Ishmael’s Testimony – A Damascus Road Experience

Posted by on May 17, 2016 in Field Updates | 0 comments

Photo by Rafaela Külkamp Eyng

Photo by Rafaela Külkamp Eyng

Ishmael was a successful and staunch Muslim and major in the South Sudanese army when he came to Uganda in search of his parents who had fled from to escape the war. He exhausted all his resources in the hunt, only to discover both parents had already passed away. Destitute and despairing, Ishmael began the 170 mile walk back to South Sudan, contemplating thoughts of suicide. He realized – after a life of faithful commitment to Islam – Muhammad could not help him.

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As he walked through Gulu, Ishmael passed our House of Prayer and heard singing. He thought, “I have tried everything else. Before I end my life, let me try Jesus.”

When he walked in the door, ragged, thin, bedraggled, wearing his Muslim hat, he knew exactly what he wanted. He came to find Jesus! He walked down to the front, got on his knees, and in the midst of our worship we prayed with him to receive Jesus.

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The presence of God was powerful and the scene was like something right out of heaven, as this prodigal discovered the love of his heavenly Father. In that time of weeping together, surrounded with the love of the body of Christ and held in the embrace of the Father – he had his Damascus road experience. When the weeping was done, Ishmael eagerly shared his testimony.
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We gave him a Bible immediately, and he joined us in worship for the rest of the day. That night we fed him supper and he stayed in a room at the House of Prayer. One of our staff remained with him, and they read the word together into the evening.

When I saw Ishmael the next morning, he was clean and dressed in the clothes our team had given him. He beamed with radiance that couldn’t be captured on camera  – as if he had just seen heaven! He told us, “This is the dream Jesus gave me in the night, and He spoke into my heart.” Then he read the names of three cities in South Sudan and said, “Jesus told me to go to these cities and talk about His salvation to whomever I meet. Even if it’s under mango trees, I will preach about Him wherever I go. But first I have to go back…and tell my family… that my parents are both dead. Then I will tell them the decision I have made to follow Jesus. I am a Christian now. I know I will face persecution, but I will preach about Jesus the rest of my life.”

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Ishmael has now completed our Bible school and trauma counseling programs, read through the entire Bible, and is preaching in the prisons, open air crusades, villages, and churches with our ministry teams. Although he was rejected by his remaining family when they learned of his conversion, he passion for Jesus is unwavering. As fast as he’s learning, he’s teaching others. His desire is to become a missionary to Khartoum, Sudan.

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Ishmael’s life encapsulates our whole vision at Favor of God and demonstrates the powerful impact of your partnership has on the lives of individuals and entire communities! He is just one of the many that we are privileged come alongside each day, as they walk through the process of transformation.

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