Sharing Just a Taste of God’s Peace
His pulse quickened, palms grew a bit sweaty, and he struggled to steady his breathing. The far too familiar signs of his anxiety returned yet again.
Yusuf*, a chef, found himself on the way to work on a Monday morning — hearing the usual Muslim call to prayer sounding all around him. The city’s 14.4 million Muslims would be prompted to fulfill their duty to pray — but without the hope of eternal life found only in Jesus.
The chef was a successful restaurant owner, a long-time national of his home country who had grown up hearing these calls — and yet while others sharing his bus route would have never noticed, he continued to feel this sense of heavy panic during his morning and evening commutes each week.
Missionaries, Don* and Shelley*, had already lived in the same city as Yusuf for six years when they first met. During their first meeting over coffee, Don gave Yusuf a Bible. Over a text he then suggested Yusuf read Psalm 23 — sharing just a taste of God’s peace. Of course, the story did not begin with Don already in this unreached city. It started eight years before, thousands of miles away in a suburban Michigan town:
Don and Shelley had what many would consider a fulfilling and successful life. Two full-time careers, a home in Michigan, and a growing family. They served faithfully and attended their local church each Sunday.
Yet they started to feel a draw towards something more. Little did they know how their story might unfold just a few years later. “I worked in the auto industry and my wife was an architect. We thought God didn’t use those people as missionaries — that he only calls pastors, doctors, nurses, and teachers.”
After resigning from their jobs and working tirelessly to raise the necessary funds and prayer support, they arrived on the field in 2011. They intentionally engage with people for the purpose of sharing the gospel in a land where the “soil” is as rocky and infertile as any in the world.
By the faithful obedience of everyday people like Don and Shelley — those who live in these unreached cities have a greater chance of hearing about the saving hope of Jesus.
Some time passed after that first meeting — an afternoon coffee between the unlikely pairing of a local chef and a Michigan-born auto worker — but Don soon received a message from the chef. Yusuf shared that after reading Psalm 23 he was no longer battling anxiety — and still hasn’t to this day! As Don and the chef grew to be friends, the foundational trust of their relationship enabled Don to share with him the saving message of Jesus — all in the chef’s language and cultural context. Yusuf began a journey of trust and is being made new!
Yusuf has since been sharing his newfound hope in Jesus with everyone, everywhere — beginning with leaders from around the world gathered at an event he found himself attending. While he had grown in status in his own country cooking for several national leaders, he was asked to travel to cook for an event with several international leaders.
Months later in a conversation, Don wondered aloud to Yusuf if his mother had taken any interest in his new belief. He immediately led Don to the bulletin board of his restaurant. There, Yusuf pointed to a piece of paper his mother had printed out that read: “Exalted is the most high God, for He suffered for our sins.” On this piece of paper was the official stamp of their business and his mother’s signature as well. “My mother believes now too,” Yusuf said.
More recently, even though Don knew Yusuf was busy with work, he decided to ask what he had been doing in his free time. When Yusuf mentioned that he gets together with a group of people on Friday nights, Don asked, “What do you do together?” Yusuf replied, “Well, my friends have a philosophy club and like to talk about new age ideas, but we almost always end up talking about Jesus.” When Don asked how many people are normally there, Yusuf’s response nearly knocked him off his chair. “Usually about 30,” he said.
Not only is God using Yusuf to bring others to Jesus, he is also raising him up as a leader among new believers! God has transformed Yusuf’s heart and is using him to be light to those around him, AMEN!
Will you play a part in sharing the hope of Jesus with people who are still living in darkness?
Give today to fuel more friendships like the one between Don and Yusuf — friendships that lead to sharing the good news of Jesus so that lives, churches, communities, and even nations can be transformed.
*Names omitted for security reasons.