreat to be more intentional about sharing Jesus. I would have missed out on the joy of knowing Max and Mary and deep fulfillment that comes with sharing the life-giving gift of Jesus.
Next Steps for You
Make this your year to practice intentionally making Jesus known among Muslims.
Here are three simple ways to get started:
- Pray with intention. Tell God you want to help Muslims find and follow Jesus this year. Be still and listen for how He guides you. Consider praying with iHOPE’s prayer team (called iPray). Just email [email protected] to join.
- Volunteer with international student and/or refugee organizations. Contact your church for recommendations or do a Google search for such organizations in your area. Call and find out how you can volunteer.
- Become an English language partner. Search Google for “English as a Second Language” groups near you. Some of these conversation groups meet at local churches or universities and some even meet online.
How might you get purposefully connected to the Muslim community in your area? In our area, there are Muslims from dozens of different Muslim countries, all within a 30-minute driving radius! Take a small step to learn about opportunities near you. Then, cultivate an authentic, Gospel-centered relationship with a Muslim who may be hungry to have a conversation with you—you never know what might happen when you do.
*note: Names and locations have been changed.