A New FamilyBrook Hills Contributor
The dreams started when she was 12.
They all went about the same: She is in a room that is completely dark, dark except for a single slit in the wall. Behind the slit, a great light shines. When she runs to look through, she sees a man shining brightly, indiscernible. Something in the darkness, perhaps the darkness itself, seems to be holding her back, and she cannot reach him. She has this dream over thirty times. From that time, she had begun to doubt Islam, to doubt that it revealed who God really was. She knew there was something more.
For J & M* it began a year ago on the beach, hanging out and meeting people. Kids running everywhere. A cool ocean breeze and hundreds of local families all around. It was awesome, and it was stressful. J and M and their two-year-old son were the newest members of the Brook Hills Central Asia team to arrive. One awesome thing about their son is that he loves to meet people, especially when J and M aren’t looking. Right about the time they were getting ready to leave, he escaped from M to join a local family who was having a birthday party. Twenty minutes later they were still trying to leave, gifts of balloons and cake in hand. During that time, they briefly met a young Arab woman and grabbed her number.
In the busyness of it all and the days that followed, M didn’t connect with her much over the next two months. Then out of the blue, the girl texted M and told her that she had just gotten out of the hospital and wanted to talk to her.
The very next day J & M were hanging at the same spot on the beach (it’s sort of a Friday team tradition), and this time they were some of the only people out there. Out of nowhere two local girls came walking down the beach, and unbelievably it was the exact girl M had met months earlier at the birthday party who had texted the day before. As M greeted them the girl immediately started crying.
M hugged her and after the girl composed herself, invited them to sit with the team. The girl’s name was Hadassah and she told M again, “I really need to talk to you, but not right now.” They spoke briefly and eventually parted ways, agreeing to meet again soon.
Hadassah and M finally met up a week later and Hadassah immediately poured her heart out. She began by explaining that for many years there had been a tremendous burden of pressure from her family to precisely follow every tenant of Islam. The weight of expectation and the overwhelming feeling that she was unable to follow all the rules or please this god eventually drove her to threaten to kill herself, which is why she had been admitted to the hospital. She said that a deep sadness was overcoming her, and she felt trapped in darkness.
“I just cannot live like this anymore,” she said, “You look happy and free. How do I get what you have?”
M said, “Do you really want to know?”
She replied, “Yes.”
M asked again, “Are you sure you really want to know?”
She said, “You have to tell me!”
M replied, “God is the only one who can set you free,” and then began to explain that the reason she is free is because of what God has done through Jesus.
After walking through the gospel, she ended by saying, “But Hadassah, you have to understand: believing this will cost you everything. You may lose your family, your rights…you may even lose your life.” As Hadassah considered, M asked her if she wanted to read more about Jesus that night. “Yes, please!” she exclaimed, to which M replied, “Come on, it will change your life.” They immediately went to the car for privacy and read John 1-2 together. Amazingly, Hadassah agreed with every major truth they uncovered together, without hesitation. She was totally enamored with what she read. As the night grew late, and after taking an English copy of the Bible, they prayed and departed with Hadassah agreeing to read more. God was working in Hadassah’s life.
A few weeks later, M invited her other teammates and Hadassah over for dinner. When they arrived, M and the other girls gave Hadassah an Arabic copy of the Bible, and she quickly began voraciously reading. For an hour she hardly looked up, plowing through the Gospel of John. They talked about being born again. She longed for it. They talked about Jesus being one with the Father, and she thought it was amazing, wondering why the religious leaders would want to stone Him if it was all true. They talked about freedom, cleansing from sin through Him, and the abundant life that He gives, and she was practically begging them to tell her how she could follow Him.
“God, please grant a young woman among us the faith to believe!”
God had made this the cry of the Brook Hills team earlier in the year, stirring in their hearts a great desire to see God expand His kingdom in a way that allowed the women on the team to partner closely in building His church. For months they had been praying this, and He answered their prayers. One night, many months after their first encounter, M prayed in English as Hadassah prayed in Arabic and embraced Jesus as her Lord. Afterward she was completely joyful. “It feels like a mountain has been lifted off my back. I have a peaceful calm in my heart that I have never felt. I have a reason to praise God now, a reason to live.”
They spent the rest of the night talking about the new family of God she was entering into and how they were now her sisters. They encouraged her that the most important thing she could do after choosing to follow Jesus was to tell someone what He had done for her. So, she plans to tell her father soon, whom she feels may completely embrace the Truth himself, and she even met someone else in the hospital who had been having dreams and hopes to tell her what she has found. But she is worried about her mom’s family as they are very religious.
As you know well, this is just the beginning. This has been a great reminder that God has this thing rigged. He has been preparing Hadassah for years to hear these truths. Even meeting her was an accident. But God never wasted a moment, never made a mistake. He ordered every moment to draw her into His love. As they left her home, with eyes full of joy and in front of her mother she said, “Goodbye family.” Family indeed. May God receive all the glory for His great works.
The Global Offering allows us to send, support, and sustain Mid-Termers and Long-Termers like J & M and others like them who serve all around the world. By giving to the Global Offering we are able to send more workers who share the gospel among least reached places and people. Learn more about and give to the Global Offering today.
*initials used in place of team member names for security reasons