This story of transformation illustrates the results of your prayers and financial support. May you be encouraged as you read about the abundant fruit God is producing through the unique and courageous ministry of GCM.
Like thousands of persecuted, former Muslims who have turned to Christ, Hossein lives in a country closed to the Gospel.
“So, we chose Jesus. We left everything behind and became very poor.”
In childhood, Hossein enjoyed the privileges of affluence, but his dysfunctional family life resulted in hopelessness and addiction. After an expatriate relative introduced him to Christ, Hossein led his immediate family to faith and, afterwards, 50 more Muslims in his hometown!
Today, as one of GCM’s core disciple makers and member of the ministry’s senior leadership, Hossein launches disciple-making movements in the Middle East and Central Asia. He travels to Muslim countries to train and mentor new GCM leaders in bringing their fellow countrymen to Christ and establishing self-replicating churches inside their native lands. Hossein recounted his faith journey for us in a recent interview.
“My mother was very religious. She not only studied the Qur’an, but also taught classes in our house. While growing up, she would beat me if I didn’t do my daily prayers. My father was an alcoholic who had no interest in religion. He would come home drunk and angry every night, and often would break things. My parents fought all the time, even hitting each other. We were financially very well off, but we were anything but a strong, functioning family. We all led separate lives.
“Away from the house, I’d hang out with my friends and started to drink alcohol, which led to drugs. Miserable and hopeless, I hated my family and anyone who wasn’t in my circle of friends. I’d beat up anyone who confronted me.
“During the month of Ramadan, I would do everything I was expected to do—fasting and praying. I even gave alms to the poor so my parents would reconcile. Nothing ever came out of that, so I felt very discouraged about God. Eventually, I no longer believed in God. I had no hope and started to smoke opium.
“One day, a Christian relative from outside our country came to visit and witnessed to me. At first, I didn’t accept what he was saying. I made fun of him, and belittled him for thinking such stupid things. Undeterred, that relative continued. At one point, he challenged me to pray in the name of Jesus and to ask God to reveal Himself to me. I did so, but nothing happened at first.
“Then, after waking up one morning, I knew. I felt His presence in me. Under the influence of the Spirit of God, I gave my heart to Jesus which led me to tell my immediate family I had become a Christian. As I shared my faith, every family member turned to Christ also. That was the beginning of our persecution.
“We were disowned by our extended family. My grandfather said, ‘If you don’t come back to Islam, I will take everything from you because it came from my grandfather; you no longer will be part of our family.’ So, we chose Jesus. We left everything behind and became very poor.
“God never let go of us, however, and He blessed us. I saw Him doing miraculous things. In the town where we lived, 50 people to whom I witnessed came to Christ in only a few months. When the secret police arrested my father to keep me from sharing Christ, I moved to a bigger city.
“All this happened 13 years ago. Since then, I married a Christian woman, herself a former Muslim, and I now serve in full-time ministry with GCM. I evangelize, plant underground churches, and disciple all over the country and in one other country. There, I train and mentor many believers of Muslim background who have turned to Christ and who want to bring others to Him.”