It’s around 9:00 p.m. when I step into the coffee shop. I’m here to meet with Louway, a man I’ve been texting but whom I’ve never seen before. Even with a good look to the right and left, the person I am supposed to meet hasn’t made himself obvious.
This meeting was spurred on when Louway responded to an ad on social media about Jesus. He ended up chatting online with a believer in another country. Then he asked for a face-to-face meeting with someone who could answer his questions in person. Today I get to be that someone for Louway.
I text Louway to say that I’m here, waiting by the door. After I hit send, a man in his mid-40s and dressed in traditional clothing looks up. He waves me over.
So often, the people I meet who seem drawn to Jesus are young, somewhat rebellious, and on the fringe of society.
But lately, there’s been a shift in the types of people who are responding to the Good News. We’ve seen a rise in the number of mainstream Muslims curious to learn about Jesus Christ.
Louway is one of them, and he happens to be a man of influence. He is a patriarch in his family. He’s also a government worker who is highly respected in his professional and social circles.
So much is racing through my mind as I start chatting with Louway. I can’t help but think, “This is exactly the kind of person we have long prayed for.”
For the next couple of hours, Louway asks me questions about Jesus. Every few moments, he scans the area around us to make sure no one can hear our conversation.
“What must I do to follow Christ?” Louway finally asks me. That is the crux of his inquiry, and for a good reason. He simply cannot picture what life would be like as a Muslim-background follower of Jesus. There’s not a single active church in the city, and there’s nowhere he can go to meet local believers.
“Do I have to change the way I pray?” he asks me. “Why don’t you pray at specific times? What about fasting? Is it OK for a man to marry his brother-in-law’s sister? What about two wives? I can’t stop smoking. Will God forgive me? Do you really know the way to heaven? How do you know the Bible is not corrupt?”
Louway’s questions come like rapid fire.
I try to offer succinct, wise answers. There is so much information he wants to know. But Louway just needs to start walking step by step.
The good news is that he wants to keep talking with me, and we’ve already got our next meeting planned.
At the end of our conversation, Louway gives me a hug and whispers, “I will never stop searching for the truth.”