The Fullest of Life

A story from a Frontiers field worker

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.

“Here he goes again,” thought the villagers who were gathered for prayer in the mosque. “He’s mocking those Christians again.”

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.

A Frontiers team is there on the frontlines, training these leaders and influencers to reach their villages with the hope and truth of God’s Word. They coach them in a Bible study model that helps people immediately engage with and obey Scripture. The emphasis is on corporate study and community discussion.

Luke, the team leader, reports:

“We are seeing an unprecedented eagerness among the chiefs, elders, and authority figures of this region to spread God’s Word to their people. We have met with dozens of leaders to discuss passages of Scripture and how they can lead their tribe into a godly future.

“One local leader, who committed his life to Jesus, has authority over dozens of chiefs and their villages—amounting to several tens of thousands of people. Another authority figure brought together 30 of the chiefs under him to study the Word of God.

“These leaders are now promoting the Scriptures among their people and are encouraging their villages to gather in fellowships for Bible study.

“In these village fellowships, people discuss God’s Word and pray together. At first, most groups have no believers. But we teach discipleship and obedience to God’s Word from day one. When people start coming to faith in Jesus, then we consider it a church.”

Daoud's story is not unusual. Luke and his team are seeing other imams come to the same conclusion about Christ as little hints about Jesus in the Qur'an drive them to seek more.

Hamid is another well-known Islamic scholar. Hamid provides leadership for more than 150 villages in his region. Prior to meeting Hamid, Luke and his team had spent years praying for God to raise up righteous leaders in this region.

Like Daoud, Hamid discovered Jesus through his independent study of verses in the Qur’an.

Now Hamid is partnering with Luke’s team and wants to start fellowships in each of the villages under his authority.

Hamid still has much to learn about the Kingdom of God, but he is passionate about the message of Jesus, and is eager to learn. He and other elders in his region are committed to starting 10 new village fellowships by the end of this year.

Others, with whom Luke’s team partners, have also prayerfully decided to start 30 new fellowships in the next year. The last report indicated that several fellowships had already been planted and were already multiplying.

Luke and his team are seeing society be impacted as people study God’s Word.

“Some chiefs are beginning to judge cases more justly in their civil courts because of the impact of the Scriptures,” says Luke. “They use the Bible as they counsel people, especially husbands and wives who are seeking divorce. They encourage spouses to reconcile and embrace God’s purposes for marriage as outlined in His Word.

“One of these chiefs also said that God’s Word is removing the filth from people’s hearts and is promoting righteousness in them.”

The villagers refused to let them leave. They were still hungry for the Word. They huddled around tightly and insisted the visitors tell them more.

Recently, dozens of leaders met with the team and asked for help producing a curriculum for biblically-based leadership training. Leaders also want to create a children’s book that instructs children toward godliness.

We praise You, God, for the ways You are drawing this country to know and honor King Jesus. We pray for more phenomenal movements like this all across the Muslim world.

This account comes from a long-term worker. Names have been changed for security.

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