“I Have Found the Truth,” says Son of Imam
Jephtah (pseudonym) is son of the second Imam at the Greatest Mosque in Yaounde, Cameroon. Raised to be a devout Muslim, he became a teacher of the Quran at a young age and was in charge of propagating Islam in neighboring towns. Constantly on a mission he preached and established Quran schools; founding more than six schools and converting many people to Islam.
One day in 2011, something very peculiar happened to him while he was praying at the Great Mosque. He heard himself utter the words, “Lord Jesus.” He tried not to make too much of it until it happened a second time. Seriously disturbed, he told his father of the manifestation and the result was a series of incantation ceremonies to deliver him from what they believed was demon possession.
The phenomenon continued. Finally, Jephtah came up with the idea to consult with Christians, explaining that they may know how to help him since Jesus Christ is their Lord. His father was very upset with the suggestion, especially when Jephtah quoted Quran scripture where Allah instructs the reader to consult Christians.
Jephtah went against his father’s wishes and was cast out of the house for a time. Eventually, he returned in desperation and asked forgiveness, promising not to turn to the Christians.
The surreal pronouncements continued, though, and by the end of the year, Jephtah made up his mind again to seek the advice of Christians. This time he did not tell his father, though he confided in a few friends at the mosque.
On December 4, Jephtah simply walked in on the Sunday morning service of the evangelical church in town and declared, “I am a Muslim but I would like to become a Christian.” Not fully comprehending what he was saying himself, Jephtah, a well-known Muslim teacher, took everybody by surprise. The congregation was at first filled with suspicion and distrust, but his plain, yet salient, statement displayed a palpable sincerity. Jephtah later returned home where his father and several family members were waiting for him. The supposed friends had revealed Jephtah’s intentions to meet with Christians at church which was an indisputable disgrace to Islam. They began beating him severely and then threw him in a gutter on an isolated street.
Covered in blood, Jephtah went back to the church for help. Believers took him in. Needing treatment for his severe wounds Open Doors offered to pay the bills. The evangelical church accommodated Jephtah for more than three months while, during this time, his parents tried to track him down. His picture was seen at several mosques and Muslim leaders announced that he was to be found dead or alive.
Escaping capture over the next months, in May 2012, Jephtah got into a taxi, unaware that it was a trap. Muslim aggressors had orders from Jephtah’s father to kill him, so they drove off with him. After two hours of brutal beating and stabbing, he was left for dead. Again, Jephtah miraculously survived the ordeal, but was in grave conditions and seriously traumatized. The once healthy young man was shaken both physically and emotionally.
Despite the rejection, hardship and assaults, Jephtah knows that his choice to give his life to Jesus was the most important decision he could have ever made, claiming, “I was ready to face death for the sake of the gospel and willing to go everywhere and proclaim that Jesus is Lord indeed. I found the truth and feel extremely blessed and grateful for that!”
While in hiding, on July 9th, Muslims discovered his location; this time he had to flee, but to another country. Open Doors remains involved with Jephtah and plans to provide him with a scholarship for theological training.
Father, thank You for the encouragement of Jephtah’s testimony to what You have accomplished in His life. Strengthen him, Lord, and grant him courage in the face of persecution. Heal him physically, spiritually and emotionally from the major trauma he has sustained. We pray for his family, which just as Jephtah was snatched out of Satan’s grip, so they will come into the light of the gospel. And as Jephtah adapts to a new country and culture, we pray You will encourage him and help him to understand how to live a life of faith in this new context. Thank You for Open Doors’ desire to assist him with theological training and we pray for opportunities to open up soon. Watch over Him, Lord, as we know You will. In the name of Jesus our sustainer, Amen.