This update is SUPER LONG but I feel like I need to share of the awesome ways God is at work in a few countries that I’ve been too so far. I would REALLY appreciate if you read it because it took me over 3 hours to write...
Ever since going to China for my second time back in 2017 and getting to reach unreached Muslims with the gospel I’ve had a deep love for my Islamic neighbors. Before that trip I honestly knew almost nothing about Muslims besides that they mostly reside in the Middle East. Fast forward to 2 years later I found my self entering many Islamic nations as I try to visit every country in the world.
As I traveled across Europe in the summer of last year God kept on giving me opportunities to meet and love many Muslims. I had a few super awesome divine appointments and it almost felt like God wanted me to minister to people from Muslim backgrounds the most as I traveled around Western and Eastern Europe. I entered a few majority Islamic countries such as North Macedonia, Albania, and Turkey. But it wasn’t until this year 2019 that I entered even more.
In the last 6 months I’ve had dozens of opportunities to share the name of Christ and show His love to Muslims around the globe. Starting this year off in China I was co-leading a team reaching out to Islamic areas of China where the gospel isn’t even known. A few countries after China I found my self in Maylasia getting to see a country with Muslims from around the world. I even got to stay with a family from Iran there. After Maylasia I was in many majority Buddhist countries but that didn’t stop God from putting more Muslims in my path. I was in the capitol of Cambodia, Phnom Penh and got to hang out and meet dozens of little Muslim kids in an Islamic neighborhood where the ministry I was serving with recently started going too. Not to long after that I was in Myanmar walking around another Muslim neighborhood. Right after Myanmar I was in Brunei a majority Islamic country that actually just put Sharia law into my place a few weeks after I left. Funny enough I didn’t get to minister to any Muslims in Brunei but rather a Catholic from Philippines.
When I entered Indonesia that’s when I got to really minister to Muslims in a pretty awesome way. I got to visit a Christian Bible College and the day I left I went out onto the streets with some of the students to share the name of Christ with people hanging out in public areas such as a park. Before even getting to the park I sat down in the back of a local bus next to an older man and lady along with one of my Indonesian friends. Being the only foreigner on the bus I stood out I guess and the man sitting next to me asked where I was from in broken English, his simple question spring-boarded into an entire conversation about Jesus until we had to exit the bus! God is sooooo good!!! We then went out and got to share the gospel with dozens of people sitting around at a big park in downtown Jakarta. Indonesia isn’t entirely Islamic and it’s pretty easy to see who is and isn’t a Muslim but we didn’t avoid them but instead went up to everyone trying to tell them about Jesus. There were quite a few Muslim families who told us to leave as soon as we started sharing about Jesus but there were more who had never heard about who Jesus actually is and were intrigued. It was so epic to be out on streets with my Christian Indonesian friends getting to share the wonderful name of Christ to probably over a hundred people many of whom had never heard of the Salvation found in Him! I think one of things that made this experience so cool was that Indonesia is rated the 30th most persecuted country for Christians in the world, meaning it’s quite a closed country to put that in perspective China is 27th.
Soon after going to Indonesia I arrived in Maldives which many know as an expensive and tropical island resort country where many people go on their honeymoons. A place where one can easily spend over $800 a night. But this country is one of only a few entirely Islamic countries in the world meaning its 100% Muslim. It’s rated the 14th most persecuted country in the world to put that into perspective Iraq is 13th. It’s highly illegal to even be a Christian yet alone share the gospel. Only Mark and Acts are translated into the local language and most missionaries to have come to the Maldives have been kicked out. While there I had the best opportunity of getting to make a few gospel tracts using verses of the Bible that had been translated into their language. I have a small little photo printer that used to print these tracts out and leave them in place I knew they would be found. It’s the very least I could do but how my heart was so burdened for this precious people who many haven’t even had the opportunity to hear of His great name!
Almost a month later I arrived back into Islamic country which was Azerbaijan I was only there for about 12 hours but I got to meet believers who God is using in big ways to spread His word. After that I flew over to Kazakstan which is in Central Asia. After arriving I got to meet believers from Muslim backgrounds and here their incredible stories of salvation which greatly encouraged me. These believers were so down to earth and had a deep love for Christ and the Word of God. I traveled around Central Asia going to Kyrgyzstan, Tajistan, and Uzbekistan and in each of those countries getting to meet with believers on fire for the Kingdom. I didn’t have as many opportunities to share the gospel as I would have liked but I feel like God wanted me to spend my time meeting the saints serving there long term by encouraging them and listening to how God is using them for His kingdom!
After having a lovely time in Central Asia I flew over to the Middle East for the first time on this trip. Arriving into United Arab Emirates started a week long heavenly experience. As the plane landed I awoke from my sleep to a welcome to Dubai from the cabin crew over the speakers but also a warning/reminder that it was the start of Ramadan and that drinking and eating in public is illegal. I had no idea what I would be doing or even if I had a place to stay. Before I bordered I messaged a guy who someone else I reached out to gave me. I got a message from him when I landed saying that I could meet him at an international church he works at. Not wanting to spend $20+ for a 8-10 minute Uber drive I decided to take the bus and walk in the hot sun to hotel where this international church met. Once I arrived I found this guy named Ron who knew nothing about me other then what I sent him in short text a few hours before. He led me to the room where the gathering was and I sat through a very great and encouraging sermon about how we need to be urgently sharing the gospel with everyone because if we don’t they will go to hell as enemies of God! After the service Ron told me I could stay at his place and that I could spend the day with him tagging along to the two other services that this huge international church had. I met some great people from around the world who told me they would love to get me in contact with believers from other countries. I was super encouraged by the youth group that I attended in the evening as there were youth my age who stood strong in their faith and gave me wisdom on how to share the gospel with Muslims, like woah that was super encouraging! My short time in Dubai/UAE was super awesome but as I was leaving just the day after arriving things got even cooler!
I boarded a bus heading to Oman the neighboring country to UAE and after getting settled in my seat a Muslim man dressed in the traditional white rob looked over at me from across the isle and asked where I was from. I told him I was from the states and he hopped up and sat right next to me wanting to talk. Well this turned into a long conversation between not only between him but us two Muslim men behind me. I ended up getting to talk with and share the gospel with these three Muslim men from Oman, India, and Pakistan for almost and hour! It was sooo awesome! The crazy thing is I didn’t do anything I didn’t go out of my way to share the gospel but rather God placed this huge opportunity right in my lap! Ahh isn’t God’s plans so coooool!!!
After getting a few hours of sleep on the bus into Oman I got off at a bus stop where I was to meet my tour guide... yes I Conner Haines just said tour guide. If you know me you’d know I’m not a very touristic guy and I’m on tight budget so having a tour guide is something I just don’t do... but God planned for this crazy opportunity to have a private tour guide for two days to show me around the country of Oman. It’s kinda a long story but in short a brother in Christ who I’ve never met has a tourism business asked me if I’d like to go on tour under two conditions... 1. Make a video of my time in Oman to promote his company and 2. Openly and boldly share the name of Christ with my guide. Of course I agreed to this once in a life time offer! Before meeting my guide I had been praying that God would allow for the perfect timing to share the gospel with him. I didn’t want to share the gospel with him just because I had told the guy who put me on the tour that I would... I wanted it to happen naturally without me just randomly springing the powerful Good News on my guide. Well God sure answered my prayers because as my tour guide who’s name is “Super” (not his real name) and I were driving from one place to another I had asked him some question about Ramadan which turned into an hour plus conversation of how Islam is works based and explaining the beautiful gospel with my new friend. The last 20 minutes of our conversation were powerful as we had parked and I could make eye contact with him since he wasn’t driving anymore. I was explaining to him that we can never do enough good to earn our way into heaven, that we can only be saved by the blood of Christ. He was quite speechless as I gave him the example of him committing a murdered and going before a judge in court telling the judge that he had done so much good and that he shouldn’t be punished. I explained to him how Islam can’t save him and that salvation is through Christ and His grave alone. By the end of our time going back and fourth about Christ verses Islam I was even more burdened for Super. I so badly wanted him to have the peace of knowing where he would go when he died that I have. We ended up getting out of the car and then later we had another hour plus long conversation about marriage and unconditional love. He was explaining to me about how he wanted another wife and I explained to him how that’s sin. This conversation also went into how abuse is wicked, how women are created equal and how Christ shows us unconditional love despite our sin towards him just like how he should unconditional love his wife and children. It was pretty dang deep and I praise God for such an opportunity!
Super dropped me off at the place I’d be staying while in Oman which was with a brother in Christ who I had almost no contact with besides a few texts that we exchanged regarding what time I would be arriving at his place. I had gotten this brother’s contact from the guy who put me on tour who also set me up with staying with this guy. Well me and N instantly hit it off and within and hour or so we where crying out to God together for the Arabic and Muslim world! I haven’t felt that close to God in along time it was an intense time of being filled with the Holy Spirit with a longing to see Muslims set free from their dead religion. Like seriously it was such a powerful time with a brother I had just met who shares the same heart for the Kingdom of God to be made known through out Islamic countries! The next day Super and I also had and over hour long talk about prayer and how I can pray to God whenever and wherever I want and how he actually listens and does miracles! And the end of my tour Super told me that we were friends and he would love to have me in Oman anytime I want to visit. Before leaving I gave him a gospel track in Arabic and sad goodbye as I had such a great time with him over the past two days.
While I’m Oman I got to hear my new friend N and another brother share with me incredible ways that God is moving through out Oman! Their stories are so incredible and powerful of how God is drawing Muslims to Himself! Oh how I wish I could share them all!
After Oman I went to Bahrian and wooooow is their huge OPEN doors there for the gospel! The believers I met there were super epic and had come to the Middle East from South America and the Philippines! The lady from the Philippines invited me to go with her to the public hospital to minister to the people there. We were just planning on being there for an hour but let me tell you we didn’t leave until visiting hours where over which was 3 hours! Oh how God was moving in such huge ways in that hospital that night! At first we were met with a spiritual warfare of sorts as we entered the first ward and the nurses went out of their way of making sure we didn’t minster to anyone. After that we just prayed harder and once we did God opened so many doors for His Good News to go fourth as well as opportunities to pray for many people from all over the world! Yup there were many people from India, Nepal, Philippines, and even countries like Pakistan, Iran and Iraq who have never heard the message of salvation before! We sat down with some people to share the gospel with then but others we only got to pray over which was still incredible. It’s very hard to access the local Bahraini people in the hospital as often times they are in private wards or the nurses won’t let you visit them well that night was different because we got to pray for quite a few of them in powerful ways! The last patient we visited was a sick very conservative local Muslim mother who had all of her very conservative family visiting her. We asked to pray for them and we did and we prayed for them to know the name of Jesus and have dreams and visions of Him! They were actually thankful for us coming in and praying for them. It was such an incredible night of getting to see God move in mighty was in a public hospital in anIslamic country!
Oh He is soooooooooooo worthy!!!!!!
After Bahrain I found my self in Qatar meeting some incredible believers who are passionately serving Christ and they sure encouraged me in huge ways! I then headed to Bangladesh where I got to sit in muslims homes visiting them along with my local contacts who has a huge heart for reaching them. It was precious to get to meet the humble Muslim family’s who lived in the slums of Dhaka and pray for them. A few weeks later I found my self in similar situation but this time in Lebanon sitting with Syrian refugees. They loved having us and of course served us their fantastic Arabic tea! I think what really got me was when the mom of the family we were visiting broken down in tears because of the mass murder that happened just less than 24 hours ago in the area of Syria that she was from. She showed us the video and it was so saddening and graphic. Getting to be there and weep with them was special and a reminder of how precious life is. Oh how I desire for them to know how Jesus can save and comfort us.
Fast forward to a couple weeks after being over in the Middle East and Asia I was in Cuba. If you know anything about Cuba is that it’s definitely NOT a Muslim country a quick google search slows that FAR LESS than 1% of the population is Muslim. As I was walking around Havana with the pastor I was staying with his daughter and wife who all knew no English I was shocked when the pastor took me into a building that was a mosque! Yes a mosque in Cuba it’s the only one in the whole country and was just built in 2015 it was quite a decent size. Well God had a divine appointment for me that day because I found my self talking with and trying to share the gospel with a Muslim man who knew English but not Spanish!? What a completely random and unexpected thing to be doing in Cuba. The last place I thought I would be standing in mosque for 30 minutes sharing the wonderful good news of Christ would be Cuba but obviously God guided me to talk with Isack to tell him about the only way to be saved!!! I think this showed me just how awesome God is and how much He desires for Muslims to come to Him!!!
So with all that to say God has been doing some pretty epic things and I’m completely honored and humbled that He would let me get this pinch of a glimpse into how He is bringing those of Islamic faith into His huge diverse family!!! What an awesome Father we get to serve!!! Oh how I love how HIM!!!!!! Please understand that all these stories would have never happened without God directing me so all praise to Him and Him alone!!!!
One last thing I want to say is that if you are someone who has hate towards Muslims I’m calling you out! Yup you who are ok with the US starting wars and killings Muslims in the Middle East. You who don’t want Muslims to come to the US seeking refuge. You who hate Muslims and wish for them to die. You who are afraid of Islam. You who think Muslims are terrorist. Yeah you... I’m pleading with you to repent of your hate and fear!!! I’m asking you to examine your life to see if you actually love Christ and your neighbors!!! Please understand that if you call your self a Christian, a follower of Christ you MUST love your neighbors and YES many of your neighbors are the 2 BILLIONS Muslims in this world who need to be shown the love of Christ both physically and spiritually! Like I’ve said in this post God is moving in massive ways throughout the the Muslim world and you can be a part of it if you LOVE your Islamic neighbors as yourself!!! You have millions of brother and sisters in Christ who have come from Muslim backgrounds and have suffered much persecution from even their own families!!! God tells us to love ALL our neighbors and preach the Gospel to every Nation so if you have any hate in your heart now is the time to get right with God and to start loving! It’s not time or building walls around your self but rather be reaching out to the people of this world, many of whom are hurting.
Please brother and sisters be praying for your Muslim neighbors and those who people I talked about in this post. God is sooooooooooooooooooooooooo WORTHY and I think that through Him we can see the Islamic world flipped upside down for His glory! Come one lets make a big fat dent on this world for CHRIST!!!!!