Reported By David Witt
“We are His witnesses, God has called us to go,” stated Pastor Rob Purdy from First Baptist Church, Seabrook, Texas. In 2006, Pastor Rob was not satisfied to simply expose his congregation to stories of outreach to Muslims and just send money. He wanted a direct witness. This is an active church in the Houston area of 200 members and Kingdom minded. He prayed for God to give him an unreached Muslim population that the church could adopt. God put a city in Senegal, Africa, upon his heart. Senegal is on the Northwest African Coast right below Mauritania. Ninety-four percent of the population is Muslim.
With his heart full of faith, Pastor Rob took an exploratory trip to a Muslim area where he knew no one. He prayed, “God let me meet a man of peace.” God answered his prayer by having him meet a professional soccer player who introduced him to the Imams and civic leaders of the city. This began a ministry of building relationships of respect and love while courageously sharing the Gospel. Soon Muslims began to respond to the message of salvation through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. With growing opportunity and vision, the church began leasing a humble home with a large courtyard for $500 dollars a month. The church sends a team to serve every other month. The city water is unreliable and often does not run during the day, so they dug a well to share with their neighbors. They began an educational and craft-making outreach to the women. Also they minister to the begging street children orphans (sometimes as young as 5 years old) and they give them showers, nurse their wounds, feed them a nutritious meal and then share a Gospel story. At 6:00 p.m. every evening as the sun sets and the bats begin to take flight in pursuit of insects, men, women and children gather in the courtyard to hear Bible teaching under the expansive Mango fruit tree branches. The women sit peacefully on the straw mats; the children listen and then quietly play on the dusty ground, as the men sit in worn chairs. Part of this work is an adventure, yet it takes sacrifice and applied faith.
How can these American Christians enter this different world and ultimately risk danger, heat, disease and discomfort to reach out to African Muslims? They joyfully reflect the Light of Jesus Christ! In our solar system, the moon reflects the sun’s majesty. Psalm 89:36 refers to the allegory of the sun being a representation of the reign of Christ through the lineage of David. Verse 37 states, “Like the moon, it shall be established forever, a faithful witness in the skies.” Selah (meaning to pause and ponder the message of the Lord.) Just as the moon cannot help but reflect the sun, as Christians we cannot help but reflect the Light of Christ in our lives.
As I think about my visit to these precious Christians in Senegal, three memories immediately rise to the top. First, is the hot lazy afternoons in the courtyard, drinking fresh brewed tea while exchanging stories, listening to Scriptures played on the MP3 player (SOM supplied MP3 Scripture players and other tools to the house churches in North Africa.) Also, sweet moments of no talking but pure contentment of the companionship of other Africans resting in the comfort of the courtyard.Pastor Rob develops relationships and shares the gospel.
Second, was the night I taught the evening Bible study and a local Imam visited. Pastor Rob had developed a relationship with the Imam over the past few years. That afternoon we visited his home and invited him to the evening Bible study. That evening the Imam listened intently as I was able to share the Gospel by starting in Genesis and the fall of man. I shared stories of Muslims coming to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ in Islamic nations around the world and much of the persecution they have endured because of sin. With more stories, I was able to share that Jesus was the only way of salvation and peace for all mankind. In the end, the Imam shared with the group. “What was shared tonight is important and I know that you love me because you came all the way from America and visited me in my home.” That night, on the wall of the house, I showed the DVD “More than Dreams” which are dramatized testimonies of Muslims who had dreams of Jesus and became Christians.
Thirdly, it was the last day of our visit. Ismaili had accepted Christ recently and desired to be baptized, but was afraid. The major step of faith for Muslims is baptism. In Senegal they can face rejection from their families, friends, loss of employment, and homelessness for becoming a Christian. Baptism represents that total identification with Christ. Joyfully the Holy Spirit helped Ismaili overcome his fear and he was baptized with a swim in the ocean as I took pictures.
The Mission purpose of Spirit of Martyrdom is focused on emboldening the witness of Christ in the global Church. The donations and prayers of Christians in America have helped us supply thousands of dollars’ worth of Christian materials to North Africa, Asia and South America. Pastor Rob is praying for more churches to partner with them in Senegal. Please pray with us for this need of networking more like-minded churches together. If you would like more information about this opportunity, please contact us. We want you to be encouraged in your faith by what God is doing around the world. The DVD, “More Than Dreams” is a gift to you for any donation amount. (Please just mention the title in the memo when donating.)
Join us in prayer, gather helpful information or to support the living martyrs of Christ globally, please visit us on the web at: www.SpiritofMartyrdom.com