by Ivalina Ilieva
I met Ahmad (not his real name) at a religious meeting. At first, I just noticed this tall, serious-looking man sitting at the back of the hall with a beautiful blonde woman who was translating for him.
Later on, I learned more about the couple. Ahmad was born in a family of a certain faith group, but he was unhappy with his religious practice. He set out to find the true God and true religion. He decided to learn more about Christianity. There was only one Christian church in his town, so he became a member. To his dismay, the worship services seemed to resemble the ones he was trying so hard to leave behind. “I could not understand why these people worship paintings and stone statues, so I had to move on with my search for truth,” Ahmad says. He came across several evangelicals and thought their beliefs made much more sense.
But both Ahmad’s family and the townsfolk kept pressing him to give up on his faith in Christ. He told me how the police severely beat him and how his relatives threatened him with violence. All this time, he was alone in his search for truth. Then a weird idea struck his mind: Why don’t I pray to God to reveal Himself in a very specific way, so I’m left without any trace of doubt? So he prayed, “God, please send me a wife—one who’s tall, blonde, and one who can teach me about You.” Very peculiar prayer!
I am sure God smiled at this child of His and mischievously arranged an on-line meeting with a tall, blonde woman who spoke Ahmad’s native language. She lived in western Europe. After a time of long distance communication and falling in love, he went to meet her in person. She was everything he dreamed of in a wife, but God had more surprises in store for Ahmad. He was answering Ahmad’s prayer in full, because the tall blonde beauty was an Adventist. As she shared her faith, Ahmad recognized the truth he’d been looking for his entire life. The couple married and moved back to the woman’s homeland.
Ahmad shared his life story with us prior to his baptism. When asked whether he would like to pray, he replied, “Anytime, anywhere.”
How does he envision God’s calling to him from now on? “I need to go back to my town and destroy the practice of worshiping idols!” This reminded me of Gideon, who destroyed the image of Baal in his hometown. I hope and pray that God will use our modern-day hero in a mighty way.
Godspeed, Ahmad, I am “confident of this very thing, that He who hath begun a good work in you will perform it” (Philippians 1:6). I can’t wait to see what God will do through you!
Ivalina Ilieva, a Gospel Outreach supervisor, writes from Bulgaria.