More Stories from the Middle East – Part 2
By Rick McEdward
Near the market in a Muslim country in North Africa, Carol was walking down the street when a university-aged woman caught her attention. Somehow Carol felt impressed by the Holy Spirit to talk to her. She walked faster to catch up. Not knowing what to say, Carol approached her and asked if she spoke English. Soon they were setting up a day so Aicha could show the Carol, who had just arrived in the country, the city center. A great friendship was born.
Aicha had been living just down the street from the Urban Center of Influence. "All my life I’ve been seeking for truth and satisfaction," said Aicha, looking back at her story. At an early age, she rebelled against religion for an injustice that happened to her. After abandoning Islam, she searched answers in Satanism, atheism, science, and Buddhism. Finding none, she gave up and lived life, simply covering her emptiness with the things the world had to offer. All these ideologies seemed beautiful in the beginning, but only hurt her more. "When I completely despaired, and was tired of trying, an angel literally passed by my way" Aicha said. The two new friends met a couple of times, and even though Carol went back to her country of origin, they kept in touch.
When Carol returned, they spent time together again, and Carol introduced Aicha to the other workers at the Center. Aicha was amazed at how they interacted with each other and considered themselves a family. "I didn't know there was such a loving family just up the street, while I have been suffering all this time!" exclaimed Aicha
Aicha was in turmoil in her personal life and decided to leave a toxic relationship. She got an apartment on her own and attempted to find a part-time job while finishing her studies in Biology. She also started participating in regular Sabbath meetings. A few weeks later, however, the COVID-19 lockdown reached their country. Aicha traveled to the desert part of the country to find more freedom during the lockdown. When she returned, she wanted things to change. Carol invited Aicha to stay with her and, in the safety of a new environment, detox from past habits.
While living with Carol, Aicha explored her new lifestyle. They spent most of their time together, talking, eating, and discussing this new way of life. Aicha saw God's love by her friends’ love. In her words: "God showed me a different path and I changed. Now I'm learning to live again. I'm learning how to be human again."
One day, Aicha asked to be baptized. Carol and the others rejoiced and deepened their Bible studies together, introducing lessons on prophecy. Aicha felt even more sure of her decision. A few months later, she was baptized. She is amazed how God has changed her life. Now she sees that God was with her every step of the way, even when she was the furthest from Him—"with his enemies," as she put it. His presence in her life every day is clear. Now she shares little by little with some friends about the things that changed her life.
Another beautiful testimony comes from the Egypt-Sudan Field. In November, we launched the “I Will Go” initiative for the MENA Union, and held a Union-wide online service.
During the sermon I asked each member to commit to having a daily devotional life and praying for five people each day. While praying for the five people, we would look for opportunities to share the gospel with each of them and show God’s love in tangible ways.
Recently the leader of the Egypt-Sudan Field reported that one of the members in Sudan prayed for five other men. In the months following his commitment, he has begun giving Bible studies to all five men for whom he was praying. Two of them have requested baptism. This faithful church member took the commitment seriously and, as a result, God is blessing his daily prayer with miraculous responses, born of the Holy Spirit.
Who are you praying for today?
Rick McEdward is president of the Middle East and North Africa Union of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
World Church Prayer Requests
October 1 - 7, 2021
- Pray for the Urban Centers of Influence in North Africa. Pray that more will be reached through these practical centers.
- Pray for the Egypt-Sudan field in MENA. Pray for believers to have courage to be shining lights to those around them.
- Pray that we each would consistently pray for lost loved ones and be willing to give personal Bible studies as God opens the doors.
- Pray for Afghanistan and the 24 hour prayer event happening this Sabbath, 1Mind4Afghanistan, hosted by 24/7 United Prayer.
- Pray for the world church quarterly Day of Prayer (formerly the Day of Prayer and Fasting) that takes place this Sabbath October 2nd, 2021. The theme is “Sharing Three Final Messages of Love as we pray for Righteousness by Faith.” Access materials here!