At fourteen years old, before I was saved by Jesus and still in the boarding school, I was finally able to read the Quran on my own in Arabic. I would recite the Quran day by day. Sometimes during the five prayers a day and sometimes after prayers. In Islam, piety matters. The more pious you are, the better. You will start noticing people will start giving you respect and not doubt your intentions because you obviously know the religion than them. So I read the Quran. I read the translations in my native tongue and then in English. And then I read the translations of the Hadith Sahih Bukhari and Hadith Sahih Muslim. I no longer remember much of this stuff, so for this post I could only say that these writings are collections of sayings of Muhammad.
I read them and understood them and began practicing some of these things in my life. I began to learn about all kinds of stuff in Islam. A lot of stuff regarding Islam that is the equivalent of ‘doctrine’, ‘theology’, ‘demonology’, ‘angelology’ and others. I began to learn the doctrines of heaven and hell in Islam and I began to learn about the dark fate of everyone, including Muslims. According to my studies, missing one evening prayer would cause a person to go to hell for 10,000 years or something as harsh!
In Islam, hell is like serving time in prison. Muslims believe all those who are infidels go to hell and never come out. But for Muslims, they know that they will go to hell for some time to serve the penalty of the ‘bad deeds’ and sins. If they miss one prayer, they will go to hell for a time and will be freed afterwards and go to heaven. They believe that the only way out of this is to be martyred and that is the only way they could go straight to Heaven without serving time in hell.
So I believed all of that, and began to be even more pious in my life. But interestingly enough, I have had this desire to have a conversation with God and I’d speak to Him, but obviously the false god Allah does not reply to me back.
And God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob has always given me this desire, so I’d seek Him and wonder, because His plan was always to bring me to Himself at the appointed time for a time such as this.
Then my family moved overseas again, and we had to move to a city in which the only English speaking school that was there was a school for children of missionaries and started by missionaries!
Can you believe how God’s Hand was in my life?
How specific, how wonderfully and fearfully He has revealed Himself every step of the way?
Know that He knows you the very same way. And He has meant for you to know Him that closely, only if you’d allow Him!
But note that life would be a little more adventurous after that, so count your costs.
Anyway, back to the story…
When I moved to this new city abroad and started my new school at an American school for missionary kids, I sat next to this Texan girl who has a Southern drawl, albeit a mild one, and she asked me if we could be friends. I said, “OK”. I thought I was going to be there for probably two years anyway, doesn’t hurt to make friends.
So this friendship started. After that day, about every week she’d sit next to me and bring me the English translation of the Quran and the Bible and started debating with me. I knew my stuff so I’d debate too. I used to think that I won. She later told me she thought she won. And well, today we know Jesus won.
So that went on for a while and she even gifted me a Bible, but my parents took that one away. It was an NLT version with a nice leather cover. I wish I could have it back, but today God restored to me six or seven Bibles from the NKJV, ESV, NIV and two other Study Bibles.
Whenever anything is taken away from me – I learned – God is always going to restore to me back at least twofold – Now when I start to have to die to something or give up something and I know that my heart is right before God, I know that God’s rod and staff are going to comfort me and that He is preparing a table for me before my enemies!
And so it is for you too! God is good. Whenever the enemy intends to do bad for you, God already sees this beforehand and is already planning to reward you in greater glory. But of course, it is not about the material rewards, but it is about seeing Jesus as your treasure and reward and God as your portion.
Then it was time for me to graduate, and I wanted to study Aerospace Engineering. I applied to five or six schools and got into three. I was accepted to Florida Institute of Technology, Iowa State University and a college in Kansas. I chose the one in Kansas because its Aerospace program was one of the best in the country with great prospects for future opportunities and one fourth the cost of the first two.
Although these were not the Ivies, they were still top notch. They have high national rankings. I chose the fourth tier school in Kansas because it was more affordable too.
Once I got to the United States, I began seeking the truth, I began reading about a lot of stuff regarding different religions, and the enemy started attacking me spiritually. I may have opened myself to these things by looking into things that are out there.
I began to hate religion and faith and began to look more into Science and Philosophy. I began to read some of Einstein’s work, and Isaac Asimov, as well as articles or biography about Stephen Hawking and his works. I began to look into ideas such as String Theory, Blackholes, Big Bang, Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, Schrodinger’s Equation and I began to look at the mathematics of that (I was taking Calculus, but I admit the math of it is very difficult to follow until years later).
I began to read philosophy books and excerpts by Aristotle, Plato, Socrates, Machiavelli, Foucault, Kant and others. I was not intensively studying them, so I am not an expert, but I read them as I see them in the library.
A friend of mine, from college began to debate with me about philosophies of life. Sometimes he would debate about science and math, and sometimes about the works of Asimov. This was ten years ago and I don’t remember the specifics anymore. He was a Hindu from a Brahmin family and years later was saved as well. Praise Jesus!!!!
So the knowledge of the mind and intellectual pursuit became my religion. I’d still listen to my Christian friends and go to services, but at the same time I would read or listen to this other stuff and began to not care about whether God cares whether I belong to Him or not.
So my own life began to reflect that. I started having the lifestyle of the godless. Doing ungodly things and not living a pure life.
But the Hound of Heaven (dubbed by a friend who later became my pastor, using this to refer to the Holy Spirit and the opposite of the word ‘hellhound’) was pursuing me. God placed godly people in my life and began to speak true Salvation in my life as gently and as nurturing as a mother hen to her chicks (Luke 13:34).
For the first time, I encountered God as EL SHADDAI – One who is an ABBA FATHER but also like a mother. I wanted to believe and leave the life I was leading, but I could not. Because the power of the Blood of Jesus was not on me, until one day my church decided to host a city-wide event called, “AFTER-DARK” and the speaker – Joe White was to carry a log on his shoulder and build a cross on the stage, playing the role of a Roman era cross builder.
When I listened to Joe talking about the Cross and Jesus, I really felt the realness of Jesus’ sacrifice for my life and the Father’s love for me and also the moving of the Holy Spirit in my heart.
At the end of the event, Joe asked everyone who was attending the event to bow their heads because he was going to pray. He prayed and then he said that those who want to give their lives to Jesus, can pray the sinner’s prayer with him. I did and I meant it I was truly letting go of everything and surrendering everything, even if it means leaving the old life that I had.
After the prayer, Joe asked us to write down things in our lives that we wanted to nail on the cross he had just built, and then to come up to the stage and nail it on the cross. I wrote down a pretty compressed paragraph of a note before going down to the stage and nailed it on the cross. I felt a giant burden lift off of me and for the first time in my life I felt a tangible freedom that I could not explain.
That night there were 3000 attendees to the event and about 200 or 300 came to Christ. After that the campus just looked like a renewed place like as if 200-300 people came back to classes bringing their fresh new start with them.
I began to leave my old lifestyle and broke up my relationship. It was not easy, but God gave me the grace.
I began to serve God and spend more time in His Word, until I realized that I was going to have a child, a daughter.
I did not know what to do. If I ever return to where I come from with her, I knew that not only would I die, but she’d be taken away from me and she may be forced to be indoctrinated with false religions.
So I told my pastor and his wife (at the time his girlfriend) about this, with another trusted friend.
They forgave me because they did not know. I did not know until I went to the doctor.
Anyway, I surrendered everything to God and He began to work His mercies in my life.
This obviously is not magic. It’s not a say a wish and you will get everything that you want. Well, no, it was more like, when things look impossible God will deliver you.
Things look really impossible. I love my daughter very much and I would have done everything for her, but I just know that she could not stay with me. There was danger for her if I were to return and I didn’t want to risk that. I didn’t want to risk her being taken away from me in the case of persecution or death and then she’d be forced to be indoctrinated with false religions, especially if we had to return to my original country. I was just heartbroken and depressed over this and I just believe it was in her best interest that she gets adopted, and I did, with the help of my church and other organizations, we finally found a godly adoptive family and I was so blessed by God’s Hand in that.
When she was born, my heart was broken to be separated from her, but it had to be done because I could not bring myself to risk her life and salvation in Jesus. That was all in my mind. It is not for most mothers to do. Before you judge me on my choice, please thank the LORD first that when God gave you your children, most of you don’t have to fear from your children taken away from you so they could be indoctrinated with false religions. It is almost the equivalent of choosing death and the Mark of the Beast. If you know your child is going to be taken away from you and be forced to take the Mark of the Beast, what would you do?
If you cannot answer the question without crying, then don’t judge mine. Her access to salvation is the most important thing (no salvation is guaranteed, but why would I want to risk it?).
In many parts of the world, false religions can be wily about their schemes. I know in North Korea and other parts of the world where children of Christians would be taken away from them and be forced to believe in false religions. I was too young a Christian to understand that I could teach a child about martyrdom, and that too is not an easy choice.
I was sad to part from my daughter and still sad about it today, but I had a lot of peace regarding the situation. Sometimes we have to make impossible choices, and a lot of people have judged me for it, until they have to make similar difficult choices.
Was it my fault that I got into this in the first place? Yes. It was. Was it not a sin? Yes, it was sin. Should I have not be responsible? Yes, we all need to be responsible but there’s also redemption.
That’s what redemption is about, to allow God to come into your life right where you are. That is in your darkest times and your dark moments and in amidst the storm.
After my daughter was adopted, I began to focus on my studies and I told my family about Jesus. As I had expected they were beyond furious.
They were upset about me leaving Islam.
And I told them the truth about who Jesus is in my life.
My family did not fully cut me off, but they limited the amount that they would give me for school, but God just provided in many surprising ways. Other than working on campus as a student, I was able to join a research group for computational and theoretical chemistry and received a grant and a scholarship not just once, but twice from a statewide academic research body! I received an award albeit a humble one at the end of school year and I graduated finally being able to get the gist of the Schrodinger’s equation!
After I graduated I faced many trials simply because of the demand of the degree that I have. I found a job that pays a meager salary that year and then my visa ended. I did not want make things difficult for others so I left the US to a different country but not my home country because my parents were living there.
But after I got there and spoke to my family, I realize that I had underestimated the potential of persecution that I would go through if I return. Not only would I not be allowed to go to church, and attend Bible studies and pray in public. I would also not be allowed to talk about Jesus at home and if others know about my faith I would be taken into some sort of concentration camp and will be forced to undergo brainwashing, and possibly even torture.
So I began to spend a lot of time in prayer and in God’s Word about the situation, because there was not much else I can do. The LORD led me to contact my pastor again and I did, I asked him and the whole church to pray for me as I fasted for three days.
I felt the LORD was leading me to return and He told me that He wanted me to leave the US so I could see my parents before the next step because He knew how long the next step was going to take and until that step is finalized I won’t be able to see them.
I stayed with them for a month and during that month, I learned a lot about persecution back home against my people who became Christians and just how my family and relatives are going to react to me being a Christian. Coming from a Muslim and a predominantly Muslim country, many of my family members take the religion seriously. A relative of mine even works for the Sharia Court. The very same court that has denied countless of my people who became Christians of their rights to live freely as followers of Jesus. Many of my people who have become Christians have fled the country due to severe persecution and torture and the forced indoctrination of their children in public schools. Because in this country, those who are born into our ethnicity are required to have our ID cards include our race and religion and the same applies to every child that is born to a person of this ethnicity, and when they go to public or private schools, the schools are required by the government to provide Islamic teachings regardless of the opinions of the parents. Homeschooling was prohibited at the time. Arrests and accusations of parental neglect could be done for homeschooling children. This is the horror of too much government control of individual rights.
Then I returned to the US and I requested for asylum for fear of religious persecution. I had to undergo several challenges and obstacles because I did not have a lot of money or know anyone in the area. But God was so good. Through my pastor’s and church’s connections and prayer, not only was God providing me an attorney, but also several thousand dollars (Just enough to cover the basics)!
I returned to Kansas and God brought even more grace to me over there until I moved to a larger city two hours away.
I got a job as a private school teacher and I taught math and the sciences. After a year I got a job as a lab assistant a small branch of a large company and then later I was hired to be a lab assistant at a small college. While a sense of normalcy finally sets in, I began to grow deeply in God and read more of His Word, and I trusted Him on a certain promise at a certain time. The time was specific.
The promise did not come through and I was mad and upset towards God and I thought to myself, since the promise did not come through, it must not have come from God, so why should I trust Him or even listen to Him any longer?
I walked away from God. Like I put literally put Him in the back burner. I did practically whatever I wanted as long as I don’t cross the lines.
That started at the end of 2017, until the middle of 2018, where I felt convicted for putting God on the back-burner. I repented all of the sins of my heart and everything that I did that did not glorify Him.
And I returned to His Word and prayer and writing prophetic messages as the Holy Spirit was leading me to. By that time I have had already shared my testimony to six churches over the years and wrote prophetic messages to a single church in Kansas. I had abandoned all of these things in 2018 because I didn’t want to have anything to do with having a close relationship with God anymore.
I just wanted to live however I wanted and become successful. I just wanted to be successful because I could not shake my family’s expectations of me and some of my family members calling me a failure and a curse because I was not successful or have prosperity after giving my life to Jesus. And I kept telling myself that I would have been alright with that if I did not hold on to the promise that I thought God had for me.
I tried to become successful the way I wanted but God closed all of the doors. Technically, I have a degree in the sciences, I have certificates and licenses in computer science fields, and real estate and other artistic talents, but God just would not open the doors.
I was upset and mad, but after I came back to God, I stopped resisting and doing all I can and with all my efforts but nothing came out of it. More people with more ideas came, but the more I tried, the more hopeless it seems, and the more ideas came and it became a vicious cycle, but then I learned to listen to God and just rest in Him. I surrendered everything in complete abandon.
Then I began writing and blogging and making videos and He opened that door. I began praying for other and interceding and He opened doors for that. I began to work on some artistic projects, He began to allow progress in that. I began to meet more godly people and God opened the doors for that. I began to just listen to the Holy Spirit, and the doors began to open for those He instructed me to go through. Slowly the doors for jobs were starting to open again. Slowly things began to come together piece by piece and again I know that I had just walked through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, and His rod and His staff comfort me, and that He has prepared a table before my enemies (spiritual). That is the power of God’s redemption and that is how close He wants to be with us. Of course, I am not encouraging anybody to make my mistakes. Instead I want to encourage those who find themselves in impossible places to surrender their circumstances to God and let God’s redemptive power to overcome their storms.
It is the power of God that creates our new lives in Christ and it is the power of God that brings us redemption, no matter who you are as long as you His child. Praise God for the beauty of His love and mercy. Great is His unfailing love and great is His faithfulness. My hope and prayer for you is that you’d experience God’s love for you in the same intensity without the mistakes that I did. God loves you and is not a respecter of persons. For anything that you desire that is in the will of God, you can ask Him in prayer and if you ask for wisdom He will give it to you.
****This part is something I wanted to share to resolve my account above about God’s promises and not to be taken as doctrine or theology. I am simply sharing what happened to me. Regarding God’s promises, God gave me a promise in 2010, that I forgot about until 2013 and kept remembering until 2017. It was only late last year that God told me that in 2010, that He has given me a promise, but I foolishly asked for ‘something better’, so He is making that to come to pass, and therefore made that promise void and null, not because He was going against His promise, but because the things that were said was not accepted by me. And I had asked for something else and so that was fulfilled, and He said that it is His will that I chose the latter because it comes to pass according to His will because He knew that when He told it to me, I would choose not to take it because the promise was a promise of incredible worldly wealth but not eternal wealth. God decided to let the ‘something else’ to come to pass because I told Him I wanted eternal wealth. And He’s letting it to come to pass. I’m telling you don’t be foolish. If God promises you something, just take it. Otherwise, it will come at a cost. And when God loves you, don’t test Him. Don’t cut it too close. I have learned my lessons. Never again. This is why I keep reminding people of repentance of sins, humility and trusting God, because I don’t want other people to face these things. And sometimes I get the ‘Hosea-style’ response, where people tell him what he preaches is only relevant to him and his wife, until his prophecies came true and Israel/Samaria was taken over and given judgment, and then they repented too late. I don’t want that to happen to others. The devil meant it bad for me, but he got it wrong because God is using it for good, to make sure that despicable thing remains trampled under our feet. God made a public spectacle of him when Jesus on the cross right? And this rebellious thing kept trying to taunt his feeble of a victory. You know what? Every time he does that and God takes over you, God makes him a public spectacle of him again. So let’s keep doing that and trample him under our feet, because he better be lower than nothing in our lives.
Let God be your banner and keep watch on the Return of our King!!! It’s going to be awesome, glorious and epic. It will be the talk of generations. It will be an august event, and His resplendent and scintillating glory will outshine the stars, the sun, the moons, the planets and the galaxies put together because He is the King of kings and the Lord of lords.