From a Muslim background, Mohamed shares how he came to faith in Jesus Christ.
Originally shared at Onward on November 27, 2016, you can read his story below:
“I grew up in Sierra Leone, a small West African country. I am the oldest of six siblings. I was born into a Muslim family. Both my parents were Muslim and as a child and teenager we observed many of the rituals of Islam, including fasting in the month of Ramadan, and daily prayers. I attended informal Koranic classes at the local mosque where we were taught Koranic verses (Suras), the most important of which was the al-Fatiah, which I memorized and recited when praying to Allah.
Up until my high school years, all these practices were rituals, without much meaning to me personally. For example, fasting during Ramadan was more about the feasting that would take place in the evening each day. Much of the teaching I learned from the Koran emphasized obedience. We were taught to follow the rules as handed down by the imam, sheikhs, and as instructed by our parents. For my parents, one thing that was imparted in them was that their children should be Muslims who continue to pray for their forgiveness after death. There was always this sense of a debt to carry.
Although I grew up as a Muslim, I attended a Christian high school, where my knowledge of the Bible soon surpassed my knowledge of the Koran. At school we had morning devotions and annual thanksgiving services. In fact, the community I grew up in was predominantly Christian, even though the country is predominantly Muslim (60%)
As my high school years went on, Christianity started to make more sense to me than Islam, but my father wouldn’t entertain discussion about converting to Christianity. However, at this time there was a new (Pentecostal) church, of mostly young people, being established in my community. This new ministry made a great impact on me through outdoor preaching and door-to-door visitation in order to spread the gospel of Christ.
My parents allowed us (my other siblings) to attend some of these Christian events. When my father was away, some of these Christians would come to our house to teach us the word of God. They would always ask me to read a portion of Scripture to show that they were teaching the Word of God. This meant a lot to me, but I was always hesitant to turn to Christ because of my parents influence.
This all hanged when I went to University. Going to university took me away from home (I stayed on campus). On campus there were very active Christian groups like the Bible Study Union and Great Commission Movement, whose members came to our dorms to share the gospel. At this time in my life, I also wanted somebody to lean on. Sadly, my dad suffered from a stroke during my second year in college; he never recovered and passed away about two years later. At University I made the decision to accept Christ as my Savior and Lord because I realized that he is the way, the truth, and the light, and I wanted to begin a personal relationship with the God who made me. The Bible Study Union became my discipleship home, with so many friends to encourage and guide me. There were weekly activities including prayer meetings, bible study, revivals, conferences, etc.
I had some backlash from a few friends who questioned my decision, but my family, even my mom, was okay with it. Sierra Leone is not known for persecuting Christians. After turning to Jesus, I became active in sharing the gospel in my community, including with Muslims that I knew. In fact, after my conversion I retained my Muslim name which has been helpful in sharing my experience with others.
To God be the glory. My sister and three of my brothers also came to accept the Lord. One of my brothers graduated about three years ago with his first degree from The Evangelical College of Theology in Freetown. Just this week, he told me he wants to do a master’s degree in Biblical Studies! In 2011 I got married to Juliet, who is also a Christian from the southern part of the country. I thank the Lord for using me as a light in my family, particularly my younger brothers and sister.
We are still praying for the conversion of our mom. I know that with God all things are possible. When my dad was on his sick bed, my Christian friends came to tell him about Jesus. In some of these visits, he seemed to have accepted the Lord but his consciousness was failing and I cannot say for sure he passed away with that assurance of salvation. I don’t want my mom to miss out on this assurance of eternal salvation. Thanks, and God bless.”