Laughter rippled through the crowd.
“I’ve decided to follow Jesus,” Daoud announced. He was a prominent imam, or Islamic leader, in the region. His reputation afforded him a large following of students and leaders who, aspired to become imams, too. People loved to hear him preach.
"Here he goes again", chuckled the villagers who gathered for prayer in the mosque. "He’s mocking those "infidels" again". They waited for Daoud’s punchline.
“I have decided to follow Jesus,” he repeated loudly above their laughter. He explained that he had recently studied the Islamic texts and that God had shown him that the fullest life is in following Jesus. “Jesus is the King over all, and we should follow Him—not the other prophets.”
Laughter turned to rage. Exits were blocked and the crowd surged forward to kill Daoud. Suddenly the chief’s voice rose up to stop them.
“Leave Daoud alone! It is his great learning that has caused him to go mad!”
Reluctantly, the crowd let him go. But a few hours later, some villager hotheads tracked him down and attacked him. They left him for dead, beaten and bleeding from a machete wound.
With what little strength he had, Daoud managed to escape into the forest where he hid for a month. Meanwhile, villagers burned down his house, and his wife and children fled to her family.
Some nights, Daoud sneaked out of the forest to find food. He also visited the students he had been training and would tell them about Jesus. But the villagers still pursued him. He knew they would kill him if he were found, so he fled across the country.
In his exile, he heard about a group of Christians—a Frontiers team—teaching people to study the Bible and lead discussions on how to obey God’s Word. Daoud met the team leader, Luke, and as they studied Scripture together, Daoud’s understanding of Jesus’ authority grew quickly.
Daoud accompanied Luke and his team to other villages where people gathered to read God’s Word. In one village, Daoud witnessed 70 adults studying the Bible together. Afterwards, the villagers refused to let the team leave. They still hungered for the Word. They huddled around the visitors tightly and begged them to share more of the truth with them.
Their hunger amazed Daoud. They were so responsive to this way of questioning and discussing Scripture. He had never seen such an insatiable desire for truth and an eagerness to discuss Scripture. “My village must have a fellowship like this!” he determined.
In spite of the danger, Daoud returned to his village. His passion to share God’s Word with them overpowered his fear. Providentially, the threats on Daoud’s life had diminished.
Daoud tried gathering villagers together to study God’s Word, but no one came at first. The people no longer trusted him, since he was a deserter of Islam.
Then he invited Luke and his friends to come and speak in his village. A crowd of almost fifty suspicious and curious villagers showed up to hear Daoud’s guests. They were ready to defend their faith at the slightest hint of offense.
One of Luke’s team members began by posing questions—challenging the crowd with scriptural truths they had never considered before. The impact of those verses he quoted was evident. Furrowed brows softened as people heard, for the first time, about God’s love for them and the hope of His Kingdom.
At the end, the team offered to pray for anyone who needed healing. A small crowd gathered around them as the village chief pulled Daoud aside.
“This is good,” the chief said. “We must gather like this often.”
Since then, the villagers have gathered regularly to study God’s Word. Daoud also meets with religious leaders in nearby villages to discuss the Kingdom of God. Together, they envision how to lead their villages toward the fullest life God has for them.
Much of the rest of the world knows very little about Daoud’s country. It is a fairly quiet corner of the Muslim world.
And yet, God chose to pour out His Spirit in a phenomenal way on the people of this land. The villages that Daoud reaches represent just a small fraction of the lives being impacted by the Gospel.
Village and tribal leaders—many of whom represent the country’s major decision makers and have the potential to influence over a million people—discover Biblical truths and put them into practice in their communities.