Hello beautiful people!
The month of April has been a full, productive month! I learnt a lot this month. We took a class and learnt about the Muslim faith, a people very close to my heart. God rekindled a love that He had placed in my heart a while back for followers of the Islam religion and I realized once again the urgency that there is to pray for our brothers and sisters that have not yet come to know the love and grace of Jesus Christ. One thing that stood out to me about something that the Muslim faith teaches is the month of Ramadan. In this month Muslims fast and pray and on the last day of Ramadan, called the “Night of Power”, and they pray intensely as they believe that it is the holiest night of the year. Church, this is the night that we as followers of Jesus can stand in the gap and intercede for all Muslims, praying that God would reveal Himself to them in dreams and visions as they are in a state of prayer and reverence. This year Ramadan ends on June 14th.
After taking our classes and getting equipped we set out to Oriental Plaza, a shopping centre in downtown Joburg run primarily by Muslims and Hindus and were given two days to love the people we met with the love of Jesus. To be completely honest with you, I was a little nervous on our way there because, although I had a deep love for Muslims, I had never pursued a conversation that lasted for more that 10 minutes with someone of that religion because of a fear of not knowing what to expect and to say. However, God revealed to me that His heart towards them was love and a desire for reconciliation and that I was one of the vessels that He wanted to use to be Love to them; not to try and convert them using my knowledge and strengths. With that setting me more at ease, we set out into the mall and trusted God to lead us. The mall was composed mostly of little shops selling either curtains or suits, with the odd wedding dress store or traditional clothing store in between. We wandered upstairs and walked into a wedding dress store and got into a conversation with a sweet lady who came from Delhi, India. The first thing I noticed was her openness and willingness to share with my team and I about who she was and what she believed in. After about 20 minutes, a man in his late twenties walked in who claimed to be the manager of the store. He joined our conversation and we found out that he was a refugee from Syria who had come because he was selected to fight in the war and did not want to. He was just as open to share with us about what he believed and to hear what we had to say in return. Later he told me about his Christian friends back in Syria and what made my heart rejoice was the fact that he said that they were always kind and loving. I ask you guys to pray with me for his friends back in Syria to continue to pour into him and to show him the love of Jesus Christ – that he would have a hunger for something more, something deeper.
The next day my friends and I wanted to get henna on our hands (also for the reason to have some more time to spend chatting with whoever does the henna, haha) and we went to a different store to get it done. There we met two ladies who informed us that the henna artist had just left the day before but that they could take us to another lady. We spent some time in the store and one of the ladies taught me how to put on a sari. They took us to their henna artist friend and – guess who it was – the lady I had made friends with the previous day. I was very excited to be able to see her again, and we had a blessed time together. After that we made our way downstairs and met an elderly man who was a very devout Muslim. He had been to Mecca three times. He wanted us to learn more about Islam, so he set out to find us copies of the Qur’an. We thanked him, accepting his gift, although gently letting him know that our faith is in Jesus. My prayer is that he would be one of the people who receives a revelation about Jesus. Let’s stand together as the Body and pray for my friend, that he would receive a revelation of Jesus Christ and that his life will change radically and be a testimony and that the passion that he has about Islam and his love for Allah would turn into a love for the God who is triune and who has given us the message of reconciliation.
On that note, let’s take a moment to think about our brothers and sisters cross the world that are suffering persecution because of their allegiance to Christ. Let’s not pray that the persecution ceases but that they stand strong, being encouraged daily by the presence of the Holy Spirit. Pray for their witness, that God reveals to them how to share His love and grace with the people around them. Jesus says to His disciples, “Blessed are you when people hate you, when the exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven…” (Luke 6:22-23)
Finally, friends, we encounter people daily who have not yet had an encounter with Jesus Christ and whose eternity is uncertain. We encounter Islam followers every day who may never meet a Christian who is willing to share the TRUTH of the Gospel with them. We learnt in our class that followers of the Islam religion have many misconceptions of the Gospel – that is why they value their belief so deeply, because they believe it is uncorrupted. Therefore, make sure that you are IN JESUS daily, walking in the power of the Holy Spirit and filled with the knowledge of the truth, that, should you meet and have a conversation with a Muslim person, or any person for that matter(!!), you can treat them like Jesus would treat them, building friendship relationship and sharing the truth of Jesus with them. Luke 10:2-3 never fails to convict me of the urgency of walking in communion with Jesus – “…The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves.”
Jesus is really wrecking my heart about being a vessel that He can use that willingly surrenders to Him, deeply desiring to be His hands and feet…bringing the message of reconciliation to the people around me daily, in various areas. We aren’t called to do this alone, to be islands. We are the Body, the Bride of Jesus, called by Him to advance the Kingdom on Earth as a unit until the Wedding Day when we enter the New Earth. This is so beautifully depicted in Hebrews 4 where we are urged to not to harden our hearts because, “There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from His. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their (the Israelites’) example of disobedience.” Praise Jesus! One day we will enter His rest and be with Him forever, enjoying His presence. No amount of sacrifice could EVER outdo the reward we as those who have persevered will receive.
In closing, I want to thank each and every one of you who have sent me encouraging messages, who have prayed for me and who have blessed me financially. Impact Africa changed their donation process and made it so that you can directly select which intern you want to bless. I still need about R7,000 before the end of May, which is the deadline date set by Impact Africa. If you feel God laying it on your heart to sow financially into what He is doing here, then please go to www.impactafrica.org and follow the donation process. I love you all very much and am very excited to see you all again!!!
Bless you, in Jesus name!