When Sharing the Gospel is a Crime

In Khaan and Shaima’s country, sharing the Gospel is a crime punishable by death. But by God’s grace, they’re finding ways to minister!

Zarak* had been a student at Khaan’s* Bible correspondence school for months. But when the two men finally met in person, Zarak said something completely unexpected:

“Aren’t you afraid of me?”

Khaan lives in an Islamic country, where direct evangelism is punishable by death. So, the TEAM correspondence school he worked for had to be discreet. They placed ads in newspapers, offering to educate people on the lives of the prophets. When people responded, the school took them through a series of lessons that came straight from the Bible.

Khaan’s role involved connecting students to the correspondence school.

Every so often, the students were invited to come to the correspondence school’s headquarters. The teachers and faculty then sat with them and shared the Gospel with them in a more personal way.

But when Zarak sat down across from Khaan, it was clear he was no ordinary student.

“Why should we be afraid of you?” Khaan asked, “Who are you?”

Then Zarak confessed that he was an Islamic militant.

“Okay, but you are still a human being,” Khaan said, trying to remain calm. “You are a creation of God.”

And what happened next took everyone by surprise.

Khaan’s fearless response inspired Zarak, and he decided he wanted to know more. After a few more weeks of correspondence and study, he accepted Christ.

They Wanted a Life of Ministry — But Something was Missing

For as long as he can remember, Khaan had been drawn to a life of ministry. Christians are rare in his country — and he was lucky enough to have not just a Christian parent, but an entirely Christian family.

“My mother told me that when I was still in her womb, she gave me to the Lord,” Khaan says. “So, I think it was already inside me and I just didn’t run away from the calling of my youth.”

Shortly after graduating with a bachelor’s degree, Khaan’s aunt persuaded him to attend a TEAM Bible school.

Little did Khaan know, his aunt was also mentoring someone else at the time — Khaan’s future wife, Shaima*.

Shaima came from a Catholic background and had accepted Christ while she was in college.

“But there was no one to follow-up with me, so I kept on following the Catholic rituals and all of that, and going to Catholic Church,” Shaima says. “And then I met Khaan’s auntie — she’s an evangelist. … She’s my spiritual mentor. So, she took on the responsibility of maturing me spiritually.”

When Khaan’s aunt introduced Khaan to Shaima, they became a power couple for the Kingdom. Khaan found work as the student coordinator for the TEAM correspondence school, and Shaima worked as a high school teacher.

But they had a nagging feeling that something in their life — and their ministry — was missing.

Despite the Costs, They Moved

When an acquaintance told Khaan and Shaima that he was going to a TEAM seminary in Southeast Asia, they were intrigued.

When a graduate from the seminary began teaching at the Bible school Khaan had attended, they realized it was more than a coincidence. It was a calling.

The graduate and her husband told Khaan and Shaima that they need more educated people for the future of the ministry. “We want you to go to the seminary and get some education so that when you come back, you will be equipped and you can reach and teach many.”

Khaan knew he’d be risking his job if he took three years to study in another country. But he also knew his work for the Kingdom would be more effective if he did. And that was enough for him.

Khaan and Shaima took their two small children and moved to Southeast Asia.

They will Go Home, Whatever the Cost

In three years, Shaima and Khaan each earned two master’s degrees.

“I never knew that teaching is one of my ministries,” Shaima says. “I only came to know that [here].”

At home, Shaima was always taught that lay people couldn’t minister. She saw herself as a high school teacher, and nothing more — until one of her seminary professors changed her mind.

“It was the first day of the class, and she said, ‘Who do you think you are ministering to back home?’”

Shaima said she wasn’t ministering to anyone back home. When the professor asked her what she did, Shaima told her she was a teacher.

“So she said, ‘So, you were already ministering to students!’” Shaima says, “From that, I came to know that it is also one of my ministries.”

Leaving their country for ministry training is one of the best things Khaan and Shaima have ever done. But their good experience makes going home feel bittersweet.

Khaan grew his heart for discipling new believers in his home country.

“We are really thankful that we are in the seminary because we’ve learned about discipleship. … There are several steps to how we can disciple. … Like, how we will evangelize and then how we will, step-by-step, disciple them,” Khaan says.

Despite the real possibility of persecution, Khaan and Shaima are now ready to take their family back home to implement what they’ve learned at seminary.

“After spending three years here, sometimes we’re afraid to go back,” Khaan confesses. “… But the thing is this: God called us, and if we don’t go back, then who will go?”

Khaan and Shaima know they have been called by God and equipped with all of the best tools. And now, going home feels like walking into the lion’s den. But, in their own words, they “will go there to serve, at whatever cost.”

Even if it means ministering to Islamic militants.

*Names changed.


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TEAM - The Evangelical Alliance Mission
TEAM - The Evangelical Alliance Mission

TEAM partners with the local church to send missionaries and establish reproducing churches among the nations, going where the most people have the most need and proclaiming the gospel in both word and action.

 

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