By Jerry Wiles —
Ashok was a Hindu university student from India. He visited a church meeting where I met him for the first time. After the meeting I had the opportunity of chatting with him. He had a lot of questions about religions and spiritual matters. He was interested and receptive to learn more about the life, teachings, and Spirit of Jesus.
Confessing, Believing and Calling on the Lord
I was able to share with Ashok about the purpose of God, the person and work of Christ, and what it means to be a follower of Jesus. The idea of being born again, as we learn about from John chapter three, made a lot of sense to Ashok. He was open to have prayer with me. So, as I prayed with him, the Holy Spirit seemed to convict him of his need for the Lord. We talked about what it means to confess, believe, and call on the Lord, as recorded in Romans chapter 10. I further explained that Christ is Lord of all and He richly blesses all who call on Him, and everyone who calls on the name of the Lord Jesus will be saved.
That evening when Ashok returned to his apartment, he shared his experience with his roommates and about our conversation. One of those was a graduate student from Pakistan. Imran was a former Muslim who had decided he was an atheist. However, he became interested in learning about American religions, mainly Christianity.
The Power of the Word
Someone had given Imran a Bible shortly after he arrived in the United States. He read the first five books of the Old Testament and the first seven books of the New Testament. He then began looking for someone to tell him how to become a Christian. He spoke with several fellow students at the university. Interestingly, none of them were willing or able to share with him the way of salvation. He even went to a local church to visit with a pastor. The pastor asked him about his visa status and finances, but never got around to sharing the gospel with him.
A Turning Point
The day after my conversation and prayer with Ashok, and after he shared his experience with Imran, I got t phone call from Imran. He requested we get together and talk. That opened an opportunity for me to have a series of conversations with him. Having spent time in Pakistan years ago gave me instant rapport with Imran. After a few days of reflection and contemplation, Imran embraced the gospel and started a new life in Christ. I was leading a weekly Bible study at the time and Imran joined the study. I was able to disciple him over a period of months and he eventually join the staff of a ministry I was serving with at the time.
Counting the Cost
Shortly after receiving Christ, Imran wrote a letter including his testimony and Scripture passages about salvation. He sent it to several of his family and relatives back in Pakistan. One of his cousins, a radical Muslim, called him on the phone. He wanted to verify if the letter was actually from Imran. When he verified that if was, his cousin told him if he returned to Pakistan that he would be stoned to death. Eventually, Imran was cut off from all his family and relatives when they learned that he had embraced the Christian faith.
Grounded in the Word
The ministry we worked with was an international broadcasting and publishing organization that produced a through-the-Bible reading guide with a devotional commentary. I had the joy of supervising Imran’s work of translating the devotional material into the Urdu language. In preparation for his translation work, I directed him to read the devotional material, as well as the related Bible passages in Urdu and several English translations. That exercise was instrumental in getting Imran well-grounded in the Scriptures.
Taking God at His Word
Imran began receiving invitations to share his testimony and teach the Bible in churches and various Bible study and prayer groups. People were amazed and surprised at the spiritual depth and insight he shared. Interestingly, he knew very little about Christianity or Church traditions before coming to the USA. It was refreshing to observe how he simply took the message of the Bible at face value, unfiltered through any church or religious tradition.
God Provides a Way
About the time Imran was completing the translation work of the devotional commentary from Genesis to Revelation, the Lord connected us with some other Pakistani Christian leaders. We were then able to get the through-the-Bible commentary published in the Urdu language and distributed more than 10,000 copies to pastors and church leaders throughout Pakistan. We were told that it was the first through-the-Bible commentary ever produced in the Urdu language. A few years later I heard that Imran went on to seminary and became a missionary.
The Power of One Transformed Life
Only the Lord knows the long-term impact, the ripple effects and the eternal destinies that have been changed through the lives of Ashok, Imran, and their networks of influence. It all started with a conversation and prayer. Think of tossing a rock into a pool of still water. The ripples go on and on. That is often the way it is when one person has a life changing experience with Jesus. A recognition of the power of one transformed life should encourage each of us to be alert for those opportunities. We seldom know how God may have prepared the hearts of those we rub shoulders with every day. However, we can have confidence that the Holy Spirit is always at work and in all places to draw people to Himself.
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