Typically their witnessing occurs only in one-on-one settings, with the believer asking questions to determine if the other person is receptive to the gospel. "They go through a series of questions, and if they sense the person is getting hostile, they resist playing their hand," Janssen says. "One ex-imam had a list of 62 people he was discipling. I met an ex-terrorist who had been with a group for seven years, and now he's proudly witnessing for his faith."
Despite these optimistic accounts, a spiritual battle rages that requires vigilant prayer. As Doyle puts it: "The task is so enormous, and the pressure is so fierce."
Rosenberg once saw a leading Saudi cleric on the Al-Jazeera TV network lamenting the fact that 6 million Muslims were converting to Christianity every year. "There's such an enormous number of Muslims converting through the region, it's a big topic for Muslim leaders who are upset about it," Rosenberg says. "You're seeing some blowback."
The dedication of these new converts is impressive when considering the common threat of ostracism from family and social networks. Jonathan Oloyede, senior associate pastor of Glory House in London, came to Christ as a Muslim while studying at a Nigerian medical school. He labels withdrawal of fellowship as one of the greatest challenges Muslims face.
"They have to overcome ... the sense of guilt and shame their relatives and friends try to place on them," he says. "Sometimes this can be very overwhelming and some cannot handle it, so they go back."
Yet many persevere despite persecution that includes death. In Iran the opposition comes from both the mosques and the government, says a missionary who goes only by the name "Pooya."
He says people especially fear the religious police: "The [Basij, Mujahedin and Revolutionary Guard] rule by the Quran. These are the ones who will come after people, beating them and killing them with no regard to the laws of the land. ... They are free to be judge, jury and executioner with no repercussions for their acts."
Prayer is vital. However, three converts in Egypt told Janssen that Christians in America should pray "with" them, not "for" them.
"If you pray for us, you will pray for our safety, and the persecution will stop," they told him. "If you pray with us, we can be sure the persecution will increase. Pray we will see millions [come] to Christ. We know there will be backlash. Pray we will be faithful, even if it costs us our lives."
Ken Walker is a freelance writer based in Huntington, West Virginia.
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