Thursday, December 20, 2007

Treasure your Bible

I like to recommend giving Bibles as gifts during the holiday season. There is no higher treasure. All the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are in Christ and his word. I want to tell you a true story, but I must change the names and places of some individuals involved to protect a precious brother. You will understand why.

About a month ago I received an email from a city in Turkey asking for Bibles to help a struggling congregation in a nation dominated by Muslims. Of course, evangelism is illegal in most Muslim countries; and the punishment for evangelizing is usually death. Muslim countries under Sharia law have no freedom of religion.

Since I did not recognize the name, I asked for some references. I wanted to know if this brother who wrote to me was faithful to the Lord. Since he did not know any American members of the church, he pointed me to an Australia, who vouched for the sincere efforts of the Turkish brother who had come out of Islam and into the faith. This took some time. I am so grateful for my elders who acted with speed.

In the meantime, I found the Turkish brother who asked for funds, was not seeking funds for himself but for a friend in another country, who had found a way to smuggle Bibles into a predominantly Islamic country in Africa. When we made the commitment to help, the Turkish brother put me into contact with the African brother, who sometimes lived in another country than the one where he was taking the Bibles. We will fictitiously call this precious brother Ammed. So we have a Turkish brother and an Australian saying that Ammed is a faithful brother. Then I learned from Ammed that he attended a congregation in East Africa.

Rather than asking for the money for himself, Ammed said send it to an elder of the church in East Africa, where he attends and is the only foreigner. He informed the elders, and we sent the money to them to buy the Bibles. The church where he attends rejoiced at his faith and at our willingness to help buy Bibles to smuggle in to the lost.

In the meantime, Ammed worked all day at his job and spent his nights printing evangelistic literature that was designed for his native, Islamic land. I marveled at a man who would risk his own life and that of his family to evangelize the Islamic world. I marveled at a man who rejoiced that an American church would help him, something he never expected.

He would loved to have smuggled ten times as many Bibles into his native land. This story, which involves people from four continents, is amazing to me. I am humbled by the sacrifices of a man who converted from error to truth. In his last email, he asked if he could download my studies on the internet and translate them into Arabic. How could I refuse such a servant?

In coming weeks and months I hope to hear more from Ammed about the Bibles and his evangelism he is doing among his people. Please pray for his safety and success.

in hope,
Phil

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Where I preach we have decided on the "The Bible" as our theme for 2008. My first sermon of 08 I am going to use some of this blog, if that is ok with you? Also I am going to use writing from a man who is (now) an atheist. In this writing he ridicules the Bible. I want to show the many different views (of man) about God's book to man.
Sonny Owens

Terry said...

Phil,
I truly appreciate stories of courage like this one! We need to hear about such activities so that we can be inspired to take risks for Christ in our own lives.

Phil Sanders said...

Dear Sonny,

What a wonderful theme you have chosen. The Bible is our treasure, and feel free to quote the blog. Thanks for asking. I, of course, obscured the names to protect the brother.

There is plenty of ridicule online these days. Anti-theists are far more aggressive today than in past years.

I continue to say publicly that I believe every word of every verse of every chapter of every book is inspired of God and utterly trustworthy. We must be apologists for our faith in God and in His word.

God bless your efforts, Sonny, and keep me informed how things go.

kindly,
Phil

preacherman said...

Great post.

Kathy said...

This is very inspiring. I will pray for his safety and success!

preacherman said...

I hope you have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!