Today at the Arabic Cultural Festival there were many conversations, many relationship bridges built, many seeds planted, the Lord Jesus was proclaimed, God’s story of redemption was told, and lots of scripture was distributed. The Lord gave us many opportunities to share the story of God’s justice and mercy, fulfilled in Jesus.
The theme of the Festival was ‘Our Stories’ so I chose to share the gospel in story form, (in my own words) rather than quoting scripture; instead giving out the scripture in booklets and DVD’s.
This year the Lord led me to not hang out at the booth, but to be out in the crowd, just chatting and hanging out with people. I chatted with a man from Tunisia, but did not have an opportunity with him to transition to spiritual topics because he was manning his booth, and more people came to talk to him.
Outside there were two beautiful Moroccan little girls, all dressed up for a ‘fashion show’, and I wanted to ‘tell them a story’, but then the parents came and called them to come eat. I did not have an opportunity with that family after all. I was chatting with a Moroccan man at a clothing booth, but did not have the opportunity with him either.
So I went inside and walked right up to the ‘Why Islam?’ booth, and started looking at the Korans and the Muslim literature. This Palestinian man was ready for me! (This was ‘evangelizing evangelists’ for both of us!)
Praise God, he asked me a ‘challenging’ question as a conversation opener: “Tell me what you know about Islam”, he asked me.
I was very happy with this question! For it became a wonderful opportunity. I said, about 700 or 800 an angel came to Mohammad and gave ‘revelation from God’ and he wrote it down in a book, that Mecca and Medina are the holy sites……………………………………….. that in the writings of all the prophets they told of how God created the world and us, but that we disobeyed God with our sins against Him, and that God showed that He must punish and judge sin because of His justice. I told about how from all the prophets: Adam to Noah, to Abraham to Moses, God shows us that He is both just and merciful; that He provides a substitute to pay the penalty of justice (punishment) that we deserve, out of His mercy. I told him the penalty God requires is a blood sacrifice: something (someone) has to die to meet this justice. I used the courtroom analogy.
I told how the prophet Isaiah spoke of how God Himself would provide Himself as the substitute sacrifice, putting upon this substitute, the justice and punishment we deserve, and that the prophet Isa fulfilled all that the prophets had spoken, of these things; that He was the Lamb of God, God Himself in the flesh, come down to us as a man to be slain in judgment, as the substitute sacrifice. I went on that Isa was not only prophet, but priest for us before God, and King, since He is God Himself, and preached the death of Isa (Jesus), the blood atonement and the resurrection.
Of course by this time he realized I was preaching Jesus to him! He never even got to the topic of Islam, we were only talking about Jesus the whole time. And this was the Islam booth! He said Jesus did not die, was not buried and was not resurrected. I stated that the historical account is that there numerous eyewitness accounts of the death, and burial, and hundreds of eyewitness accounts of the resurrection. He decided to leave apologetics at that point, and he started in about how He was a good person, did not sin, did good works, etc. So I went through a few things (sins) and he agreed that we all did these things (and that he has done them), outwardly or in our hearts, and we knew it, deep down. I told him we earn death, judgment and hell for our sin against God. I explained that our ‘goodness’ will never be good enough to make up for our sins and make us right with God and that is why, in His great love and mercy, He did Himself, what was needed to make us right with Him. He also clearly heard that Isa (Jesus) IS God.
That is as far as the conversation went, as he realized he had a Christian preaching Jesus to him, and he challenged me to take a Koran and I said, ok, if he agreed to take the writings about Isa. So I took a Koran, and gave him the gospel of John and Romans in English and Arabic (one book), and a gospel DVD. We thanked each other and told each other we respected each other for the (civil) conversation. For the rest of the day when we saw each other we smiled and waved to each other.
After that I joined Jamie as he shared the same story to a man from Damascus. I listened to him and then went and got a bible when he asked me for one from the booth. After giving him the bible, the man’s wife (also Syrian) and children came and she and I chatted a long time while Jamie continued with the husband.
After we were tired so we decided to sit down for a bit, and we ended up sitting at a table with about a dozen women of all ages, from Yemen. This turned out to be the biggest joy of the day. The second I sat down, Jamie gave me two DVD’s and asked me to go over to them and give them to them, from him. I did and it turned into a whole hour of wonderful ministry. When I went over, they invited me to sit with them, served me tea in a little glass teacup (they brought a thermos of tea) and a cookie. While Jamie started talking with two of the women (who had the best English) my daughter and I were sitting, having tea and talking with about ten women who had various levels of English. They were covered head to toe, and half of them had faces covered, only showing beautiful eyes.
In speaking to two of the women, it turns out they did not understand me when I tried to share about the gospel, because they had little English. But there were two other women who were fluent in both languages who heard the gospel from Jamie, and these were telling the rest. Also, the media materials we gave them were in their language.
We entertained the tots with toys, sipped tea, talked about motherhood, about Yemen, about moving to the US; we played with the babies, and talked about God’s redemption story. To summarize the hour, husbands and fathers came, Jamie talked with them, and by the end, they all had gospels, booklets, and DVD’s in their language. They went and got sisters, husbands, relatives, and soon there was a large group, and we were all talking about Isa, who He is, and what He did.
They went to people they knew, and came back, asking if we had any more DVD’s and books for their friends and relatives. I could not give them out fast enough, and we ran out. It was so awesome. The DVD was testimonies from people from North Africa and Arabic countries, about how the Lord Jesus revealed Himself to them, and now they believe and trust Him as Savior. This video, Arabic with English and other subtitles, also proclaims the entire gospel. God is so good.
God so loves the Muslim people who are lost. He gave Jesus as the sacrifice, that if they believe in Him, they may not perish but have eternal life. Let us love them also and proclaim Jesus as God and Savior to them. He will help us to do this.