My heart soared as I read the message that popped up on our Facebook page at Hope Channel Middle East. The author, a 19-year-old man named Ali, said he’d just given his life to Jesus because he watched our programs. “I love Jesus Christ!” he enthused. “I want to serve Him and share His good news with others.”

God has been doing amazing things in this region to woo the hearts of people, and I never tire of hearing their stories. I promised Ali that I’d pray for him and asked about his conversion.

“I always did my best to please God,” Ali shared. “But I never experienced peace or joy. I felt lonely, disappointed, and lost with no real purpose in life. These feelings broke me to my core, and I became depressed.”

Ali attends college classes during the day and works the night shift at a restaurant to help support his family. He has little free time, but when he does, he enjoys watching TV. One day while channel surfing, he stumbled upon Hope Channel.

“As I listened to the speaker, I became indignant,” Ali said. “He was talking about Jesus being our Lord and Savior. I thought, This man is preaching the wrong message and leading people astray!

“The man’s words made me angry, but they also made me think. There was no relationship between God and me, and something about that felt wrong. The speaker said God wants to be my friend and that He’s interested in the details of my daily life—just like how a caring father feels toward his son. That’s exactly the kind of relationship I longed for, but I found it difficult to believe God wanted that too.”

Ali prayed earnestly that God would show him the truth, and soon something very unusual happened. “One morning around one o’clock, I awoke to a voice calling my name,” he recounted. “It said, ‘Ali, Ali, I’m coming back soon. Go tell others.’ I looked around the room, but there was no one there. I thought maybe I’d been dreaming and went back to sleep, but the same thing happened two more times.

“The last time I heard the voice, it was loud and majestic and seemed to shake the room. This was no dream. I was wide-awake and scared! For the first time in my life, I felt the tangible presence of God. I saw a light so bright, I couldn’t look at it. Again, the voice called my name and said, ‘I’m coming back soon. Go and tell others.’

“I was completely changed because of that meeting with the real, living God. I felt genuine joy and peace and an extraordinary love for people.”

Currently, Ali is eagerly studying God’s Word to learn more about Christ and His teachings, but he faces a difficult challenge at home.

“My family won’t accept my decision to follow Jesus,” he confided. “I love them, and I need wisdom to know how to relate to them and show them Christ’s love.”

I’m so grateful that I have the privilege of serving in a ministry that helps people like Ali connect with Jesus. Please pray for Ali to remain courageous in his commitment, for our staff at Hope Channel Middle East as we uplift Christ, and for the millions of people here who are searching for a loving relationship with God.

This story was shared with Mission 360° by the Middle East and North Africa Union Mission.