Abdoul* had spent most of his childhood years in Africa raised by a sheikh (teacher of Islam), but his life began to change when he suddenly recognized a man he’d seen in a dream two years before.
After making a purchase at a local market stall, the then-15-year-old Abdoul had turned to leave when he realized he’d seen the shop owner in a dream the same year he returned home from his years studying under the sheikh.
He had returned home at 13, after his father had placed him with the Islamic teacher for 10 years.
“Despite my young age, by the time I was 15 I was well respected, and even the imam came to consult me on certain religious matters,” Abdoul said. “I was devoted to the prayers and commandments of Islam.”
Even so, that first year after returning home, he had felt some moments of doubt about Islam – a lack of peace as he had no certainty that he would enter paradise, he said.
“I had everything I needed – knowledge of my religion, my father had many cattle, and I could ask him for anything I needed,” Abdoul said. “However, I felt that something was lacking. So it was because of this that one day when I knelt in prayer I dared to ask God why my life seemed imbalanced and had no peace or joy.”
That night he dreamt he saw a man dressed in white whose face shone, he said.
“This Man approached me and said, ‘I know your fears – go to see this man,’ and in my dream He showed me the person I needed to see,” Abdoul said. “The Man talking to me said that His name was Jesus Christ. Then I woke up suddenly, and it was daytime.”
Two years later, he had not forgotten the face of the man shown to him who would show him the way to eternal life, he said.
“That day when I saw the man in the boutique, I didn’t know what to say, and I returned to explain to him what I had experienced – that a Prophet had instructed me in a dream to come and see him. The man smiled a little and said, ‘The radiant path where there is peace and joy is Jesus Christ.’”
When Abdoul replied that he recognized Jesus as a prophet, the shop owner began to explain why Christ was sent from the Father to earth in human form. They discussed Christ at length and had regular conversations about Him for three years, Abdoul said.
“I did not know that he was an ‘infidel’ [Christian],” Abdoul said. “It took me three years before I realized that the man was a Christian and in fact a church planter.”
After every conversation, Abdoul would go home and compare what he’d heard with what he found in the Koran, and each time he concluded that what the shop owner said was credible, he said.
“In the end I realized that the man in my dream wanted me to follow the voice of the ‘infidels,’” he said. “There was a huge struggle in me, with many days of reflection. Each time I bowed to pray, I asked myself, should I follow the Jesus of Islam or of the Christians? In some very difficult moments, I decided to follow Christ, knowing what would happen to me, but I was supported and encouraged by the church planter who is now my close friend.”
Now a young married father of two children, Abdoul has lost access to his birth family’s wealth but has gained the joy and peace he sought.
“My life is very difficult – I am living with the rejection and insults of my family and with many forms of persecution,” he said. ‘Now my thoughts are mainly fixed on how to communicate the Good News to my relatives, so that they will be saved, despite the fact that they are persecuting me.”
The leader of the ministry that has discipled Abdoul requested prayer that he remain strong in his faith.
“And pray for other new disciples who are experiencing problems with their families, that God would help them to live out their faith by being examples to others,” the leader said.
The native ministry has church planters in Abdoul’s country who locate “people of peace” in various areas who help them form relationships with others. They then start Bible studies and form disciples: recently 25 people came to Christ in one region, and three others in another, with leadership training ongoing for new church plants. The ministry is also establishing churches in neighboring countries.
With church growth comes persecution, and the ministry recently provided assistance to 600 families of people who left Islam to follow Christ. As threats from Muslim extremists and other criminals resulted in school closures, local missionaries also helped 122 children of persecuted Christians continue their education elsewhere, the leader said.
Troubles are likely to continue, he said.
“They cannot return to their homes, and many do not have a place to grow crops,” the leader said. “Pray that God would encourage, sustain, and provide for these families and young people in their time of need.”
He and other native ministry leaders in Africa request assistance to help persecuted Christians. Please consider a donation today to help those who sacrifice everything for Christ to withstand and recover from persecution.
*Name changed for security reasons