My teammate, Katherine*, and I sat down at a local Egyptian restaurant to practice our habit of “intentional eating.” We use our patronage as an opportunity to meet members of our unreached people group and share our faith.
During our meal, Katherine noticed one of her earrings missing. I immediately prayed and asked the Lord to help us find it. We both agreed to retrace our steps after dinner in search of the missing jewelry.
It would have been anywhere on a six-block stretch of wide and busy sidewalks. We both commented on how crazy it would be if we could find it. We prayed aloud and asked the Lord for a miracle.
As we prayed, I instantly thought of the parable of the lost coin in Luke 15. So I told the Lord that if he would help us find the earring, we could not only have a great testimony of an answered prayer to share with someone, but also an easy way to share this parable and then follow it with a full gospel presentation if he would give us a Muslim woman from our unreached people group with whom to share. It sounded like a good plan to me, now all we needed was the lost earring!
On our fourth block, something shiny in the crack of the sidewalk caught my eye — it was not a penny! I stopped dead in my tracks, eyes wide and mouth gaping. I could barely believe my eyes and took a long pause in my disbelief before even bending over to pick it up. “Praise Jesus! Thank you, Lord. Hallelujah!” There was no doubt in my mind that this was a MIRACLE.
“Now who do you want us to share this with, Lord?! Give us a woman!”
(Not always does the Lord answer my prayers so quickly, but when he does, it is AWESOME!)
My answered prayer
Katherine and I had already decided during dinner to stop at one of our favorite Moroccan cafes for dessert on our way home. It is never really all that busy, but tonight there was not a single table free! There was, however, a single woman sitting alone at a table with two empty chairs. “Should we ask to sit with her?” Katherine whispered discretely to me. As we turned around to ask this beautiful woman in a hijab, she beat us to the punch! “Would you like to join me?” she smiled.
Could God have provided a woman any more easily than this?!?!? I thought to myself.
The spiritual conversation was immediate.
Katherine shared her own testimony as well as the testimony of her Muslim father who converted to Christianity, which deeply shocked our new friend, Fatima*. This then led Katherine to present a full gospel presentation proclaiming Isa (Arabic for “Jesus”) as the korban (Arabic for “sacrifice”) of God to pay for our sins. Confused, Fatima asked how that could be fair.
Katherine used the sacrifice story of Adam and Eve in the garden to show the need for death/blood to cover our shame. I explained how Jesus submitted to God as a choice. Although he did not have to — because it was not fair — it was indeed just. Someone has to pay for our sins since the wages of sin is death. Someone has to die. Through the sacrifice of Jesus, God is both 100% just and 100% merciful.
Fatima tried to reason with us that a person’s sins can only be paid for by the person who committed them. She agreed on God’s own perfect but stressed that each person remains responsible for their own actions to identify as good in God’s sight.
Katherine responded by emphasizing grace and mentioned Isaiah 64 about how all our righteous acts seem like filthy rags to God. I stressed the only way to have the assurance that we will be saved with God in heaven is through trusting in the sacrifice of Jesus’ blood on the cross. We made it personal to Fatima by explaining that because Jesus was perfect, his sacrifice paid for her sins too. She needs only to put her trust in Jesus’ sacrifice.
The story of the lost earing
We were then able to share the story of finding the lost earring and the parable of the lost coin. “I believe God has led us to you specifically so that we could share this story with you, Fatima.” I then emphasized why Jesus chose this parable to share with the religious Pharisees since they wrongly focused on their outward actions, whereas God cares more about our hearts.
It seemed like the whole café was eavesdropping on us.
Katherine explained how Satan wants to lie to us to keep us from the truth of Jesus. She mentioned how the Quran says to read the Scriptures that came before it and asked if Fatima would ever like to read more stories from the Injil (the New Testament gospel) with us.
Unfortunately, Fatima responded with an emphatic “No.” In the end, she did not even want to give us her phone number. We are praying that the Lord will allow our paths to intersect again soon.
After such an incredible conversation, you might be surprised to learn that I was tempted to be discouraged, but it is true. I felt so frustrated that Fatima did express interest in learning more. Do not get me wrong, I feel so grateful to God that he answered our prayers. He allowed us to find Katherine’s missing earring, and he made it so incredibly easy and obvious who we needed to share our faith with. I am so grateful for the boldness and words he gave us, too. It is just so maddening to have a conversation like this that feels so easy and natural and full of so much truth about Jesus, so much of the gospel, only to have the person walk away leaving me feeling 100% REJECTED.
As I pondered this the next day in prayer, I thought of Jesus. (Funny how I always start to feel better when I think of Jesus.)
“He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.” — Isaiah 53:3.
He was rejected by his own brothers, his own town, his own people.
I realized how gracious God was in answering my prayers and how grateful I was for the opportunity to be obedient and share the gospel with a Muslim woman, but her decisions are not my responsibility. I planted the seeds I felt led by God to sow. God makes the seeds grow.
Working towards the harvest
I want so desperately sometimes to reap a harvest. Sometimes, when I find myself all alone with my thoughts hidden within my four bedroom walls, I find myself wondering if an entire life spent in missions without seeing a harvest would feel worth it – worth a life spent away from my parents and friends, away from my church and small group, away from my home and aging four-legged best friend.
But then I think of Jesus and what he left for me. His sacrifice, his love, his grace is worthy and worth whatever he asks of me. I will keep planting seeds wherever he says to no matter how many times I face rejection, no matter if none of the seeds I plant ever makes it to harvest. Because Jesus is worthy.
Interested in learning to share your faith with unreached people groups? Contact us!
*fictitious names used