Middle East (MNN) – A couple of weeks ago, Samuel from Redemptive Stories had the opportunity to celebrate the baptisms of two Christ-followers in the Middle East. The men who were baptized have followed Christ for at least the last four years. In a blow-up pool in the yard of a friend who had been discipling them, these men counted the cost of following Christ and publicly declared their faith through baptism.
Boldness in Baptism
Samuel says the men took the opportunity to share their testimonies and their stories, and those present took the time to pray with them. Following the baptism, the group of friends shared in the Lord’s Supper and also in a time of community around a meal.
“It was just so joyful to see their joy in their following in obedience in baptism, to tell their stories. One had lost his wife, because of his faith, his wife had divorced him. The other one, his wife had accepted him and his faith, but still, there were still struggles in that relationship with her. He just confessed that he just is begging for prayer for that,” Samuel says.
“It was just a beautiful story of them counting the cost for Christ, knowing that it was going to be difficult knowing that it was going to be hard, but yet, knowing that Christ Himself is worth it.”
One of these men even took the risk to share about Christ with his extended family. As a result, two of his brothers have also come to faith in Jesus.
Trials in Faith
However, there is still danger looming over these men’s lives for their decision to follow Christ. For these men, choosing baptism is similar to publicly marking themselves for their faith. The men reside in a fundamental Islamic community. While their community is mostly Shiite and generally more accepting compared to other dogmatic branches of Islam, there still is not a lot of room to leave Islam for a different belief and still be accepted. In counting the cost, these men found the joy of Christ to be worth the potential challenges to follow.
“There is openness…I think that after what happened with ISIS, in their country, and in countries around it, what has happened is they’ve seen the failures of Islam, they’ve seen the systemic brokenness of Islam. And so, they’re asking questions, they’re asking deep theological questions which have created opportunities for the gospel to go forth,” Samuel says.
Will You Pray?
Currently, Redemptive Stories is encouraging and supporting these men who are faithfully serving Christ. Samuel says as the organization walks alongside these men encouraging them. They also offer training, leadership guidance, ideas for opportunities to share Christ, and prayer and financial support.
Will you join in prayer? Pray for these men who have boldly declared their faith in Christ. Pray the encouragement of Christians in the Middle East and North Africa, specifically those who have “Christian” stamped on their passport and have grown out of a heritage of Christianity.
“These are believing Christians who are faithfully working in these communities to share their faith with their Muslim neighbor. And so, pray for them. Pray that they would be faithful and fruitful,” Samuel says.
Header photo by Ryan Loughlin on Unsplash