Abdul became a Christian while studying in a country outside the Middle East. He returned to his Muslim family a year later, but began to doubt.

“I wanted to make sense of my faith with my mind in order to witness to others but my mind just couldn’t grasp it,” he recounted. This doubting continued for months, during which time he refused any contact with other believers. One day he remembered a question that a New Zealand missionary had asked him, “Do you think with your heart or with your mind?” He realised that God could speak to the heart, and believed the truth of Jesus as the Way. He then cast away his doubts, re-read the gospel of John and turned back to Jesus.

At this time another missionary phoned Abdul and for the first time in seven months he answered. The worker offered to put him in contact with another Muslim background believer (MBB) and to help him find work. When these two MBB’s got together they talked about work opportunities for 15 minutes and then about their faith for two hours. The other MBB understood his struggles, reassured him, and poured out advice as if they would never meet again. He invited him to study the bible and to be in touch every couple of days. He emphasized, “We love you even if you hadn’t become a Christian, but now you are part of our family we will look out for you”. Abdul’s delight and relief were physically visible, his eyes opened wide, his body eased and he smiled.

Community! Belonging! Surely this is a key to actual growth in the Middle East. Missionary and author Roland Muller summed it up well, “A Muslim coming to Christ needs to be given a greater sense of joining than of leaving.”