Jordan E served in the middle east for six months this year. She shared the following story at the banquet this past Saturday:
I remember the day we met. Suhair came to our house to teach Renae and me our first language lesson. She was very shy and had very limited English, but I knew from that first day that we would grow to become close friends. With each lesson, she began to open up more and more. We began spending Saturdays together, sometimes cooking at the house, sometimes going out to eat, or going to the mall. The more time we spent together, the closer we became and the more her English improved, which obviously made communication easier.
One day during lessons we were going along like normal and talking about our names. When I told her that my middle name was Elizabeth, she immediately said, “Oh, I read this somewhere.” After asking her where she read it, she responded by saying the Arabic word for the Bible – the “Injeel.”
That was the first day we found out that she had been in the word. Apparently, she had been reading it at her uncle’s house. She would say things like “I love the stories of Isa” (the Arabic name for Jesus). This was obviously encouraging, so we began asking her often if she was reading the Injeel and what her favorite stories were. We had no idea how much time she was spending in the word, when one day she informed us that normally she would read the Injeel for three hours at a time. It was obvious Father had been at work in her.
Suhair has an illness considered very “shameful” in her culture, which usually results in her being very stressed out, worried, and depressed. Suhair informed us one day that it was through reading the Word, and listening to Christian music on an iPod I gave her, that she had peace. By this point, we had become very close and Suhair was sharing everything with us about her sickness…things that she wouldn’t tell anyone else. She would repeatedly tell us how we were her closest friends and how much she loved us. There was no doubt in our minds that Father had placed us three together, even if all we did was encourage her and provide a shoulder for her to cry on.
Renae and I explained to Suhair multiple times about who Isa was and why He came to earth; but, she never seemed able to bring herself to believe it. In her mind, she was Muslim…and that could never change. We shared with Suhair how she could be a Muslim and follow the teachings of Isa, how it’s a matter of heart rather than label. She was always open to talking about it, but was hesitant to surrender to it.
On April 30 she came over to our house to do our language instead of going to the office. We all seemed a little unfocused that day, and kept going off on random topics. Suhair picked up my book “Crazy Love” and started reading from a random page.
She opened her mouth and read the first sentence that her eyes landed on: “And this is how we know true love, that Jesus Christ died for us.” To hear those words come out of her mouth - even if she didn’t know exactly what it meant - was amazing. We read a little more out of the book and then asked her what her favorite story was from the Injeel. She told us it was the story where Isa healed the women who touched his cloak. After asking her if she thought Isa could heal her today, she responded “Yes, but I don’t know how.” After encouraging her to ask him through prayer, she said she didn’t know how to pray. Rene explained to her some of things she says when she is praying for Suhair…things like peace, rest, understanding, and (of course) health. Suhair’s face lit up. It was as if she realized that those were the same exact things she had been experiencing in her life.
We asked her if she believed everything in the Injeel and she replied, “Yes I believe – no, I know, that everything in the Injeel is true.” Although we were pretty sure we had a new sister, before we could respond, Suhair proceeded to tell, “Some people believe Isa die go sky…these are Muslims. I believe Isa die, 3 days wake up, go sky, sit right of God. Before come Jordan and Rene no read Injeel, after come Jordan and Rene, give me Injeel.” She then leaned over to me and said, “Thanks by the way,” and continued with her thought. “I read Injeel and know that what it says is true.”
We couldn’t believe what we had just heard. Our hearts were filled with joy and were in complete awe of Father. We asked her what she thought about the Quran and she said “I am Muslim but I believe the Injeel, if I say anything bad about the Quran my god will be mad at me.” So we explained to her that as long as she followed Isa and believed everything he said then God would not be angry with her. Finally, Suhair concluded, “Okay, Injeel is true, Quran is false. My name is Muslim, but my heart believes Injeel. ”
Suhair began to tell us stories about people she knew who had been killed or persecuted because they were raised Muslim and eventually became followers of Isa. It was obvious Suhair was afraid to tell anyone because she thought she would be killed. Renae and I tried to address some of her fears, and we encouraged her to tell her Uncle Achmed, who is a believer with a vision for his family. Suhair expressed how she was even afraid to tell him, predicting he might be angry for some reason. She finally agreed to tell him, but said she would wait for the right time.
Father is truly amazing. We have a new sister because of Him and Him alone. There is nothing that we could have done to convince her that the Injeel was true. Father totally used his word to change her heart. There is a clear difference in her. Before - she was always tired, worried, and depressed. Now - she has a glow about her. Now, for the first time, she looks really happy. Before, she would say, “My god gave me a bad life.” Now, she says, “I have real life.”