Freedom from sins

The story of a former Muslim now reaching out to others for Christ in Malawi

“What wonderful news!” thought John* upon hearing about the resurrection of Jesus Christ and His promised second coming. It was Jesus’ victory over death that convinced John to become a follower of Christ, despite growing up a Muslim.

John was born in Malawi. He was taught Muslim beliefs and held fast to its rituals. By the time he was an adult, John was a leader in his village for the Muslim faith. Several times throughout his life he had heard bits and pieces about Jesus but had never heard the entire gospel. John remembers that what he had heard about Jesus was always positive, and that he was always interested in learning more.

John was befriended by a local Christian pastor who one day invited him to the revival service where John’s life changed forever. The preacher described metaphorically that people without Christ are bound with ropes and need to be set free. The message struck deep in John’s heart, and he desired that kind of freedom from his sins. He raised his hand during the service and stated that he wanted to become a follower of Jesus.

Though he was now saved by the grace of Christ, John immediately went through several trials. He was invited to attend a church service where he saw the congregation singing, dancing and clapping before the Lord. It was not at all what he had expected a service to be like, as it was nothing like the services at his mosque. John felt uncomfortable and wasn’t sure what to think of the service. The shock was so severe that he contemplated going back to the Muslim faith.

A second shock, explained John, was seeing people in the church whom he knew to be alcoholics. Islam strictly forbids alcohol, and the Bible strictly forbids drunkenness, so why were these people calling themselves Christians and attending services each week? Again he felt the urge to go back to Islam, but his faith in Christ held him in place.

John decided to learn more about the Christian faith and to be trained as a pastor. He attended a seminary with 26 other students. During the training, the seminary underwent unfortunate funding issues, and for two months none of the students received any support.

The other students went to their family and friends for support, but John was left alone. He didn’t have any Christian friends in the area and his family had disowned him. At this point in his life John wanted to die. He felt that he couldn’t go forward with Christianity due to the hardships and culture shock, yet he couldn’t go back to Islam either.

Despite the hardships, the grace of the Lord was upon John and he endured those rough times. Eventually John graduated from seminary and the Lord gave him a passion for reaching the lost. After seminary, he began sharing to gospel, and quickly two people turned to Jesus through his efforts.

Over the years John has continued strong in his faith and in his desire to show others the way to Christ. Currently, John is the pastor of a church and is witnessing to others in the area. “God has been faithful to me,” declares John. When he looks at his life’s testimony he says, “I just see God.”

OM Malawi is thankful to partner in ministry to Muslims with local pastors like John. The Lord is greatly using OM Malawi and these pastors to bring the saving news of Christ to the people of Malawi.

 

By Brad Livengood