I have discovered that people from Islamic countries are firstly human and secondly Muslim. A first-hand exposure of knowing many has brought about an appreciation of some of their values which have influenced my life. These include showing hospitality, extending sympathy for the bereaved and respect for the elderly, showing affection and honor, generosity in giving,  and visiting the sick.

I am discovering that a greater knowledge of Islam and the Qur’an may improve but doesn’t guarantee a more effective witness of Jesus. Sharing my rich personal history and legacy, stories, or supernatural experiences will not accomplish conversion in a Muslim’s soul. There is no single guaranteed method  that will work to convert Muslims despite all the book helps available. I know better today than thirty years ago how to explain salvation but that is still not enough. I think I have grasped that conversion work belongs to the Spirit of God, not me.

I am slowly discovering  the high value of a hidden one-on-one ministry. The fact that the Bible only reveals that I need to be faithful, not successful, has taken a far-too-long acceptance. Busyness or multi-tasking doesn’t mean fruitfulness or success in ministry. Focusing on opportunities rather than results has been a rich discovery of what “it’s all about and for Whom”. Praying has been confirmed still to be the biggest release of power in ministry. A strong loud prayer with certain phrases doesn’t accomplish more than a quiet “help, Jesus”! The personal struggle of harboring unbelief in God’s power has been the largest mountain to remove. The realization that Muslim ministry requires more faith than strategy has finally been grasped.

A not so pleasant discovery has been gaining a greater hands-on schooling dealing with Satan’s power, evil schemes and spiritual battles in the lives of Muslims coming to salvation and discipleship. Even harder has been to go through that schooling in my own personal life. Long ago I discovered how very weak I am to fight these battles. Some of the battle wounds have been debilitating. Discovering the absolute necessity of prayer partners has helped me to survive. I have discovered that I’m not a “good soldier of the cross” who fights valiantly but rather a pet lamb who simply follows the Shepherd closely.

Discovering that personal spiritual growth has occurred in me has been encouraging. Training in holiness, tapping into the divine love supply when human love runs out, going deeper into the humility, endurance, and perseverance of Jesus, knowing better what wisdom from on high sounds and looks like, forgiving some abusive people, crying out desperately for my heart to keep soft and tender, have all been used by God to grow me more like Jesus. But, perhaps, the most significant growth has been the realization that I can not be the Savior of a single person – not even a mini savior.

The greatest discovery has been trying to fathom how I can completely love this work for which God has set me apart, and be full of joy. I guess it’s because I have come to know Jesus better and that’s worth everything.

Joy Loewen

check out: Learning the Ropes