Editor's Note: This story is from John Gayed, district-supported missionary with POBLO in Rochester, MN, and first appeared in POBLO's January newsletter.
Recently, my wife Mariam and I had the opportunity to visit a Saudi Arabian family in our community. I had met the son before, but this was the first time we interacted with his mother and two of his sisters. The oldest sister did not join us, likely because I (being a male) was there, and she felt a bit uncomfortable. His mother was shy and wore a hijab to cover her face.
During our visit, we spent about two hours discussing Saudi Arabian culture and highlighting the differences between Saudi Arabia and the US. The family misses home, but they wish to remain here. They have come to appreciate the freedoms they are given, the openness of Americans, and the way that women are treated (very differently than in Saudi Arabia). However, they will be in the U.S. for another three months before returning to their country.
In the three months that this family has been in the US, we were the first and only people to visit them and be invited into their home. They explained that they don’t trust their own people here, so they don’t invite them to come to their home. We felt honored that they trusted us enough to have us over. The mother has asked Mariam to visit her again, so she is planning to go without me sometime in the coming weeks.
The day after visiting his family, I met with the son. Our conversation started out like any typical conversation does; we covered topics like the weather and weekend plans. He even asked if my family would join his for a trip to the South to spend a week in a warmer place. We are thinking about it, since it’s been very cold here in Minnesota! In this same conversation, he invited me to consider joining Islam. In a kind and gentle way, he asked me if I had ever thought about Islam and told me that the light of Islam would clear my path and direct my steps. He apologized and said he was afraid that he had offended me with his boldness, but he insisted that he loves me and hopes that when I die, I will go to the same place that he will go.
At this point, I couldn’t be silent any longer. I asked him where he will go when he dies. He admitted that he doesn’t know where he will go, so I asked him how he could invite me to join him in a place that he doesn’t even know he is going to. He seemed a bit baffled and embarrassed. I explained to him why I did not choose to follow Islam, which led me to explain the significant differences between Islam and Christianity. I shared the Gospel message of salvation with him and explained that as a Christian, I do not need to fear whether or not I will go to heaven. The Bible says, “For God so loved the world that He gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” I met with him again the following week, planting more seeds and answering questions that he had.
I now personally meet with him on a weekly basis and talk with him on the phone almost every day. He has also been meeting with a local pastor once a week for almost two months now, and they will continue to meet until he and his family return home. Please pray for this family, that they may see the real light and receive Jesus as their personal savior.