For many Americans, I think it would be fear. The U.S. media has helped push many Americans, including Christians, to the unproductive and dangerous state of fearful–particularly of our Muslim neighbors and colleagues. However, what do you think Jesus’ reaction is to Muslims? Or Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, or atheists for that matter? Well, from looking at Scripture, we have a pretty good idea how Jesus views all people; “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.” (John 3:16-17 NLT)
This past month in SEND North America, the 10-month discipleship training for young adults, our team traveled to Dearborn, Michigan for one of our monthly weekend mission trips. Here we worked with a partner ministry, POBLO, who specializes in Christian outreach to Muslims. This was an incredible opportunity for Sarah, Ze, and Quinn to learn about outreach to non-Christians, particularly those from the Middle East, as Dearborn has the highest proportion of Arab-Muslim-Americans in the United States (poblo.org). We met people from many different countries, including Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and Bangladesh and also tried foods from many of these countries! Most impactful though, were the life-changing testimonies we heard from Christians who were formerly Muslims.
One such testimony was from a young lady named Sarah. Sitting together in our host family’s home, she shared the terrifying, yet beautiful, story of how God transformed her life and saved her from a Muslim home in Saudi Arabia where she was persecuted heavily after coming to faith in Jesus Christ. In her home country, it is illegal to become a Christian, or even to read a Bible, yet through the missionary work of a Christian from the United States, Sarah heard of the redemptive love of Jesus Christ and was intrigued by this new-found hope in a Savior. Risking her life, she investigated the Christian faith and gave her heart to Jesus! But, because of her conversion from the Islamic faith, her family disowned her, persecuted her, and reported her to the authorities. She escaped the country with the help of POBLO, and came as a refugee to the United States. Her passion now is to serve Jesus Christ as a missionary to other Muslims in the U.S., that they too may come to know Jesus as Lord and Savior.
Sarah’s faith, and that of many others we met over the weekend, inspired us greatly and reminded us in a very real way of the blessings and freedom we have in this country to be believers. Our SEND team became powerfully aware that Jesus Christ, who brings hope to the hopeless, invites us to be part of that story in our world! Jesus doesn’t want us to be fearful of Muslims or anyone else, but to view a relationship with them as a God-given opportunity to love them, bless them, and share our faith. The opportunities are endless right outside our front door; the real question is, are we willing to accept the mission?