Sharing God’s Love with Muslims in Jordan Is a Dangerous Task
Sharing Christ’s love among Muslims in rural Jordan can be a lonely and perilous endeavor. Nevertheless, Pastor Rashad is a witness of God’s love every day, even when this takes him far outside his comfort zone.
“I told her, ‘I don’t want you to change your religion. I want you to fall in love with Jesus, to fall in love with God.’”
It all started nearly ten years ago with a simple prayer from Rashad, a young evangelical pastor in one of Jordan’s larger cities:
“Lord, I have a heart for Muslims. Please bring them to me.”
God answered almost immediately. Within two days, a Muslim who had recently started following Christ knocked on his door and asked Rashad to come with him to minister to and pray with his Muslim friend. After doing so, the man gave his life to Christ and a new ministry was born.
Soon after that, Rashad found out that God was calling him to do the opposite of what he had been praying for. “I heard a voice in my head asking me: ‘Why do you want Muslims to come to you, to your church? Why not go to them?’”
That voice has been defining Pastor Rashad’s ministry ever since. He is now traveling up and down his country to visit villages and remote communities, sharing the love of Christ everywhere he goes. Most of those places are alien to the gospel. Less than three percent of Jordan’s population is Christian, and most of them are grouped in the larger cities, leaving many rural areas of the country completely cut-off from the gospel.
Pastor Rashad is one of the few local believers reaching out in those areas. “In one of the villages I visited —when they heard that I was a Christian—children asked me whether I was American or English. They didn’t understand why I spoke Arabic so fluently,” he shares. “They honestly thought there were no Jordanian Christians whatsoever.”
And even in areas where many Christians live, most churches are not open to believers or seekers from a Muslim background. In an attempt to stay out of trouble (proselytizing is strictly forbidden in Islamic law) many Jordanian believers choose to not interact with Muslim converts.
It’s not strange that they are afraid. Reaching out to Muslims is not without danger, even in a moderate kingdom like Jordan. Converting from Islam to Christianity is officially illegal, and more importantly, Muslim families and clans in this tribal society can respond violently when one of ‘theirs’ starts following Christ.
Expelled, Beaten, Killed
Pastor Rashad shares how he once visited some families in a remote village and spoke about Christ’s love for them. After that, he didn’t hear anything back from them for a long time. “Complete silence until, two years later, one lady called us and invited us to visit her house. We sat together and ate,” he shares. “She told us that our last visit had made the community very nervous; the imam called all the families in the village and warned them not to accept Jesus. If they did, he warned them, they would be expelled from the community, beaten and could even get killed.”
And yet Rashad continues to witness among these people.
“There is a huge thirst. Everywhere we go people ask for Bibles.”
Through the ministry of Pastor Rashad and others all over Jordan, there are individual believers from a Muslim background now who are worshipping Christ—often in secret. Some of them attend house church meetings Rashad organizes for them. This can be dangerous as it is difficult to keep activities hidden from neighbors in such a tight-knit society. “Yes, there is danger. But we believe in asking God for protection, not in trying to stay safe,” he said bravely.
Even after a fundamentalist Muslim acting like a Christian seems to have infiltrated his church for a while to spy on his activities, Pastor Rashad won’t stop. He has formed a team of former Muslims who are now following Christ, helping him in his outreach activities. “I encourage them to go out, to go into people’s houses and to actively spread God’s light there, and not to wait in the church for seekers to show up.”
This is why he refuses to organize any other church activities outside of weekly services. “The danger of organizing women’s groups and Bible study groups and choir practices is that they give people the idea that being the Body of Christ is meeting between four walls as often as you can…
Christ calls us to go out into the world to proclaim the Gospel. Yes, that may be outside of people’s comfort zones, but I believe that is what God asks of us today.”
Please support Pastor Rashad in your prayers. His valuable ministry needs God’s protection and guidance every day.