A 20-year-old Muslim in North Africa felt he stood at a crossroads – unsure of what place religion would have in his life and confused about his eternal destiny.
Just asking questions led Kariem Khalid* into constant conflict with family members, so he stopped doing that and tried to quash his internal struggles by simply giving up any belief in Allah. He didn’t tell his family.
After a few years he realized he was still confused about how to live his life, and that the problem would never go away until he decided how he felt about Allah. Khalid began comparing the Koran and the Bible, though he could only access the Bible on the internet.
Amazed to find the Koran urged Muslims to kill, shed blood and hate others while Christ encouraged followers to love enemies and forgive, he began investigating Christianity, studying the Bible online and attempting to visit with Christians, the leader of a ministry based in his country said.
In various denominations, Khalid found church-goers wary of someone from a Muslim family; experiencing decades of antagonism from Muslims under the increasingly hard-line Islam of the previous government, the Christians he tried to approach regarded him with skepticism at best and, at worst, cold caution.
Persisting, he found a church youth group more open to explaining biblical concepts to him, the ministry leader said. Someone from the group connected him with the native ministry leader.
“I met him, and he attended a service at our church,” the leader said. “I explained how important it was for him to give his life to Jesus, and he shared about his life, how he felt hopeless, and how he came to know that Jesus was God and the only begotten Son.”
The leader asked if they could pray together; Khalid agreed and put his faith in Christ as Lord and Savior, the director said. Khalid was later baptized.
“Kariem enjoys his new life,” the leader said. “Although he didn’t completely admit to his family that he is a follower of Jesus, he shows them through his attitude and behaviors that he is a new creation. Personally, I maintain a constant fellowship with him, as there isn’t a church where he lives. Please lift him in prayers, for he is in need of a job and a place near a church to live, to continue growing spiritually and to fellowship with other believers.”
Serious pressures on Christians continue in North Africa.
Churches in one country have suffered a series of closures, and Christians have been imprisoned for “shaking the faith” of Muslims by sharing on social media cartoons and other items deemed disrespectful to Islam. Kidnappings of Christian girls and women are growing in another country, while in a neighboring country an estimated 34,500 Christians are defenseless against Islamist factions and militias.
Conversely, churches in one North African country last year welcomed the abolishing of its apostasy law, which had been used for more than 30 years to persecute those who leave Islam. The move came with the arrival of a new transitional government that has implemented several democratic initiatives and is tasked with rooting out longstanding Islamist tendencies from the previous regime.
The COVID-19 pandemic has led governments to forbid congregations to gather for worship, but local missionaries have continued visiting families in their homes and praying with them, the leader said. Last year they also distributed more than 600 Bibles.
The ministry’s mother church is located in an area of high crime and addiction to drugs and alcohol.
“Our church is very active there, and we have witnessed the transformation of many people who choose to accept the Lord Jesus into their lives,” the leader said. “We have many testimonies that confirm the work of God and His grace in the area. Women who used to be addicted to smoking cigarettes and shisha [hookah tobacco] were totally transformed and became church-committed women. We also know men who were criminals and alcoholics, but they were also transformed.”
Ministry in the area usually takes time to produce fruit, but an addict in his 50s recently showed up at worship one morning and kept coming every Sunday thereafter. The leader shared the gospel with him a few times before he put his faith in Christ and got baptized, and now people throughout the community see the stark change in his life, the leader said.
“His life today is a living testimony, as many can see the tremendous change in his life and how he became a role model in his commitment to faith and church,” he said.
Local missionaries are bringing the message of eternal life to lost souls throughout North Africa. Please consider a donation today to equip them to make disciples.
*Name changed for security reasons