To understand who Jesus is
“I love Muslims,” explained OMer Holy. “And I would love for them to go deeper into the Bible; to know more about God.”
Her love for Muslims, and in particular Comoran Muslims, is what prompted Holy to start a Discovery Bible Study (DBS) at a university in the capital of Madagascar, Antananarivo, in 2015.
Comoros is a small island country to the north of Madagascar. Made up of four big islands and numerous smaller ones, Islam is the country’s main religion. The volcanic islands have few natural resources and the country is ranked as one of the poorest in the world; relying heavily on foreign aid and imported goods. Many Comorans move to Madagascar to attend university or get jobs.
Though not a student at the university herself, Holy spends time on campus going up to people and inviting them to study the Bible. Through this bold approach she started a Bible study with Malagasy students that meets once a week and one-on-one meetings with Comoran students every day except Sunday.
In the beginning, the Comorans met in a larger group but Holy found they were unwilling to share in front of their fellow countrymen and little progress was being made. By meeting one-on-one the students feel more comfortable and free to ask questions without fear. A big aspect of the meetings is building relationships and trust.
Holy and a few male students from the Malagasy Bible study lead the Comorans from Adam in the Old Testament to Jesus in the New Testament, tracing the path of the prophets. It is a long journey, but well worth it to Holy.
Out of the 19 Comoran students that attend the Bible studies, one was already a Christian and four have become believers. The other 14 attend the meetings out of curiosity.
“They don’t believe, but they want to understand,” explained Holy. “They want to know who God is and for the Christians who Jesus is because they believe that Jesus is only a prophet. That is why they come to the Bible study – to understand who Jesus is.”
By accepting Christ into their hearts the new believers gain salvation, but lose face with other Comorans, as Islam and Comoros are so closely connected. Many face persecution from their family and friends.
One of the new believers lives with his cousins and friends from Comoros, a common thing in the tight-knit Comoran community. When they found out he believes in Christ, they said they couldn’t understand why he would deny his religion and background. Now they ignore him and don’t include him in the household, leaving him to fend for himself. Though it is hard, the young man knows he made the right choice to follow Jesus.
Pray for the new believers as they continue growing in Christ. Pray that though they may face persecution from their family and friends they will remain strong and share the love of Jesus with everyone they meet. They are now studying the importance of baptism and deciding if they are ready for that step. Pray for those who are not believers yet; that their eyes will be opened.
Published: Friday, 12 May 2017
Credit: Rebecca Rempel