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Ministry Moments Blog
In December the Tempe New Life Pregnancy Center held its 4th annual Christmas gift give-away for clients’ children. Fourteen volunteers gave their time that day, covering five separate rooms offering material assistance, childcare, picking out toys and wrapping toys. Many of these were first time volunteers and it was a blessing to have them! Throughout the event 157 children received new or like new Christmas presents. However, in the midst of all of the Christmas excitement of the day there were two unexpected appointments at the center – both of which were obviously God ordained.
The phone rang and it was a young woman, Annie*, calling the pregnancy center looking for information on abortion procedures. The director stepped into the office to talk with her as volunteers continued serving those in the center. But Annie said she was calling from work and couldn’t say everything she wanted to say. “I guess I can’t really talk now,” she said. “I’ll call you some other time.”
The director knew how critical every minute is for a woman considering abortion. Not wanting to miss an opportunity to counsel Annie to choose life for her unborn child, the director offered to ask a few questions that would only require simple, discreet answers. Annie agreed and through this process, she admitted she felt completely alone and said, “I’m not in a good place in my life to have a baby.”
Asking more questions, the director learned that Annie had a very loving mother – a mother who was not angry about her daughter’s situation but who wanted this grandchild. The director gently explained to Annie about life in the womb and how small she was when her heart began to beat. She reminded her that she has eight months to consider plans for how to care for her baby, but an abortion decision made now would be irreversible. Annie listened intently and seemed to understand how the center could be additional support to her if she chose to parent her baby. After a few minutes she said, “I have to go now. Maybe I will call your clinic later.”
The call ended and the director prayed that God would use her words to touch Annie’s heart and spare the life of her little one. A little while later as the director helped a young family leaving the center, a young man approached her and asked, “Is this the church office? I have some questions about this church.”
The director told him no, but offered to answer any questions he had. He explained he was writing a paper for a class at the university about comparative religions and had many questions about Christianity. He asked to see the worship center, and as they toured it together he said, “This is much larger than the mosque.” The director replied, “Oh, so you are a man of deep faith!” He looked surprised but said, “Yes, I am a Muslim. May I ask questions without offending you?” The director smiled and said, “You may ask me any question that you like and I will not be offended. You are a seeker of truth just like myself.”
As they talked, the director told him the worship center was decorated for Christmas and that Christians believe God the Son was conceived by God the Holy Spirit in the body of a young woman named Mary. She said, “God made a plan before the creation of the heavens and the earth because he knew the humans he would create would fall out of relationship with Him because they chose to disobey His Word. This is what our Holy Book, the Bible, calls sin. I understand that Muslims know Jesus by the name ‘Isa Mesih’ which means ‘Jesus Messiah’. ”
“Yes, this is true,” he said.
She continued, “Part of God’s plan was that He would require a blood sacrifice to remove the sin that separated people from Himself. His plan meant God the Son would need a body of flesh that could bleed in order to be that sacrifice. God the Son would then be 100% man and 100% God at the same time, so His blood would have the supernatural power that the blood of animals cannot equal.”
“Yes!” he exclaimed, “Do you remember Abraham on the mountain? He was going to sacrifice his son, but then there was a sheep in the bushes.”
“Yes, I know the story of Isaac very well. God provided a blood sacrifice so that Isaac would not be killed. When Jesus became a blood sacrifice when he was crucified, God was providing the perfect blood sacrifice that has the ability to give eternal life to every person who chooses Jesus as their Savior, their Messiah.”
He looked very serious and said, “Muslims do not believe in forcing anyone to accept our religion.”
The director smiled and replied, “No, a Christian who is obeying God’s Word does not force our religion on anyone, either. When I was 17 years old, I first understood the story of the sacrifice of Jesus and I decided to become a follower of Him. You are a seeker of truth. I am a seeker of truth. If you walk beside me for a while, learning about Jesus, then we can walk together in our search.”
He smiled warmly and asked if he could attend a service at the church. What a joy it was for the director to invite him to church that Sunday and assure him he would be welcome!
God’s timing and His plans are perfect! His plans were much greater for this special day than anyone at the center could have anticipated. Knowing these two young people in search of truth would call and visit on a busy day, He provided the many volunteers needed to help those receiving Christmas gifts and other services that day so the director could dedicate time to helping both of these. They were different in every way! But in the loving eyes of Jesus their hearts are exactly the same – they are seeking answers to the most profound questions of life.