A group of foreign Christians praying for Saudi Arabia
There’s no boundary God can’t cross. In the darkness of Saudi, the heartland of Islam, Jesus is calling men and women to follow him. But the local church is struggling. Saudi Christians Omar, Maryam and Abdul are one of those struggling their journey with Christ and church.
OMAR: LOVE AND EMIGRATION
Omar is a thinker. His first steps towards Christianity were made by reading books and doing research. But he only really gave his heart to the Lord after he spent some time with a Christian family abroad. The father of the family helps Omar with books about God and has fierce discussions about Him. Slowly Omar opened his eyes to the truth until he fully committed his life to the Lord. Back home he shared his faith with his family, but apart from his fiancé, all rejected his new religion and broke all contact. But Omar bravely continued to be discipled. A foreign worker saw Omar as a potential leader, a potential driving force in the church of Saudi.
Omar got married and had children. Omar tried to be a good Christian, but he struggled, mostly with his new family: he saw the children being indoctrinated with Islamic teaching at their school; Omar’s wife, who is still a Muslim, doesn’t even want to hear about Christ in Saudi, she thought it was too dangerous not to be a Muslim in Saudi to even consider converting. With pain in his heart, Omar decided to not use his talents in the Saudi church, but take his family abroad and grow in Christ there.
MARYAM: POEMS AND ISOLATION
You could call Maryam a “well-known believer” from Saudi, although few have met her in real life. She came to Christ through the media and, soon after, started writing poems and songs about her new faith, and sharing them with believers all around the world. For years she experienced her faith like this, passionately and constantly in contact with others online. But then she reached a marriageable age and suitors started knocking at her father’s door. They are Muslim, but Maryam wants to marry a Christian. She manages to hold off the first two men asking for her hand.
Maryam received help, but it is incredibly difficult to find a Christian husband when you are a secret believer. So when the third Muslim suitor presented himself, she couldn’t deny his offer without shaming her family. She accepted the offer and stayed in contact with Christians until the very moment she dressed up for her wedding day. Then she forbade her Christian friends to contact her with anything other then superficial messages. Bible verses are a no-go. If her husband would find out, she would be in trouble. What happened to Maryam’s faith next is unclear. If she is still a believer, she is in total isolation. Most likely she won’t be able to tell her children about her faith.
ABDUL: VISIONS AND DISILLUSIONS
With Abdul, it was dreams and visions that made him come to Christ. Several times he dreamed about him being in front of a huge throne. Each dream drew him closer to the person on the throne, until he discovered the divinity of Christ there. Not much later, he was baptized: a wish was fulfilled.
Abdul’s baptism was a big delusion for him. He expected spiritual fireworks, an outer-world experience. But he felt nothing. Only after days of prayer, God responded to him in a supernatural way. The words had a big impact, but over the years, his faith developed to be more based on reasoning. Abdul did find a church, and together with 3 other men he regularly comes together for fellowship and Bible study. The 4 men have different styles and needs, needs that aren’t always met. It’s a fragile church. But at least it is a church.