Ahmed’s home is now the site of weekly cottage prayer meetings like this one.
When Ahmed Sabha’s 21-year-old son died, he needed a shoulder to cry on and the support of friends and family. But they brought taunts and venomous words instead. Rather than coming to offer comfort and condolences, his friends, family and neighbors blamed him. If he had not chosen to follow Christ, they said, this horrible tragedy would never have come to his house.
What they didn’t know was that Ahmed had already lost all his faith in Jesus.
Ahmed, a middle-aged man, was a devout follower of the traditional religion of his home country. He made all the offerings, conducted all the rituals and recited all the prayers.
On Christmas Day in 1995, Ahmed accepted an invitation to attend a program in a local Christian church. He liked what he heard and visited the church often during the next six months. It was here that he first heard about the love of Jesus and chose to follow Him.
But Ahmed had no one to disciple him in his new faith. He started to backslide and eventually returned to the comfortable, familiar practices of his old religion. It was 11 years later that Ahmed’s son died and the fellow members of his faith turned on him for even briefly making Jesus a part of his life.
Ahmed and his family grieved deeply over the loss of their son, but nothing seemed to take away the sting of his death. Fourteen months after the funeral, on New Year’s Day 2008, Ahmed met Gospel for Asia–supported missionary Khamal Rajesh. Khamal and several other missionaries were visiting his village sharing the message of the Gospel.
Ahmed and his family poured out their hearts to Khamal, sharing all their problems and their grief with him. Khamal’s reaction was completely opposite of how Ahmed’s friends had talked to him after his son’s death. Khamal listened with a compassionate heart and prayed for Ahmed and his family. By the end of the conversation, Ahmed knew that it was time to turn his heart back toward Jesus. In fact, Ahmed’s entire family chose Jesus that day. He came back to faith in Christ much stronger than when he had left it.
Today Ahmed’s family, friends and neighbors still make disparaging remarks about him, but he doesn’t care. His home is filled with joy, especially on Saturdays when Khamal leads a prayer meeting there. Ahmed’s entire family also travels to the nearby village for worship services at Khamal’s church on Sunday. Since hearing the comforting words of Christ, the family is growing stronger in their new faith every day.