Sharing Jesus with Muslims in the US
Sharing Jesus with Muslims in the US

Share This

Training Believers to reach Muslims in the United States

Story by Christmas Beeler
Photos by Geraldine Wilkins 
This story was originally published in issue 71 of the printed version of Calvary Chapel Magazine, released in the Spring of 2017. God used Ministry to Muslims in an outreach to touch the hearts of men and women who were looking for the truth.

A Heavenly Calling

“I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it … the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is.” 1 Corinthians 3:10b, 13b

Earlier this year, believers traveled to one of the largest Muslim communities in the U.S. to share the Gospel in truth and love. Partnering with a local church, they visited mosques, hosted a Vacation Bible School (VBS), shared the Gospel door to door, and invited ladies to a special gathering. More than 200 Muslims heard the Gospel, and several accepted Christ. George and Carly Saieg of Ministry to Muslims both testify that, with the crisis in the Middle East sending hundreds of thousands fleeing from their homes, God has been calling Muslims to Himself in a special way.

Men talk on street

Pastor George Saieg, founder of Ministry To Muslims, shares the truth about Jesus with Muslim men during a sidewalk outreach in Michigan.

Dreams about Jesus

In a Muslim neighborhood in Dearborn, MI, Pam Rice of Calvary Chapel Norco, CA, and her two teammates headed back to their car feeling a little discouraged. They had knocked on every door on the street, leaving Gospel materials in Arabic when no one answered or people cautiously peeked from behind curtains. Pam had hoped to share Jesus’ love and truth with someone.

Suddenly a 10-year-old girl came running up to their car, saying, “Come here, come here! My mom wants to talk to you!” She pointed to her mother, a woman in her thirties wearing a bathrobe and waving to them urgently and happily from the porch. One believer translated as the woman told them that she and her family had fled from Syria a month and a half ago.

 

Man shares the Word with a Muslim

Isaac Alexander, Calvary Chapel Saving Grace, CA, explains Scripture to a Muslim near a mosque in Michigan. Isaac, a Jordanian-American, speaks Arabic, which opens doors to talk to Muslims about Jesus.

Listening to the English and Arabic conversation, the little girl looked over at Pam and said, “My mom saw you in a dream; she knew you were coming.” Pam was amazed; she had heard stories of the Lord reaching Muslims through dreams and visions of Jesus Christ. The Syrian woman explained that many years ago she had given her life to Christ but had fallen away and was now desperate for Christian fellowship. The team shared the Gospel message with them. The mother prayed to rededicate herself to Jesus, and her daughter accepted Christ. With hugs and smiles, the team invited them to the nearby Christian church.

Man giving bag to Muslim man

Outside a Michigan mosque, believer Roy Minayoshi, Calvary Chapel South Bay, CA, hands a gift to a Muslim. The gift includes Christian literature and a DVD on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. An Egyptian believer, far left, shares his Christian faith with a Muslim.

The outreach team—including several Calvary Chapel believers from across the U.S.—was trained to share Christ with Muslims by George Saieg of CC Anaheim, CA. His wife Carly also ministered to Muslim women and children. For the annual outreach, the Saiegs partner with a Dearborn ministry, Angel House, which provides year-round English classes and services to Arabic and Islamic refugees. Angel House estimates that, within a 5-mile radius of their doors, there are 50,000 Arabs from Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine, Iraq, Syria, and Egypt. Metro Detroit has the largest concentration of Arab-Americans in the United States—with nearly a quarter million Arabs from North Africa and the Middle East. George also leads outreaches in Seattle, Phoenix, and other cities where there are other large Arabic populations. He visits churches worldwide to train believers in sharing Christ with Muslims.

Man and lady witness to lady on bench

Nick Ramos, CC Saving Grace, and Carly Saieg encourage a believer during a challenging outreach.

“Muslim people have a desire for God, but they do not realize that true freedom is found in Jesus Christ,” George explained. Born in Sudan, George came to Christ at age 11 and realized that his Muslim peers had no peace with God and no assurance of salvation. His heart for the Muslims echoes Paul’s heart for the Jews in Romans 10:1-2, which says, “Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved. For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge.” He added, “Muslims think they are worshiping the true God—the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. But they are ignorant of who God truly is because all of their lives, they have been taught a lie.”

Woman talks with a Muslim woman

Maria Stewart chats with a Muslim mother whose children are participating in a VBS.

Allah the Deceiver

There are many lies that Muslims have been taught about God and Jesus. For one, George explained, they don’t believe Jesus was really crucified. Instead, the Quran teaches that their god, Allah, “is the best of deceivers” (Q.3:54; also 8:30) and allegedly spared his prophet Jesus from the cross and put another man in Jesus’ place. George often asks Muslims, “Why would Allah do this? And why would he let Jesus’ followers be deceived and spread a false Gospel around the world? What did he accomplish?” Then George explains what God accomplished through Jesus’ death on the cross: atonement for our sins through faith.

Having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. Colossians 2:14

Lady shares the Word with Muslims

Carly Saieg, Pastor George’s wife, shares her faith and offers a gift to three young women at a community park in Michigan.

“Muslim people have a desire for God, but they do not realize that true freedom is found in Jesus Christ,”

In addition to this misconception, Muslims also wrongly believe that the Bible has been corrupted; that Jesus is not the Son of God; that Christians worship more than one God because of the Trinity. George encourages believers to discuss their beliefs about these things and explain God’s truth.

After attending the training, Nick Ramos of CC Saving Grace in Yorba Linda, CA, reflected, “You really need to deal with these four obstacles in order for them to listen to the Gospel. A lot of Muslims are nominal and don’t know their own Quran.” He added, “Many will sit and talk to you. We need to build relationships, have dinner with them, and not be afraid—when the opportunity arises—to share our faith or pray in the name of Jesus.”

Girl draws henna on hand

Believer Kelly Regan applies a henna design to the hand of a Muslim teen at a church outreach.

Olivia Alvarez of CC Saving Grace added, “George emphasized that we are not to start arguments or fight theological battles, but we are to love them. There will be disagreements, but even when giving our apologetic view, we have to do it in love.” She cited part of Ephesians 4:15, which encourages “speaking the truth in love.”

No Assurance of Salvation

Nick, Olivia, and another team member shared the hope of Christ with a young woman in jeans and a T-shirt who approached them with political fliers. They asked her views on God. She was seeking to get closer to Allah but felt she was not committed enough to wear the hijab—the traditional Muslim woman’s head covering.

Children and woman sit in VBS

Muslim mothers and their children listen attentively to Erin’s presentation about God’s love.

Olivia recalled, “She told us that if she does good works, then Allah would judge her based on her good and bad works. We asked if she knew she would go to heaven. She admitted that even if she did those good works the best she could, it was really up to Allah if she could go to heaven. Who was she to argue with Allah?” Then the believers explained their assurance of salvation through Christ’s work on the cross. “That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9). Olivia explained, “It’s not by our works, but by Jesus’ work that He will ensure that we get to heaven because our trust is in Him, not in our own works—so He gets all the glory.”

Nick added, “She didn’t understand why an innocent person [Jesus] had to die for another’s mistake. We explained that He did it to save us because there was nothing we could ever do to gain God’s acceptance on our own.” “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9) A young man joined the conversation, and Nick has continued to share with him through social media.

“It’s not by our works, but by Jesus’ work that He will ensure that we get to heaven because our trust is in Him, not in our own works—so He gets all the glory.”

Developing Relationships

Reaching Muslims through relationships is key. Carly Saieg explained, “While every Muslim woman is different depending on her culture and home country, most of them are very friendly, open, and seeking relationships.”

Woman teaching study

Grace Rohwer helps children learn Bible verses and Christian songs during VBS in a predominately Muslim community in Michigan.

During the Dearborn outreach, the team hosted a party for women in which Pakistani believers drew henna designs on ladies’ hands; they also gave them lunch and shared the Gospel. Nearly 75 ladies and 35 children came. “We were amazed that so many came and at how easy it was to talk with them,” Carly said.

A Christian young lady shared the Gospel with the children through a wordless book. Carly recalled, “She could hardly get through the whole thing because the children had so many questions. They were amazed by God’s love, His personal care for them, and His omniscience—that He knew every star in the sky and their names, and that they could talk to Him about anything at any time.” Even though Islam teaches that Muslims can pray supplicating prayers informally, at any time, Carly explained, “Muslims are required to pray five memorized daily prayers that can only be recited in Arabic and facing in a certain direction. And only 20 percent of Muslims grow up speaking Arabic, so it’s hard for them to communicate in Arabic.”

Let the Children Come

Pastor George was surprised by the work God did through the Vacation Bible School. He doubted that Muslim parents would allow their children to come to a Christian church to learn about the Bible, so he gathered several team members to pray outside the church. After the team said “Amen,” Carly walked out of the church followed by a crowd of children; more than 90 youngsters came that day. “George started crying, just rejoicing and praising God for His goodness and faithfulness to bring so many children,” recalled Debbie Douglass, wife of Pastor Trent Douglass of CC Saving Grace.

Girl painting God is love

Erin Chervenak, of CC Greece, NY, uses Open Air Campaigners’ artful evangelism to share the Gospel during the VBS program. A black light illuminates a message of love.

Whole families were impacted through the VBS. Mothers in hijab coverings sat with their children in the pews as believers shared Scriptures and the Gospel. Debbie recalled helping four brothers—ages 7 through 11—memorize John 3:16. “I was explaining what the words meant—perish, everlasting life—and I realized that these boys had never heard that God loved them so much that He sent His only Son to die for them. They were intrigued. I felt the Holy Spirit working.” She cited Isaiah 55:11, which says, “So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.” Debbie added, “I realized that this Scripture was now in their hearts, and that they could remember it later—and know and believe that God loves them and sent Jesus for them.”

Inside the church, a woman in hijab prayed with team members to receive Christ. Debbie explained that the woman had come from an abusive background and had been attending English classes at the church; during the outreach, she finally decided to accept Jesus as her personal Savior. Debbie added, “After she prayed, immediately she said, ‘I want to help; I want to serve with you.’ So she helped us serve the meal [for the community].”

Love Greater than Fear

“I know that a lot of people are afraid of Muslims, but I see them as victims of Islam,” Carly explained. “In their culture, you lose everything if you leave Islam—your mother, father, children, your job. It’s a lot of pressure. There is no assurance, no rest. They are constantly trying to do good works. Some people get in desperate situations of sin like adultery—so they think they must blow themselves up to guarantee their way to heaven. There is no grace, mercy, or complete forgiveness like we have in Christ.” Sometimes it can take years to unravel a lifetime of false concepts about God, Carly shared. “But other times, God has already been working on their hearts, and they are open and ready for the Gospel when we meet them.”

Woman talks to kids on street

Grace talks with the father of Muslim boys who were allowed to participate in Vacation Bible School(VBS).

Muslims who embrace Christianity will reach others in their own language and culture. Carly said, “I have shared the Gospel with people from Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. There is no way that I could go back to their countries and present the Gospel. So it’s an opportunity, while they are here, that we have the freedom to share the Gospel with them, and they have the freedom to choose Christ.”

“Many Muslims are open and want to hear the Gospel. God reaches them through dreams and visions or brings them here.”

She added, “Many Muslims are open and want to hear the Gospel. God reaches them through dreams and visions or brings them here.” She encouraged, “We have to be faithful wherever He is calling us—to make sure we are sharing and open. I don’t get that empowering of the Holy Spirit to be used by God until I step out in faith.” She cited Matthew 28:19a & 20b, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…and lo, I am with you always”—adding, “I think Jesus was promising to be with us in a special way when we go out in His name. We won’t be alone.”

Man plays with kids in yard

On the last day of VBS, Pastor George has fun with the children at the church’s backyard playground.

Carly urges believers to come to an outreach with George and be trained, to befriend Muslims where they live, or to get involved with local outreaches. “We need to overcome our fear and reach out to them. God will bless us because every nation, tribe, and tongue (Revelation 14:6) will be represented in heaven. I encourage everyone who is born again to be a part of what God is doing.”

For churches who wish to reach Muslims locally, Ministry to Muslims offers training in person or via a DVD course, tracts, and Christian resources in 20 languages. for more information, visit www.ministrytomuslims.com.

All verses above are quoted from the New King James Version.

© 2020 Calvary Chapel Magazine. All rights reserved. Articles or photographs may not be reproduced without the written permission of CCM. All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.® Used by permission.

%MCEPASTEBIN%