“I’ll go to the king, even though it’s forbidden, and if I die, I die.” (Esther 4:16)
Adira (not her real name) has been coming to the refugee DBS (Discovery Bible Study) for a few months, despite enormous risk to herself. Everyone who comes to the study is living with risk, but Adira faces a particularly dangerous situation. Her brother is a current member of a prominent terrorist organization. He and her family have told Adira that she must stop following Jesus and return to Islam.
But Adira has refused.
For many believers living in the Middle East, normal life can be dangerous. In some places, just following Jesus can equal a death sentence from militant groups. Sharing your faith with others is even more risky.
But that’s not stopping them. A movement of the gospel that’s changing lives is gaining more and more momentum throughout the region. Thousands of people are choosing to follow Jesus, ready to put their lives on the line.
Like Queen Esther, living in a nation hostile to her faith, believers are sharing the good news of Jesus with friends and family, essentially saying, “Even though it’s forbidden, I am going to do this. And if I die, I die.”
Adira is one of those believers.
Despite her family’s insistence that she turn away from Jesus, she continues to attend every DBS, displaying remarkable courage and trust in God. Adira also longs for more; She longs for her family to follow Jesus alongside her. Adira has been praying for her brother and family continually, and others in the DBS meeting have been praying for them as well.
Recently one of our field staff spent time with Adira and learned that she had decided to give her brother—the terrorist—a Bible, and trust God to speak to him as he had been speaking to her.
Shortly after this decision, Adira went to her brother.
“I have something to give you, but I’m afraid,” she told him.
She took the Bible from the folds of her dress and handed it to him. He took it, looked at her solemnly, and then walked away.
Adira was filled with fear, wondering what her brother would do. Would he decide that she must be killed to preserve the family’s honor? These murders within families were all too common. She prayed for God to intervene for her.
The next day Adira’s brother came to her and said, “I know it took a lot of courage for you to give me this Bible, knowing what I think of it. I want to tell you that because of your courage I will read it.”
When Adira shared the results of her bold move with other believers, she was overcome with joy. She believes that God has answered her prayer for her brother and family, and has faith that her brother is going to become a follower of Jesus soon.
These men and women following Jesus in the Middle East are sold out and willing to risk everything so those they know and love would come to know our Lord Jesus. We have much to learn from them about commitment, courage, and vision for God’s Kingdom—some of the key qualities that mark the emerging leaders of gospel movements. These believers may have limited training and resources, but their lives are making incredible Kingdom impact.
MAKE IT PERSONAL
Sharing Jesus carries some level of risk for anyone. Whether it’s risking life, relationship, or reputation, there’s always the possibility of loss. Our vision of Jesus must be stronger than our fear of loss. But how do we get there? Here are two resources with some answers:
Where We Begin to Change the World: The Wisdom of Mother Teresa
Learn from Mother Teresa’s story how to develop a deep love for Jesus that can turn the world upside down.
An Everyday Family on Mission: Catching the Vision
One American family reveals why they decided to up-root their children and move into a more challenged neighborhood—and the prayerful process that motivated them to do it.