God transforms lives in Yemen

Greg Kernaghan | Arabian Peninsula

Greg Kernaghan, a writer for OM International, travelled through the Arabian Peninsula in November 2013. He discovered authentic hospitality, passionately committed Christians and a sense of good things to come. He observed and listened to the hearts of Christian workers who have invested decades in understanding and loving their Arab neighbours. Greg writes this collection of stories from the perspective of the OM workers in the Middle East, their story and their dreams, in their own words.

Do you trust in the Creator of the universe?

A woman believer had a young daughter who suffered from constant violent nightmares, which eventually took a toll on the mother. Her local friends noticed her fatigue and asked about it. She shared her daughter’s problem. The others immediately advised her to buy an amulet, since the Creator of the universe doesn’t have time to hear our requests.

This now became a test of power and belief.

The believer had no choice but to trust in prayer and to engage the daughter in the process. They prayed, and the nightmares ceased permanently. This news soon spread in the community, and the others were curious to know more about this God.

We should always point others to Jesus’ Word, which brings light (Ps. 119:130).

Do you want to know more about Jesus?

Yemenis are responding to Christian media. Anas*, a local believer, was following up a contact, a young man, by phone. He said, “I am calling because you wanted to talk about Jesus. Is this true?” The young man responded, “Jesus is not here; I think he went to the capital and will be back next week.” Since the Arabic name for Jesus is not unknown in Yemen, Anas wondered whether the fellow was confused or just crazy, and the call ended.

God soon after prompted Anas to visit the contact in person – a risky decision, yet he did so in obedience. When he arrived, the young man explained, “Shortly before you called, I had a dream in which a bright shining figure told me that someone named Anas would call me and tell me more about Jesus. When you did call, I thought, this can’t be happening. So, I acted crazy because it made me afraid.”

The young man brought together nine other friends to hear more, and they continue to study the Scriptures together with Anas. This is Arab culture, to do all things together, including a spiritual journey.

Do you believe in the father heart of God?

Fatima* struggled with mental health issues and attempted suicide as a teenager. Her family was so ashamed that they locked her in a small dark room. They tried doctors and psychiatrists, imams and others; nothing worked.

We were holding a programme (three hours twice weekly for five months) on the father heart of God, destiny, communication, friendship, servanthood, humility and empowerment, which her friends attended. Excitedly, they asked her parents if they could bring her along. Reluctant yet desperate, they consented.

Her transformation was almost instant and total: it was as if something was being drained from her and something else was filling her. She enrolled at university and her total demeanour and perspective changed.

No one else knew of this, as among females the communication is restricted. Her father was so touched that he insisted that she return to the programme and share what had happened. This had a huge impact on everyone involved – especially in a culture that doesn’t encourage feedback or open sharing of intimate personal experiences. The parents asked, “Why? How?”

She said it was when the leaders were washing the students’ feet and told of the story of a Great Leader who had 12 students and did this to show how He would empower them, that her whole perspective changed.

Every time we do foot washing, the students weep uncontrollably.

*Name changed

Published: Wednesday, 09 April 2014
Credit: Greg Kernaghan
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Features take an in-depth look at life and ministry on the mission field. Here you’ll find stories of how God is changing lives through the work of OM, as well as stories describing the joy and challenge of serving God in missions.

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