Mission among Muslims

Verre Naasten also supports missionary projects in the Netherlands now. A lot is happening in the Rotterdam area, where churches are reaching out to Muslims. A difficult target group. Especially because it is almost impossible for Dutch Muslims to accept Jesus as their Saviour. When their family and community find out, they are rejected, hated and threatened. Melek, a young Turkish-Dutch woman, experienced that. She says: “My family rejected me; I am cursed and hated by them. I will never be welcome again unless I become a Muslim again.”

Not an inviting religion

Melek: “I was born into a Turkish-Dutch family. My parents were not fanatic Muslims, but during difficult and dark periods they called to Allah. As a child I did not find Islam an inviting religion. Not to myself and not to others. I had to hate Christians, Jews, Kurds, and Dutch. This could not have been the God I wanted to believe in?!”

“During a difficult period in my life I met Janneke: a Christian girl who always prayed for her food. One morning I asked her: ‘What do I have to do to get to heaven?’ She looked at me and said: ‘Believe!’ That sounded too easy, so I told her what Islam orders you to do to go to heaven. While I was telling her that, I felt that there had to be more. ‘What should I believe in then?’, I asked. She answered: ‘In Jesus Christ, who died on the cross and rose again from the dead on the third day’. In the following weeks I asked Janneke if she wanted to teach me how to pray. She told me to open my heart to Jesus. But I didn’t do so yet, because I was scared. Afraid of this unknown and incredible story.”

Lock me up

“That Sunday Janneke asked me to go to church with her. I refused immediately, because my family would never approve. They would lock me up in the house! In the weeks that followed, Janneke asked me a few more times, and at some point, I decided to say yes. I didn’t say anything to my mother and family; they were never allowed to find out. Trembling with fear, I was in the car on my way to church.”

A love I never felt before

“When the service began, the people closed their eyes. They focused on God. I was jealous of the hope they had. When the pastor called on God, the power in my legs disappeared. I fell back in my chair and felt a love I had never felt before. Afterwards I knew that this was the Holy Spirit! A Sunday later I gave my heart to Jesus. That is where my personal relationship with Him started, which brought me to the point where I was baptized.”

Never welcome again

“My choice to follow Jesus has huge consequences. My family rejected me; I am cursed and hated by them. I will never be welcome again unless I become a Muslim again. I regularly receive threats and hate messages. My mother is devastated by my conversion. One of the last things she said to me was: ‘I wish I had never put you in life’. My story does not stand on its own. Many Moroccan and Turkish Dutch people don’t dare to make the decision to follow Jesus. They are afraid of being rejected or even killed. But… if we are the Light of the World, let’s especially shine in the darkness in which these people still live!”

(For safety reasons we have changed the names in this article. Neither is Melek the girl in the photo.)