Finding the “Man of Peace” in Muslim villages

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2024

By Erik Laursen — 

We drove about 40 minutes to another village where I would meet another “man of peace”. This was an incredible trend that was beginning to happen at every place we felt led to do ministry! This would be the third “man of peace” I had met in less than a week in this region of Africa that was nearly 100% Islamic! I couldn’t believe it! What was God up to?

The sun was setting and we parked at the mosque as an old respectable Muslim man, welcomed us and brought us to his ocean-side home. As we walked into his courtyard, his three wives and five children were performing their prayer rituals, and we were escorted to a table to sit and enjoy some dates and tea.

Ibrahima’s father had been selling plants to this man and teaching him how to grow them in his courtyard. This was beautiful evidence of loving your neighbors. Ibrahima’s father was being an incredible witness to this man, gently sharing his faith and being an example of honesty and integrity in business. This man would be the key to opening the door for our work in this village and I’m sure it will be no time before this household discovers the love of Jesus and the way to Salvation!

“If a man of peace is there, your peace will rest on him; but if not, it will return to you.” Luke 10:6

When I first began working with Ibrahima back in 2011 I was given two main prayer assignments:

Pray for Ibrahima and his wife to be able to have a child.

Pray for Ibrahima’s wife who had been suffering persecution from her Muslim family ever since she started following Jesus.

Both prayers have now been checked off my list!

We drove back to Dakar for my last evening in Senegal to spend time with the in-laws. As I walked into the home directly across from a large mosque, I was quickly greeted by Ibrahima’s Muslim father in-law. We would spend the next four hours together drinking tea, until the Ramadan daily fast finally would break so that we could eat thieboudienne, the favorite Senegalese dish of rice, vegetables, spices and of course, fish.

It was an absolutely beautiful moment as I met all of Ibrahima’s wife’s family, brothers, sisters, nieces, etc. All are still Muslim, but now after many years, they all have accepted Ibrahima and his wife into their family, even though they are Christians. An incredible answer to prayer!

The spiritual icing on the cake is that Ibrahima’s father in-law permitted him to launch the first business as mission project right on his property across the street from the mosque!

It will be a hair salon and tailor shop, where the Christian employees will intentionally build relationships with the local Muslims. While the Jesus Film and other Christian films are being played in the background, Muslim customers will get their hair weaved, wardrobes adjusted, and send money-grams to family members in other regions.

The Line in the Sand

“And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” Matthew 24:14

As I boarded the plane to Bamako, Mali (where I would fly from to Addis Ababa) I looked to the map on the screen, and nearly broke into tears over all God is doing because of a simple “YES” that my wife and I gave to God about 10 years ago.

I remember struggling to find the confidence that God could work through a restaurant manager to bring the Gospel to the unreached people groups of Africa.

I remembered weeping over a prayer map in front of my kids, as it was my turn to pray for the Muslims in Morocco, who were held captive by their culture, and not even allowed to consider a decision to follow Christ.

I remembered my first-born daughter at the age of 10 years old saying; “God wants me to tell Muslims about Jesus”.

I remembered trail running in the high desert of Colorado Springs, with no income, and no idea how I would take care of my family.

I remembered crying out to God for help, crying out to God to send me onto the mission field, and provide for all of our needs.

As I looked at the screen, and saw the 8-hour flight ahead of me, paid for by air miles, hovering directly over the frontline of spiritual battle between Islam and Christianity, I found a new confidence in the vision God has placed in my heart. My confidence rests in the fact that this is God’s vision, not my own, and He is overjoyed to include us in it!

 

Erik Laursen is the executive director of New Covenant Missions. To learn more about their ministry go here