Returning to the farm

The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? When evildoers assail me to eat up my flesh, my adversaries and foes, it is they who stumble and fall. Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war arise against me, yet I will be confident. One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in His temple. For He will hide me in His shelter in the day of trouble; He will conceal me under the cover of His tent; He will lift me high upon a rock. And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me, and I will offer in His tent sacrifices with shouts of joy; I will sing and make melody to the Lord. Hear, oh Lord, when I cry aloud; be gracious to me and answer me! You have said, "Seek My face." My heart says to You, "Your face, Lord, do I seek."

Psalm 27:1-8

Having come to terms with the fact that I would continue serving the Lord in Syria, I now had to put flesh on my plans. Before I did anything else, there was no doubt in my mind that I had to visit my old friend, Nadim. As far as I could remember, he was my oldest companion. Besides, we had already talked about these issues when I started asking dangerous questions… questions that force us to look deeper into spiritual matters. And, now that I had answers, the time had come to give him a visit. But, there was no way to predict how Nadim would react. Maybe he would be glad to see me, or maybe he would oppose me. Who knows how he had changed since the last time that we spoke. So many things could have transformed him, including people putting pressure on him to renounce our friendship. For instance, he must have had some uncomfortable encounters with Abdul after my departure. After all, I was now branded as an infidel by a prominent member of the Islamic State. Hopefully he didn't get in trouble because of me. Nevertheless, it was pointless to worry about these things. The reality is that I couldn't do anything to change the circumstances. I just had to face the situation.

Fortunately, I didn't have to walk all the way to the farm. Instead, a member from our Church let me borrow his moped. That was very gracious of him, especially considering the precariousness of the task ahead. I just couldn't guarantee that everything would go well and that I would be able to bring it back in the same condition. Thankfully, he understood; he even encouraged me to be more concerned about the soul of my friend than a piece of metal. So, I traveled through the countryside on an old moped. Even though it was a bumpy road, I was truly grateful for the opportunity to give my feet some rest. I rode from the paved streets of Al-Hasakah to the sandy highway, then from the sandy highway to the dirt roads of the countryside. All the while, I enjoyed the scenery and praised Allah for the world that He created. In His wisdom, He had made the ground yield everything that we need, from the minerals that we use to build a city, to the food that nourishes our bodies. The different shapes, colors, sounds, smells, and flavors were a testimony to His majesty and the beauty of His plan for the universe. I almost forgot that I was about to enter the lion's den… until the smell of smoke caught my attention.

Something was burning… or, rather, something had been burned. I looked at the horizon, trying to see if a house was on fire, but I didn't find what I was looking for. Instead, I noticed that a field on the right side of the road was dark. There seemed to be something unusual about the ground, but I couldn't tell what it was. I kept my eyes fixed on it as I drew closer. Then, I realized why the ground was so dark: the entire field had been burned. The closer I got, the more I was disturbed by the sight. It must have happened recently, because there was still a bit of smoke lingering in the air. There was rubble where a house had once stood, and cars had also been engulfed in the flame. I wondered how someone could have left the scene without taking their own vehicle…

While I was pondering these things, I noticed a black flag in front of the field. It was hanging on a pole by the side of the road. So, I decided to take a closer look. Once I stopped the moped, I could hear the flag flapping in the wind. Besides that sound, there was a deathly silence. When I read the inscription, my suspicions were confirmed: this was the flag of the Islamic State. They use it to mark their conquests on behalf of the caliphate. Its design – the Black Standard – is very similar to the one that the Prophet Muhammad used in battle in the seventh century, the Shahada written with simple calligraphy. I thought about the fact that some people might take pride in such a depressing sight. To them, this represents a victory on behalf of Islam. On the other hand, I wondered how many Muslims might stand up against such injustice. But, how would they justify these actions without being labeled as traitors against their own religion? After all, these were the enemies of Islam! They were simply treated the way that Muhammad said that disbelievers should be treated if they refuse to submit to the rule of Islam. To be consistent, they would have to condemn the actions of their own Prophet! That would be nothing less than blasphemy! Maybe that's why no one helped to extinguish the fire…

That flag also acted as a warning. I became conscious of the fact that I was entering a territory controlled by those who think that they are doing a service to Allah by putting families to flight, slaughtering innocent men, and enslaving women. In this land, no one was safe. They could confiscate your property or take away your children if they deemed that you were unworthy. And, somehow, they had grown tremendously in popularity. They had their sympathizers from among every echelon of the population. That's one of the reasons why people were so afraid to stand up against them or do anything that would draw undue attention to themselves. Frankly, these men were driven by a spirit of violence and destruction. This was more than a struggle for power; this was a spiritual war. Therefore, I would have to be careful… I would have to be vigilant.

Suddenly, I heard a loud noise… Snap! A branch cracked behind me, as though someone had stepped on it. I wasn't alone! At that very moment, the hair in the back of my neck stood up. I quickly turned around, but I didn't see anyone. My eyes roamed to and fro, trying to find the perpetrator. But, there was nothing. As far as I could tell, I was alone. All I could see were a few lonely trees on the other side of the road. However, I felt like someone was watching me.

Adam – Hello… Who's there?

Silence.

Adam – I heard you… There's no point hiding…

Still, more silence. There had to be someone – or something – behind those trees. What else would have caused that branch to snap? So, I started walking in the direction of the trees, thinking that someone might have escaped the fire and may need help… I took a few steps, moving furtively. I wanted to see what was behind those trees. Maybe someone would come out of hiding, or maybe a fox would run off. But, what if it was a thief, trying to get his share of the plunder? Should I risk it? What if it was a member of the Islamic State, waiting to ambush those who traveled along that road? At that point, I realized that if I came face-to-face with danger, my only means of escape was the moped… and I was already uncomfortably far from it. Plus, if something happened to me in that place, there would be no one to help me. I was just as good as dead. As I reflected upon this situation, the wind seemed to be whistling an eerie tune in my ears. It sent shivers down my spine. Thus, I decided that it would be better to leave. So, I casually turned around and walked nonchalantly towards the moped, glancing over my shoulder every once in a while. But, once more, I heard a noise coming from the trees; something shook the leaves. It caused a sinking sensation in my stomach. I turned around again, but I didn't see anyone.

Adam – Lord, please help me. Protect me from my enemies, for Your Name's sake. Take my fears away, and give me the strength to confront any trouble.

Although there was no visible sign of life, I felt something strange… like a dark presence drawing near. There was a check in my spirit, telling me to be on guard, but I wasn't sure what to make of it. It's like I could discern the presence of spiritual forces of darkness, coming out in the open. I had never had this experience before, so I didn't know how to react. It was as though a thick fog was descending upon me, slowly forming a noose around my neck, steadily applying more pressure to cut off my windpipe. What was happening? Was I going crazy? Then, it dawned upon me: Maybe it wasn't a person making the noise. Could it be an evil spirit? Do fallen angels ever show up in physical form? Perhaps I had stirred up trouble in the spiritual realm by deciding to bring the gospel deep inside enemy territory. That would explain why the devil might send his minions against me. After all, doesn't Shaytan fight against Allah's elect, to keep them from setting his captives free? It seemed that this would be a prime time for such an encounter. As I pondered these things, I felt my heartbeat accelerate. The fact that I couldn't see anything only made me more nervous. As I was taking some steps backwards, my left shoe hit a large stone and I nearly fell down. Thankfully, I recovered my balance. I couldn't wait to reach the moped. What a bad decision I had made to stop!

Right then, I directed my thoughts to the Lord Jesus. My soul cried out to Him, knowing that He had the power to deliver me from any danger. At the same time, comforting words flooded my mind: "He who is in me is greater than he who is in the world; Jesus is seated at the right hand of the Father, far above all rule, authority, power, and dominion; my Lord is with me, through His Spirit who dwells in me; Allah's Son has come to destroy the works of the devil; Jesus has defeated Satan by the power of His blood; the Messiah has already crushed the head of the serpent, and it is but a matter of time before He throws him in the lake of fire." These words ministered to my soul, and strengthened my faith. Thus, I straightened myself and decided to stand on Allah's promises. So, I lifted my right hand towards heaven, raised my left hand towards the trees, and said in a loud voice:

Adam – Allah's Son has set me free; therefore, you have no power over me! I now belong to Jesus, the Lord of heaven and earth. In the Name of Jesus, I tell you to depart, and get out of my way!

Immediately, I felt a rush go through my body, causing my shoulders to shiver for a brief moment. It was as though I was sheared by the wind. Having been shaken up a little, I stood there, wondering what had happened. Then, I realized that the dark presence had left. The air seemed to lighten up as the invisible fog seemed to lift. In my spirit, I knew that Allah was protecting me from evil, countering the schemes of the enemy. He was opening a door that no one could shut, paving the way for the message of His salvation. So, I looked up towards the sky, breathed a sigh of relief, and smiled. Once again, I felt as though the Lord had laid a warm blanket over my shoulders. His presence was almost tangible, penetrating the veil between the spiritual and the physical realms. I could feel His Spirit within me, and I could feel His Spirit around me. If there was any glimpse of glory, this was it! There was nothing like the comfort of His embrace! In the face of trouble, the shelter of His presence relieves the anxious soul. In the midst of darkness, the light of His countenance forges a path before us.

Adam – Thank you, Lord Jesus. I praise Your holy Name. Empower me to speak of Your great salvation. Open the hearts of those who are bound by chains of darkness.

One last time, I glanced at the trees. There was nothing. The wind seemed to be singing a cheerful tune. Then, I turned around and looked at the flag. It was the symbol of death. But, it had been conquered by the cross. The curse of the law had been broken when Jesus purchased our souls out of slavery. So, I grabbed a stick and approached the Black Standard. I bowed my head towards the ground, and jabbed it with the branch. I thought to myself, "Allah is greater than this." Thus, I carved a cross in front of flag, and wrote these words: "It is finished." Everything that we need for salvation had been accomplished at the cross. There was nothing left for us to do, except to believe it. Jesus did it for us, once for all. And, He wanted us to bring this message to set the captives free.

With a renewed sense of purpose, I jumped on the moped and rode to the farm. As I traveled through the countryside, I prayed for Nadim, asking Allah to prepare his heart. I also prayed for Abdul and all the members of the Islamic State. I pleaded with the Lord to have mercy on them, because they had acted in ignorance. I asked Him to give me clarity and the power of His Holy Spirit to proclaim the gospel of Jesus, the Messiah. I knew that my words would fall short, since the task of regenerating hearts is impossible for mere human beings. Yet, I had confidence that Allah could do the impossible. He had done it in the past, and He would do it again. So, I prayerfully made my way to the farm.

I finally got there as the sun was setting. I thought that Nadim was probably finishing his prayers, doing the best that he could to make himself acceptable in the sight of Allah. As I approached my old cabin, I was shocked to find that a second one had been built beside it. I looked around to make sure that I was at the right place. There was no doubt about it: this was the same field, with the same bushes, and the same cabin… But, in a matter of a few weeks, someone else had moved in… It wasn't a very nice cabin. They had clearly used old materials to build it. I could tell that it wasn't the work of a carpenter, either. Someone must have been in a rush. But, why? Did Faruq decide to hire more workers? However, he wouldn't do a half-hearted job like this. He would care enough to build a nice shelter for his workers to live in.

My curiosity was stronger than I could bear, so I decided to take a closer look. I got off the moped and slowly walked towards the new cabin. I noticed that the doorframe wasn't properly sealed. There was a big gap underneath the door, through which wind, sand, and bugs could easily crawl. As I turned the corner, I realized that someone was sitting on the other side of the cabin; I could hear some flickers, as though someone was preparing meal. So, I peeked around the corner to see who it was… I kept my head close to the cabin, trying to avoid drawing attention to myself. I looked and – to my surprise – I saw a woman dressed in a full burqa. She had a heating device with a pot on top of it, and she was cutting vegetables. Who was she, and why did she move here? I decided to introduce myself.

Adam – Salam

As soon as I said those words, the woman jumped to her feet. I obviously scared her… but I could barely see her emotions through the black fabric that covered her face. Thankfully, she didn't scream. She just stood there, staring at me. It was a bit awkward… Then, I realized that she was holding a sharp knife. She probably thought that she could defend herself if I turned out to be a menace. Maybe she didn't want to disturb those who were finishing their prayers inside the cabin. Maybe she was alone.

Adam – Salam. Is Nadim inside the cabin?

Fatima – Who are you?

Adam – I'm an old friend. Did Nadim ever tell you about a man named Mojza?

Fatima – Mojza…

Adam – Yes. That's me.

At that point, I heard some ruffle coming from the cabin. I could tell that there were people inside… more than one person. I expected to see someone, but no one came out. The woman was also looking at the cabin. Then, something happened to her, as though a switch had suddenly been turned on in her mind. She started reciting the Shahada.

Fatima – La 'ilaha 'illa-Allah...

She stopped in mid-sentence. It was a test. She wanted to see if I would recite the rest of the Shahada… I was caught in a predicament. I didn't want her first impression of me to be marked by my rejection of Islam, but I didn't want to deny my Lord and Savior either. I could very well recite the first part of the Shahada. After all, I did believe that there was no deity except Allah. So, I decided to recite that part, hoping that it would be good enough for her.

Adam – La 'ilaha 'illa-Allah.

Fatima said nothing in reply.

Adam – What's your name?

Fatima – La 'ilaha 'illa-Allah, Muhammad rasul-Allah.

Now it was my turn to say nothing. Unfortunately, she pushed it beyond my comfort level. I simply couldn't say that Muhammad was Allah's messenger. Historically and theologically, the rise of Islam could only be a step back from what Christianity had accomplished. The place that Jesus of Nazareth held in the course of history militated against the acceptance of the so-called Prophet. The reality is that I had become convinced that Muhammad could not have been Allah's spokesperson. I could not ignore the fact that he had clearly misunderstood Allah's Word and had flatly renounced the most essential thing that Allah had done for our salvation. If Allah had truly spoken through him, he would not have made such a basic mistake about his understanding of the Trinity. If Allah had truly spoken through him, he would have built on the foundation that had already been established and had already received Allah's stamp of approval, instead of simply renouncing it and inventing his own religion based on a secondhand knowledge of Judeo-Christianity. Besides, I knew without a doubt that Jesus was Allah's final messenger, and that anyone who tried to undermine the truth about who He is and what He has accomplished by His death and resurrection was serving the devil's interests. I could not deny my Lord. This woman was testing me… but Allah was also testing me. He wanted me to be faithful, even unto death. He wanted me to trust in Him, even though it might bring suffering. So, I decided that I would tell her that Jesus was Allah's true messenger.

Adam – La 'ilaha 'illa-Allah, Yesua' al-Messiah rasul-Allah.

As soon as these words came out of my mouth, something struck me from behind. Someone must have snuck up behind me while the woman was testing me. All I heard was a loud thump as the metal object hit my head. Thus, I blacked out for a minute… I couldn't see anything, and I couldn't hear anything for a while. Darkness seemed to overtake me. The throes of death seemed to engulf me. My lifeline seemed to be vanishing.

When I started to regain consciousness, I realized that two men were carrying me inside the cabin. I had difficulty recognizing them, since my vision was a bit blurry. I closed my eyes in pain, as the wound in the back of my head started to swell. I couldn't believe that this was happening to me… Was this the end for me? Surely, they would take my life. What was the point of dying like that? I started to lament the fact that I didn't even get the opportunity to tell Nadim about Jesus. Maybe I should have called him instead. Perhaps I could have written a letter to him. As it was, I was going to die without ever telling him the truth that can set him free. However, I quickly realized that this was my opportunity! The Lord had opened a door for me, and I needed to make the most of it. If they were going to kill me, I would at least make sure that they hear the gospel.

The two men who were carrying me tried to make me stand, but my legs weren't responding very well. So, a third individual decided to wake me up the hard way; he took a glass container, filled it with water, and threw it in my face. Unfortunately, he misjudged the distance between us and hit my bottom lip with the glass. It immediately cut my lip against my bottom teeth, making me bleed profusely. Then, I heard someone get angry at him, not because he had injured me, but because I was going to stain the carpet. So, they threw a rag in my face, telling me to wipe off the blood. At that point, I was able to stand. As I applied pressure using the rag, I looked around me. There was quite a crowd. I counted at least eight men! Allah was giving me the privilege to share the gospel with all of them!

I finally recognized Nadim, although he looked different. He was wearing a kind of military uniform, similar to the one that Abdul always wore. Then, I realized that Abdul was also standing in the room, his arms crossed over his chest. He seemed angry and jubilant at the same time. I wondered how that was possible. Is that pure malice? Did he actually take pleasure in inflicting pain upon people? Shouldn't we lament the destruction of our enemies? Shouldn't we desire to do them good, since they are also made in Allah's image? I wanted to tell them about Jesus, but I didn't know how to start the conversation. So, I prayed that the Lord would do it for me.

Abdul – Mojza, what a pleasant surprise! I didn't know that you would give me the pleasure to teach you a lesson so soon… I just want you to know that you are going to die tonight.

Adam – I know that I'll be with Allah if I die.

Abdul – Haha! Isn't that hilarious? What makes you so sure that you'll be with Allah when you die?

Adam – In the same way that I have certainty concerning the condemnation of those who are under the law, I also have certainty concerning the salvation of those who belong to Jesus.

Abdul seemed puzzled by my response. Maybe he wasn't expecting me to make a defense, or maybe these concepts were foreign to him. He just shook his head and exchanged a few laughs with his friends. They seemed as puzzled as he was. Some of them seemed hesitant, forcing an unnatural chuckle since they were under pressure. When he was tired of mocking me, he glanced at me, grinding his teeth. Then, he vigorously shoved his fist in my stomach. I thought that I heard a rib crack. It definitely took the breath out of me. I could only moan a little as I gasped for air. He seemed glad by my response.

Abdul – Hey, I have a good idea; let's play a game: Every time you talk, I hit you as hard as I can. What do you say?

Adam – You think that you're so good, Abdul… but you fall short of Allah's standards. The very law that you are trying to keep is condemning you. You can try to work up your own righteousness, but you will always lack something. The righteousness that Allah requires is perfect… nothing less! You don't have that, but Allah offers it to you through faith in the Messiah.

As I said this, he raised his eyebrows and his eyes opened wide. He was obviously surprised by my response. I don't think that he was expecting me to say anything else. After all, he couldn't understand what I had to gain from it. He was about to speak, but he decided to resort to what he knew best instead. He cranked his arm and punched me in the mouth. Since I was already cut and bleeding, this only increased the pain, adding a sharp sting as my lip tore a bit more. I kept my eyes shut until the pain subsided a little.

Abdul – Didn't you hear the rules of the game, Mojza?

Nadim – Abdul, don't do that…

Abdul – Shut your mouth, you dog! Do you also want to play the game?

Nadim – Please, let's at least give him a fair trial.

Abdul – This is his trial! I am his judge!

Adam – Actually, our judge is Allah… and He will condemn you to everlasting fire in hell unless you repent from your sins and believe that Jesus rose from the grave. Do you think that it will go well with your soul if you reject the One that Allah has sent from above to save us from our sins?

Enraged, he quickly turned around and landed three sharp blows in my rib cage, two with his right fist, and one with his left hand. I nearly fell to the ground, but the two men standing by my side caught me by the arms and forced me to stand. I was in tremendous pain. This time, I was sure that he had broken some of my ribs. I could only take short breaths.

Nadim – Stop it!

Tawfiq – Come on, Abdul, don't do that.

Abdul – And who's going to stop me?

At that moment, I heard the sound of footsteps coming from outside. As the door flung open, a gush of wind swept the place. It threw sand across the room, throwing the mob into confusion. When the door closed, the person stamped both feet at the entrance. Then, a voice thundered from the doorway.

Faruq – What is happening here?

Nadim – Faruq…

Faruq – How dare you… come to my land and treat my own son like that! You should be ashamed of yourselves! You are acting like animals. At least, animals don't know any better. But, you… you call yourselves Muslims? You call yourselves servants of the Most Merciful? I ought to have all of you flogged for your crimes!

Faruq's voice seemed more authoritative than ever. Everyone remained quiet. I looked up and saw him, standing in the doorway. I was so glad to see him! He had something in his hand, but I couldn't tell what it was. Maybe it was because of his massive frame, or maybe it was because he was the owner of the land… but, for some reason, his presence commanded respect. The two men who held my arms walked away from me and I dropped to the floor, unable to stand. Abdul seemed unsure what to do. Faruq took a few steps forward, making sure that everyone could see him.

Faruq – Now, I want you to listen very carefully… I'm going to tell you a story, and the story has a very important meaning. I want everyone to be quiet until I'm done. Do I make myself clear?

Nadim – Yes, sir!

Abdul – Yes…

Others – Yes, sir.

Faruq – There was a master of a house who planted a vineyard, put a fence around it, dug a winepress in it, built a tower and leased it to tenants, and went into another country. When the season for fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the tenants to get his fruit. And the tenants took his servants and beat one, killed another, and stoned another. Again he sent other servants, more than the first. And they did the same to them. Finally he sent his son to them, saying, "They will respect my son." But when the tenants saw the son, they said to themselves, "This is the heir. Come, let us kill him and have his inheritance." And they took him and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. When therefore the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants? […] He will come and destroy those tenants and give the vineyard to others.

Silence greeted the ending of his story.

Faruq – Do you understand the meaning of this parable?

Nadim – We are supposed to treat your servants well, especially your son.

Faruq – Exactly! The way that you treat my beloved son is the way that you treat me. If you reject my son, you are rejecting me. If you mistreat my son, you are mistreating me. And, if you kill my son, you will have to drink the cup of the fury of my wrath.

I couldn't believe my ears. I knew that Allah had done a miracle, although I didn't fully understand what was happening. Faruq had just told them about Jesus, and they didn't even realize it. Did Faruq even know what he was saying? He didn't seem to make the connection between the parable and what happened to Allah's beloved Son. Where did he hear that parable anyways? The people seemed to be in shock. Some of them were even starting to weep. They must have felt terrible, and they must be afraid of the repercussions of their actions. Hopefully they would come to realize that they need to be more concerned about the wages of sin, so that they can appreciate what the Lord has done to pay the eternal debt of their sin. As I regained my composure, I silently prayed for Allah to give me one more opportunity to proclaim the gospel.

Faruq – I'm going to give you a second chance. I'm going to exit this cabin, and wait for my son to come out. I expect that you will drop all hostilities and send him out with a blessing. Trust me, if I were you, I would not reject that offer. Now, your fate is in your hands. What will happen to you depends on how you will respond to the free gift of my grace.

Having said these words, Faruq exited the cabin. As soon as he was gone, the people sheepishly cleared a path for me. Thus, I slowly and painfully made my way towards the door. As I was walking, someone whispered an apology. Another person asked me not to hold it against them. Then, I reached the door and placed my hand on the wall. I thought that I should say something before I left. After all, I might never get this opportunity again. So, I turned around and looked at the people.

Adam – You know what Faruq said about the vineyard… I would like to use that parable to teach you another lesson… a spiritual lesson. The vineyard is the earth on which we live. The owner of the vineyard is Allah. We are the tenants, and the servants are the messengers that Allah has sent throughout history. The fact is that Allah calls us to give Him the glory that He deserves. But, there is one problem: we are sinful. Thankfully, the Lord has prepared a way for us to become truly fruitful, providing the righteousness that we lack in and of ourselves. The prophets came bearing witness to it, and the law pointed to it. Unfortunately, not everyone listened to them. And, when the fullness of time had come, Allah sent His Son, calling us to true righteousness through faith in Him, since this was the One in whom His justice would be perfectly satisfied. But, the people treated Jesus the same way that they had treated the prophets. They beat Him and killed Him. Even though they intended to cause Him harm, Allah had planned to use His death as a substitutionary sacrifice for our sins. And, on the third day, He rose from the grave, thereby conquering death and granting eternal life to those who belong to Him through His perfect righteousness.

The Injil says that "Allah so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For Allah did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him. Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of Allah's only Son." (John 3:16-18) This means that by default, those who don't trust in the Messiah are already in a state of condemnation. However, we are called to turn away from our unbelief and to trust in Jesus. If we do, instead of being condemned for our sins, we will be saved by His grace.

I want you to think about how kind and merciful Allah has been to us. "For while we were still weak, at the right time, the Messiah died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person – though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die – but Allah shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, the Messiah died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by His blood, much more shall we be saved by Him from Allah's wrath. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to Allah by the death of His Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by His life. More than that, we also rejoice in Allah through our Lord Jesus, the Messiah, through whom we have now received reconciliation." (Romans 5:6-11) And now, Allah offers His grace to us. Our fate is in our hands. The conditions are crystal clear: You must believe in His Son. You must trust in His death and resurrection. And, if you do, you can have absolute certainty that when you die, you will be warmly welcomed in Allah's kingdom, since you have been made righteous and your sins have been washed away. So, do you want your sins to be forgiven? Do you want eternal life? Well, you can have it, through faith in Jesus.

There was a mixture of reactions. Abdul seemed angry, but he obviously couldn't say anything. Nadim seemed amazed to hear me speak such words. I noticed tears rolling down the cheeks of a man, while another was bowing his head low. One of them approached me and slipped a piece of cloth in my jacket's left pocket. He didn't say anything, and neither did I. Frankly, I felt confident that I had done exactly what I needed to accomplish. Now, their souls were in the hands of the Lord. Having told them the gospel, the only thing left to do was to pray for them. I knew that Allah could powerfully use that word that had been sown in their hearts. Some would reject it, but some would be saved by it and bear much fruit for Allah's glory. That is the fruit that the owner of the vineyard had come to reclaim. That is the fruit that His Son had come to produce in us. Indeed, by means of the spiritual union through faith in Jesus, His Spirit produces much fruit in us, so that our Master may receive what is due to Him. Knowing these things, I departed in peace, knowing that the Lord had done wonderful things.