19th Dec 2022

In a swirl of colourful wraparound skirts, Fatou bustled in and out of her tidy mudbrick home, preparing dinner on her outdoor cookfire. The fragrance of rice, beans, and hot greens filled the house as she brought in heaping dishes, offered me a bottle of fizzy drink, and sat down across from me.

As we ate, I swatted away the mosquitos that decided to join us for dinner. Humid East African Decembers don’t feel very Christmassy to me. Still, with the upcoming holiday on my mind, I asked Fatou if she’d heard why we celebrate Christmas.

“It’s a religious holiday,” she said. “Right?”

I nodded. “Would you like to hear the story behind it?”

“Of course.”

I began at the beginning, telling her about an unwed young teen who became pregnant after a vision of an angel.

Fatou’s glass bottle clinked against the table. She looked at me as though I had lost my mind. “What! Without a man?”

“God is powerful enough to do anything,” I said before continuing with the story.

But as I spoke, I began to hear my words through her ears. How strange the story of angels appearing to shepherds and a bright star leading foreigners to a village must have sounded to her.

In Fatou’s village, stories abound of people shapeshifting into animals, trees with spirits, and snakes hiding diamonds in the hills. What makes the Christmas story different? Only the life-changing power of God within it. 

“That’s an amazing story.” Fatou shook her head, eyebrows raised. Although she didn’t express immediate interest in learning more about Jesus, I knew she’d mull it over and pass along the story to her friends.

This Christmas, I am praying for Fatou to embrace the story of a baby born to a virgin and the even more unbelievable truth that Jesus came to earth to die that we might live.

Pray:

  • Pray that Fatou will embrace the truth about Jesus as she continues to listen to stories about Him.
  • Ask God to provide more opportunities for Muslims to hear the Good News.
  • Lift up field workers as they use the Christmas story to open the door for spiritual conversations during the holiday season.
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