By Contributing Writer, Jeannette Paulson
I grew up in an isolated Christian village in Canada. It was in my school textbooks and National Geographic that I first saw pictures of mosques, women in Burkas and men dressed like Jesus. It seemed strange and far away.
In my twenties I went to Reformed Bible College. One professor who had ministered in the Middle East for 12 years, taught a courses in Islamics. His heart for the Muslims inspired mine. For the first time in my life I wanted a world map on my wall.
I also wanted to go as a single missionary to the Middle East. God closed that door, but I did not forget the Muslims. Homeschooling, we would read aloud stories of missionaries who had gone to the Middle East. One of our favorites is Tales of Persia by William M. Miller. A more recent publication is Tales That Teach. For a number of years we prayed for Yemen, and we supported a missionary family in Pakistan.
When we moved to the Twin Cities, I discovered that there are about 70,000 Somali Muslims here, as well as many Muslims of other ethnic groups.
If this seems foreign to you and to your children, here is what you can do right now:
- get a world map for your wall
- cook meals from other cultures
- pray for specific people groups (Global Prayer Digest is a marvelous tool)
- read stories of conversions like I Dared to Call Him Father or fiction like Star of Light.
John Folmar says of this of witnessing to Muslims (and in my experience this is true):
… I find it’s much easier to talk to a Gulf Arab about Jesus than it is to talk to another American about Jesus. Muslims claim to revere Jesus as one of their prophets, and their culture and language are infused with religion, so it’s simple to talk with them about religious things, correct misunderstandings, and proclaim the good news.
Feeling at home with Muslims will take time. And lots of prayer. We need to understand what they believe in order to answer the lies they have been told. Some of the best tools to teach you how to witness to Muslims are
- Woman to Woman by Joy Loewen. See also her blog.
- the Gospel for Muslims: An Encouragement to share Christ with confidence. This is a short book which includes former Muslim Thabiti Anyabwile’s testimony and emphasizes the power of the gospel.
- Healing the Broken Family of Abraham. Writing from over 50 years of thought and experience, McCurry offers a thorough and passionate worker’s handbook.
If this seems too hard, hear Spurgeon talk about the great commission:
’I will do as much as I can,’ says one. Any fool can do that. He that believes in Christ does what he can not do, attempts the impossible and performs it.”
I used to only see Muslim women in pictures. Now I see them in my rearview mirror, walking down my street and at the drug store. My heart is stirred. I want to welcome them to this land that seems strange and sometimes hostile to them. Most of all, I want to extend the welcome of Jesus who said, “Come unto me all ye that are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest.”