Tried by Fire

20 Jan 2021

“My head still hurts sometimes.” says the 30-year-old former Muslim man. His eyes have bags under them but his smile is genuine. Who could have known that a cocky youth whose father was a high ranking hit-man for the former administration of a North African nation would have such a deep spiritual thirst.

It began in his twenties- a deep disillusion with the world of money and the equally empty rules of the Islamic system which invariably squelched question-asking. He searched in other religious systems but found them lacking. Finally, a young foreigner used google translate to ask *Brian if he would like a Bible. Intrigued, he accepted the offer and a few weeks later his visiting friend returned to his home country. After secretly reading the New Testament over a period of weeks, he started to know a joy and excitement about the spiritual life found in Christ’s work and death.

Things with his family came to a head when his uncle pointed a gun at his head and told him he had his father’s permission to kill him if he wouldn’t recant. , “If they kill me, I will die with Christ.” His uncle pulled the trigger two times but with no result. In fear, the uncle threw the gun down and walked away.

But his father wasn’t finished with him. He came, himself, to offer large amounts of money which Brian refused and was subsequently tortured and almost executed. With thousands of people around the world praying for him, he miraculously escaped, while his father thought his son was dead and thrown into the same river where he was baptized only months before.

Brian took to the street and hospitals to pray over sick people in Jesus’ name. A man was healed of leprosy. A woman whose child was mute for 19 days spoke. A former prostitute with AIDS received a negative test result. The son of his Catholic landlord fell ill, and when Brian prayed over him in Jesus’ name he was healed. Slowly but surely small groups of affiliated people began to study the Bible. The gatherings grew. Through it all, he remained humble and gave glory to God the Healer.

Brian has now continued to pour into the city groups. He shares testimonies of those impacted by the Word of God like Izzabiddiin, who gave up drug trafficking and pornography; Maj, a religious teacher who met the woman previously healed from AIDS; Hamsa, a woman who was forced into prostitution when her husband divorced her; Hajje, almost paralyzed from a terrible accident, healed and believing in Jesus; Habiba, a 12-year-old girl whose grandmother helped her escape circumcision.

Today, Brian and Izzabiddiin have teamed up together to encourage each city group to be courageous disciplers, saturated in the Word, and dependent on the Holy Spirit. After a full year, more than 100 new believers remain steadfast in the face of pressure and persecution. These two have become a modern-day Timothy and Barnabas modeling Jesus-like character and leadership. They are praying for more Paul’s and Silas’ to join them to reach the 600,000+ who live in culturally isolated Islamic neighborhoods with the gospel. Pray with them!

– S.H.

*Name changed for privacy.

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