A Radical Muslim finds Jesus and Leads other Muslims to the Lord
BY COREY BAILEY
Josiah and family teach ICC Regional Manager Corey Bailey how to make traditional Bengali cuisine.
When Josiah* had a chance encounter with local Christians, he tried to shake off their message of hope and redemption. But, much like the Shepherd who pursues the one sheep that goes missing from the flock, God was not going to give up on Josiah.
Having been raised in a strict Muslim-Indian household, Josiah was taught little about Christianity, except that the followers were untrustworthy, and shouldn’t be let in the house. But, when Josiah entered ninth grade, he met three Christian classmates who painted a different picture of Christianity than the warnings of his parents. When his classmates invited him to a Christmas service at their church, Josiah, driven by curiosity, snuck out of the house and met his friends at church. Despite having an unforgettable experience and sense of the presence of God, the price of leaving Islam was too great for the young teenager.
Unwilling to turn away from Islam, Josiah attempted to squash any feelings towards Christianity. By the next year, he had joined a radical group, but quickly regretted it. Describing this group as, “very bad and like terrorists,” he recalled feeling stuck. He did not want to run with this group, but he did not know what else to do. He could not overlook his Christian friends and the church experience, but all he knew was Islam, and he was nervous to even attempt to leave it.
As Josiah continued to wrestle these feelings, he met an Indian Catholic priest. Josiah was amazed that despite being armed with a dangerous weapon and carrying a reputation for doing “many bad things,” the Christian would spend time with him. The priest said, “You don’t want to live like this, but you see no other way; but I give you another way.”
This touched Josiah’s heavy heart and he instantly opened up to the priest, sharing 100 percent of his worries, cares and thoughts. The priest prayed with Josiah, and he began attending church regularly. He went for two years, observing the life of the priest and other believers.
On Easter morning, Josiah saw The Jesus Film for the first time. He remembers watching Jesus die on the cross and offer forgiveness and thought to himself, “I don’t know how to forgive. What Jesus has done is impossible!” Josiah sat in the back of the church and cried throughout the film. His heart was struck by Jesus. “Jesus is real. There is only one way and it is through Jesus.” Josiah felt like he had been lost and wandering for years. He had been searching for truth and, that night, he met The Truth. Right then, he dedicated his life and heart to Jesus.
Josiah knew that he wanted to follow God. Through word of mouth, he heard about a Christian training course he could take. It was in a safe place where he could learn about God and be discipled.
Also at this training school was a young woman, who would later become Josiah’s wife. She was raised as a Christian and her family suffered persecution for their beliefs. She recalls the most terrifying moment of persecution she faced as a teenager, when a mob of over 500 Muslims stoned her home. She and her family narrowly escaped with their lives.
DISCIPLING MUSLIM BELIEVERS
Together, Josiah and his wife run a Bible study for Muslim seekers in their home. Three times a week, about 10 students gather in their living room for hours at a time to study the Bible. Josiah and his wife have adopted the Muslim culture in dress, language and teaching style to take away as many obstacles from the Gospel as they can. They sit on the floor to eat, and teach sitting on the floor as well. “If we dress like them and follow the outside rituals that are important to them, the Muslims feel safe with us and feel free to come, listen and study the Bible. This is very good,” Josiah said. Josiah and his wife even order special-print Bibles disguised as everyday books.
Josiah has seen some of his students turn to the Lord, but acknowledges that they need a lot of prayer. “The pressure, the cost, and threats to them are extreme. The sacrifices they make to follow Jesus are very great. Many times they turn back to Islam because they are afraid.”
He speaks from experience. Josiah has been completely cut off from his parents and siblings. When he became earnest in his love for the Lord, they rejected him and even threaten him with death.
Despite the many hardships he faces, he holds true to Jesus, saying, “The Lord sent His son, Jesus, to show love. So, there’s a new way. [He] is the way.”