Friday, November 13, 2009

This one was from Pakistan for sure

Some years ago, when "Kirk" and his wife were starting out in Pakistan, they lived in a neighborhood with other missionaries. There was a boy from a refugee camp, maybe 15-16, hired by another missionary couple to do the gardening for them.

Through interactions with that missionary couple, "Ahmed" became interested in Isa al-Masih (Jesus the Messiah) and gave his life to Isa. The couple gave Ahmed a copy of the Injil (Gospel) in Arabic, which Ahmed carried around in his bag during the week. However, when he rejoined his family in the refugee camp on weekends, Ahmed left the Gospel behind at the missionary couple's home. (Side note: Nowhere in the Qur'an does it say that the Bible is corrupt; indeed the Qur'an itself says a lot of very positive things about Isa al-Masih, and indeed many Muslims have a lot of respect for him. However, some Muslims -- Ahmed's family in particular -- consider that the injil is bad news, and anyone who reads it may no longer be a Muslim.)

One weekend, Ahmed forgot to censor his bag. His mother found the gospel, and, seeing what it was, told Ahmed, "Wait 'til your father gets home." Ahmed's family was from Afghanistan, and his father was a mujahideen commander. He wasn't home at this point because he was back in Afghanistan fighting Russians.

Ahmed returned to the missionaries and told them what had happened. There was much concern, especially when the rumor mill picked up the story that Ahmed's father was coming back soon. Here's what happened: the father heard that Ahmed had become an apostate, or was about to become one, etc. So, in order to save his son's soul (as the father thought), he was going to put Ahmed in the front line. According to the Mujahideen view, when he died in battle, would go straight to Paradise. This would be much preferable to living to be 80 or 90 and going to hell.

The missionaries understandably felt it was important to pray for Ahmed. For some reason, Kirk and his wife were involved in praying for Ahmed. So while he slept, Kirk and his wife prayed. As he describes it, "We grew up Lutheran; for us it was rather a strain to pray for an hour, but praying all night was way beyond us. But we alternately prayed and slept, and nothing happened to Ahmed."

EXCEPT that the next morning, Ahmed woke up with a big smile on his face. He'd had a dream -- the same dream many times, actually. He was holding a candle, and some men (his father's men?) put his candle out, and Ahmed didn't like that. He was about to stand up, but The Man in White (apparently, Isa al-Masih usually doesn't speak in these dreams) put his hand on Ahmed's shoulder and wouldn't let him stand up. Ahmed was given to understand that The Man in White would take care of the situation. This whole thing repeated many times.

Something else happened that night, but Kirk and the other missionaries didn't learn about it 'til later. Meanwhile, they prayed for Ahmed over the next few days, and as far as they knew, nothing happened.

Some time later, they found out. Ahmed's father did indeed return, on that first night. He knew where Ahmed was sleeping, and he came in a jeep with his men, everybody packing AK-47s. When he got to Kirk's house, where Ahmed was sleeping (aha--that's why Kirk and his wife were praying for Ahmed!), he saw four men standing over and in front of the adobe structure.

Ahmed's father, and his men, understood that these were not four ordinary men; they were angelic beings. The AK-47s were useless. They fled in their jeep and never came back.

Nobody knows why things like that happen sometimes, and at other times people just get killed. But it was clear to me that something pretty important happened there. In an "insignificant" little village, an "insignificant" boy from an "insignificant" refugee camp somehow got some very significant divine intervention on his behalf. You can be quite sure that "Ahmed" will remember this incident the rest of his life. As Kirk did, these decades after it all happened.