Indonesia (MNN) – Ramadan is officially underway, so for the next month, over a billion Muslims will abstain from food, drink, and physical pleasure for a month from dawn to sunset in submission to Allah. But while Muslims strive to draw closer to God, one Christian organization is using Ramadan as a chance to share the true God.
Forgotten Missionaries International workers recently left for Indonesia, home to 12.7% of the world’s Muslims and the highest Muslim-populated country in the world. FMI Executive International Director Bruce Allen, along with his wife and two other FMI members, will conduct a training seminar on two of the countries’ islands for indigenous pastors and church leaders.
“Each conference is a multi-day conference,” Allen said. “We’re gathering the pastors and their wives from various areas to attend one of these two conferences. We’ll be discussing how their homes become a lighthouse for the gospel, a beacon in this culture.
“And it’s not just what happens in church: it’s a lot of what happens outside of the church as well, especially with the majority population.”
But Ramadan’s schedule can make things difficult. The daytime is when Muslims fast, which is also when most decide to sleep. Nighttime is when many eat and do their activities.
“Sometimes the Christians just do not have the interaction with Muslims, because Muslims are at home sleeping,” Allen said. “It’s difficult for business to get conducted during Ramadan during normal business hours. The whole tenor of society changes during this month.
“There are some special things we need to be careful about when we are just going about our business in Indonesia: when to eat, how to eat.”
In some ways, Ramadan can bring hostility on Christians. Since Muslims are not allowed to even drink water during the day, they may become more irritable than usual. A simple conversation may turn into a shouting match.
But in other ways, Ramadan is an opportunity to share Christ. Especially for devout Muslims, Ramadan is a time of spiritual sensitivity. When Christians engage in tactful conversation, many times Muslims listen.
“Muslims are trying to say, ‘I want to develop my spiritual life,’” Allen says. “They engage Christians who can say, ‘So here’s how to become alive spiritually, and this is what Jesus Christ does for you,’ and present the gospel to them. We need to pray that people would be open, that there would be fertile soil in their hearts for the seed of the gospel to take root.”
As Muslims pray and submit to God, so should Christians. There are many ways Christians can impact Muslims during Ramadan.
“We want to pray for the courage of Christians, the tactfulness of Christians as they would share the gospel,” Allen says. “We want to pray that God would be drawing many from every tribe, every language, every culture, to Himself.”
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