Updated: Sep 14
Through Discovery Bible Study, Anna has been helping Layla discover God for herself
Anna has been discipling her Muslim friend Layla for over a year now. You can get up to speed on Anna and Layla's story in Part 1 and Part 2. Layla's journey through Discovery Bible Study and coming to faith is a messy but amazing one. Here's Layla's story:
"I forgot to tell you—I actually believe in Jesus now!"
I met my Muslim friend, Layla, while I was staying at a guest house in the Middle Eastern country where I reside. After building a friendship and having meaningful and spiritual conversations, we started a Discovery Bible Study. It was a long journey, but we completed the entire Creation to Christ Scripture list! We stay in touch and continue to do weekly DBS. After one of our DBS's in the Gospel passages, she told me, "Anna! I forgot to tell you—I actually believe in Jesus now!" However, she is still not sure if she is ready to be baptized. "I believe Jesus is the way! But I'm not sure what I should do..." she told me. Lately, I've been frequently fasting and praying for God to bring her to the point of baptism.
Layla is Wrestling Between Islam and Faith in Jesus
Layla faces a real spiritual battle. "The Quran doesn't say that Jesus is the only way—it says there are many ways," she said to me, worried. "Okay, let's look at the stories from the Bible!" I told her. We read the Gospel passages that show Jesus saying He is the only way to the Father. "Yeah, I see that the story says the Jesus is the only way," she admitted, "but how do I follow Jesus when my whole culture and family is living differently?" Later, while doing a DBS on the Great Commission in Matthew 28,
Layla said, "This is amazing! Jesus made a way for all the nations to come to God through Him! I love God, and if God says that Jesus is His only Son, then I'm willing to believe in Jesus. If God says so, then I'll obey Him."
Her obedience statement in response to the passage was to start reading the Bible daily. She has since finished Matthew and is making her way though the Gospels.
A Disciple Must Count the Cost
Another time Layla said, "I know what it takes to obey God, but I'm not obeying Him. Jesus said 'if you love Me, you will obey Me,' and I'm not sure if I'm obeying God." She understands where she is headed and what it takes. She is counting the cost of following Jesus. One day, Layla came to me after her Bible reading and told me, "I just read in the Bible that Jesus said we are supposed to be the light and salt of the earth. And I'm not there yet." "You don't have to share with everyone you meet," I said. She persisted, "The Bible says that I have to be the light and tell everyone! And I can't do that." "We're looking for spiritually open people," I explained. "Not everyone will be spiritually open."
The Long Journey of Disciple-Making
Layla is slowly but steadily growing into a disciple of Jesus. I don't know how many more Bible stories it will take before she is ready to be baptized. But I have hope because she consistently shows up for DBS every week and looks forward to it. In addition, Layla does tell someone every week what she is reading from Scripture and she makes concrete "I Will" statements in obedience to the passages. She really understands and follows through on meeting needs in her community. Now living in the USA, she invites many immigrants and refugees over for meals to show hospitality and brings dinners to her neighbors. Pray for Layla. I am believing that God will not give up on her and that one day, she will be baptized!
Anna and Layla's story communicates how Scripture is the best teacher. Layla had doubts because of the Quran. Anna's answer was not to preach at her, but instead, lead her into Scripture, which spoke truth into the matter. One Layla made it through the entire DBS Scripture list, she believed in Jesus through the process! Disciple-making takes time. As Jesus works on each part of Layla's life, He is transforming her to be more like Him. This isn't a fast process, however, and it requires perseverance on both Layla and Anna's part.
Podcast: Stories From the Underground Church in Afghanistan
In this podcast, David Watson shares about what it is like to be working secretly in Afghanistan and other closed countries. And how technology is changing the nature of these missions. Sign up for our $5/mo premium podcast on Patreon for part 2!