Iraq (MNN) — To be born into a Muslim family in Iraq is to be Muslim. Stepping out of that structure can lead to denouncement, persecution, and even death. That’s why Christians from Muslim backgrounds often hide their faith from family and friends.
However, Frontiers USA shared an encouraging story with us about one former Muslim father in Iraq who recently became a Christian. This man got to do something not many Christian fathers get to do: baptize his own son.
An Outward Ripple of Faith
Uday came from a devout Muslim family, part of the 98 percent of Iraqis who are Muslim. Two decades ago, Uday encountered a missionary who shared the Gospel with him. This began Uday’s journey to Christ. When he met a worker from Frontiers USA, the two began studying the Bible together, and Uday’s faith began to flourish.
Frontiers President Bob Blincoe says, “He went home every day after the Bible study and shared it with his son…. That’s an amazing thing when you see a man who doesn’t want to be a believer in secret. He wanted to redeem the people around him, especially his own family.”
Finally, the day came when Uday wanted to make a public profession of faith.
“Uday was baptized with several other new believers in that city. Coming up from the water, Uday turned to his son and baptized his son. We didn’t know that the son had come to faith, but because of the father sharing his faith in the family all the time, his son came to faith too,” Blincoe says.
“So now we’re thrilled that these two have come to faith. And another young man named Hamid – a colleague and friend of the son of Uday – has also come to the faith. So Hamid and Uday’s son are now two believers who have linked arms with one another to endure in the faith despite persecution and to share their faith with many more.”
According to Open Doors USA, Iraq has a very tribal culture. Rejection of Islam is seen as a rejection of heritage and family.
Muslim family members in Iraq often take it upon themselves to avenge the dishonor they perceive has been brought on their family by attacking or killing Christian converts.
“You can understand how important it is then when more than one family member and sometimes entire families come to faith,” Blincoe says. “There is still a threat from the administers of Islam, but there is no longer a threat from the immediate family.”
That’s why whole families in Iraq coming to faith in Jesus is so powerful – a redeemed family changes the legacy of entire generations.
Fruitful Missions in the Muslim World
As Frontiers continues to carry out faithful ministry in the Muslim world, Blincoe says they hope to see more families like Uday’s come to know Jesus.
“We’ve had so many failures of planting churches in the Muslim world that it has driven us back to the Bible to find almost what’s hidden in plain sight. In the book of Acts, in the book of Genesis, in the great number of households that Paul is greeting at the end of Romans 16… whole families come to faith and link arms to one another to help one another and be encouraged.
“It’s one of those keys that the Bible talks about – the whole family coming to faith – that have increased the number of enduring churches in the Muslim world.”
So how can you pray? Blincoe offers this simple yet profound request: “Pray for whole families to come to faith in the Muslim world.”
Join what God is doing in the Muslim world at frontiersusa.org!
Header photo courtesy of Frontiers USA.