I received this encouraging update from an OPEN worker in the Middle East. Fiza is a long-term employee who became a believer 3 years ago. All names have been changed.
“How are you doing?” I asked, feeling a bit guilty because I didn’t know the answer. Due to the shutdown it had been too long since we were together and I had been absorbed with other things.
Fiza exclaimed, “I’m like a bomb!” (this is a local expression which is kind of like saying, I’m doing explosively well!) I laughed, greatly relieved. “I have news for you,” she said, and asked. “When are you next coming to the office?”
Within the hour I was driving the empty streets to our office. There are some advantages to quarantines—no traffic in this sprawling city of millions of people is definitely one of them! As I drove, I prayed for her: “Lord, breathe hunger for You into Fiza. Stoke the embers of her heart and let her burn for You!”
Fiza and one other employee have been keeping our office going while the other employees work from home. Her workload is greatly reduced because her job is to clean the office and serve tea (we keep her coming in because she cannot do that from home!) When quarantine began, at her request, I gave her a pretty intense Bible study to work through. She took it upon herself to finish her cleaning quickly so that she could spend time in God’s Word at the office. Only God could orchestrate her circumstances and open up this kind of opportunity for her! The last 3 months have been like a mini Bible school for Fiza. Like a sponge, she has soaked up everything I’ve given her, including watching 6 movies about the life of Christ—and some of them she watched repeatedly!
I rode the elevator up to the fourth floor of our office and stepped out into the empty corridor. The office, usually buzzing with people, was eerily quiet. I climbed the stairs up to the terrace, where we have a little kitchen and seating area, and where I expected to find Fiza. Minutes later she walked in, and soon I asked her about her news.
“Well, you know how I’ve been telling my husband about Jesus,” she began, “Last night he told me that he is more open to this faith than any other! He’s soooo close to believing in Jesus!” I was truly thrilled to hear this. We’ve been praying for Mohammed since Fiza believed a couple of years ago.
“But that’s not my news,” Fiza continued. “You see, I want everyone in my whole family and sphere of relationships to hear what’s happened to me. I’ve woken up! I’ve found peace! I know He’s with me, I feel His presence; my whole life has been turned upside down!”
The look on her face was radiant. I sensed the Spirit of God on her, and I imagine Him laughing with delight, as if He is saying, “Yeah, that’s what I come to give … radiance! Joy!! Isn’t it awesome?” Truly, it is. Is there anything more awesome than seeing this kind of transformation in someone’s life?
Fiza continued, “so I called up my cousin who lives in our home village hundreds of miles away. She told me she felt peace just listening to me and asked me to send the verses I shared with her! I urged her to start praying in Jesus’ name. I sent her the movies and verses I’ve been reading. She is very interested.
Next, I called my aunt, who is an atheist (from a Muslim background) and I shared how I’ve found peace. I feel in my heart that God will bring her to faith! I’m praying for her every day.
Next, I called Riza, another cousin who lives hundreds of miles to the south. I started to tell her my story—and she stopped me…” Fiza paused. Then she recounted a miracle that only God could orchestrate. She explained that after Riza’s husband divorced her, in desperation, she went to visit a nearby Christian fellowship. And there she gave her life to Christ! “I know all about the peace and joy you’re talking about, Fiza!” Riza shared, “I believe in Him, too!” Fiza was shocked, and extremely encouraged. The two of them talked and talked about their new-found faith, about others who are followers of Jesus, and the wonder of it all. Now both her and her cousin are praying for and sharing with their family!
Only God! Let me put this miracle in perspective. What are the chances of one of Fiza’s relatives being a Christian in this country where 0.000075% are believers—unless, of course, there is a God-arranged MIRACLE!