Tag Archives: women

The man in the dream

Some months ago a young woman from Iran named Hamideh became a follower of Jesus.  She wanted to be baptized in water as an expression of her new faith in Jesus. Her husband Kambiz attended the baptism as a courtesy, but he did not believe as his wife did.

Kambiz showed no interest in spiritual things until there was concern during Hamideh’s delivery of their baby. During the wee hours of that night when Hamideh was having difficulties in labor, Kambiz prayed to Allah, Ali, Hussein, and Muhammad and nothing happened. But then he saw nurses pray for his wife in Jesus’ name and Hamideh’s strength returned and she was able to deliver their baby 10 minutes later.  This began his interest in finding out why this prayer in the name of Jesus was effective.  He grew up in a religious Muslim family from Iran.

Months went by.  Kambiz and Hamideh accepted an invitation from Christian neighbors, Brian and Kathy, to a special service at their church. During the service, Kambiz leaned over to Brian and whispered that he wanted to be baptized just as Hamideh had been. Brian and Kathy were very surprised.  They followed up to find out what had happened between Good Friday (the day when Christians remember the death of Jesus Christ) and this Sunday in the church service. On Good Friday, Kambiz had walked away from the service with lots of questions, such as, “How could Jesus be God if he was praying to God on the cross?”

Brian and Kathy answered some of his questions, but they could tell Kambiz still had doubts, so they encouraged Kambiz to pray daily and ask God to show him the truth about Jesus.  He said he remembered to pray that several times, but became busy with his final days of graduate program.  One evening, Kambiz drifted off to sleep while worrying about his need to find a full-time job in a few weeks’ time.  If he didn’t find a job fast, he would have to return to Iran.

In the middle of the night, he had a dream.  In the dream, someone spoke to him and said, “Don’t worry. I will take care of you.”  Kambiz asked to whom he was speaking and these words came back to him, “I Am that I Am.”  The man in his dream spoke to him in his Persian language.  Kambiz was confused by the answer.  He had never heard those words before. In the morning, however, he did not remember the dream.

Several days passed when he had another dream.  This time, in his dream, the person spoke to him and asked him how he was.  After they chatted (again in Farsi), Kambiz asked him who he was and he answered the same way as the previous dream: “I Am that I Am”.  When Kambiz woke up, he not only remembered his dream, but he recalled his first dream.  He went and asked Hamideh who is “I Am that I Am”?

Hamideh replied, “He is Jesus.”

Kambiz asked for Jesus to reveal Himself once more.  Then, on that Sunday, Kambiz went to the church service, but was not following the song because he found it was too difficult to understand.  However, right in the middle of the song, he heard these words ring out clearly, “I Am that I Am.”  At that point, Kambiz felt that God was speaking to him and he believed that Jesus is alive, that He is God, and that He died on the cross for his sins.

With tears in his eyes, Kambiz told Brian and Kathy that Jesus spoke with him in Persian and when He called Himself “I Am that I Am” it meant that Jesus had always been and always will be!  Kambiz put his faith in Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. He said, “I know Jesus is alive!” He asked to be baptized. And surely there is much rejoicing in heaven over this new member of the family of God.

On the following Monday, Kambiz was offered a full-time position at a job.  Jesus had indeed taken care of him.

This true story (names changed) took place in a city in the USA. This is why our ministry is called “Near Frontiers.”  And this story has taken you on another #NearFrontiersTREK to the mission frontier that is near. If you would like to explore a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ, please email us at doorbell@nearfrontiers.org.

Photo credit:  WP Image Smart

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She invited workmate to dinner…and laughed!

I love it when a friend shares with me their own journey to reach out in friendship to our new neighbors from distant lands. Here is one such story I know you will enjoy – we’ve changed the names. (By the way, do you have a story to share? Email it to us.) Another #NearFrontierTREK.

Julie and Nabila were coworker’s, and became quite close over the years. Finally, the day came when Julie felt she should extend an invitation to Nabila and her husband, Ahmed, to come to dinner at her home.

Before sitting down to dinner Julie explained that she and her husband John give thanks before eating, so, “John will say a prayer.”  After John finished praying Ahmed said,  “That was really nice.  I like that you pray before eating.”  Julie said, “We have so many reasons to be grateful, so that’s why it’s important to give thanks.”  They all agreed, even Ahmed and Nabila’s son nodded his head.

family mealDuring the course of the meal John and Julie asked how and where Ahmed and Nabila had met.  They grew up in the same Middle Eastern city, and theirs was an arranged marriage. Although their families would get together on occasion, along with Ahmed’s and Nabila’s brothers and sisters, Ahmed and Nabila were never allowed to speak to each other because of their future marriage.  We all fell off our chairs laughing when Nabila said, “Ahmed looked at me and said, ‘Good enough.'”  Ahmed just smiled, but then he said, “We truly learned to love each other.”

Julie offered that John and she also had an arranged marriage.  In surprised unison Ahmed and Nabila said, “You too?”   John said, “No no no no,” but Julie continued.  “Let me tell you our story.  I was at church seated at a table, and had noticed a new man (John) sitting at the table across from me.  As I listened to him talk I could tell that he had a deep love for God, and I began to pray, “God, please make it possible for me to meet this man.”  And, after the service John came to talk to me.  So that’s how God arranged our marriage.”  And Ahmed and Nabila understood.  Later on Nabila was talking about something and said, “…just like you prayed and God arranged your marriage….”

For a continuation of this relationship, click here.

Photo credit: cherebork.com


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Former refugees give back

We don’t often hear about refugees who make significant contributions to their homelands, but it happens….often.

Our friend Dr. Gregg Detwiler, of Emanuel Gospel Center in Boston is working with others to host meetings entitled 2016 Peacemakers Lecture Series “From There To Here & Back.”

Refugees return home to blessGregg writes, “In fact, right now we are hosting four former Boston-area refugees who have since returned to their home countries to serve the Kingdom and their people. Each of them has a compelling story. One of them came to Boston from her war-torn nation of Sierra Leone as a Muslim woman, came to faith in Christ and was nurtured in her faith in Boston, worked at John Hancock for several years, and felt called to return to her Muslim village to start a school and the first Christian church.”

Ruth Jappah-SamakaiAnother of those four interviewees is…

Ruth Jappah-Samukai – A member of the New York State Bar Association, the Liberian Bar Association, Ruth earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science at Cuttington University, Liberia, Bachelor of Law Degree from the University of Liberia and Masters in International Law from Howard University. Ruth was granted political asylum in the United States of America. She served as Executive Director of the Universal Human Rights International (UHRI) in Boston, Massachusetts. After the Liberian civil war ended, Ruth voluntarily returned to Liberia, where she served as a Commissioner for Liberia Telecommunications Authority. She is currently a Commissioner at the Governance Commission, Republic of Liberia.


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Invite Muslims to pray to Jesus for answers

Here is a recent encounter by one of our U.S. workers:

 womanLast Wednesday, I just happened to meet Aisha*, my Muslim friend, in the parking lot of the apartments when I was out walking with our grandson.  I invited her to join me on my walk, but she responded that she was very hungry and needed to eat something.  I said, “You could come over and eat at our house. I have some chicken macaroni soup that I could warm up for you.” She immediately said yes that she would like that and we walked together to our apartment.  Over the soup, we discussed her feelings of depression because someone had argued his atheistic views with her and shaken her already feeble faith.  She has been a Muslim all her life, but is now against all religions.  She does, however still believe in God.

After eating she asked me if we could take our walk.  During our walk she turned to me and said, “I remember one time seven or eight years ago, I was walking and looking down when a woman approached me.  She said, “If you want your prayers answered ask Jesus and He will answer your prayers.”  Aisha responded to her, “Why should I pray to Jesus when I can pray to Muhammad?”  She responded with a smile, “All the prophets are good, but if you want your prayers answered ask Jesus.”’  Aisha looked at me and said, “I still remember her face.  She wasn’t like a normal human.  No matter what I said she smiled and spoke gently to me.  I think she might not have been human.”  I told Aisha, “God does send His angels and she could have been an angel, but remember this.  God was reaching out to you even eight years ago and there are probably other times He has tried.”  (She had told me that God had never reached out to her in her fifteen years of searching for Him).

Later she said, “Can you see how sad I am?  I need hope.”  I shared how Jesus wants to fill her with His hope, joy and peace and that all she needs to do is to call out to Him.  She said, “Yes, I think I need to do that.”  We had a good talk and she told me she wanted to join me at church on Sunday.

Aisha came to the church service.  She had me promise to secrecy.   As Aisha and I walked into the church, she said, “I tried to go to church in my country, but I could not.”  “Was that because you were a Muslim?” I asked.  She said that it was.  Since her home country is an Islamic State everyone that is born there is automatically a Muslim. Of course, that does not include those born to Christians.  However, if you are born into a Muslim family, you have no choice.  You are Muslim.  Aisha is on a journey and longs for a relationship with God.

Tweet This  Invite Muslims to pray to Jesus if they want answers. #NearFrontiersTREK

*name has been changed
(Photo credit: dailystar.co.uk)


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Mission strategy hidden in plain sight

Jesus-followers in America can engage the Near Frontiers right in our own cities when we share the ministry vision of an immigrant. This is a strategic mission opportunity which is hidden in plain sight.

girma sharesI met Girma Desalegn several years ago in Seattle. We both showed up at a local conference attended by people of different ethnicities. In such settings, I gravitate toward those who are of different background than myself (I am caucasian).

Girma and I talked for a couple of years about different ways we could partner together. Early in the process he began sharing his vision to bring practical Biblical training to church leaders in his homeland. His concept was  a “mobile Bible school” that would take the training to leaders who could not afford one of the in-country Bible schools. He would bring mature believers from the States once a year to cities in different regions, closer to where the pastors, elders, and women’s leaders lived. There would be no charge for the training, but high demands for faithfulness were required for graduation from the two year program which Girma designed. The vision captured me.

But it wasn’t just the vision. I had been able to get to know Girma as a man of integrity and passion for Ethiopia. And he had a network of friends and leaders in Ethiopia ready to partner with him.  In God’s planning, the diaspora which exists today makes possible this convergence of invaluable factors: Vision, Integrity, Passion.

Tweet This The diaspora which exists today makes possible the convergence of Vision, Integrity, Passion.#nearfrontiersTREK

ethiopian gatheringRecently we had a fund-raising dinner to bring together friends of Ethiopia to celebrate what God has done over the last five years of training. Hundreds have graduated from the program. We made the financial need known, and many people shared of their resources.

One of the most important aspects of what Girma has called the Vision Leadership Institute is that every Saturday local, trusted Ethiopian leaders with more training meet with all the trainees and take the subjects deeper. They require assignments, score results, and keep attendance.

Ethiopia 2014 150 At the end of the two years there is a graduation that is a high point in their ministries.

This is yet another way in which God is making mission available to more believers today. God gives vision and brings resource to fulfill it. May I encourage you to pray that God would bring such visionaries into your sphere of influence that you might partner with them!

Tweet This  Share strategic mission by coming alongside a visionary immigrant leader. #NearFrontiersTREK #Ethiopia

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Iranian women, longing hearts

arab mealHere is a report and prayer request from one of my female colleagues here in a U.S. city:

Monday evening outreach for international students was drawing to a close when I saw a Middle-eastern couple. Walking over to them, I introduced myself asking in the process where they were from. S. and her husband were from Iran and they had only been in the states for a month and a half.

The next statement was obvious, “S., you need a friend and I can be your friend.” She didn’t object to my statement and two days later we went on a walk.
As we walked and talked, I asked her if she was Muslim. Quickly words spilled out. She is Muslim. After she shared for a good long time, I asked her how her heart was since she was having such a conflict of religious belief. She held her fist up in front of her body and twisted it. “My heart is twisted like this.” she said with deep sadness.

Will you pray with me for the heart of my new friend?

She also writes:

Two weeks ago M. came over and cooked an Iranian meal for us as a way to express her gratitude for a bed we delivered to her apartment. We had a deep conversation and she too has a great spiritual struggle. She is from Iran. Today we went for a walk and talked about God, Jesus, and faith. She says she is afraid to die and she thinks about this at least ten times a day. She said, “If Jesus is God, why did He never prove it to me?
I have been searching for years and He never came to me.” I answered, “Maybe it wasn’t time or you weren’t ready. Maybe that is why He brought me to you now.“

Pray Jesus will reveal Himself to her.

She borrowed our book, “Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus.” Please pray that the Lord will draw her.

Tweet This  She says she is afraid to die and she thinks about this at least ten times a day.

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Timely friendship with pregnant Iraqi mom

20150810_171240Cross-cultural friendships can go really deep, really fast.  Just two days ago, one of my colleagues here in the U.S. met a pregnant mom from Iraq. Her new Iraqi friend is due in two weeks. When asked how she was feeling, soon-to-deliver momma said she was afraid.  My colleague offered to teach her some breathing/relaxing methods to help her through labor; offer accepted. This led to a two hour practice session with expectant mom and dad, with more to come. Here is how you can help:

Please pray with me, that I will be able to be with her through her labor and delivery.  This is her desire and my own.  The only problem is that I will be out of town around the due date.  Would you pray with me that God will work, so that I could be with her?   They return to Iraq in two months, so I don’t know why I have just met them, but I believe there is a reason.  Thank you for standing with us in prayer,


Remember the BIRTH you prayed for?   Well, the mother had a beautiful baby boy. Although she delivered after I returned from my trip, she did not call me. I did, however, visited her in the hospital. Thank you for praying. Several days later, they delivered lamb meat to our door which had been sacrificed in honor of their boy’s birth.

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