If I’ve learned anything being a missionary evangelist in dangerous places, it’s that God does some of His most creative work there and it’s important to obey Him quickly when He tells me something.
That’s exactly what happened on my recent trip to Istanbul, Turkey. The country is 98% Muslim, and Christian evangelism is illegal. My friend, Jonathan, and I visited the famous Blue Mosque where we found a pamphlet titled “Muslims love Jesus.” The inside of the pamphlet explained that the name for Jesus in Arabic is Isa.
I’m really glad I learned that.
About 20 minutes later, as it was getting dark, shops had closed for the night, and you could hear the call to prayer, Jonathan and I were walking down an alley and passed a woman, crouched down digging through an overflowing trashcan. She was picking the meat off the bones of a half-eaten chicken she found.
As I walked past her, I heard the Holy Spirit say, “I want you to go back, give her 100 liras, and tell her I love her.”
100 lira equals about $17 USD. So, it’s not a lot of money. I had two 100 lira notes in my wallet, so I quickly obeyed. I turned around, walked back, and squatted down right in the trash where she was and gave her the money.
“I have four children at home, and I’m here trying to find food to feed them. Thank you so much for the money,” she managed through tears and very broken English.
I said, “I want you to know Jesus loves you.” But she didn’t understand.
Then, I remembered the pamphlet.
“Isa loves you,” I tried again, making a heart shape with my hands and then pointing to her.
She said, “Yes, yes.” Then looked up and said, “Thank you, Isa!”
But then she caught herself and said, “Oh, uh, praise Allah.”
“No, no,” I corrected. “JESUS, Isa, loves you.”
As this was happening, a stranger passing by stopped and gave her money as well. Then the Spirit prompted me to give her the other 100 lira note in my wallet, and I did.
It was awesome that she immediately thanked Jesus. We were honored to plant that small seed of the gospel and filled with joy to hear the name of Jesus on the lips of someone in the middle of a culture saturated in Islam and hostile to Christianity.
We’re praying for that seed be watered, bloom, and spread. Would you pray with us?