want you to meet a family,” the message read. Diana* slowly put down the phone, thinking about her friend’s invitation. She and her husband, Oswald, had had an exhausting week as frontline workers in the Middle East. They were just leaving Sabbath worship at their house church. It was a sweltering summer day, and they wanted to get home.
“Maybe another day?” Diana texted back.
“No! They traveled long to see you. Please come over,” was the instant reply.
That’s how, sitting together at their friend’s house, Diana and Oswald found themselves immersed in an extraordinary visit with Yusuf, his wife, Dilara, and their young son.
Early in the conversation, Yusuf asked Oswald about his and his wife’s faith. Oswald responded that they were Seventh-day Adventists. Yusuf and Dilara spoke almost in unison. “But we thought you were Christians!”
Oswald assured them that Adventists believe in Christ. He was explaining the biblical relationship of God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit when, without warning, the boy became agitated and insisted on leaving. The visit quickly ended, but Yusuf was emphatic. “We want to know more. We have to meet again.” Diana and Oswald promised to send the couple a link to a brief explanation of Seventh-day Adventist beliefs.
Yusuf and Dilara read the information on the website carefully, and the next time they met with Diana and Oswald, they launched into a long list of questions. The frontline workers responded as carefully and simply as possible, but when they tried to enter a deeper discussion of biblical truths, again, something happened to cut off the conversation. The same kind of thing happened in their following meetings.
Diana and Oswald began sensing why the little boy had been agitated at their first visit. A supernatural battle was taking place right in front of them. They began bathing each visit in much prayer.
One day, Diana and Oswald drove near Yusuf and Dilara’s neighborhood after being out of town for a few weeks. After a bus in front of them stopped to let off passengers, Diana caught a glimpse of a man and woman carrying heavy bags across the street. Her mind raced as she tried to place what seemed familiar about them. As the bus began to pull away, she grabbed her husband’s arm and cried, “Don’t go! That’s Yusuf and Dilara!” She jumped out of the car, shouted their names, and gestured frantically to get their attention. Startled, Yusuf and Dilara froze, as surprised as Diana and Oswald had been to notice them in traffic.
As the four friends hurriedly squeezed the bags into the car, Yusuf kept repeating, “It was God who wanted us to meet today.” He explained breathlessly how they had missed their first bus, causing them to arrive 20 minutes later than planned. Diana and Oswald exchanged surprised glances. They, too, had experienced a delay that put them at the intersection behind the bus at the very moment Yusuf and Dilara needed help getting home.
Once inside their apartment, Yusuf and Dilara began asking Oswald and Diana more questions about their faith. They wanted to know whether there were other Seventh-day Adventists in the area, and if so, whether they met to worship.
Oswald invited the couple to visit their house church. On the day they attended, Oswald had just begun an explanation of the biblical Sabbath when the phone rang. Yusuf and Dilara’s son had been in an accident at school, and they needed to get him.
Once again, Diana and Oswald looked at each other. The enemy was working again! But this time, despite the interruption, the animated conversation could continue as they drove together to the school. They were all grateful to learn that the boy was all right.
It’s exciting for Diana and Oswald to be part of the journey that Yusuf and Dilara have just begun. “We have no guarantee it will be easy,” Diana admits. “The enemy works hardest in the face of God’s plans. Please pray for God’s continued protection of Yusuf and Dilara’s honest interest and that He will lead us in sharing His love and Word.”
* All names have been changed.
Global Mission is all about reaching the unreached for Jesus in the 10/40 Window, which includes the Middle East and North Africa. We do this in various ways, including through the service of Global Mission pioneers, urban centers of influence, Waldensian Students, and tentmakers who use their careers to share Christ.
Please support Global Mission in this region with your prayers and donations at Global-Mission.org/giving.
To see what’s happening in the Middle East and North Africa Union, visit m360.tv/middleeast.