“My biggest desire growing up as a Christian in a Christian family was to teach the Word of God to people inside the church,” Imad* reflected. Living in a Muslim majority country in North Africa made Imad see the importance of strengthening believers in their faith. When Imad heard that Amid*, a local believer, was starting a church planting training school, he saw it as a perfect opportunity to fulfil his desire.
Imad learnt so many things about the Bible that he had never heard before, and he completed the training a changed man. “My vision was to share with people inside the church, but I came to an understanding that God wanted me to share with everyone and not only believers,” he said.
When the training was over, Imad joined a church where the pastor had a vision for reaching out. “I started teaching people about the Bible outside the church, distributed Christian literature and food to the needy and showed The Jesus Film in different villages,” Imad explained. When Amid heard what Imad was doing, he asked him to join the training school as a team leader and to serve in a Christian bookshop, where Imad further learnt how to share the gospel.
Political and religious upheaval escalated in Imad’s country, forcing his ministry to cease. Imad, as well as many other foreign workers and local Christians, were either arrested or kicked out of the country. Though Imad was released, he was constantly brought in for questioning. “They wanted to know who we worked with and about Amid because they knew he was the ministry leader. They wanted us to work for them and tell them everything going on in the church, but I never cooperated,” he recalled.
After being under intense investigation for eight months, Imad decided to flee to the neighbouring country where Amid and his family were based. “When I reconnected with Amid, we prayed together regularly for our home country and the country we are in now because we both had a passion to reach Muslims,” he said.
Following much prayer, Imad and a few others assisted Amid to restart the church planting training in the new country. “It was great that we could bring believers from our home country and train them to reach out to our people,” he joyfully explained.
Imad also started relief work, visiting Muslim refugees from his home country. “We spent time listening to their needs and struggles. They were always happy to know we were from the church because no one from the mosque visited them,” he noted.
Imad and his team tried their best to provide food, warm clothes for winter, beds and school fees for the children of these refugee families. “It was always hard to listen to these stories, but we knew it was God’s idea [for us] to be here and support them,” he shared. These acts of kindness opened the door for these refugees to want to know about Jesus.
Imad not only teaches at the training centre and leads the relief ministry but also makes time to personally disciple people one-on-one. “It’s very easy for me to minister to others from my country here because we understand each other and feel comfortable to share,” he noted. Imad sees his Christian walk as a journey of learning and constantly sharing what he has learnt. He has seen many of the refugees from his home country come to Christ through this ministry, and a few of the men he discipled have also participated in the church planting training.
Bilal*, one of the young men Imad built a relationship with, was a Muslim who also helped with relief work. Over time he accepted Christ but was afraid to tell his friends and family. Imad encouraged him to join the training to learn more about God and grow in his faith. During the training, God worked on Bilal’s fear of being known as a Christian and sharing his faith with others. Imad watched God transform Bilal’s fear into boldness in sharing his faith. Now Bilal leads three discipleship groups and does one-on-one evangelism with two of his Muslim friends–just as Imad did with him. Two of the men Bilal discipled have also participated in the church planting training, continuing the cycle of sharing what they have learnt.