Day 11: Desiring God for Muslim families
By Gary Fallesen, president, Climbing For Christ
Elaine Fallesen, right, makes Gospel bracelets with and teaches a Kurdish family living on the slopes of Mount Ararat in Turkey. (Photo by Gary Fallesen, Mission: Ararat 2014)
A Muslim friend in Tanzania asked for a Bible to give to his son so the boy could read it and the Qur’an and decide for himself whether to follow Jesus or Allah.
In Turkey, our teams meet with as many members of Kurdish families as possible to share the Gospel message. Climbing For Christ women are blessed to spend time with Muslim women wherever we GO – if we are blessed to take women to places that are predominantly Islamic.
In Morocco, ministry partners complained that the men who came to Jesus often refused to share Him with their wives and children.
Family ministry is extremely important in the Muslim world.
The Hadith, a collection of the prophet Muhammad’s writings, tells us: “The best of you is he who is best to his family, and I am the best among you to my family.”
Those in the West, typically individualistic, don’t realize that most people on the planet are communal and they would “rather go to hell with their families than go to heaven by themselves!” Brother Nik Ripken, a long-time kingdom worker and author of The Insanity of Obedience, makes that startling observation. He also teaches: “One reaps as they sow. If we sow a one-by-one witness we shall reap a one-by-one harvest. If we invest our witness to families, families then have the opportunity to come to Jesus together!”
Ripken writes that evangelism and conversion “must model the biblical ‘household conversion’ stories of Cornelius and his household in Acts 10 and the Philippian jailer and his family in Acts 16.”
In both cases:
This is to say that God works in advance to prepare hearts. “It turns out that there is no place where God is not working,” Ripken writes. “In every place, God is already calling people to Himself.”
If we discern what and where He is doing this heart work, we have the privilege of witnessing His acts firsthand. Some say we get to “partner” with Him, but I don’t think God needs our partnership. “God is not waiting on us,” Ripken says, “but He loves to use us in His work.”
Peter, Paul and Silas received that blessing. We can, too.
But this requires obedience, sacrifice, suffering, and a realization that the book of Acts did happen and still is happening. It is “not enough” for lost people to be our focus, Ripken writes, “lost people must become [your] family. A staggering depth of commitment and compassion is absolutely required.”
We must find ourselves weeping and broken for lost families. We must agonize over their rescue. This is not missionary tourism. This is real-life, family-focused, heaven-or-hell-eternity-driven ministry.
To quote Ripken once more, “Even if we make mistakes in our witness, we must remember that the only witness God cannot use is no witness!”
Let us pray:
Lord of the harvest, we ask that you use us to reach Muslim families near and far. Bless us with the opportunity to witness Your Spirit at work in households. Break our hearts for those who remain lost so we will pray, give and GO until they are our brothers and sisters in Christ – ONE family! Give us compassion. Use our bold witness.
“And he [Jesus] commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one appointed by God to be judge of the living and the dead. To him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.” – Acts 10:42-43 (ESV)