The atmosphere in the room was laid-back and comfortable. Those who had gathered told stories and laughed heartily. The next day, Charlie would leave home for the first time and go off to university. On his last day in town, he was hanging out with his family and clearly enjoyed being in their company. Charlie’s mother and father were not present, however. In fact, none of the dozen or so people in the group were his biological relatives. Instead, they were his spiritual family – the household of God – and they had come together midweek to celebrate his baptism.
Charlie came from a strict Islamic family. While growing up, he was uncomfortable calling himself a Muslim and rebelled against his upbringing in many ways. By playing drums for a local heavy metal band, he was able to find some freedom and happiness, but it was not enough. He began searching for a Bible and contacted a website that our team was operating. I passed on his telephone number to a national believer and asked him to reach out to Charlie.
After studying the Scriptures for several months, Charlie professed Christ as Lord and Savior on Easter Sunday. His life began to change, and he became more respectful towards his father and mother. Whereas he was once embarrassed to be known as a Muslim, with the Lord’s courage he now openly declares his identity in Christ to those around him, in spite of the negative reactions and persecution. Through all the stress and difficulties of preparing for the highly competitive university entrance exams, Charlie found a peace that surpassed his understanding, and he discovered the joy and meaningfulness that he had always longed for. To his surprise, he was even accepted into a university far better than he had ever expected.
As an act of obedience and a testimony to God’s salvation, Charlie asked to be baptized before leaving for university. Rejoicing, we gathered and watched while he rose out of the water and smiled. Please pray for Charlie as he embarks on a new life at school and continues his new life in Christ. Ask the Lord to protect him and keep him while he is far from home and far from the fellowship where he grew and thrived so well.