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Surprising conversions

January 2005

A correspondent writes:

I enjoyed the story of penicillin in the article ‘Does God perform miracles today?’ by Prof. Rendle-Short in the October 2004 issues of ET. Given that the doctrine of God’s sovereign election – diligently promoted by the editors of ET – implies that every conversion of a soul to Christ is a miracle of God, have you ever thought about having a series of articles on miraculous conversions?

While my own conversion was truly a miracle of God’s sovereign electing grace, it makes for a rather commonplace story – I was born into a Christian family, taken to a gospel-oriented church and Sunday school, sat under daily Bible reading in the home, and trusted in Christ as a youth.

But during a recent visit to an Islamic nation, my wife and I met a native of that country and his European wife (I’ll call them Abdul and Maria, not their real names). They told us the exciting and miraculous story of their salvation.

Super Bowl

The story begins with Maria, who grew up in a nominally Christian family and had little or no exposure to the Bible and real Christianity. At the age of 17, Maria went to the United States as an exchange student. She was supposed to live with a family in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, but due to a paperwork mix-up ended up with a family in Boston, Massachusetts.

Her hosts turned out to be devout Christians who took her to church every Sunday, and she was saved during her year in America. She later found out from a schoolmate who had ended up with the family in Philadelphia that those hosts had no interest in religion.

A few years later, while attending college in Europe, Maria learned that some of her fellow students would be getting together to watch on television the Super Bowl – the championship game of the American professional football league.

What piqued her interest in this typically male event was the fact that the Boston team was one of the contestants. So that evening Maria went along – the only woman among many males – and there she met Abdul, a Muslim from a Muslim country and culture.

The Bible’s answer

They became friends and spent a lot of time together, but both realised that marriage was out of the question as long as one of them was a Christian and the other a Muslim. Their many discussions about the Scriptures and the Qur’an always ended in stalemate.

Then one day Abdul purchased a book giving Islam’s answers to the Bible and Christianity, with the intention of giving it to Maria. At the same time, not aware of what Abdul had done, Maria went to a local evangelical Christian bookstore and purchased a book giving the Bible’s answers to Islam. The next time they met, each presented the other with their book.

No stalemate

Another stalemate? Not this time – because it turned out that the book purchased by Maria was specifically written in response to the very book purchased by Abdul! All Abdul’s arguments collapsed and he yielded to Christ.

Abdul and Maria are now married and are active members in the underground church in Abdul’s native country.

Does God perform miracles today? Yes, he certainly does! And he even uses mixed-up paperwork and football games to accomplish his purposes. ‘God works in a mysterious way his wonders to perform’. Praise his holy name!

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