A story on Christian Aid about the conversion of a young Muslim women living along the coast of the Black Sea in Turkey tells us not to underestimate the work we are doing for God.
Matte, name not fully disclosed for security reasons, pastors a church in Turkey. He faithfully puts his sermons online, but often wondered if they were having any affect as he was seeing no results.
“I sometimes wonder how many people watch the videos, and what is the result? Many are watching the videos, but why do they not believe?, ” he told Christian Aid.
But his opinion changed after a young Muslim women wearing a traditional Muslim scarf showed up at church because of a dream.
She had started watching the pastor’s videos online because she “hated the Christians” and wanted to make fun of his messages. But the sermons slowly started having an impact as they addressed deep needs in her life.
She eventually decided to become a Christian, but did not go to church because of her strict Muslim upbringing.
But then Jesus appeared to her in a dream. The woman told the pastor:
“In my dream, Jesus led me to the church telling me, ‘What are you still waiting for? Follow my way.’ And I saw all of you there waiting for me, smiling at me. Before I met you, I saw you in my dream. Thanks to God.”
After talking to the woman, Pastor Matte looked her up on Facebook and found that she was already actively sharing her Christian faith with hundreds of her friends.
The Pastor actually cautioned the young woman who attends university in Turkey to tone it down a bit, because such statements would undoubtedly cause a reaction, sometime severe, among her Muslim family and friends.
With a population of 80 million, Turkey is 96% Muslim. Open Door USA ranks it as the 37th most dangerous country in the world for Christians. Though churches are allowed to function in Turkey, they often have armed guards during services because of the growing ISIS influence in the country.
Pastor Matte even has his own police guard that provides personal protection.
But it is an encouraging story to never underestimate the work you are doing in the Kingdom of God. Many of us have no idea what is going on behind the scenes as we tend to judge our efforts by only what we see.
Paul wrote about the different stages that people play in the conversion process:
6 I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth. (1 Corinthians 3:6 NASV)
If you are the one planting the seeds, you have no idea if they rooted and grew. They may lay dormant, sometime for years, until another believer shows up and begins to water it.
Our responsibility is only to plant and water, realizing God causes the growth.
I live in a very cold climate and love to grow roses. However, because of our severe winters, it is difficult to grow the beautiful fancy roses. You can do it, but you have to plant the rose deep into the ground.
The knot where the branches and leaves sprout out of the root is traditionally above ground, but for fancy roses to survive our winters, that knot needs to be one to two feet underground.
So every spring I patiently wait to see if they made it through another brutal Canadian winter. Every year it looks like they didn’t, but deep beneath the ground, where I can’t see them, the shoots are slowly working their way to the surface.