It is with great pleasure that I write to you as a young man who is blessed to have been mentored by so many wonderful people in the EPC. For the past two years, I have participated in a World Outreach missions cohort of college-aged adults. This cohort was led by EPC World Outreach mobilizers: Mark and MJ, Saul and Jesse Huber, and Shawn and Lisa Stewart. The purpose of this cohort is to, as in all things, glorify God, as well as give young adults an opportunity to discern a possible calling to the cross-cultural missions field. The cohort does this by providing students with both hands-on experience and mentorship from global workers within the EPC.
The highlight of this cohort was a short-term mission trip to Jordan. During this trip, we partnered with a relief agency of Jordanian Christians who are dedicated to doing the work of evangelists among refugees. It was during this trip that I gained one of the most cherished experiences that I have ever had since my own conversion. You see, a primary way that this agency facilitates outreach is through visiting the apartments of refugees. During these visits, staff members and volunteers bring essential food and clothing, as well as take inventory of any specific needs that a family may have. While on these home visits, they also engage in religious dialogue with the intention of sharing the gospel.
The story that I would like to share is the apartment visit with an 80-year-old man and his wife, who are Muslim refugees from Syria. As we sat together, they told us about their needs, as well as their journey from Syria to Jordan. In the midst of the conversation, our interpreter stopped and told us that he wanted to share the gospel with this man, but was concerned about his wife. In the past, he had spoken with the man and shared some things about Christianity but had yet to speak of such things with his wife. It is important to note that in Jordan it is illegal to proselytize, meaning that it is illegal to try and convince someone to change their religion. So, when you do not know how one is going to react to the gospel, you must be very careful in sharing it.
After telling us his concern, the interpreter asked our team if we had any ideas on how to approach sharing the gospel with this couple. I took a moment to pray, and the story of a man by the name of Dennis was laid on my heart. Dennis was a man from my home church who was much loved by our congregation. Despite being sick with cancer, he had such amazing joy and was not afraid, even when he knew that his time on earth was coming to an end. I began to tell Dennis’s story to this couple, and as I said to them that Dennis was not afraid to die, the wife cried out with tears. She told us that both she and her husband were afraid of death. I asked her why she was afraid of death, and she said that it was because she was not sure whether they had been obedient enough for God to let them into heaven. I explained to them that Dennis was confident unto death not because of any kind of obedience or good work that he had done, but because he knew and trusted that God loved him.
After I shared this story, a member of our team, David, told the couple the story of Jesus being crucified next to two criminals. He explained how one criminal, like this man and his wife, was terrified of death because he knew that he could not meet God’s standard of righteousness. But upon trusting in Jesus, who is the Son of God sent to take away the sins of the world, the criminal was saved. David then got on his knees and asked the man and his wife if they believe this truth and wish to accept Christ, and both of them cried out that they believe. At that very moment, we saw two elderly people, who had been Muslim their entire lives, profess faith in Jesus. Behold the power of Almighty God!
I left Jordan with a burden on my heart. The call for us as God’s workers to reap a ready harvest and to disciple new believers was evident. It has been both wonderful and convicting to share my experiences in Jordan with brothers and sisters in Christ. If you sense in any way a call to pray, to give, or even to go share Jesus with Muslims, I urge you to contact a World Outreach mobilizer through www.epcwo.org/go/. If you know a college-aged young person who is considering a life of ministry or missions, please share this story and invite them to join us at www.epcwo.org/cohort. Your life, their life, and countless others could be changed forever.
May the peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all,
Highview EPC, Dousman
Christ Alone Church, Green Bay