The two days of our art gallery in North Africa went by in a blur. We framed pieces, put up walls, printed flyers and statements, arranged furniture, and prepared to speak with hundreds of people.
The real beauty of preparing for the gallery, though, was not anything we accomplished. The real beauty was accomplishing it all in partnership with local North Africans. A group a dozen North Africans helped us hand out flyers, navigate the city, hang the art, and translate for gallery visitors. A few of them were Christians, and others were just exploring the idea of any faith outside Islam. Every step of the way, our new friends were eager to help and excited to share their thoughts. Here are some of their testimonies. All names have been changed for security purposes.
I looked around the room, scanning a few art pieces, wondering which group to approach. A small woman waved at me from across the row and I walked over to introduce myself. When I asked which piece she liked, Fiona immediately pointed to two portraits of Mary and Jesus. After some conversation, she smiled and declared, “I love these paintings because I love Jesus”. Boldly and joyfully, she told me that she is a Christian, that she follows Jesus and she loves him very much.
We moved out to the hallway to talk in a quieter environment. Fiona told me that she started exploring Christianity a few years ago. She grew up Muslim, like every other child in her country. But after going to university, she read the bible and that changed everything she new about religion.
The God of the Bible and the God of the Koran were radically different to Fiona. She compared the character of God and the stories in each, and finally decided that she could follow Islam no longer. Allah in the Koran was vengeful and cruel. The Allah of the Bible, however, brought joy and peace to her heart. Fiona decided to commit her whole life to the Jesus Christ of the Bible and she feels that He makes her happy every single day.
Fiona was excited and outgoing sharing her faith with me. As we talked, I was able to tell her how Jesus had changed me, how He had changed my understanding of the world, how He had allowed me to love other people better. While we talked, Fiona could relate every step of the way.
Pray for Fiona as she grows in her faith. Fiona hasn’t told her family that she is a Christian, because they might reject her completely. Pray for her relationships and for opportunities to share with those she loves as she pursues Jesus Christ in a place where that is anything but common.