For I know that my Redeemer lives,

and at the last he will stand upon the earth.

And after my skin has been thus destroyed,                                    

yet in my flesh I shall see God,

whom I shall see for myself,

and my eyes shall behold, and not another.

My heart faints within me! – Job 19:25-27

God Shouts in Mo’s Pain

More than two years ago, an American Iranian friend referred me to one of his co-workers who needed community service. I thought to myself, “I have seen some of those characters before who are drug addicts or bumps who think that the Church would give them a free ride.”

But when Mo showed up, he was none of those bumps and no-accounts (as Louis L’Amour used to express it). He was a young Arab American, 36, full of energy and he meant business. He would haul furniture like he was born for it. When the MFM truck could hold no more, he would tie a couch or a bed on top of his run-down SUV and follow me to our destination.

Mo is a family man, but something went wrong in his past. The mother of his two little children left him. Even so, I could see the love for his family in his eyes when he talked about both the mother and the kids. While he attended some of MFM’s meetings, he often seemed to be preoccupied with his thoughts and personal problems. A reader and self-educated, he told me that he loved books, and that one day he would go back to college and get a degree.

After a few months, I received a call from Mo. “Pastor Hesham, I need your help. Last week, my younger sister died in her car. The coroner says it was a stroke. The family is devastated. But above all, the mosque refused to do her funeral. Can you help us?”

I thought to myself, “Wow… This is a big opportunity to share the Gospel.” I told him that I could not do it myself, but that I had the right man for him.

Brother Darrell Pack is a seasoned former missionary to North Africa and an Arabist who was helping me with the mission on the south side of Chicago. He agreed to do the memorial service. In a southside funeral home Darrell “shot with the double barrel” and did not mince words in Mo’s sister’s memorial. He preached the sweet Gospel of Jesus Christ—Crucified and Risen–to a crowd of Muslims and unchurched people.

The family was full of appreciation for Darrell and me, because they thought that we went out on a limb to help them. I explained that our calling in life is to love our neighbor.

Mo conveyed to me that he had accepted a job offer in Maryland, but that he hoped to see me again. A year later Mo called out of the blue. “Pastor Hesham, I am in a nursing home. I had a stroke and was in a coma for three days.”

I could not believe it. A strong young man full of life was partially paralyzed! After he had been helping me with his muscles, Mo was in a wheelchair, and needed my help in finding his way in life. To Mo’s credit, he kept thanking God for sparing him. He said that he would “keep his chin up” and that he was living for his children.

Since Mo’s nursing home was 35 miles away, two MFM volunteers stepped in to help me drive Mo to church, Bible studies, and to some of his weekly errands.   
 American born, Mo spoke English far better than Arabic, and I thought he would fit well in a vibrant Lutheran church closer to him. The local LCMS pastor was so gracious that he volunteered to visit with Mo and pray with him.

The Word of God is mighty and sharper than a double-edged sword. As C.S. Lewis writes, “God whispers in our pleasures, but shouts in our pain.”

Mo blossomed in no time. I could see that from the way he started expressing himself and his faith. The local pastor agreed to give him a new member class with the help of a MFM board member.

Mo was baptized on December 18, 2022. His family and friends refused to come to church and attend his baptism. Mo has already been ostracized by his family for following Jesus Christ.

An American friend who had attended such MFM baptisms once wrote me:

“… it gave me a better picture of the ‘whole church’. (Not just the white, suburban, English speaking Sunday crowd that I’m used to.) It will be a beautiful thing to get to heaven and to see the great diversity of Christians and the unity that we have in Him. It will be a truly amazing thing to praise God in heaven–side by side with people of every nationality, and language, from every generation!”

 Please pray for Mo and his spiritual growth, and prayerfully donate to this ministry so that Pastor Hesham could carry on with God’s mission to Muslims. If you intend to send a gift earmarked to Mo, please write a note with your donation or contact Pastor Hesham directly.

In Jesus Name. Amen!


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