Counting the Cost Among the Muslims

27 05 2013

There is a price to pay for my brothers and sisters that come to Christ in Africa.  In Tanzania, if a man makes his living making alcohol and comes to Jesus, he must abandon his profession.  That is a step of faith for a person to leave a thriving business and move out in faith trusting Jesus to provide.  But for the Muslims we reach out to the cost is much higher.

sister

I was at a house church meeting this week in East Leigh.  It is an area inhabited mostly by refugees.  We meet in a building owned by Muslims with a mix of believers and seekers.  Seekers are Muslims that come to our meetings and want to learn about Jesus.  This week a woman we will call Ruth was sitting in our meeting.  She is from Yemen.  Most of her family was there as well.  There were seven people in this little 8×12 room.  We sat on the mattress in the floor and on a bunk bed.  Others just on the floor.  It took a minute to quell the little boys from their excitement over a Muzungu being in their room/home.

I trust Abrahim that we are safe.  He says it seems safe to him.  But really we just trust that the Lord will protect us from harm or give us the grace to endure any hardship.  Just before we came into the building some Arab looking youth, pulled up behind me and honked loudly.  Honking here in really just communicating.  Unlike America where most honking is in anger.  We honk to let people know we are coming, especially when we will pass close by.  Bus drivers honk to see if you need a ride.  Friends honk at friends.  But this was different.  These young men honked and yelled loudly at me.  Here the pedestrian does NOT have the ride of way.  But I was literally almost on the curb.  The reason I was not on the curb was a vendor had set up product there.  As they passed they glared at me and hollered again.  I am the only Mzungu for blocks.  I say to them amani kaka.  Meaning peace brother.  This is a term used here when someone is getting very exercised over something and you are saying, basically, there is nothing to be angry about.   These men did not take this as it was intended and got more angry.  Abrahim basically told them there was no problem and that we were leaving. They stopped the car and yelled more.  We entered the building and quickly forgot about them.

After I taught on Mark 12 and Jesus telling the teachers about the greatest commandment of all, to love the Lord our God with all we have and give Him our undivided attention and love our neighbors as ourselves a sister spoke up.  I had ask for questions trying to have a dialog.  She shared a common theme among seekers.  What happens if I give my life to Jesus and my family cuts me off from my finances.  You see many come to the city to seek a better life and the family at home funds them for a while so they can search for jobs.  Others are run out by war and family members support them as they live here in this refugee area.  Since they are Muslim, when their family finds out they have become Christians they are cut off.  Of course we have lost three brothers and sisters here to the harsher reality of murder by radicals.  So I realize that other problems will be on their minds as well.  They never asked about that.

I share that when we step out to embrace Jesus as our Lord and Savior and surrender everything to Him we are in His loving hands.  We trust Him to provide for us practically, as we seek His Kingdom first.  I am ask a more pointed question. What will YOU do if I become a Christian.  I reply that she will be my sister in Christ and that the body of Christ will help all we can.  I explain to her that I am poor.  I came poor, I live poor, among the poor.  I help all I can.  But I can’t guarantee her I can meet her obligations.  She will have to trust the Lord for that.  She said I know you help others that come to Christ and get them off of the street.  I share that I can only help anyone because the Lord answers all our prayers for provision.  I have no bank account to draw out of for the newly saved and  homeless.  I help where I can.  I tell her sometimes I can only help a few.  Our source is the Lord.  He is faithful.

I cannot save nor help every person that comes to Christ in this Muslim area.  But God can.  He can meet the needs of every one of them.  But we struggle sometimes.  They don’t eat as much as they want sometimes and sometimes we trust Him when it seems hopeless.  But He is faithful.   I can’t protect them from harm.  But I can ask God to.  Sometimes God saves them almost miraculously.  Other times He gives us the grace to suffer and still love our enemies.  She must trust Him because He is God.  He loves her.  He died for her.  While she was still a sinner.  The brothers have been sharing with her for weeks now.  But she has small children.  If she steps out in faith it is not just her she has to trust Jesus for.  She has to trust for her whole family.

She asked me these things because one of our brothers just had this happen.  He is raising two young boys.  His aunt sent them to him so they could go to Kenyan schools.  She was paying him a little to watch over them, their school fees and giving some food money.  Two months after finding out he was a Christian, she cut him off AND left the children still in his care with no money.  Life is hard here sometimes.   He was sitting in the room, next to me.  He is also reaching out to the glue boys in our area.    He shares with me that at first it was just an assignment I had given him.  Now as he prayed for them he was coming to love them  in a special way.  I suspect he is coming to love them like Jesus loves them.  His group of glue boys has grown from two to seven in one month.  Still no repentance.  Just love and rice.  But we are praying.

I just left him 5000 Kenyan schillings.  Enough to buy a wheelbarrow and some fruit.  He will begin to sell fruit on the street as a vendor.  If he works hard it will replace his funding his family just took away and he can feed the boys the aunt left in his care.  I bought 10 Kilos of rice and gave him about half what he needs for rent.  It is a good start here.  About 60 bucks.  I charged him to work hard, pay his own way and earn enough to bless others.  He is growing in the Lord right before our eyes.  He is no longer, that new Muslim brother, that just came to Jesus.  He is now my trusted brother and I am connected to him.  We’ll call him Peter.  We hug and embrace.  We hold on a while.  I tell him I love him.  I tell him you love him.  He knows I cannot support him.  But he knows his brothers and sisters in Christ in America have given so he can have this chance.  He knows he has been entrusted with an important ministry.  Please pray for Peter and Ruth.  Pray for the Lords protection and provision.

It cost to become a Christian here.  Sometimes it cost all you have.  I walk outside and the young angry men are gone.  We stroll down and look for good places for his fruit stall.  Then I leave to head back to my safe and secure house where the missionaries stay here that visit.  They stay behind of course.  It is their home, now.  It is becoming a bit like mine.  I am still a stranger here.  I am white.  To people on the street,  I am a silly Muzungu who is where he does not belong.  But to some others,  I am their brother.  And they are my brothers and sisters.  With them I am at home.  Everyone of us must count the cost.  And all of us are asked to give “everything”.  But here “everything” can get very practical.  Very day to day.

If you would like to share in this ministry I welcome you to donate.  A little goes a long way.  It changes lives.

http://kingdomdriven.org/glenn-roseberry  click here to make your tax deductible gift.  But above all pray.

 

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