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A Surprising Gift

Magda grew up in a strong Muslim family in North Africa, in a country that was dominated by Islam. Everyone she knew was a Muslim.

When Magda was a young lady, she heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ for the first time on the radio. She was fascinated by what she heard and she continued to listen to the program for years. Although she listened in secret, she regularly took notes and wrote down the passages from the Bible that she heard. After some time, Magda had a notebook full of the Scriptures and, as she would study those verses, her heart was being drawn toward Jesus. But that notebook was the only Bible she had.

The radio program was produced in a neighboring country by other North Africans who had encountered Jesus and were sharing the Gospel in Arabic with anyone who would listen. The ministry was called Oasis. 

One day, in her neighborhood, Magda met a young man who took special interest in her. She knew him to be a very militant Muslim, so she told him plainly, “If you’re interested in me, you need to know that I’m interested in Jesus.”

The young man was bewildered by her statement, but quickly responded with an equally surprising reply. “Then I’ve got something that you might want,” he said to her. “Someone just gave me a Bible the other day. I certainly don’t want it, or need it, so you can have it.” 

Magda was thrilled. She had been carefully compiling her own Bible for years, but now she was given the entire Bible in her own language—a wonderful gift from a radical Muslim!

Magda could hardly wait to begin reading. She started in Genesis and devoured it page by page, book by book. Although she had some difficulty understanding portions of the Old Testament, when she came to the Gospel of Matthew and met Jesus, she was so refreshed. She loved the way that Jesus had compassion on people, how he healed their sicknesses and forgave their sins. But then, as she read on, her heart was crushed when Jesus was killed! “How could that happen?” she cried. She was so upset and disappointed that she stopped reading and put down her Bible. “This is terrible!” she thought. “Jesus was supposed to save his people!” 

After some time, Magda became curious and decided to keep reading. She picked up her Bible and continued in the Book of Matthew until she came to the resurrection story. “He’s alive!” she rejoiced. She was not only overwhelmed by happiness and relief, but her eyes were opened to the wisdom of God. She saw that, in dying and then rising from the dead, Jesus won the victory over sin and death—his sacrifice secured her salvation. She thanked God for his amazing love and surrendered her life completely to Jesus. 

Magda’s heart was so full that she needed to tell someone else about this love. So she found her radical friend—the young man who had given her the Bible—and she told him all about what she had read. This time, his heart was somehow ready to hear it. As she shared her testimony and spoke boldly of her faith, he was moved to respond and also gave his heart to Jesus.

Today, these two are not only both following Jesus, they are married and have become an integral part of the Oasis team—the same ministry that brought the Gospel to Magda some thirty years earlier. In a dark and difficult place where very few people have encountered God’s love and grace, Magda and her husband are shining the light of Jesus, proclaiming the truth of the Gospel and gathering many more new believers together in churches.

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