Updated: May 1, 2021
"And they continued steadfastly in the Apostles' doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers...And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved."
Mehmet was a bit nervous as he walked into the room. You might even say he was intimidated. He was a bodybuilder, and had also been a competitive wrestler. A good-looking young man, he was generally pretty confident, but these people were different.
This was in a closed Muslim country, but an American who was also a weight-lifter had encountered Mehmet at the gym. He had invited him to the secretive meeting to practice his English by studying from the Bible with some other university students. Mehmet knew this was illegal, yet there was a certain excitement about it.
The group consisted of locals, as well as some Russians and a few Americans. The way that they greeted each other was different...there seemed to be such love and a genuineness that he was unfamiliar with. It made him feel exposed. They opened with singing and guitar, but he could tell these people were not merely singing along. They were worshipping!
He had difficulty following the Bible discussion because of his poor English skills, but afterwards they prayed for each other. As a Muslim, he was familiar with prayer, but this was wholly different. First, they were praying to a loving, heavenly Father. This was quite different than the rote Islamic prayers he was familiar with. But beyond that, they prayed for each other in a way that made it clear how much they cared for each other. These people genuinely cared for one another.
God created us to walk in community. We each have gifts and abilities that are for the edification of the body, but the body is also there to help meet our own needs. This give and take is by design and is part of a healthy Christian walk. We often overlook though, just how important that walking in community is to our evangelism. Healthy, loving Christian community is intensely attractive to people and it draws them. Mehmet could barely understand the teaching in English, but was drawn through the genuine expressions of Christian love he experienced that night.
Mehmet went on to give his heart and life to Jesus very soon after that night. Major changes occurred in his life after that, as he gave up drugs, drinking, and partying. Friends and family around him noticed the change, and his witness has led many to the Lord in a closed Muslim country. It was the genuineness of Christian community that he experienced that first night that broke down the walls and allowed the Holy Spirit to soften his heart to the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
Thank you Lord, for my brother Mehmet!
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