A Glimpse of Life in North Africa

It’s been nearly three years since I moved to this country.  If I were to describe this time I would say it’s had its ups and downs, highs and lows, and most definitely what seems to be its fair share of dead ends. It really depends on how you decide to measure it, so coming from my own perspective, allow me to just give you a sliver of what life has looked like for me in the past few years and how I have seen God at work.
I lived overseas one other time in my life– in Madagascar for my internship for college. I had no idea that later on I would end up in a country with such diversity in beliefs. In some regards, I wasn’t quite prepared for it. I had studied Islam and its beliefs, but didn’t factor in the unique political history and geographical location which plays a big part in the values and beliefs of young people in this country today. Islam in this country is not just tied to religion; their culture and social interaction with one another depend on it. A person is a Muslim whether they believe or follow the religious laws or not.  
God blessed me with one local girl I can truly call my friend. I will call her Rachel. My first year in the country was probably the loneliest I had ever felt in my life. I didn’t know the language very well and I didn’t have much interaction with other expats at the time. I believe Rachel was a direct gift from God. I met her on the bus nearly two years ago and we have been friends ever since. She is one of
the most conservative Muslims I have ever met in this country. Her whole family are devout followers of Islam. I have had numerous conversations with her about Jesus, but I would like to share one of them that really stuck out to me.  
I had been invited to Rachel’s house to celebrate
Eid Kabir with her family. It’s the big holiday when they remember the day Abraham went to the mountain to sacrifice his son for the Lord (they believe it was Ishmael, not Isaac). In remembrance of the occasion, each family sacrifices a sheep and afterwards, celebrates with an enormous feast. After watching all the gory details, the family asked me what I thought of the whole process. I was so nervous; but, I had prayed for such an opportunity as this. I bit the bullet and shared the story of the great sacrifice. I could see that I had the room’s attention, but especially that of the father. I knew that if I wanted to see the whole family come to . Jesus, ideally I would want the father to accept him first. As I shared the story I could tell that my words were difficult for him to swallow. I talked nearly an hour back and forth with him, and then one of his sons asked about the bottom line of where our salvation ultimately comes from. I also got to hear from them on their view of sin and where they put their hopes. We talked about issues of the heart and how in the end there is only one person who can heal and take away those struggles and addictions we cling to – Jesus Christ. In the end, I do believe something divinely spiritual happened that day. This family, for the first time in their life, had a chance to hear the gospel from an actual believer. For years, even from birth, they have believed in many misconceptions about our beliefs. I am still praying that something I said stuck with them. Please join me in praying for them, that their hearts would be prepared to accept Jesus.

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