A Friend to Foreigners

Updates | Stories | Lives Changed

“Oh, it’s raining!” Patricia says, smiling as she drives Fatima to the store. Fatima is her new Muslim friend from the Middle East who’s in America to study. “Thank you, Jesus. I prayed to Jesus that it would rain, and He answered my prayer.”

Fatima laughs. “Does Jesus answer all of your prayers?” she asks.

“It depends. Jesus is my God, so I believe He always knows what’s best for me” she explains.

“In Islam, Jesus is a prophet. He is Isa in our book.”

“I know He’s also the Messiah in the Quran. Why do you think that is?”

Fatima admits she isn’t sure why, and for the rest of the car ride explains what she believes in. Because Patricia is one of the first Christians she’s met, she asks her many questions about Christianity. Patricia happily explains.

A Resource for Internationals

Patricia (whose name has been changed to protect her privacy) is a Missions Door missionary that works with international students from Muslim-majority countries. In her community, she’s often cited as a resource who can help these students. People often donate blankets or kitchen items to her, knowing that she’ll make sure it goes to a student or family in need. She provides transportation, a place to live and have dinner, and companionship.

Patricia doesn’t hold bible studies, but she’s very open about her faith, the gospel, and who Jesus, the Son of God, is in the bible. Students often ask her questions about Christianity and are impressed by her sensitivity to their cultures and thorough knowledge of Islam. After two decades of offering herself as a resource to these students, she’s established herself as a welcoming, loving, and trusted person in her community.

Love for Muslims

Patricia became a Christian as a young girl. Her father was introduced to Christ by a missionary, so her parents put a huge emphasis on missions when she was growing up. When she was around ten or eleven years old, she knew she wanted to be a missionary. As an adult, she attended an esteemed Christian college and studied cross-cultural missions.

There wasn’t a particular area of the world that was on her heart, so she promised God she’d go wherever He sent her. When she heard about her missionary friend who was repeatedly arrested and beaten in a Middle Eastern country, she changed her mind. “I’ll go anywhere but there, Lord,” she told Him. But fifteen years later, God worked on her heart, and she suddenly yearned to work in that very country. She did and loved it.

Working with International Students

When Patricia returned to the states from her mission trip, she saw that the Muslim community in her area was growing. Many Muslims from different Asian countries were moving to her area, either for school or because of war. She knew right away she wanted to work with them.

Patricia began working with clubs for international students at a nearby university. She’s considerate of their culture when many clubs aren’t. For example, many clubs for international students have pizza parties where they only serve pepperoni. Muslims are forbidden to eat pork and can’t participate. Patricia is intentionally sensitive to their diets, clothing preferences, terminology, and worship culture without compromising Christ’s deity.

Explaining Jesus

Patricia always clarifies to Muslims that Jesus is God in Christianity. Muslims only know that Jesus was born of a virgin, did miracles, and was the Messiah. But they don’t know why He’s the Messiah or about the prophesies that foretold His death. If they ask her, she’ll tell them about His deity and resurrection. She teaches them that Christians aren’t merely followers of Jesus, but worshippers of Jesus.

Sadly, there are many Christians in her area that affirm the deity but don’t tell Muslims lest they offend them. But Patricia sees that this makes it impossible for Muslims to understand what Christians believe in. She explains to Muslims who ask that Jesus it the only God she worships which is why He could pay the penalty for her wrongdoings. She often talks about the inerrancy and preservation of the scripture because many students ask her if the bible has been corrupted.

The Taboo of Christianity

Most of her conversations with Muslims happen one-on-one during car rides or over dinner. She’s noticed many Muslims are often concerned with what other Muslims think of them. They may not want their Muslim friends to know that they are asking Patricia questions about Christianity. In front of each other, they may not ask questions or might even feign indifference about her faith. They also might be encouraging one another to not ask questions about religions outside of Islam. She once had a Muslim stay with her and ask her to keep it a secret so others in her community wouldn’t find out.

Interestingly, many Muslims are comfortable asking Patricia to pray for them. She’ll often pray with them on the spot, and she tells them that it’s not her prayer that’s working, but Jesus. She’ll ask if they’d like to pray to Jesus with her, but they often say no. However, they notice that many of Patricia’s prayers get answered which is why they ask her to pray for them.

Serving No Matter What

Patricia’s goal right now is to create a home church service for students who are interested in Christianity. Her prayer is to create a team to do this in a way that can be replicated safely if that student were to return to their home country.

Recently, she worked with a Middle Eastern woman who was interested in Christianity. She drove her to church even though the woman’s husband forbade it. But eventually, the husband became interested in Jesus. They attended a bible study of hers and asked her how they can become Christians. She led them to Christ and discipled them, which proved to be crucial because a missionary with heretical views was trying to indoctrinate them. But Patricia protected them from his false teachings.

She’s able to serve students from countries all over the Asian continent and whether they’re interested in her faith or not, she makes herself 100% available to their needs. If you’d like to support her, you can do so here.

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The Great Commission is what spurs us to do indigenous ministry. Around the world, Christians are making disciples in their hometowns and bringing the gospel to their people. How will you be a part of that?

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