Nadeem* could have been justified in disliking – and maybe even hating – the Faithful Witness family visiting his West African village. They are foreigners, Christians, and new owners of a piece of Nadeem’s land, which his fellow villagers gave these mission workers without his consent.
But in a country where more than 90 per cent of the people are least likely to be reached with the gospel, God is doing something remarkable by drawing non-believers into encounters with Faithful Witness teams.
Yakouba* and wife Mariama* began visiting Nadeem’s rural village last year. They stayed in a guest house across from his home and were pleasantly surprised when their Muslim neighbour kept showing up and trying to befriend them.
“I would walk over to his house and sit down with him,” recalls Yakouba. “He was so open and warm in receiving us. Even giving us a pumpkin that he grew for his family! I said to myself, ‘Wow, this man is so generous.’ The next time we visited the village, I brought some things for him, too.”
Yakouba learned that Nadeem needed money for medication and his wife needed food. He and Mariama gladly helped them as the burgeoning friendship developed.
Nadeem confessed that, at first, he was upset with the couple. After working on a water reservoir installation in the area, they had approached the villagers and asked for a piece of land to build on. Yakouba explained that Faithful Witness needed a reliable place to stay during future trips. The villagers offered up some of Nadeem’s property, but didn’t discuss their decision with him.
When Nadeem learned that this land went to the Christians responsible for bringing safe, clean water to his people, his spirit softened. Yakouba adds: “He said now he is happy to let us use the land. We believe that is because Christ has come to it.”
Yakouba and Mariama had to leave the area for several months to deliver their new baby, but they were thrilled to find Nadeem eagerly awaiting their return. He immediately brought Yakouba to his farm to gift the mission worker with grains. “When I saw how happy he was, I felt God tell me to go to his house because he was so excited to receive us,” Yakouba shares.
The men talked for two hours. At one point, Nadeem shared that he lost a daughter to a mysterious illness. Yakouba saw an opportunity and went to find a translator with a better understanding of Nadeem’s dialect. Yakouba asked Nadeem if he was prepared for his own death. Nadeem answered: “No, I don’t know where I’m going.”
When Yakouba asked if his friend realised there were answers to his questions about death, Nadeem replied, “Yes, and I believe you have the answers to those questions.” Yakouba then shared the gospel message.
“There and then Nadeem was ready,” says Yakouba. “I thought he’d need to think about it or something, but no, he was ready to accept Christ. He spoke to his wife and prayed.”
Yakouba noticed a protective charm hanging around Nadeem’s neck and told him it was time to remove and burn it. The new brothers in Christ set the charm on fire and welcomed the protective power of the Holy Spirit.
The next time Yakouba visited Nadeem’s house, the men went and prayed together in his room. Yakouba says, “[Nadeem] said I should not have any concern. He knows what he’s done and he is a Christian. He only needs us to be praying for him so he can withstand any persecution that comes from his people. Once they know he’s a Christian, they will abandon him.”
Mariama also intends to speak with Nadeem’s daughter as if she accepts Christ, Yakouba is confident her mother will, too.
For now, Nadeem is the second-known believer among his people, and Faithful Witness rejoices at God’s perfect plan for his life.
By Amy Bareham Chapman
- That the truth of the gospel will fill the hearts and minds of Nadeem’s wife and daughter.
- For protection and provision for Nadeem and his family.
- For revival in those parts of West Africa where Christ is least known.