OUr DISCIPLE MAKER Profiles
Our indigenous disciple makers live among people groups in West Africa where they were born and raised. Each spearheads efforts giving their people groups access to the gospel. Each does this by starting oral Bible storytelling groups to ignite a disciple making process. Each new generation of disciples will multiply disciples, story groups, and churches until everyone has access to the gospel.
This is the testimony of Karim, a disciple maker in West Africa.
“KILL ME IF YOU MUST... BUT I WILL FOLLOW JESUS!” Karim cried as he wiped away the blood streaming from his mouth after his brother Alidou slapped him sharply on both cheeks. He knew his newfound faith in Christ would cost him dearly, but it was worth it. Never had he experienced such love and forgiveness - such freedom - as he had since he made his choice just a few years earlier.
Born into a Muslim family as the youngest of many sons, Karim remembers that his father was a devout leader and teacher of the Koran - but he used voodoo to inflict cruelty and suffering on whomever he chose. When Karim was only five years old, his father died, and he was taken away from his mother to live with an uncle. At the age of seven, Karim was enrolled in a Koranic school and expected to read and recite the Koran without error; when he misread it on one occasion, his teacher pulled his ear so severely that it bled. He was terrified but had nowhere to run.
After some time, Karim’s mother remarried a farmer and brought him to live with her again after learning how badly he had been treated at his uncle’s home. For years, Karim didn't attend school; but he longed to learn more about his family's
religion and to win the favor of this god, Allah, and to be blessed and accepted by him. He dreamed of one day being able to take his mother with him on a pilgrimage to Mecca. Once he was able to return to school, he studied the Koran and went to the mosque as often as he possibly could. He learned, just like his father, how to use Koranic verses and voodoo to inflict suffering on people and get what he wanted - including women. He believed that Christians were his enemies and hated hearing anything about “Jesus”, but the more he studied Islam the more he realized that Allah would punish him for wrongdoing and could offer him no forgiveness. None. “Why am I making such an effort to be in a good relationship with Allah when I cannot be good enough and I know what is waiting for me on the last day?”
Karim then remembered that there was a white missionary couple who lived near the village of his father, where he was born. He recalled that they were nice people, so he went to visit them with his questions and his doubts about Islam. “If Muhammad the Prophet is really saved, then why do all Muslims pray over him and ask that God’s peace be over him? Is even HIS salvation not certain?” After hearing more about how Jesus Christ offers eternal security, Karim quickly came to this conclusion: “If this is the case, then even MUHAMMAD needs Jesus!”
His friends led him in a prayer to receive Christ’s gift of salvation, and for the first time Karim “felt a burden of stone on his head that he had carried for years lift off of him, and a peace of heart that I have never experienced in my life.” Walking home from the missionaries’ house, Karim saw his life sins in front of him like a video playing. He began to experience the love and forgiveness of Jesus for his sins and vowed never to return to the mosque again. But persecution quickly found him.
“I tried to keep my faith a secret at first, hiding my Bible under my clothes,” he explained. But his friends began noticing how he slipped off to a Christian church instead of going to the mosque, and how he lost interest in the sinful activities of his friends. They began threatening him. Threats escalated into physical abuse, and one of his brothers even tried to stab him. He knew he had to leave home.
“God has always known that I was going to serve Him and has always had a plan for my life, so I trusted Him,” Karim said. “I just wanted to be like Jesus, to show the heart and character of Jesus.” He continues to pray that God will touch the hearts of his family members and that they, too, will know the love of Christ. Karim had a vision that he would be going village to village to proclaim the word of God to his people. As a Jesus Said Go storyteller, that vision is now becoming reality!