Muslim people are some of the friendliest and most hospitable people around. It is a cultural norm for them. Muslim international students have much more in common with American Christians than with the “party animals” on campus! We share a belief that there is only one God, that Jesus was a great teacher about God, that prayer is important, and so many other religious worldview aspects.
Many Muslim international students feel isolated and looked down upon while in the U.S. because of their choice to wear head coverings and beards or to pray several times per day. When we reach out to them in unconditional love, we usually find a reciprocal delight in reaching across cultural barriers. It is very possible to build a heart connection with Muslim students based upon mutual respect and cultural appreciation.
Muslims need to meet Christ, but they have been told by religious leaders they respect several things that makes that meeting difficult. Yet Christ has been reaching across those barriers recently in unprecedented ways and numbers (e.g., dreams and visions)!
Dr. David Garrison in his book, Wind in the House of Islam, chronicles the recent multiplication of “movements of God” in the Muslim world. In the 1800s, researcher Garrison could only find one movement (movement defined as 1,000 baptisms plus 100 churches planted). In the 1900s, he found eleven movements of God. From 2000 to 2010, he found 69 movements, and unpublished reports list 86 more from 2010-2013! The Lord has saved more people born a cultural Muslim in the last 40 years than since the inception of Islam—7th century until 1970!
It is not easy for believers who live in a Muslim country or context. Author Tom Doyle has said in the introduction of his book, Killing Christian: Living the Faith Where It’s Not Safe to Believe, that the “persecution of believers accelerates the spread of the gospel and growth of the church…. Jesus’ message of love and reconciliation thrives in climates where hostility, danger, and martyrdom are present.”
One former Muslim leader and former international student who was part of ISI’s ministry when he was in school finished a Ph.D. and taught at a U.S. university. In addition, he founded several ministries in his home country and has done many things to help the rural population there. This past year alone he saw the Lord bring more than 29,000 Muslim background people to a saving knowledge of Christ! And he knows the name, address, and phone number of each of them. It is amazing what the Lord can do through one international student totally dedicated to him!
What can we do? Begin with praying for the Lord to continue to open the door of salvation to people from a Muslim background. Second, open our hearts to befriend someone from a Muslim background—especially international students. Further, order a copy of the publication How to Share Christ with Your Muslim Friend (PDF doc for download for $2.20 from the www.isionline.org store). And finally, consider attending the Muslim Background Believers Conference April 27-28, 2018 in Dallas, Texas (http://mbbconference.org).
John 5:24 NLT - "I assure you, those who listen to my message and believe in God who sent me have eternal life. They will never be condemned for their sins, but they have already passed from death into life.
Principles cited in this blog: God is mightily at work in the Muslim people groups and in the lives of individuals from a Muslim background; because God loves them, we should too.
Application for ISI ministry: We need God’s people to reach out across cultural barriers and befriend students from a Muslim background with Christ’s unconditional love.
Next blog topic: Character
Doug Shaw with Derrah Jackson
 Youtube.com lecture by Dr. Harry Gebert, Executive Director of ABWE International