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One Influence After Another

Maya is a young adult studying computer science at a public university in North Africa.  She’s been a faithful Muslim all her life.  But her devotion to her faith developed against the backdrop of a father who was neither a Muslim or a Christian.   She knew even as a little girl that HER FATHER openly admired Jesus Christ.  He never admitted to being a follower, but most of his friends were Christian.  He never tried to dissuade her either from observing her Muslim faith.

The change in her thinking began the day she took violently ill. HER MOTHER instead of visiting a doctor, took her to A SHEIKH for him to read the Qur’an to her.  She was told it would heal her.  It didn’t.  In fact, it threw her into a cycle of negativity and discouragement that made her question all her beliefs.  What kind of God would cause her to feel worse after turning to him to be healed or after hearing his word?  She thought of the affection her dad often expressed for Jesus.  She decided to talk to God and ask Him to show her the truth.

At one brave moment  she wrote a long message on Facebook to A THIRD COUSIN, who she’d heard was a Christian.  She carefully wrote out each of her questions. (She didn’t know it, but he was in fact an Adventist.)  Before she pushed send, though, she erased it, uncertain if she was doing the right thing.  The next day she sent him a much shorter message.  She claimed she was a Christian and would like to study the Bible!

Soon after she began the Bible classes with her cousin, OTHER CHRISTIANS contacted her.  When she told them what she was learning, they were alarmed.  They urged her to end the studies because they said they were sponsored by a sect that did not follow Jesus.  When they tried to answer her questions, though, she noticed they didn’t seem to talk about the Bible like her cousin did.   They believed the wealthier you are, the more you are being blessed as a  Christian.  They spoke in tongues too.  All of these things made Maya ask more and more questions. In the confusion, she decided she couldn’t study with anybody.  She asked to quit the Bible studies with her cousin.  He encouraged her to take time to think and pray.  Occasionally he would contact her to see how she was doing; he didn’t seem offended at all that she had quit studies.

One day her cousin invited her to the baptism of A YOUNG MAN who had had a similar experience with Christian friends while he was trying to learn the Bible.  The young man contacted her and told her how he had grown in his faith through studying the Bible with his Adventist  friends.  He shared the joy of being part of THE CHURCH FAMILY that he would be joining.  She was touched.  Hesitantly she agreed to attend the baptism.  At the same time, she contacted her cousin to ask if he would start the Bible studies again.

The baptism gave her a lot to think about.  She realized it was time to take her Christianity seriously!  When THE PASTOR called for people to come forward who wanted to be baptized in the coming service,  Maya stood up quickly.

God’s influence continued.

Maya’s conversion helped focus her witness to her DAD from someone who loved Jesus to someone who follows Him.  He is on a journey today for baptism.  On the first day of Ramadan, Maya’s MOTHER accepted Jesus; as a sign of her decision, for the first time in her life her mother did not fast. It signified her decision to leave Islam, to be delivered from the past, and to give up everything to be with Jesus.

Maya will be baptized next month, and she is praying for her 18-year-old BROTHER, that he will accept Jesus as His Savior too.  And so the stream of influences continue.

Each one reminds you that whether you know it or not, every contact you have is part of the stream of influence God brings into people’s lives to move their hearts toward Him.  They all flow together until, because of the Holy Spirit, our part joins the part God has given others; God takes all credit and makes all our influence effective.

The challenge is not to be distracted.  Don’t be hesitant.  Press on inspite of rejection or indifference.  You do not know what influence God wants you to have and how He wants to use you to speak for Him.

As Maya will tell you, “Since we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, ‘I believed and therefore I spoke,’ we also believe and therefore speak.”  2 Cor. 4:13.  And God’s influence continues!

Maya can thank God for these very special influences in her life–and many she probably will not know until eternity.  Notice, even her dad’s Christian friends had an impact!  And, because God has influenced her through so many, she knows she is in the process of influencing others, some even who helped her find God even before they did.  –NI

THE STORY GOES ON:

After this story was written, Maya (not her real name) was baptized with six others, including her father.  Her mother is preparing for baptizing and her prayers continue for her brother–and many others!  –NA