November 17, 2010

Yassir's Story.

For the three lectures this morning we had a guest speaker named Yassir talk with us (I apologize deeply if my spelling is way off). Yassir was born in Sudan and grew up as a fanatic Muslim. Miraculously, he ended up converting to Christianity and now lives as a pastor in Germany with his wife and kids. He shared the most amazing story with us, the story of his life. To be honest, it was one of the most incredible testimonies I had ever heard, and I have a really strong desire to share it with you guys…at least the shorter, less detailed, “Gee, I sure hope I listened correctly and got all of my facts straight!” version of it:

As a child, Yassir was born into a Muslim family in the country of Sudan and memorized the Qur’an at an early age, like every other Muslim child. Allah, the God of the Qur’an was his motivation, and he’d do anything for him. In college he ended up sitting next to a kid named Zachariah; now, Yassir absolutely hated this guy because he was a Christian. And as we all know, Christians and Muslims do not mix well, because of their theology respectively. Zachariah suffered terribly because of Yassir and his Muslim friends. One night after class, Yassir and his friends hid up on the branches of a tree, and when Zachariah was walking beneath, they jumped and began beating him. With Allah as their goal and God they broke his bones, they bruised him, and they caused his blood to spill. Without a reason or a thought, Yassir told his friends to stop; so they fled the scene and Zachariah was left there under the tree, closer to death than ever.
Later Yassir’s uncle, the minister of finance for the government was ordered to attend a Christian church service to kill the pastor. He entered the church and sat down in the back row with a pistol in the right pocket of his jacket; he was ready to fulfill his duty. As the service went on, Uncle began to actually listen to what the pastor was saying. He was preaching on Acts Chapter 9 about how Saul was threatening to kill all of the Lord’s followers. And all Uncle could think was, “What? How did this pastor know me? How does he know my story? How is it possible that he knew I was here to kill him?” So after the service, Uncle approached the pastor and asked him these same questions. The pastor replied with, “Sir, this was simply a story from the Bible, the written word of God.” Together they ended up flipped through pages of the Bible and talking for hours. Uncle’s heart was changed, he began to see the beauty of who God was, a God of love. He converted from Muslim to Christianity that day. When Yassir’s whole family heard about this, they were furious and knew that the only thing they could do was kill Uncle. In their eyes, killing Uncle and saving him from living life as a Christian was seen as an act of love. But Yassir felt a much deeper love for his uncle and desperately wanted to change him back to Muslim, so he thought that the only way to do this was to study the Bible just as hard as he studied the Qur’an. It turns out that this was the best idea that he’s ever had, since the word of God ended up changing him from the inside out. Yassir was amazed at the story of salvation: how God sent his only son to die on the cross, as a sacrifice for all of our sins. Yassir fell in love with God, and became a Christian with his uncle.
After telling this good news to his family, they disowned them. His father said, “You are no longer my son.” His family dug a hole into the desert ground, placed a rectangular box in it, and with a funeral service, pronounced Yassir dead. Because of Yassir’s conversion to Christianity, he was dead to his family. After Yassir lost everything he’d ever known, Jesus turned his life around. He moved to Germany where, like I stated before, met a German woman, fell in love, had children together, and became a pastor. An amazing ending to this testimony is that just two years ago, he went to a church in Egypt and was talking with a man there. The man said, “Yassir, do you remember who I am?” Looking a little closer Yassir knew. It was Zachariah. Zachariah continued, “I have been praying for you everyday, Yassir. I have been praying that you would one day open your heart to God.” After almost having killed Zachariah 15 years ago, by the grace of God, Yassir was able to ask for forgiveness. And with a brotherly embrace, the slate was wiped clean. Only God could arrange a meeting like that, and answer prayers like that.

After the lecture I sat there, completely awestruck. I was fascinated. If Yassir’s uncle wouldn’t have been given orders to kill that pastor, converted to Christianity, and if Yassir wouldn’t have been kicked out of his father’s household and wouldn’t have moved to Germany, then I never would have heard this amazing story. If none of this would have happened, I would still be left here oblivious, in the dark, drowning in a sea of my own useless problems. Yassir’s story changed my life. I couldn’t believe that a man with such an intense, crazy life was standing in the same room as me. Listening to his story was like watching a thrilling, action-packed movie. It’s absolutely incredible how God can use lives to connect and share stories.

Now all I can think is that there is a whole part of the world I have absolutely no clue about. There are young children growing up with the mindset that killing thousands of innocent people is what is lovely to their Allah’s eyes. Fortunately, Yassir didn’t just leave us with a story; He left us with as much insight into Islam culture as he could fit into three hours. I learned that 1/5 of the world’s population is Muslim. Therefore to Christians, they are our generations’ challenge. I learned the five pillars of Islam (confession of faith, prayer, giving money/possessions, fasting, and pilgrimage to Mecca). I learned that their relationship with Allah is nothing close to personal. They are slaves to their God, while Christians are children of their God. There is a huge difference between these two. Yassir also provided us with examples of how to practically approach this culture.

Yassir ended the session with one final request: please pray for the Muslims. As I learned in Yassir’s story, prayer is so incredibly powerful. Zachariah’s daily prayer for Yassir changed Yassir’s life, and in turn, it changed my life. I’ll bet Zachariah anything that he had no idea Yassir would one day be telling his story to a bunch of silly college students in Germany. Amazing, isn’t it? What I learned today is so heavy on my heart right now, and I just want to encourage to whoever’s reading this that there are so many lost people in the world, and it’s not at all a hopeless case. God answers prayers; he is capable of anything. And we also need to be thankful that we grew up in families, homes, cities, and countries where we aren’t persecuted for our faith. Can you imagine being disowned by your own family for being a follower of Christ? Can you imagine being beaten by your classmates because of your love of God? No…I can’t imagine it, and for that I’m so incredibly thankful.



  1. Jennifer! I can't believe this is a true story.

    I'm sitting here and crying right now over Yassir's testimony, and I wasn't even present to hear it in real life!

    I can't even WAIT for all the cool stories you are gonna tell me when you get home. <3

  2. Isn't it an amazing story?? I still can't even believe it!
    Were you really crying? That's so beautiful.
    And yes, I have many stories :)
    Love you girl!