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*Names and locations changed for safety.
I am Ken. I was born into the Sunni sect of Islam. I led a normal life as a Muslim. I went to school and was very interested in science. Even as a child, I always watched scientific TV shows (not the usual cartoons) and I hung out with educated people. But I never felt fulfilled; there was an emptiness in my life growing up. Then I came to a point when I had to make a choice to sign up with a political/Islamic party, but I didn’t have that desire in me.
In our community, Christians had a good reputation; they were nice, gentle, clean. I wondered why we were not like them. Something didn’t seem right about that.
I had a childhood friend who was involved in one of the churches and we remained friends as we grew up. There was something very different about his life. I noticed how he treated me; he had a presence about him and I was cautious when I spoke to him. He would never swear and so I felt uncomfortable using any bad words in front of him.
In 2008 I heard about some Muslims converting to Christianity, so I called my friend and asked him, “What’s going on? I want to be a Christian too.” My friend knew that in my personality, I am a fighter; so he responded very wisely to me. Those who were converting were having to flee the country or otherwise be killed, so he told me it was probably just people talking. But I kept searching, wanting to know the details of what was happening because I was almost totally convinced myself that Christianity was the right way.
How Muslims lived and how Christians lived in the same village was so different. I would visit and eat with my friend and see huge differences…the respect and kindness and relationship. The roots of these two religions were completely different. I told my friend, “I want to be like you.”
One day I met one of the people who had converted to Christianity. He said, “Come with me” …just like when Jesus called Simon and said, “Follow me.” I remember following him on my motorcycle. Then we talked and he asked if I would like to pray. I said, “Yes”, and I prayed and accepted Christ in my heart. I wept so much the ground beneath me was wet from my tears.
I remember visiting my friend at his house and talking about where I worked and where I lived. My brothers were serving in the army and I was taking care of my parents at that time. My mom was ill and my friend asked if I would like him to come and pray for her. Yes, I did! That would be my honor! The Lord allowed for him to come and I gladly welcomed him. I had this huge feeling in me that something was going to happen in my house that day. He came and prayed. The next day, my mom was out of bed asking, “What do you want for dinner?” For the last 10 years, she had not gotten out of bed…she had not been able to move without help. But now the Lord had done something! And God was strengthening my faith.
About 20 days after God healed my mom, my brother called me. He had been living in Europe for 16 years. He told me that he had come to Christ and was reading the Bible and going to church! And the healing of my mother became very well known in our city and people would see me in the street and point and say, “This is the man whose mother was healed.” They would call me and tell me to have my friend come because this one was sick or that one was sick. But I would tell them, “No. It was not my friend who healed her; it was the Lord Jesus Christ who healed her!” The Lord did many great things and many miracles during this time…too many to tell.
I began to go to church and grow and evangelize, reaching out to anyone I could with the gospel. I went into the prisons to minister. I used to look at the people serving at the church and wish I could be with them and then all of a sudden, I was. I had become one of the people serving in the church. Praise God!
Persecution from the political parties and authorities is a reality in our society. I was beaten many times, cussed at, spit on. I remember the secret police arrested me and tortured me; they put me in a small room. It was very hard during those days. I lost 10kg. But praise God, He was working in me in a powerful way and many people were testifying for me, “This man is not a threat.”
I was released and now I am working at the church. Praise God! Please pray for me.