Let me tell you about a woman I met last week.

This woman was born in a Muslim country that is considered by many Christian watch groups to be one of the most dangerous countries in a world for a Christian to live. Nearly everyone in this country identifies as Muslim, though this woman, who I will call “J,” told me that many people who identify as Muslims in heavily-Islamic countries do so only for the sake of tradition or to ensure personal safety, not because of religious convictions.

J grew up a typical Muslim woman and married a smart, successful Muslim man. About ten years ago, her husband began investigating the claims of Islam and decided that it was a false religion. At first, he decided he was an atheist, but deep inside, he knew that a god existed, and he went on a personal quest to find who that god was. He conducted extensive research on Buddhism, Hinduism and Christianity and, in the end, decided that the Christian God of the Bible was the one true God.

After becoming a Christian, this man began sharing his decision with others in his village, even though this was a very dangerous thing to do. Converting to Christianity in this country, as well as in many other countries, can cost a person his job, his family and his freedom. In J’s husband’s case, it ended up costing him his life when he was killed by two men in his village for his public profession.

While mourning her husband’s death, J began looking more closely at her own faith in Islam. She was horrified that such violence could come to someone she loved simply for choosing to denounce Islam and decided that such a religion could not possibly point a person to God, so she too denounced her faith, though not publicly.

J began to study different religions, just as her husband had, wondering how one could know who God really is. Then she experienced the same vivid dream two nights in a row. In this dream, a crowd of people were telling her to look at a man standing before them, a man wearing a white robe, whose face was so bright that she could not look at it. The crowd was pointing at him and telling her, “It’s Him!”

When J awoke after having that dream the second night, she was overcome with a joy that she had never known before. She told me, “I can’t describe it, but it was like nothing I’d ever felt in my life. I felt that God was showing Himself to me.”

J wasn’t sure what to do at first, but then remembered one man in the village who she thought might be a Christian, an American who she knew had a Bible. She took a great chance in confiding in him, but was thankful that she did, as this man was indeed a Christian and ended up helping her place faith in Christ.

Three years ago, J decided to move to the United States with her son, in hopes of starting over and finding the freedom to live openly as a Christian. Unfortunately, for reasons she didn’t share with me, the housing project she ended up in once getting to America was full of Muslims from the same area of the world she was from and she has not yet felt safe to reveal her Christian identity.

J said that she has not felt as welcome as she thought she would when telling other non-Muslims in the U.S. that she is born again. That confession is often met with doubt and skepticism. She has, however, found a Southern Baptist Church in her city that has taken her in and she has made close friends with a woman who has spent the last three years teaching and mentoring her in the Christian faith.

Needless to say, it was emotional for J to tell her story, and it was emotional for me to hear it. What joy filled me hearing how this woman has come out of darkness into the light and is now living for Jesus! J has been given eternal life by God and is now one of His precious children. Statistics show that many Muslims are leaving Islam and turning to Christ, just as J has.

Pray with me that many more will, and never underestimate what God can and will do. Be expectant and watch Him do great things!

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Mark Wingfield, pastor of First Baptist Church in Grottoes, is a columnist for The News Virginian. His column is published Sundays.

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