Building Bridges in the Middle East

StephenMy three teammates and I were not the only Keynote staff members who ministered overseas this summer. Stephen Haddenhorst was one of three Keynoters who participated in a Cru summer project in a large cosmopolitan city in the Middle East.

Stephen met “Dave” on campus one day and they became friends. “Dave” had been a follower of Islam throughout his young life. He was also on the path to a promising basketball career, when an injury not only sidelined him, but ripped away his dream.

Even though Islam forbids smoking and drinking, Dave found himself turning to these vises to fill the void he experienced after the loss of his dream. This, of course, terrified him as he considered what might happen when he dies; would he be deemed unworthy by Allah?

Asking Spiritual Questions

Over the course of the summer, Stephen and Dave were able to talk about a lot of things and Dave began to ask spiritual questions. Followers of Islam, whether they are devout or “modern” as Dave described himself, don’t often ask spiritual questions about Jesus or Christianity, so Stephen was thrilled to have these conversations with his friend.

Stephen was able to tell Dave about Jesus and explain the gospel to him. When they met to say goodbye, Dave asked Stephen, “If one wanted to become a Christian, how would they do that?” Excitedly, Stephen read Romans 10:9 to him. “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”

“Wow, that is so simple!” Dave said. “Islam is so complicated and difficult.” While Dave seemed to understand the simplicity of the gospel, he wasn’t quite ready to place his faith in Jesus. He and Stephen continue to connect through Facebook and Stephen is praying for more opportunities to discuss Jesus in the coming weeks and months.

Just five years ago, the staff team in this city saw only a few people turn to Jesus. Last year they saw close to 35 indicated decisions to trust Christ and this year already more than 40! Let’s join with others and pray for even more open doors and open hearts for the gospel this fall. Also, pray for God to speak to “Dave” as Stephen continues to interact with him. Thank you for praying!

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