Last week Afshin Ziafat came to speak here at the Kanakuk Institute. If you listen to podcasts you definitely want to look him up. He is the pastor at Providence Church in Frisco, Texas and a regular speaker at “Vertical” at Baylor University.
His testimony is incredible. He is an Iranian man who was raised in both Iran and Houston, Texas by an extremely Islamic family. His father was (and maybe still is) a prominent Islamic leader and doctor in Houston. It wasn’t until Afshin was in High School that he actually heard the Gospel. Hearing this my heart just broke. How can an individual live in America, in Texas (the Bible Belt) and have never heard the Gospel? As Christians, isn’t it our job to share the Gospel?
Throughout the duration of his talk he told story upon story of different individuals who had made an impact in his life. They did not sit down and share the Gospel with him in detail, but they did show him Jesus’ love. Afshin’s first glimpse of Jesus was seen through his personal English teacher in elementary school. While all others in the Houston area were treating the Ziafat’s poorly for being Iranian, she showed him love. This woman gave Afshin a Bible and asked him to keep it and read it at another date. It was only because of her humble spirit and loving kindness that Afshin kept the Bible. She was planting seeds. Later, that Bible would teach Afshin about Jesus and he would give him life to Christ.
I loved this story. While listening to this story I wanted to think, ‘well of course she was nice to him, I would be too.’ But if I am being honest with myself… would I be as loving as she was? Or would I have just looked at that little Iranian boy as another paycheck? As Christians we are called to spread the Gospel and to love our neighbors. It’s our responsibility.
Afshin also told the story of a little boy named BJ Higgins. This little boy had a passion for the mission field. At 8 years old he accepted Christ. He loved Jesus and he loved people. This little boy shared the Gospel with everyone he met. It was his dream to spread the Gospel across the nation, specifically a strong Muslim area in Morocco. When he was 15 he went on a mission trip to Peru and caught a disease that would ultimately take his life shortly after. BJ’s parents took his ashes to the area in Morocco where he felt called. They spread the ashes and prayed atop a hill that overlooked a Muslim village. The Muslim guide was told about BJ’s life and he was greatly impacted. The Muslim guide ended up giving his life to Christ because of the boy’s story. BJ’s story spread to the entire Muslim community and many came to Christ.
How incredible is it that this boy’s testimony alone spurred others to turn to Christ? Is your life like that? As Afshin continued talking he shared that he learned how this little boy came to Christ. This boy had come to Christ listening to Afshin. What is so incredible about this is that the specific time that BJ was in the audience was the first time Afshin had ever spoken. Afshin said it himself; he was terrified his first time speaking and he was certain that it was a terrible speech. But that just means that the Lord will speak through you. It has nothing to do with your own abilities; it has everything to do with you allowing the Lord to use you.
You will never know the impact that you will have on an individual’s life. Are people seeing Jesus through you? Are you praying for those who don’t know Him? Are you spreading the Gospel? It is His Will for your life, you don’t want to miss it.