What a joy and honor to witness God’s loving hand at work in the heart of our Pakistani friend, Eli (name protected). When I first met Eli several years ago, he was the definition of “down and out”, struggling deeply with depression and drug abuse. When we went to his apartment to visit his roommates, he would not even come out of his room to greet us. But we kept inviting him to things and on rare occasion, he’d show up.
Last Fall, Eli agreed to study the Bible together with me and Matthijs. In January, he started texting me every day, asking us to pray for him. It was clear that God was stirring his heart. I arranged for Eli to receive counseling and healing prayer from a wise and loving Dutch couple in our church. When Eli and I met a couple days later, I knew it was time to make certain that Eli understood God’s invitation to him — to exchange his sin for God’s grace, to become a son. After sharing the Gospel with Eli, I left him alone for a few moments with a prayer he could say to commit his life to Christ. I came back and asked if he would like to pray the prayer. He looked at me wide-eyed and with a big smile and said, “Yes! Yes! I’ve prayed it three times already!”
Eli was baptized in March. At this time, he changed his name to Eli, parting with his Muslim name to further mark leaving his old life behind and embracing the new.
God has brought a lot of healing into Eli’s life. God has softened his heart and given him wisdom not of this world. However, Eli has a lot of physical pain as well as pain in his heart from a difficult past and traumatic memories. Yet God is comforting Eli, being present in his pain—Eli will never again suffer alone.