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Gordon & Ali in South Asia

For more than thirty years, Gordon and Gwen Nickel have served with Multiply in South Asia in partnership with the Conference of MB Churches in South Asia. Their ministry has been focused on patiently and lovingly helping Muslim seekers find Jesus. Several years ago, Gordon completed an important book called The Gentle Answer that engaged many of the classic claims against the Gospel that Muslims in India have held onto for the past 150 years. He wrote the book at the persistent urging of his Indian co-worker and friend, Ali, a gifted apologist and himself a former Muslim who found Jesus. Through this book project, Ali was given an opportunity to debate a prominent Muslim cleric named Shabir. These two held many public and private debates over a period of four years. They both spoke passionately about their beliefs in the identity of Jesus Christ: for Shabir, a mere prophet, and for Ali, the Son of God. Finally, after years of debating, the two met for a conversation that lasted eighteen hours, after which Shabir confessed Jesus as Lord of his life. Since then, Shabir has gone on to lead hundreds of Muslims to Jesus and has planted numerous jammats, which are gatherings of Christ followers that are culturally friendly to those coming out of Islam.

Today in South Asia, there are many former Muslims who are now following Jesus and integrally involved with the multiplying impact of the Gospel. Many of these young leaders are the fruit of the perseverance of faithful workers like Gordon and Gwen, Ali and Shabir.

This past year, Gordon and Gwen retired, but their legacy will certainly live on! In fact, through their ministry, there are hundreds of new Christ followers in South Asia who are being equipped to “give a reason for the hope that they have” and they are being trained to give it “with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15). The friendship between Ali and Shabir reminds us that it often takes perseverance in our Gospel witness for there to be fruit. Today’s debate opponents could become tomorrow’s disciples if we too are willing to persevere in love with those with whom we are sharing the Gospel.

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