We spent a week in North Africa. The two days when we hosted art gallery receptions 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 of 10 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.
Samuel lives with a Christian missionary in North Africa. He is friends with another missionary we know there, and he was one of our most helpful companions during a recent pop-up art gallery trip. Defying what his friends called “North African Time”, Samuel was always waiting for us when we showed up to the gallery venue, a print shop, or the mall. He helped us translate in the gallery and led the charge inviting people in. He remembered everyone’s second language and brought us gallery visitors who spoke a common tongue.
On the last night of the gallery, I asked him how his day was. He described some errands and his roommate beside him glanced over, “Are you going to tell her about last night?”
Samuel glanced shyly at the ground, “You tell her, my English is not good.”
“No,” his roommate insisted, “you can tell her.”
Samuel looked up at me and smiled. “Last night I decided to totally give my life to Jesus.”
“Wow, that’s amazing!” I exclaimed and shook his hand.
Being a Christian is not easy where Samuel lives. His family is not Christian and likely would not accept his choice if he told them. It is illegal for Muslims to convert to another religion. Christians are often arrested, harassed, or beaten by the police. In his walk with Christ, Samuel will be no stranger to persecution. Despite all of this, Samuel felt that Jesus was real and he decided to follow him with all his heart. The art gallery setting was the first time he had publicly shared a testimony of his faith in Christ with other people.
Please join us in praying for Samuel as he learn more about the Bible, learns more about Jesus, and matures in his faith. Samuel is smart and friendly and vibrant. Pray for his joy to persist as he endures the trials that surely will come.