Fortune-telling

We got stuck in a traffic jam on our way to Abu Muhammed’s house this past week, so we showed up a bit late.

Upon entering the house we noticed an unusually large number of children. Their numbers continued to swell until the whole room was nearly filled to capacity. Some were neighbors, some were family. In a village like this, however, almost everyone is related, so these two categories aren’t really that helpful: most people are both neighbors and family!

The children were excitedly awaiting the next installment of the Bible story series Bishara has been sharing with them. This time, he finished telling the creation story, showing how God created man and showed love to man. He explained the fall of humanity into sin, then quickly explained that God would make a way through the cross of Jesus to forgive us for our sins against Him.

One very clever boy sitting near Bishara was able to read the text that went along with the pictures, and he knew many of the answers to Bishara’s questions.

We sang worship songs after this, introducing them to a new song: “King of kings and Lord of lords.”

They caught on to the tune eventually, and by the time we finished singing the song, most of the room was shouting “Jesus, prince of peace, glory hallelujah!”

Bishara prayed again, asking Jesus to come and heal the sick. Everyone seems very interested in the prayers. They find it curious, for it is quite different from the Muslim conception of “prayers.” Sometimes they are so surprised that they laugh. Slowly but surely, we are able to explain more and more of why we pray and how God has taught us to pray.

Praise God for this opportunity to freely share the story of the Bible with these children, who have never heard it before in their lives. We have such an open door: may it remain so!

After the Bible story, we split up, and the men sat outside on the balcony to talk. Abu Muhammed explained to Bishara that a Jewish woman had called him asking if he knew someone who could tell fortunes or foresee the future, for she is in love with a man and she wants to know what will happen.

Why she called Abu Muhammed is unclear. It may be that this village is known in the region for its widespread practice of magic and fortune-telling.

Bishara told Abu Muhammed to give her his number and to explain to her that Bishara is not a magician or fortune-teller, but that he would be willing to pray for her in the name of Jesus.

The woman called Bishara while we were driving home. Apparently, however, Abu Muhammed had not really explained who we are or what we believe, for she proceeded to tell Bishara the whole scenario before asking him if he could help her see what will happen in the future.

Instead, he gave her an explanation of the gospel and told her that looking into the future is not something God wants us to do. He said that when we have a problem in our life, we pray to Jesus about it. May this unlooked for seed of truth bear fruit in this woman’s life!

 

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