Tariq has a plan

Tariq and his wife were born Muslims, and they still live in the city of their birth. By different means both became followers of Jesus, and later married. The small local church fellowship welcomed them – sort of. It has rather held them at arm’s length because of anxiety about the Islamic population they live among.

But Tariq began studying the Bible and knew he was called, like all those who follow Jesus, to pass on the good news. But how? Life is not safe for any Muslim who becomes a believer in that community. Then Tariq hit on a plan, which I saw in action. He would hear of refugee families living in sub-standard accommodation who urgently needed practical help: once it was a family living on the top floor of a cheaply put up building, whose small children regularly fell off the dangerous stairs; another time a widow with teenage sons and daughters told Tariq her bathroom had no door — there was no privacy. Then Tariq would ask for visiting overseas believers to donate some money and time, and they would go together on a Saturday to the house. The time I first joined a working bee, a young couple had been asleep at night when the cheap concrete ceiling where their baby slept crashed down, smothering the cot. Miraculously, the baby had been fretful, and the parents had taken it to sleep with them. Several of us came. Tariq repaired the ceiling, while we carried rubble, mixed cement and played with neighbour kids. The next weekend we came back to paint the affected room — and that’s when Tariq’s plan became clear. He didn’t just want the families to experience God’s love for them by actions, but also clearly stated in words, so he got his foreign visitors to explain why they had come that day to help strangers. A clever plan. Because Tariq would then translate, thereby making sure the gospel was spoken in dialect and context to the people that he wanted to receive the message.

Please pray for protection and for more opportunities for Tariq and his wife. Also that the enthusiasm for evangelism which they started out with will continue to be refreshed. Pray for acceptance and trust between new believers and established congregations in that part of the world, so that both grow deeper in their faith.

— Author’s name withheld; Tariq’s name changed.