Updated: Oct 20, 2021
Astou saw something different in Diane's life that she knew she needed
Hi! My name is Diane. My husband and I are in a predominantly Muslim country in West Africa. Our focus has been on two unreached people groups, which are 99.99% Muslim. They are not just unreached. They are considered hard-to-reach. Actually, they don’t want to be reached and most are quite content in their folk-Islamic faith. This is the story of a woman from one of those people groups.
My Long Friendship with Astou
I met Astou in her early 20's nearly 14 years ago. As a devout Muslim, Astou clearly knows that I am a disciple of Jesus. We were very close for about five years until she married and moved to another city. Through the years, we kept in touch. She calls when she is celebrating wonderful events like the birth of her children and when she is struggling with something significant in her life. Most often, I hear from her when she is having difficulty in her marriage. She has observed my marriage up-close and says it's the type of marriage she’d like to have. I shared with her that our marriage is shaped by what the writings of the early prophets depict as God’s design for marriage.
Her Marriage Was On The Rocks
A couple of months ago, Astou called me again, distraught. She was ready to pack up with her daughters and their belongings to leave her husband. I went to visit her. I listened as she explained how she was tired of trying to make her husband happy. She had grown weary of having to ask him for money to meet basic family needs. He had even told her to leave. Astou believed he wanted her to leave so he could bring another wife to their compound. Although Muslim men can have up to four wives, there wasn't room in their compound for another wife unless she left.
Astou Saw Something Different My Marriage
She told me she likes what she sees in Christian marriages, which are different from the marriages among her Muslim friends and family. She has studied the Quran and Islamic teachings. She has told me several times she believes we are the same—we believe in the same God and our books teach the same things. I asked her, “If that is true, how come three religions have come from the writings of these prophets?” She admitted that she didn’t really know what was in the writings of the earlier prophets, so I challenged her to study them to see what they teach us about God and His plan for all the "children of Adam." She took on my challenge.
Discovery Bible Study Prompted Astou to Help Her Husband
We began meeting every week for Discovery Bible Study over video call. We studied God's creation of humans in Genesis 2 during our 2nd DBS. She learned that God created her to be her husband’s helper and companion. However, since she was created from his own flesh and bone, he should love her like he loves himself. When we got to the question of what she should do in response, she said, “I should help my husband.” I asked her how she could help her husband this week so he’d know she was helping him. She didn’t know. I gave her some time to think and then prompted her, “How do you find out something you don’t know about?” “I ask questions..." she pondered. "Oh! I should ask him what I can do to help him that day.”
Astou is Hungry for the Word Despite Distractions
So far, we have met every week without missing. Twice now she has called me the day before we are planning to meet to make sure I’m still available and already planning our Bible study. Astou is the mother of four daughters under the age of eight. She is the only daughter-in-law, so she is responsible for all the cooking, cleaning, laundry, and childcare. There are lots of distractions in our meetings—cranky children, interruptions from neighbors, mother-in-law wanting her to cook something different for her dinner, husband wanting her to make or reheat his tea, etc. Yet, if we can’t complete the study that evening, Astou quickly requests that we reschedule for the following evening. God is moving in her heart!
Diane and Astou's story displays how crucial it is to welcome lost people into our daily lives. Astou saw the power of Jesus through the freedom and peace she witnessed in Diane's life and marriage. Diane had something Astou desperately needed in her marriage. Furthermore, to make disciples, our personal lives need to be filled with the Fruit of the Spirit. Imagine if Diane's marriage was no different from Astou's. Astou wouldn't have seen any reason to pursue Jesus! Disciple-makers must daily welcome the Kingdom of God into every corner of their lives because the kind of life they live is what they will multiply into new disciples.
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