North Africa (CAM) — The parents of a young woman on the verge of death asked a ministry leader in North Africa to minister to her, and only after he arrived did he realize that at one time she had often attended his church.
The leader and some team members had arrived to say farewell, pray for her and, at the parents’ request, baptize her, he said.
“When we entered the house, we found a sick girl who was extremely thin, looked very desperate and was just waiting for death,” the leader said. “She was aware that she had a few days left before she would die and had no hope for healing. Although we didn’t know anything about the medical reports of her illness and what it was, I had a feeling that this could be an evil spirit.”
They also didn’t know anything about her faith. Requesting anointing oil, the leader asked for some private time with the young woman, Anila*. As he spoke to her about salvation in Christ, he said, he realized that for a season she had frequently attended his church, but then stopped.
“When I asked her if she was a believer, she said that she was not sure about it.”
“When I asked her if she was a believer, she said that she was not sure about it,” he said. “So I asked her to pray with me to give her life to Jesus, and that baptism should come after being a believer. Then we prayed, and she gave her life to God.”
The team encouraged her with some Bible verses, including a passage from James’ epistle about how the Lord can heal illness, and they prayed and sang worship songs. He anointed her with oil and prayed for healing.
After 15 minutes, he said, her fever shot up, and she began shaking.
“I felt that something was happening, so I asked the team to turn our prayers from asking for healing to giving thanks to the Lord, because healing was happening,” the leader said. “I asked her to sit up in her bed, but the surprise was that she stood up by herself.”
Anila had been unable to move for six months, but suddenly she was able to stand and move with ease, he said. He asked her what had happened.
“She said she didn’t know, but that she felt there was something that happened in her life,” the leader said. “God healed Anila, and after a few days she was able to go outside her house. She came to church and was completely different; she looked healthy and healed. Now she is in the baptism class. Praise the Lord.”
Anila’s testimony encouraged church members, the leader said, as it reflected the importance of reaching out to the community in the North African country, undisclosed for security reasons.
Visiting homes and handing out Bibles to people on the streets, local missionaries also helped mobilize church members to spread the gospel, he said. One area they targeted was rife with drug use, drunkenness and crime, including rape.
“They had heard the gospel many times, but as a church, we didn’t give up,” the leader said. “We were continuing to pray and fast to see change. The challenge was big, but we believed the grace of God was bigger and was working more than what we knew.”
When police recently tried to curtail crime by putting more officers in the slum, workers were reminded that the battle for rehabilitation was essentially spiritual.
“It was an opportunity for us to do our efforts to share the gospel, because we knew that this was spiritual war,” the leader said. “For the first time, I then saw a group of youths coming to the church confessing their sins. As a result of sharing the Bible, 11 young people were baptized, and some of them shared their testimonies of how God transformed them.”
Among those finding new life was a drug addict who attended a church service with his wife, received Christ and now testifies how he was set free from the desperate need to feed his habit.
“There are many examples like him and his wife,” the leader said. “Many people are caring about their lives, coming to church and sharing in the youth services and discussing how to turn to God and submit their lives. Most of those who were baptized were young people.”
Despite ministering in a Muslim-majority country where opposition to the gospel is deep-rooted, local missionaries also hold open-air evangelistic events, the leader said.
At one three-day event, more than 75 people put their faith in Christ, he said. Among them was a woman from a nominally Christian family who had never attended church services; she fell victim to violence, gave in to vice and eventually had children out of wedlock.
She came to the final day of the evangelistic event, the leader said. After hearing the message of eternal life, she thought about going forward to receive Christ but was afraid, she later told him.
“But then she decided and went up to pray,” the leader said. “That night, she gave her life to Jesus as her Savior. When I asked about her first impression at that time, she replied, ‘It was the greatest moment in my life.’ Now she is attending the local church, and she joined in the baptism class to be baptized.”
Workers are sharing the Good News of God’s kingdom throughout North Africa. Help them fulfill Christ’s command to make disciples of all nations.
*Name changed for security reasons
Header and story images courtesy of Christian Aid Mission.