In spite of the blistering summer heat Dawud* walks through the streets of a large Syrian city. With a bag under his arm he remains dedicated to the task of distributing Bibles among the shopkeepers. Going from shop to shop, street to street, Dawud hands out Bibles for free. And, if asked, he shares about Jesus.
The method is simple Dawud explains. Walking with an Open Doors staff member they enter a shop. After some polite talk Dawud asks, “Could I offer you the Word of God as a free gift?” The shopkeeper is surprised by this, hesitates shortly but then says, “Yes I would like to receive one.” Dawud takes his present and hands it over to the shopkeeper. “I give the Word of God to you with one condition,” he adds. “Don’t put it unread on a shelf; read it.” Nodding in assent the shopkeeper takes the Bible, carefully opens it and leafs through, commenting on the pictures. When a new customer enters the shop he lays the Bible aside and thanks Dawud, directing his attention now to the new customer.
Dawud thanks the shopkeeper as they leave the store. “I will try to visit this shop again in some weeks,” he says as he looks for the next shop. “Sometimes people are defensive,” he explains. “When that happens, I tell them that I am not trying to force him to believe one way or another. I say I just want to offer him the Truth that I know. Many times that makes the shopkeepers calm down.”
A question that he is often asked is, “What denomination are you? Orthodox, Evangelical, what?” He always refuses to answer, instead saying, “It doesn’t matter what I am. I am not asking you to follow a denomination; I am offering you the Word of God that is for those who want to know about Jesus Christ.”
Some Muslim scholars have invited Dawud into their shops to talk about Islam. “I listen to them, and afterwards ask permission to speak. When they allow me, I share the message of the gospel. Many of them have openly and happily welcomed the Bible. Sometimes people from the stores follow me when I go to another shop. They wait for me to come out and ask for more Bibles. One lady waited in the hot sun for 15 minutes! Of course not everyone reacts positively. Some people have threatened me. I just say that if they are not interested I won’t force them.”
It is very encouraging to see how excited Dawud is with this work. He is very bold and eager to continue. The pastor of his church regularly meets with him to pray and to hear what he has been doing. Please pray for Dawud, for protection, for God’s cover on him from any legal attack, for his family and for the Spirit of God to lead him, guide him and give him the right words to speak.
*His name has been changed for security reasons.
Father, we thank you for the bold witness of Dawud as he distributes Bibles to the Muslim shopkeepers in his city. Give him opportunity as he boldly proclaims the truth daily. As the seed of the Word is sown, may there be an abundant harvest. May many in His community praise Your name in truth. Amen