week's Cross Walk Talk PODCAST is a
Surprise Interview! How to Minister to Muslims
(her name not revealed for her own safety)
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Carlotta: You always had a heart for missions but how did God
lead you to Muslims?
Since I was five, I felt the call to be a missionary teacher. After college I worked hard to pay off some school bills while gaining teaching experience at a small Christian school. I looked into several organizations in both missions agencies and teaching overseas. Nothing seemed to be right.
My pastor knew my heart for serving as a missionary and told me about a couple in my church who helped to train missionaries for the field with my denomination. I had met with them and shared my heart with them and the dream that God had put in my heart to teach overseas. They in turn met a missionary couple who was praying about teachers for their school in the country where I eventually served. When I received a phone call from this couple, I had never heard of this country. However, that very fact peeked my interest. Although I did not respond right away, it was in the back of my heart and mind for several months before I realized that this was where God was calling me to serve for at least one year.
Carlotta: What was it that peeked your interest about this one
I had taken the “Perspectives on the World Christian Movement” class at a local Bible Study Center in my home town. This class is offered in many cities around the country and it is an incredible eye opener to understanding God’s plan and purposes for the nations. The course highlights four areas in understanding and fulfilling the Great Commission: Biblical, historical, strategic, and cultural.
I had heard about the 10/40 window before taking this class, but after taking this course, my heart began to realize the need for people to be reached in this area. The 10/40 Window is an area of the world that contains the largest population of non-Christians in the world. The area extends from 10 degrees to 40 degrees North of the equator, and stretches from North Africa across to China. 97% of people in the least evangelized countries live in the 10/40 window. 82% of the poorest of the poor live in the 10/40 window. This area is the home to the greatest concentration of Muslims, which is said to be the fastest growing religion in the world by some.
These facts burdened my heart and I longed to go to this area of the world. The country in Asia that I was asked to go and teach in was in this very area. So in a nut shell, it was ultimately God’s specific call to this country and the burden on my heart to reach the unreached Muslims in the 10/40 window.
Carlotta: Tell us specifically, what were you able to do in this
I am an Elementary School Teacher. So, I went on the field my first year and taught First and Second grade students at a school for Missionaries’ Kids. I always thought of my self as teaching needy kids on the field, meaning the nationals. Yet, you have to know the language first to do that, of course. Even though this was not my assignment for my first mission field experience, I was excited and knew that I was called to begin my years of serving in this little school.
Not until I began teaching there, did I realize the GREAT need for quality education for missionary kids. In fact, one of the NUMBER ONE reasons missionaries leave the field is due to the lack of educational resources for children their children. Teachers for all ages are needed on the mission field. If God opens the door for helping the education system in the country of service, great, but it usually never mean teaching the students unless you are teaching English to the children. During my second year, I taught second and third grade and was able to take a big roll in developing curriculum for the school, which I really enjoyed!
The experience of being able to bless these missionary families from the States, the UK, Korea, Australia, and other nations in an all English speaking school was an incredible blessing to me. What an open door! And I say this to encourage any and all teachers of every level of education, God can use you in almost any nation around the world to minister to missionary families in this way. Not only missionary families will be blessed, but their organization will thank you for helping to make it possible for them to stay on the field. Even family members of the missionaries will appreciate you as they sometimes may worry about this important aspect of the child’s life. I was also able to teach English to neighborhood kids and to help start a discipleship group for the girls, opening up more local opportunities.
Carlotta: Tell us more about teaching English as an opportunity to reach the people.
Until you get outside of the United States, you will not realize the incredible desire that many peoples of the world have to learn English. I have heard it all the time. Teaching English is an incredible open door to the peoples of the world, even in places that are completely closed to Christianity. Now, I am not certified in Teaching English as a Second language, although I have seriously thought about since coming to Tajikistan, I did have an English club for my neighborhood children during my first year there. I started with a party for them at Christmas time to tell them about the real meaning of Christmas. From that point, I was able to relationships with kids who were hungry to learn.
Carlotta: How receptive are Muslims to hearing the Good News of Jesus Christ?
I want to preface what I am about to say with the fact that I have worked among Muslims in one particular country. Just as we know of varying lifestyles and moral codes of people who refer to themselves as Christians around the world, the same is true for Muslims. The Muslim people I worked with are not as strict religiously as you will find in some parts of the world. Having said that, the Muslims I came to know were open to listening about Jesus Christ as their Savior. They are willing to listen once you have taken the time to “get to know them.” Sometimes they will easily bring up the subject of religion.
Carlotta: How can we begin to reach out to the Muslims we know?
You can pray with them in the name of Jesus. You can be patient, understanding that making decisions for Christ are a huge step and may mean that their families will turn away from them. Their family is Muslim, always have been, and without your witness, most likely always will be.
Carlotta: How important is it to be able to speak their language?
It is very important if you go to their country. Most missionaries to Muslim countries overseas, spend 3-6 months studying their language before they go. I didn't have time to do that but I spent hours and hours studying after I arrived until I could carry on a conversation with them. By my second year I could share with them in their "heart language."
Carlotta: Give us a word about reaching Muslims or befriending
The is the key to reaching Muslims for Christ, I believe – FRIENDSHIP. You will find that this is the case in the life of almost any nonbeliever as I am sure you understand, you need to first build a relationship with that person to show that they can trust you. To answer your question though, yes, even once you have become their friend and earned their trust, it takes prayer, patience, and living out the Christian life in front of them in just everyday occurrences.
Muslims, as are all peoples of what we may call the “Eastern World,” are all about family. Respecting and honoring family and their community is their highest priority. If we can be a demonstration of a God honoring, loving family you can make a world of difference in their eyes which will show them the true heart of Christianity. Whether it be demonstrating a loving and respectful relationship between a husband and wife, or parent and child.
can we best pray for Muslims?
For one, Muslims believe strongly that they can hear from God in dreams and visions. Pray that they will be open and that Jesus will manifest Himself to them in dreams and visions.
Pray that they will be hungry for something more as they realize the emptiness of religion. All religions are simply man's ways of trying to reach God. Jesus is Father God reaching to man.
Tune into the AUDIO at www.NowFaith.TV to hear more about:
the current status of women in Muslim cultures
the importance of bearing a son
women who are married as a second or third wife
physical and emotional abuse of wives
rare opportunities for women to continue education away from home
Carlotta: PRAYER: Ask God how you can be involved in missions now.
ask God if you are to go on a missions trip (or a trip with us)
re-evaluate your priorities and make time to be a witness here and now
reorganize your budget so you are able to give to those who go
learn more about other countries, cultures and their beliefs
pray for the world using a map or the newspaper
pray for our mission outreaches and our mission's trip
sending support packages to missionaries
subscribe to a missionaries newsletter and encourage them by e-mail
start a prayer group for the world
make friends with non-believers in your own community
other resources are available?
You can do an internet search on the 10/40 window, take the "Perspectives" course in your area, join or form a missions committee in your church and you can read books on missions and or Muslims.
Carlotta: You can send me any questions you have for this missionary and I will forward them to her (to protect her identity and safety.)
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