I heard this story firsthand and asked her to write it down, it was almost unbelievable, so here you are. People are listening!
I was standing in the kitchen of my friend's house in a remote village in the Middle East. I had been driving out to this village every week to help teach English classes and build friendships with the locals—many of whom are refugees after ISIS destroyed their hometowns.
One of the local teenage girls, Shiyan, was cooking with me, cutting up vegetables for our group lunch. We had just met that day and made small talk in her limited English.
After a few moments of silence, she asked suddenly, “Do you like Christian music?”
Completely dumbfounded, I replied, “Yes, I do! What about you?”
“Yes, me too!” And she proceeded to list off several classic Christian worship songs she liked. Then she asked, “Do you know this one?” as she connected her phone to the Bluetooth speaker and started playing Pat Barrett’s “The Way (New Horizon).” She sang along happily to the lyrics, “I believe you are the way, the truth, the life.” She told me that she had heard these songs from the other foreigners who played Christian during English classes. Then she listened to the songs at home to practice her English.
Trying to stay cool, I asked, “Do you know what this song is saying? Who it’s talking about?”
“Yes, it’s about Jesus. I’ve read about him in the Bible.”
Picking up my jaw that had dropped to the floor, I replied, “You’ve read the Bible?!” I knew her family belonged to the minority tribal religion in this village.
“Yes! I love the Bible.” She told me about many Old Testament names she had read in the Bible. “But sometimes it is confusing. I wish someone could help me understand it!”
“I would love to read it with you and help you understand it! It’s my favorite book.” I had to hold myself back from jumping up and down in excitement.
“Great! When can we start?”
Shiyan and I proceeded to read the Bible every week for the next month before I left for Summer holiday. She was so eager to read, understand, and immediately share with her family. Her parents would listen at the door of their living room (which functions as the family bedroom, dining room, and living room in one), asking for a translation of what we were reading. Please pray that the whole family comes to know the Lord!
It's beautiful to see how people had planted seeds in Shiyan’s heart over many years, and God continued to water them. From the people twenty years ago who gave her uncle a Bible, which he gifted to her after he became a believer. To the young Christian expats who played worship music in the background during study time in English class. And God brought her to me, a true person of peace, whom He had already been preparing to dive into His Word and become an evangelist to her own people.
What an honor to serve our patient, pursuing God! And how beautiful that music brought us together “for such a time as this” (Esther 4:14).