By Joy Loewen
Paul: “I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection! But I keep working toward that day when I will finally be all that Christ Jesus saved me for and wants me to be.” Philippians 3:12
It was amazing listening to Lateef share about a recent ministry trip he just returned from. Was this really the Lateef I met years ago?? He has come such a long ways in the last decade. The transformation has been phenomenal. Today he is very useful in the kingdom of God. Courageous, energetic, visionary are words that describe him as he and his wife serve God among their Muslim people group. They are taking risks being on television and internet.
Sweet Shireen is still quite shy. But when it comes to praying she pours out her heart unabashedly. Before she would never speak up but remain silent in the shadow of her husband. Today Shireen is coming out of the shadows and is starting to share Christ with a neighbor who is from her people group. Knowing her well the past three years I concluded wrongly that Shireen, because of her extreme shyness, would not achieve much in a spiritual sense.
When I speak with Fatima I am delighted how this believer friend is serving God full time, mature spiritually, and is bravely weathering some hard knocks in life. I never imagined I would witness such a gifted mature woman in ministry who is like a spiritual mother to believers from her people group.
Karima has been on a journey moving from being cautious in sharing Christ to openly and bravely sharing about Him. She has become emboldened like a butterfly cocooning to flying off in freedom. Today she is leading Bible studies on university campus and preparing to return to her country. Her most passionate goal is to please Christ. She has awakened that desire in a deeper sense in me.
Hamid and Nadia are moving from fear of being known as followers of Christ to living among Muslims. Their conversion is no longer such a well kept secret. When I met them I wondered if their secret would ever be broken. The hiding days are over. What an achievement!
These friends give me joy. It is one thing to hear a believer from Muslim background speak on a platform but another thing to know them personally. Some of them are valiantly pressing onward. As they press onward, upward, and outward the Spirit is doing a marvelous work inward. Not all believers I know are pressing onward. Some are stuck or even going backwards. Nevertheless, I am convinced that God is still trying to achieve His purpose for saving them.
“Oh Joy, you used to be so timid!” exclaimed a missionary who knew me as a child in Somalia. That is how I was known, defined, or etched in many people’s memories. Timidity was my signature mark. Well, I still have a timid nature for sure but God continues to grow me so He can accomplish what He saved me for. I press on with my believer friends(names changed) with the same goal.
Dear heavenly Father, Thanks for cheering all of us on! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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