Unseen Fruit

OM International | Turkey

Jane* and her friend Bahar* were drinking tea when Bahar decided to share the story of how she became a believer in Jesus.  As she shared, Jane found a needed reminder that it’s not always about the fruit that she can see, but that some day, she will see how people were impacted by the seeds that she has sown through her obedience to God.  

Bahar has been a believer for many years. Her spiritual journey took a turn in 1994 when she was a 17-year-old high school student. Bahar’s mother asked her to go and visit the biggest floating book fair in the world. Her mother, who was a librarian, had seen advertisements in the city and was very curious to see such a ship. 

Bahar’s mother, her younger sister Büşra*, who was 11, and Bahar went to the OM ship, the Doulos. They were amazed by all the books. Just as they were leaving the ship, they ran into an old family friend. Bahar’s mother was surprised to see him and she wondered where he had been, as they had not seen each other for quite some time. The friend happily told his story and invited them for a cup of tea. Bahar’s mother phoned her husband, so he left work for the day to join them as well.  

As they were all sitting together, Bahar listened carefully to the story of how their friend had become a Christian. While sharing his story he also the story of Jesus, and how Jesus died and rose again to reconcile mankind to God. Finally, he invited the family to a church the following Sunday to witness his baptism. Bahar’s family accepted the invitation, along with an Incil (New Testament), and went home. Sadly, they did not go to church, the Incil found its way on to a bookshelf, and they lost contact with him again.

Some years later Bahar moved to the capital city to study. One day while walking on the university campus, two girls approached her with some questions. The first question was "how does God show love?" Bahar´s answered, "If there is a God, it is through Jesus." The girls were amazed by her answer. 

As Bahar had listened to her friend's story on board the Doulos years prior she was amazed by the story of Jesus. She knew that if there was a God this was the only way He could ever show His love. The girls asked her to come to church with them the following Sunday, but she refused and explained that religion was not her thing. However, following that conversation with the two girls, Bahar started to read the Incil. As she did, she got to know the only God who showed His love in such a way.

Bahar was passionate for the Lord and got involved in children’s ministry and learned a lot. One day Bahar´s sister Büşra came to visit her in the capital. As Büşra looked around the room she was shocked to see so many Christian books. She knew her sister had to read Western books for her studies, but this seemed a bit much. She asked Bahar why she had so many Christian books, and Bahar told her how she had come to know Jesus, and that she was going to church regularly.

This was the right moment for Büşra to tell Bahar what she had not yet shared with anyone else: she had gone through the same process, searching for the God of the Bible. She also had been convinced that He was the only true God, and she was regularly attending a Catholic church. God had been working in both their lives at the same time!  Bahar encouraged her sister to go to the Protestant church the family had been invited to years ago on the Doulos. 

After all this, Bahar's mother started to read the Incil. Often when Bahar visited her family, her mother asked Bahar to explain verses that she did not understand. Bahar's mother never professed faith out loud before her unexpected death. Only God knows if she believed the truth that she had heard and read, but Bahar and Büşra pray that she did.

The old family friend does not know how he impacted Bahar’s life, as Bahar never found him again. Of course, the Doulos’ crew serving in the bookstore, coffee shop, or any other place on the ship at that time have no idea how many lives were touched by their faithfulness. Jane sows lots of seeds by the words she speaks, the smiles she gives, and the way she acts. Yet, at times, she wonders how many of those seeds will grow into fruit. 

Thankfully, when Jane hears a story like Bahar's, she is encouraged. It is not about the fruit she sees, it is about the seeds she plants in faith and love. She can trust God will water them in His time. She knows this work is not done in vain, it’s done by faith.

*Names changed

Published: Friday, 26 August 2016
Credit: OM International
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