From Brazil Salvation Comes to Muslims in Africa
In the early 70s, YWAM missionaries Jim and Pam Stier went to Brazil with a vision to equip and send Brazilians to the nations. Brazil was considered a mission field at that time, certainly not a mission force. Many thought their vision was unrealistic. But over the years it became reality. Missionaries from Brazil have increasingly traveled to various regions of the world to share the good news of Jesus Christ. Their culture of friendliness, hospitality, and great faith has rapidly grown them into one of the world’s most effective missionary forces.
A Step of Faith
Many years ago YWAMer, Tomas* left his native Brazil, answering God’s call to the continent of Africa. The Lord led him specifically to the nation of Tanzania, located in the southeast part of the continent.
Roughly half the people in Tanzania would call themselves Christians. Around a third follow Islam. The rest adhere to smaller folk religions. **
An African Muslim Receives
In time a young Muslim man named Julius* heard the good news of Jesus. Joyfully, he gave his life to Him. He was not just happy to be saved himself. His community and friends needed to have the same opportunity.
“Tomas!” he cried out. “Come meet my family and neighbors. You must explain these things to them as well!“
Tomas agreed. What he did not realize was that sixty people would gather for this! He preached the good news to the entire group for two days. In the evenings, he showed them the Jesus film in their own language.
The Important Commitment of Baptism
On the third day, he knew that the people had to make a decision. He explained to them about the commitment of baptism.
“I want to be baptized!” declared one man.
“Very well,” said Tomas. “I will baptize you. Then you will help me to baptize the next five people!”
In the end, it was not five but forty-one people who were baptized!
Where Was His Wife?
This was a wonderful victory. Something was not quite right though. Tomas said to Julius, “Where is your wife? You used to bring her with you every day. Is something the matter?”
Julius looked down. “Actually the woman who I have been bringing with me is not my original wife.
“I left behind my wife and six children when I went to look for a job farther away. But after I got there, I met another woman. I didn’t go back to my wife and kids after that.”
Naturally, Tomas was very concerned to hear this. Multiple wives is not uncommon with Muslim men in this area. He thought and prayed, and finally made an offer to Julius, “I will go with you if you want to go back to your family.”
A Powerful Homecoming
Julius did go back and was met by an extraordinary surprise. His wife had also become a follower of Jesus!
Repentance and reconciliation followed. He would not abandon his second wife, however, as that would have left her and her children ashamed and destitute. Thankfully the women and children were happy to be a family together!
Julius realized that it was time to invest in the area where life began for him. He sensed God still had more for him to do. Father God was giving him a passion to reach the unreached in the Muslim village where he had been born.
When he returned, he recognized the small house where he had grown up. He gathered the neighbors under a tree and began to teach them about who Jesus was. He told them what the Savior He had done for them.
Many from this Muslim village wanted to attend these times. They too wanted to follow Jesus!
Was I Born For This?
Julius was beginning to understand what God had destined him for. He had a special calling for this man. It was to make disciples in that entire region of Africa.
As he continued to train others, one man stood out in his sincere wish to give his life to Jesus, and follow Him with all his heart. Julius knew that he would be a good person to carry on the work. He equipped the man to be able to make disciples, who would make other disciples, who would, in turn, make other disciples!
When he had taught the man all he could, he blessed him and entrusted Him to the Lord for His work. He had seen that this man was able to carry on the ministry faithfully.
What did Julius do next? Retire? Take a holiday and enjoy a feeling of accomplishment?
Not Julius! He was already looking for another place to take the good news of Jesus.
Tomas Returns to Visit
Recently, Tomas paid Julius a visit. He found Julius faithfully continuing in the work amongst a new group of Muslims. He was applying the principals he had learned in the Harvest Multiplication Training course.
In six months he has seen 141 people from three villages come to the Lord! He began small, simple churches… and is currently working on starting more. Glory be to God!
He is a Redeemer
This story teaches us many things. One of the most impactful things is about redemption. We see God using Julian, who many people would have judged for leaving his wife earlier.
The Lord will use any of us when we make ourselves available, humbly acknowledge our weaknesses, and commit to walking in righteousness, with the help of our Lord. Is He calling you? Just like He did Julian? In spite of your past or your weaknesses, God can use you as a disciple-maker. He has a purpose and plan for you.
Like Tomas from Brazil, and Julian from Tanzania, take a step forward in missions and disciple-making. Sign up to speak with a YWAM Bridges coach using the form in the sidebar or via this link.
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*Not their real names.