“Whenever we have visitors, they know what we’re there for,” Mary explained. “We make the most of the opportunities their presence gives us.”
When the couple’s friend Elise* visited them, she participated in the team meeting at their flat. “We had quite a loud worship time,” Mary remembered. So, afterwards she visited the neighbours, people she and Alex had seen in the stairway but didn’t know well.
“I’m really sorry if we made too much noise. Here’s the leftover food!” she apologised.
“Oh, what were you doing? We heard the guitar. It was lovely. Were you having a party?” Salma*, the neighbour’s daughter, wondered.
“We were singing,” Mary replied. “It was like singing prayers. We’re praying for the country.”
“Like church?” she asked. “I’d quite like to come to church to see how you [Christians] pray.”
“It’s Easter soon,” Mary said. “Would you like to come?”
“You get chocolate eggs at Easter!” Salma noted.
Mary told her that candy was a tradition at Easter but not the reason Christians celebrated. “I gave the whole Easter message right there,” she shared.
Salma asked her mother if she could attend the Easter service and she agreed.
On Sunday, the church celebrated two baptisms. One of the men being baptised was a local. He gave his testimony in Arabic, which was translated into French. Then the congregation took communion.
Traditionally the English speakers went out to lunch after the service, so they invited Salma to join. While the group was eating, Salma announced that she would like to attend church again. “There was such a joyful, peaceful atmosphere,” she described.
When Alex, Mary and Elise were back at the apartment, Mary encouraged Elise to give Salma a gift before she left: a New Testament, a tract or a DVD (More Than Dreams or Magdalena). Elise chose the New Testament and a DVD, wrapped them and delivered the present next door.
After Elise left, Salma attended church a second time with Alex and Mary. Again she enjoyed the service and expressed interest in returning. When the couple saw Salma’s father, he, too, said he would like to visit the church.
Back in her home country, Elise texted Salma to find out how she was doing.
“I’m well,” Salma wrote back. “Good to hear from you. I’m reading the Bible you gave me, and I’d like to go back to church.”
Pray that Salma and her family would respond to the Bible. She and her father seemed interested and willing, “but willingness to talk and coming to faith are not the same thing,” Mary shared. Pray that the seeds sown in their lives would bear fruit.
Nicole James is a journalist, ESL teacher, and adventurer. As a writer for OM Middle East North Africa, she’s passionate about publishing the stories of God’s works among the nations, telling people about the wonderful things He is doing in the world.
Published: Wednesday, 12 April 2017
Credit: Nicole James