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Reaching International Students: A Testimony of a Transformed Life

A young Middle Eastern student, who professed faith in Islam and devotion to Allah, finds the Jesus professed by Chi Alpha leaders and students at the University of Arkansas Little Rock to be fascinating. But when Christ appeared to him, his life was transformed!

Stepping foot on the campus of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UALR), I knew that God had big things planned for the new Chi Alpha plant. However, I never expected to see Him move as swiftly as He did.

Halfway through the fall semester at UALR, I met a Middle Eastern student. He came to one of our Thursday night services by invitation of a student who regularly attended. At that service, he was able to meet and see the family of believers at Chi Alpha that God was assembling together. He had never seen or experienced anything like it.

Intrigued, the student continued to come week after week. Being a foreign exchange student in his senior year at UALR, he professed a faith in Islam and devotion to Allah. But being around Chi Alpha students and seeing the love they had for Jesus sparked a curiosity that needed to be filled.

I began meeting with him in one-on-one settings where we talked about his life in his homeland and the many questions he had about Jesus. I remember the day he received a parallel Bible that had Arabic and English translations so he could better understand Scripture. He was so excited. He didn't want to put it down. In his words he said, "I just want to know everything it says in here."

With our upcoming South Central SALT conference approaching, some of the involved students invited him to attend with our group. Without hesitation, he accepted and had expectations set on learning more about Jesus. Little did he know, Jesus would become more real to him than he ever expected.

We packed our bags and headed to Dallas for a week to spend with students from all over the South Central Chi Alpha region. One night in the evening service at SALT changed his life. He had attended several breakout sessions, and heard many people teaching and preaching about Jesus and the Christian faith. But he still had reservations and still needed to know Jesus was real.

In his own words he explains what happened at the altar that night: "There was a man standing at a distance dressed in all white. He held a scepter in His hand. I wanted to speak to Him but I wasn't sure I was allowed to. But in that moment, I knew it was Jesus because I had just asked Him to show himself to me." With much excitement, he accepted Jesus. He rushed to share this with me and the other staff members. He had so many questions and still to this day does. But now he knows and trusts in Jesus above all.

He realizes that as a former and very devout Muslim, things will not be easy for him. In accepting Jesus, he knew his life was about to change drastically. His family, who still lives in his homeland, will probably not understand. But he simply says, "It's ok. I have to go back home and share this with everyone there: My family, my friends, whoever will listen."

When asked about the potential harm and threats that could come due to his profession of Christianity, he says, "I'm not afraid, because I know that Jesus is with me. He never leaves me."

Meeting with him and seeing him walk out his ever-increasing life with Jesus is so challenging. I'm amazed daily at how Jesus is revealing himself to him and continuing to show him His character and goodness. He is at Chi Alpha every week, and walks in a boldness to share Christ with whomever may cross his path. With his Bible with him wherever he goes, he is growing into a devout follower of Jesus and His words.

Pray for this student and his journey. He graduates from UALR in May and plans to return home to share Jesus with as many people as he can.

"This student's homeland sends many international students to study in America," says Crystal Martin, Chi Alpha International director. "Chi Alpha has an unprecedented opportunity to reach the Muslim world by extending Christian hospitality and love to the Muslim students studying on our campuses. This is one example of the many Muslim students that Chi Alpha is serving nationwide. We are rejoicing in his salvation and praying that he represents many more that will be entering Christ's kingdom."