“You must make a choice: it is us or Jesus. Do you want your family, or do you want your new faith?”
If your parents said that to you, what would you choose? It’s an extremely tough choice. It’s one many secret believers must make when their family find out about their hidden faith in Jesus.
Kabil knows the pain of the choice – he made his decision ten years ago. “Nothing can equal the life that Jesus gave to me,” he says. And now he shares his experiences and knowledge with hundreds of believers, via a network of discipleship trainers.
When Kabil first became a Christian, his family were not particularly hostile. They were Muslim, but weren’t strict. A few years later, however, things got worse. “Big problems started, and I had to choose between my family and Jesus,” he remembers. “I decided to follow the Lord. I gave up my family, my home and my business.” Kabil hasn’t seen his mother since then, and is only rarely in contact with his brothers and sisters.
But, as Jesus said in Mark 10:29-30, “No one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—along with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life.” Kabil has give up home, brothers, sisters, mother – but now he has a wide family of believers in his country.
Image: Kabil, delivering training to new believers in North Africa
Shortly after he decided to follow Christ, Kabil was given the role of Bible teacher in his church and noticed an important issue:
“The need was obvious. We saw that, once someone from a Muslim background was baptised, you did not see him or her at church. We also saw that some believers, after some years were not stable, in their faith. We wanted to offer a quality service, so we needed to organise training.”
They used a programme developed by Open Doors. “After we started offering the course, we noticed changes among our brothers. We saw that they were staying in the church, we saw that there was great progress in terms of the relationships between the brothers and sisters.”
The training course has continued and the impact has been significant. More people are staying in church and growing spiritually.
And it’s not just Kabil’s church. The discipleship course has been offered across various regions of North Africa for almost a decade, and continues in an online form now that measures to combat the spread of coronavirus mean that believers are physically isolated from one another. Praise God that thousands of people have undergone through this training!
Most Muslim converts in North Africa will face some kind of pressure to leave Christianity, but Kabil sees blessing in the midst of persecution. “I would say that persecution is never fatal to the church; actually, it is a blessing. The church grows and blossoms thanks to persecution. Jesus talks about that in the Bible: ‘Blessed are those who are persecuted’.
“Rejoice when being persecuted, because this is how they persecuted the prophets and the apostles. It would be dangerous for the church if it got sleepy. I rejoice because the church is blossoming, thousands of people come to pray to the Lord. The enemy saw that the church spreads and that thousands and thousands of people converted to Christianity. I rejoice and I am very happy about the work of God. But, of course, I know persecution can damage me or my family.”
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We support people who are beaten, tortured,
imprisoned, falsely accused, and hated simply for following Jesus.