My Story: Unforgettable Night

unforgettable night

Photo courtesy IMB.org photo library

This month, we’re giving you snapshots of Studio, dynamic internship program designed to equip long-term workers for the Muslim world. 

Grab more info here about Studio in our Meet an Agency series!

The Unforgettable Night

The mosque that night was crowded. It looked more like a disco party than a worship service!

There was a special celebration in honor of one of this sect’s founders, and part of the program was a panel discussion with some Christians invited.

One of our teachers had received an invitation to be part of the panel, and the question they wanted him to answer was this: What will happen to non-Christians when Jesus returns? 

Yes, you read that correctly. Our jaws dropped, too. Intrigued and in awe, a small group of us decided to tag along that Friday night to watch and pray.

Enter: Chaos

Dressed in full-length, loose-fitting skirts with scarves wrapped tightly around our heads, we were quickly ushered to the women’s seating in the back of the room (separated from the men).

Over the next four and a half hours, we “endured” Persian poetry, Quranic readings, an enormous cake cutting ceremony, and the panel discussion (muffled by the sound of unceasing music and boisterous children), all accompanied by an odd array of never-ending cookies, date-paste treats, and chai tea, followed by giant pieces of cake with donuts on the side. Oh, and then a full meal of rice, chicken and ice cream was finally served around 11pm.

It was just as chaotic and sugary as it sounds.

“Like in the Holy Book!”

My seat happened to be in the noisiest place possible: right next to the door where the children came and went. Though I could barely hear what was happening in the service, I was able to spend most of the evening laughing and conversing with the moms attempting to barricade the door.

One of the ladies introduced me to her 1½ year old son, Daniel. Upon hearing his name, I said, “Oh, Daniel! Like in the Holy Book!”

Excitedly, she responded, “Yes, that’s who I named him after!”

I asked, “Oh, so you know that story?”

“No, I just know he is a prophet, but I don’t know the story.” We bonded quickly, and she joyfully accepted my invitation to study the story of Daniel together in the near future.

Submitting to the Culture

We finally arrived home around 1 AM, date-paste treats stuffed into our purses. Beyond this, however, it was a night of “enduring anything rather than putting an obstacle in the way of the gospel of Christ” (1 Corinthians 9:12).

Though emotionally and physically exhausted, we were hardly able to contain our excitement as we recapped the unforgettable night. Between the small group of us, we had invited ten women to study God’s Word!

In submitting to the culture and surrendering our freedom in Christ, barriers came crashing down and doors swung wide open, making invitations to study God’s Word a natural part of conversation.

But it Doesn’t End There.

My new friend wanted to get together the following weekend to read Daniel’s story!

Another intern and I spent the evening at her home – listening to her story, laughing over cultural differences, sharing a meal together, and reading/discussing the first chapter of Daniel from the Word.

On our way out, she explained how she served us like family that night (rather than guests) because of how comfortable she felt around us.

As the first Americans to enter her home in the 5 years she’s been in the U.S., we knew it wasn’t us at all.

Humbled and in complete awe of God’s presence working through us, we left full of gratitude for the way He pours out His love and peace through broken vessels like us.

In case you’re wondering how our teacher answered his tricky question in front of a room full of Muslims, he did a great job.  He used a teaching method typical for Middle-Easterners, including Jesus: He told a story!

Editor’s note: Interested in learning more about Bible storytelling with Muslims? We recommend JD Greear’s Breaking the Islam Code.

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