Testimony Tuesday-Nigeria’s Red Letter Bible

The following is adapted from the November 2012 issue of “The Voice of the Martyrs” magazine.

Suleiman Abdulai is a Nigerian Christian who accepts the persecution promised by Christ. His Muslim family urged him to deny Jesus’ name and even tried to kill him, before finally disowning him. But, as Jesus promised in Matthew 10, the Holy Spirit gave him the words to speak before his accusers. Although faith in Christ has cost Suleiman his family, worldly possessions and reputation, he gained everything!

Suleiman was born into a wealthy northern Nigerian Muslim family. A smart young man, he used his sharp tongue and fierce intellect to debate publicly with Christians, trying to humiliate them. He thought frustrating the lives of Christians would help him earn enough favor to get to heaven.

His confidence in Islam began to weaken after he agreed to attend a Christian church service with a  woman from work named Elizabeth.

The first church service caused Suleiman to question his Muslim faith. It seemed that the pastor was speaking directly to him that Sunday morning describing things he’d done. Suleiman was shaken. He angrily accused Elizabeth for tipping the pastor off. When she adamantly denied it, he decided he’d test the pastor. He snuck into the church the next week and sat in the back. Again, it was as if the pastor were speaking directly to him. “He said thing that I never told anyone before,” Suleiman said.

After attending only two Christian church services, he was persuaded that he had found the truth. He gave his life to Christ and began studying the Bible, telling anyone who would listen to him about his new Christian faith. When Suleiman’s family heard rumors that he had turned away from Islam, they confronted him. “Have you given your life to Christ?” they asked. Suleiman willingly admitted that he had describing what he had experienced in church.

In anger and disbelief, his family asked how much money the church had given him to convert. “There is no money,” Suleiman told them. “I received the gift of light.” His family gave him a few weeks to reconsider his decision and called every Muslim leader they knew to pray for their wayward son. After several weeks with no apparent change, Suleiman’s father demanded “Deny this religion!”  But Suleiman replied, “No, it is impossible, because I have discovered the truth.”

Suleiman and Elizabeth got married. He then took her to meet his family but they remained furious about his conversion and his Christian wife. The entire family gathered around as his father insisted, “Deny this Christ or be killed!” His aunts cried and asked him, “Why can’t you deny him or at least pretend to deny the faith?”

Elizabeth shook with fear as she listened in the next room. She was certain he would be killed right then.

As the hours passed, Suleiman felt himself being worn down. “When the pressure was too much, I heard a voice,” he said. “I looked around but didn’t see a person. I heard him say, ‘If you deny me before man, I will deny you before my Father,’ This is when I knew Jesus was there.”

Confident that Christ was standing right beside him, Suleimand told his family, “I’m not going to deny who I serve. I am ready to die, because I know He is here.” Sensing that the Holy Spirit was urging him to leave, he walked to the next room, took his wife by the hand, and left his family’s house. “As soon as we got outside,” he said, “we started to run.”

He and his wife escaped that potentially deadly confrontation but his family came looking for him. Although he hadn’t told them where he lived, they managed to find his apartment. One day while Suleiman was away visiting with a friend, a mob armed with automatic weapons descended upon the building where he lived. Later, his neighbors told him that the men from his family said they would kill him when they found him. Suleiman said that realizing the Holy Spirit had led him away from his apartment that day gave the him the “strength and confidence to serve Him with all of my heart.”

“After I gave my life to Christ, I would lock myself in a room to cry, I was not sad because I was missing my family, but I was sad because they are not going to heaven.”

Suleiman is now an evangelist and public speaker who lectures on Islam and shares his testimony. When he is not busy speaking, he spends his time ministering to converts from Islam to Christianity.

Suleiman isn’t consumed by fear because he is convinced that Islam is false. “There is no peace in Islam,” he said. “Islam brings division, and the only way we can overcome Islam is by love-not by fighting, not by rioting. It is by love. If we can take the love of God and begin to share it with people, Islam will fall.”

He knows the Gospel is the answer. “We should not be scared. We have the power of God in us to reach a dying world.”

This year Suleimand intends to focus on sharing the gospel with Muslim leaders. “Anyone who kills me as a converted Muslim, his reward is double,” he said. “But we will not be afraid. We will still preach the Gospel to them.” He asks that we pray for his preservation, but said, “For me, to die is gain.”

To support persecuted Christians and learn more of their plight, check out: http://www.persecution.com/

Tippy Tuesday-Mother/Daughter Dates

Finding time for each little person in a mom’s life can be difficult at times. I am finding that especially with school starting it is even more that way. Connecting with your child can range from simple to dramatic. Here is a peek into my life with my six-year-old.

 Love that smile! She was thrilled about hanging out at Dairy Queen with Mom!

We were having a blast trying to take our own pictures while eating our ice cream! Oh, the silly faces we made! And I simply could not keep my eyes open on the pictures! We still talk about the fun time we had here! And all it took was a few dollars spent on ice cream and a camera!

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On a simpler note, last night I laid in bed with a tired little lad on one side and my daughter on the other. Instead of trying to hurry her off to sleep we laid there and talked and talked and giggled. It wasn’t anything really profound although we tried to decide if a cow burps or not. We were both convinced that monkeys probably due and we KNOW Daddy does for sure 🙂

These are the things that I think have profound impact. I could have had me-time and though that isn’t all bad I would have missed connecting with my daughter.

How will you connect with loved ones in your life today? I’d be thrilled to hear from you, my readers!

Her Illness; His Nightmare – Gospel for Asia

Her Illness; His Nightmare – Gospel for Asia.

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After three kids, 22 years of marriage and a fortune spent on his wife’s health, Hafiz didn’t know what else he could do for her. In a land where women often face brutal mistreatment, Hafiz was a fervently attentive husband, but Laboni was incapable of caring. She didn’t know why, but she was ready to leave—again.

By now, Hafiz knew the drill, but that didn’t make him resent it any less. As hard as he tried to keep Laboni from wandering out on her own, her mental illness would always make her resist. Their once happy marriage had turned into a nightmare, and Hafiz was desperate to wake up.

Parents Seek Cure for Mentally Ill Daughter

Laboni’s problems began during childhood. Watching her as she helped around the home, Laboni’s parents worried about their daughter’s frailness and strange behavior. Unlike the small, playful quirks of other children, Laboni’s habits were bizarre and disturbing.

Her parents took her to medical doctors and invited many witch doctors to perform various rituals. Eventually, the efforts seemed to pay off, and Laboni began to look and act like a typical 18-year-old girl.

Assured of their daughter’s good health, her parents arranged a marriage to a young man from a nearby village.

Symptoms Return after Daughter Marries

For the first two years, Laboni and her new husband, Hafiz, lived a regular life. Unfortunately, though, Laboni’s symptoms slowly began to return.

Sometimes Laboni stopped speaking to everyone, or she made strange noises. Other times, she had spells of vomiting or would talk incessantly as if she might never be allowed to speak again.

Like his in-laws before him, Hafiz brought in every resource available. The couple saw the best doctors they could afford—even traveling to their nation’s capital to see specialists.

They spent thousands of dollars, but no one could solve Laboni’s illness, and her symptoms were only getting worse. She had begun wandering from the house alone, adding to Hafiz’s list of responsibilities in caring for his wife.

In desperation, Hafiz prayed to his gods for relief, however, they did no more than the doctors. After 20 years of striving for Laboni’s wellbeing, he was growing weary of the struggle.

He hated the way Laboni’s life had been wasted and the way both of them had suffered for so long—so when a group came through the area speaking of a treatment he hadn’t tried, Hafiz was still ready to hope for a miracle.

Her Illness; His Nightmare

After taking her to many doctors and witchdoctors, Laboni’s parents thought she was healed.

Her Illness; His Nightmare

For 20 years, no cure worked, but local pastor Chhiring offered Laboni’s husband a solution he hadn’t tried yet.

After 20 Years without Cure, Husband Tries Prayer

The Gospel for Asia-supported missionaries were on their way to another village when Hafiz met them. Their leader, Pastor Chhiring, told Hafiz about Jesus’ love for everyone and His power to heal even the worst illness. When Hafiz heard this, he urged Chhiring and the others to return home with him, and they agreed.

When Chhiring saw Hafiz’s frail wife, his heart broke for the couple. He visited and prayed with them for three hours and promised to return.

For two months, Chhiring visited the couple every day, reading from the Bible and praying for Laboni to be healed. One week, though, Chhiring had to delay his visit, and when he arrived Sunday morning, Laboni was nowhere to be found.

Knowing her habit of wandering off, Chhiring was instantly worried, but Hafiz was strangely unconcerned. In fact, he seemed relieved.

Her Illness; His Nightmare

Pastor Chhiring visited the couple every day for two months and prayed for Laboni to be healed.

Wife Healed, as if Waking from Deep Sleep

When Chhiring asked what happened, Hafiz explained that Laboni was out in the forest—on her own—getting food for the family’s cows. Earlier that week, she’d been healed from her illness.

Hafiz said it was as if Laboni had woken from a long, deep sleep. Now she was ready to return to life, just as her husband had always dreamed.

Grateful for the love and power Jesus had shown them, the couple decided to follow Him. As other villagers witnessed the dramatic change in Laboni, they chose to embrace Christ’s love, too.

Her Illness; His Nightmare

After they saw the change in Laboni, other villagers chose to follow Christ and Pastor Chhiring began leading a local fellowship.

Now Pastor Chhiring returns to the village not just for Hafiz and Laboni, but for a small congregation. As the church continues to grow, the believers have a perfect reminder of God’s faithfulness: the couple who escaped a nightmare and woke up to the light of Christ.

You can help open the eyes of thousands across Asia and show them Jesus’ mercy and love.

Tippy Tuesday

“Fight Breakers”

I’ve found this tip to be simply sensible. Have you ever found yourself ready to pull out your hair because the children are squabbling?

Tip 1- Give them some work to do for the next fifteen minutes. During this time they are not allowed to complain or duffle bum around.  Even my three year old is capable of that. If they complain, inform them that you will continue to give them jobs until they can perform it cheerfully. Somehow my children find excuses like, “I need to go pee” in hopes of getting out of their jobs.

Tip 2-Have the children look at each other and sing a song. After this, have them hug, look into each other’s eyes and smile broadly while saying “I love you!”.

The “army cure” in action! They ended up having to pull weeds in the shade together for squabbling.

They had to hug after they were finished. April seemed to need more work to take care of the attitude.

They finished up by holding hands and singing “Jesus Loves Me”.

I’m curious what you have found successful in stopping a squabble in its tracks? Let me know!

The Power of a Praying Mom

I love testimonies like this! Our God is AWESOME! This one is form “Gospel for Asia” ministry newsletter.

“From a Beer Can to a Bible”

Lankesh had a secure job as a bus conductor in the city. He was responsible for the safe transportation of hundreds of Sri Lankans every day. With the income form his job, Lankesh helped support his mother and sister at home.

Every weekend, Lankesh would faithfully come home to visit his mother and sister, and just as faithfully, every weekend his mother, Yachana, would share with him about Jesus. However, Lankesh was convinced of his traditional religious beliefs, and he had no interest in giving them up. When his mother would talk about Jesus, Lankesh would get angry and leave the house, usually to go drinking with his friends.

Then suddenly, Lankesh stopped making his weekened visits. His alcohol habit had become so excessive that he even discontinued his own religous activities, which he had once valued so highly.

To make matters wors, Lankesh was no longer providing money for the family. Yachana was already struggling financially, and she was devestated by her son’s disappearance. Her heart ached as she wondered wher eher boy could be. So she did the only thing she could think of: She prayed.

Yachana visited her Gospel for Asia-supported pastor, Fateh. She explained to him that she had not seen her son in some time, and she was afraid for his safety. Fateh encouraged her to continue praying for her son and to trust in the Lord. Yachana was convinced that her pastor owas right. She went home that day full of faith that she would see her son by the end of the week.

Imagine Yachana’s delight when Lankesh came home that very weekend! She was so thankful to see that he was safe. And she was even more overjoyed when he agreed to go to church with her that Sunday.

However, Yachana noticed a distressing change in her son that weekend. Lankesh’s eyes were re, and his face looked strange to her.

During the time of prayer at church, Pastor Fateh prayed for Lankesh. But Lankesh began to scram wildly, and the pastor immediately recognized that he was possessed by a demon. Lankesh collapsed to the floor. The pastor sonctinued to pray fervently over the young man, until the demon was gone and Lankesh was delivered.

Today, Lankesh is earnestly following after Jesus and has given up his former lifestyle. Yachana is at peace and thankful to the Lord for freeing her son form danger. She credits the incredible power of prayer for delivering him. She is delighted to see Lankesh carrying a Bible now instead of a beer can.

For more information on Gospel for Asia’s ministry: www.gfa.org

The Cry of Cambodian Children

My heart is full tonight! I must write! There are millions of children without parents in the small country known as Cambodia. Millions of these children have been abandoned. Millions of these are forced into child labor and prostitution. Male children are trafficked for forced labor into industries such as agriculture, fishing, and construction. Female children are forced into prostitution and forced labor in factories and house servants. Many of these children are obligated to be part of begging rings, soliciting, and street vending. Pimps imprison virgins and then auction them off to the highest bidder. These girls working in brothels are sex slaves. Did you read that? Slaves. They are given no money, sometimes food, and armed guards to prevent them from running away. Children who don’t want to cooperate are imprisoned, beaten, and starved into labor. Children as young as five are sold or kidnapped into slavery. Think of it! Age five! That is younger than my daughter is! This is tragical! The children that are sold, are sold for as little as $10!

Can  you hear them crying? Crying because of the violence they witness on an everyday basis. Crying because they have been sold so that their selfish parents can buy something consumable. Crying because of the shame and the pain. Crying because they know of no escape. Crying for someone to care. Crying for love, for hope.

Tonight, what will you do with those cries? Can we afford to be silent about things that really matter? What is more important, a big retirement fund or saving one life from child slavery? As Christians, what should our response be? If this doesn’t break you heart, ask God for His heart on the matter. How would Jesus respond?  I don’t know exactly but I do know He would  NOT be living a lavish lifestyle while others are dying without hope. Jesus wouldn’t be afraid to get involved! Jesus would jump right in reaching the children, hurting with them, crying with them, and rescuing them. What will you do?

Please take the time to watch this video:

http://www.youtube.com/embed/GS7O8a4UO4w?rel=0

Tippy Tuesday

“Stretching Your Meat While Stretching Your Dollars”

Meat is expensive these days and since I’ve got a grocery budget to honor I need to find creative ways to stretch my meat. How do I do this?  For most meat dishes you will not be doing it a disservice to add diced onions and garlic, this adds flavor and bulk. Another easy and nutritious way to stretch meat is to add rice or oatmeal to ground beef in dishes like meatballs, poor man’s steak, Salisbury steak, meatloaf, and I’ve also tasted it (oatmeal) in burgers as well. This helps keep the mixture moist and juicy. One of my personal favorites is adding black beans to my ground meat mixtures. Black beans add nutrition, protein, and bulk.

How do you stretch your meat? I’d love to hear from you!