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Modern-Day Paul: ‘I Planned to Kill Him; Now I’m Prepared to Die for Jesus’

February 12, 2019 by Lindy Lowry in

In Egypt, converting from Islam to Christianity is seen as a betrayal of your family and heritage. In Muslim families, any member who leaves their Muslim beliefs and upbringing subjects themselves to tremendous pressure from their immediate and extended family to renounce Christ and return to Islam. Some are locked up, others are isolated, tortured or even killed. Recently, our Open Doors team in Egypt met with a new believer who shared his awe-inspiring testimony of how God used his cousin’s conversion to remove the scales from his own eyes.

Mostafa hoped the rumor wasn’t true.

If it was, he knew he was obligated to protect his family’s honor. He knew he would have to kill the cousin he had grown up playing with on the desert lands of Upper Egypt. It was his family’s orders. It was why he had traveled so far from home to the capital city of Cairo.

Questions About Jesus

The rumor was true. Mostafa found his cousin in a church listening intently. Quietly, he slipped into the seat behind Mohammed and waited for the service to end. But then he noticed something strange. The words he was hearing—the prayers, especially the worship—didn’t disgust him.

Instead, the lyrics of the songs touched him deeply, he says.

Mostafa approached his cousin with tears in his eyes.

He recalls his words to Mohammed that day: “I came all the way from our family’s village to spy on you and see if you had indeed become a Christian,” he said, wiping a tear from his cheek. “I should inform your family about what I saw, but I just can’t. I think the choice you made might have been the right one. Can you tell me more? Why did you leave Islam for Christianity?”

Surprised by his cousin’s question, Mohammed took Mostafa to his house where the two cousins spent the evening talking about the gospel. That night, Mostafa had a dream. He saw Jesus on the cross, looking at him and saying: “I did all of this because I love you, and I want you to be free from your sins.”

Mostafa’s vision is similar to what many Muslim converts describe. Many sources have reported the same phenomena. Dreams and visions like Mostafa’s are repeatedly cited as specific ways God reaches Muslims throughout the Arab world and beyond.

New Life With Jesus

The next morning, Mostafa told Mohammed what he saw in his dream. He asked his cousin to pray together with him for his salvation.

Through tears, Mostafa screamed to God: “I planned to kill my cousin, Your follower. But now I am prepared to give my life for You myself.”

The following month, Mostafa was baptized with his cousin standing next to him. He hasn’t told his family that he and Mohammed are now followers of Jesus. Currently, the two young men are living as secret believers, following Jesus in the place He has provided for them.

Like many converts from Islam to Christianity, the cousins are choosing to keep their faith a secret. New believers in hostile places like Egypt hide their Bibles and connect to other Christians online or visit secret meetings. They follow Jesus’ teachings in their actions, hoping that how they live their lives will influence those around them for the gospel. Only when they think it’s safe do they share their new faith with others—in hopes that the underground movement of secret believers will grow.

Through local partners, Open Doors is in touch with secret believers all over the Middle East to help them grow in their faith and to stay strong under difficult circumstances.

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