P. 9

1. Telling Your Story                                    It is very important that we allow Muslims to speak for
                                                                   themselves about their own faith and belief. Islam is not a
          The best way to start a spiritual conversation is by sharing   monolithic religion, and people should be granted the right
          your story, and how your story plays its part in God’s   and freedom to speak for themselves about what they believe
          metanarrative. I have shared my conversion experience with   and why they believe it. Our job is to listen, to ask questions and
          many Muslim friends and strangers in the Arab world and in   certainly to challenge, but not to tell them what they believe.
          Europe, and not once do I remember any of them turning
          aggressive. People love to listen to stories, and personal
          stories are never threatening. It is when we are aggressive in
          our witness that people react badly.

          I tell people that during the Lebanese civil war my father
          was sick, and I had no peace. I was lost and in despair. I was
          working day and night to provide for my family. A friend of
          my father came to visit me in my shop. He was kind, and he
          shared his story with me. I became inquisitive and visited
          church with him. During the service God gripped my heart
          with such a message of love and peace that I responded
          by surrendering my life to Jesus. The peace I experienced
          was unexplainable and unbelievable. I tell them how I went
          to friends and relatives telling them about this amazing
          peace that filled my heart. I can still remember the love I
          experienced towards everyone—I was in love with Jesus    3. Proclaiming Christ
          and became in love with people, all people, even strangers   Some of those who do not want to be perceived as aggressive
          walking past my shop. This peace, that I first experienced   in their witness jump to the other side of the spectrum and
          the night I gave my life to Jesus, is still present for me today,   hide their lamp under a bowl. But freedom of belief should
          especially when I am deep in his presence.
                                                                   not lead us to withhold our witness; rather, freedom of belief
                                                                   should include the freedom to share our beliefs.
                   That is my simple story;                        We do, however, need to make a clear distinction between

                      it is true for me and                        aggressive evangelism and active and passionate evangelism.

                  no one can take it away.                         A passionate proclamation of the gospel bears long-term fruit;
                                                                   an aggressive approach creates division and animosity. Faithful
                                                                   Christians want the world to follow Jesus, but they will never
          2. Listening to Their Story                              use unethical means to achieve their goal or slander other

                                                                   people’s faiths and beliefs, or deny their dignity. Deception,
          In the Arab world, declaring one’s faith by saying al-Shahada is   coercion, and abuse of power are all unacceptable methods
          foundational. People are accustomed to expressions of faith.   of evangelism.
          Thus Christians should find it easy to share Christ boldly and
          with great confidence. The culture welcomes it. But it should   Effective proclamation in the Arab world takes place when
          be done with respect for the listeners. Respecting the beliefs   we treat others with great respect and speak truth with love.
          and value systems of others starts by listening attentively and   It is love that brings people to Christ, and it is truth that keeps
          wholeheartedly to their beliefs, faiths and convictions. People   them in Christ. Our job is not to convert people, our job is to
          like to share about their own religion in the Arab world, and   proclaim Jesus and invite people to follow him; it is the Spirit’s
          they also like to give their opinion about other religions . . .  job to convert people and transform their lives . . .
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