“I want my son to become like you or someone else from the church!” stated Amal’s* father, a Middle Eastern immigrant. This invitation of trust came after several years of serving and loving this family, often through very tough situations.
Amal, a 21-year-old, was fed up with being unable to work after years of waiting for his papers. He was depressed and argumentative, frequently fighting with his family members. He talked about returning to the Middle East. One day Amal seemed to hit rock bottom, “I had another fight with my family yesterday and I smoked 15 heads of hookah (tobacco). My parents are threatening to call the police on me and want to kick me out.”
I prayed with Amal and read some of the Bible’s key teachings on conflict, which opened a door to share the Good News of Jesus. Amal agreed to study and pray with me regularly from that point on.
We began to study Genesis, meeting in his living room. His mother followed along with the study, his uncle slept on the couch, and younger kids ran about the house. His mother asked for a copy of the Bible in her native language.
Over many months, we studied significant stories in the Bible that helped Amal understand who he is and why Jesus came. At the end of each lesson, I’d ask, “If this is true, how does this change the way you view God and treat others? Who will you share this with?”
One night, after more than a year, Amal was at our home, depressed and once again talking about moving back to the Middle East. He said, “There’s no life here.” I shared from God’s Word about the life Jesus wanted to offer him, and then challenged him, “What will a change of geography do for you?”
Together, we watched a video testimony of a former Middle Easterner who’d come to Christ. Part of the man’s story was how the man had forgiven his father who had wronged him. Amal was touched by this changed life. We talked further and it was apparent that God was moving and Amal was ready to believe in Jesus.
Amal was eager to learn from God’s Word. He said, “If everyone followed this, they would all be so happy.” He is motivated to study the Bible and to share Scripture with his friends who do not yet know Jesus. God has changed Amal’s heart toward others; where he once had negative attitudes, now he prays for them and wants to share Jesus.
And following Jesus has made a difference in Amal’s closest relationships. He has grown in his relationship with his parents and is living in greater peace with them while respectfully sharing his faith.
What’s next for Amal? He is faithfully pursuing Christ and sharing God’s truth with others. His desire is to move to the Middle Eastern region as a missionary, but wherever the geography, he is enthusiastically advancing God’s Kingdom.
Nations Within is a Navigator ministry that purposefully develops cross-cultural relationships within our borders to make Christ known and help others do the same. For more information visit nationswithin.org
Support NavCity ministry initiatives in Detroit at navgift.org/detroit
* Names changed