On the Arabian Peninsula, there are not many Christians. One day, John decided to go on a mission to an area where no missionaries were active. The road was long and tiresome. On his way there he asked God to be with him and to help him as he did not know the area or people and did not know how they would react. He was also excited to be the first person – so he thought – to take the gospel into the area.
As he rode into the village he saw an open area where people were sitting, chatting and drinking coffee – a habit for many men in this country. He decided that it would be a good place to check things out, so he parked his car and walked towards the group of men. He greeted a few men and before he could even take a seat, an elderly man came and invited him for a cup of coffee. John accepted the offer and silently thanked God for the opportunity and that things were moving along so swiftly.
The man introduced himself as Ali and asked John to follow him. They walked at a quick pace through the village. John became a bit nervous, though, when he saw they were leaving the village behind. He prayed for protection as he followed Ali up a narrow little road leading into a valley.
After a walk that felt like hours, Ali came to a stop beneath a tree and told John that this was his ‘spot.’ While he and Ali were chatting and getting to know one another, John spotted something in the fork of a tree nearby. It looked like a book, or rather, what was left of a book. When he questioned Ali about it, Ali told him that it was a book with stories he had picked up one day. He loved the stories in it and regularly told them to his visitors. He said that many of them also liked the stories and regularly came to him asking to hear more of the stories within its pages.
John was astonished when he took the book and saw that it was a fragment of the Bible. It was tattered and had many pages missing.
He explained to Ali that it was only a part of the Book and asked Ali if he wanted the whole Book. Ali eagerly smiled and said that he would definitely like to have the whole Book. Ali was ecstatic about his new ‘storybook’ and John was satisfied with the day’s mission work.
As John was riding back, he thanked God and asked forgiveness for thinking that he was going to do something big and remarkable that day, unaware that he would experience something that God had already done.
When I asked him if he drank Ali’s coffee, he answered that there were many places in the country with better coffee, but not better stories.
Let us pray with John that the ‘stories’ would come to life for Ali and everyone who hears them, and that the gospel would spread – not just in his country – but all over the Middle East.
*Names and photos are representative for the safety of persecuted Christians