Tag Archives: Ramadan

Why We Stay in Moscow

Today, I went into a fitness center to renew a membership.  The manager was sitting off in a corner, smoking a cigarette, mad as a hornet that we were rude enough to intrude on her day.
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“Excuse me,” I asked, “We’d like to extend a membership.”
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“Can’t help you.  Cash register’s broken,” she snarled without making eye contact.
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“When will it be fixed?” I asked.
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“Maybe today.  Maybe not,” came out in the middle of a smoke cloud.  Again, no eye contact. Service with a scowl. I walked out of there, kind of disgusted with people in Moscow.  But then I remembered Shahid.
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Shahid was pushing a “borrowed” shopping cart through the bazaar, offering to haul people’s purchases.  As this Uzbek Muslim man wearing a prayer cap walked past me, we made eye contact.
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Thousands of unreached are in Samarkand, Uzbekistan

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Before he could finish asking me, “Do you need a cart?,” I squeezed in an “Asalam Aleykum!” This means “peace to you” in Arabic.  Shahid stopped in his tracks as he doesn’t hear that very often from a Russian-looking face.  He told me his story. He had finished studying for nine years in a madrassa.  At the beginning of Ramadan, he shamed the Muslim owner of the bazaar into letting him use a vacant room for their tradition of ritual prayers.
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“Now,”  he proudly told me, “seventy of us gather for prayers five times/day.” He is the prayer leader.  As I offered to give him a Magdalena film in Uzbek, two Dagestanis jumped in and rudely demanded that he not take the film.  Shahid, however, followed me out of the bazaar to the Metro.  It was clear he wanted to talk.  He ended up eagerly taking the film.
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I have been praying for him since.  Two days ago, I returned to that bazaar and called him.  We met and talked near the Metro entrance.  I pulled out my pocket Bible and read Hebrews 11:6 to him.  He listened intently.  I think his Russian was good enough to understand what I said.
He stared at the Book and then asked me quietly, “Can you get me one of those in Uzbek?” We stood there and prayed, hands open up to God, as people churned around us entering and leaving the Metro.  Shahid did not care. Neither did I.
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This is why we are here.   And this is what you were made for, as well.

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Night of Power – Prayers for Forgiveness

We prayed that she would have a vision or dream . . . and she did . . .

 

Tonight is a special night for Muslims around the world. It’s called the “Night of Power.” Dedicated Muslims will stay up all night, praying for a dream, a vision or the appearance of an angel who will assure them of forgiveness of their sins or grant another request. Take a minute today to pray that many Muslims around the world will have a dream or vision — of Jesus. Pray that they will come to understand that true forgiveness is found only through the blood of Jesus Christ shed for us on the cross, in payment for our sins.

In Tajikistan, Appai Zebo looked forward to the Night of Power. As a devout Muslim, she had been fasting during the day all throughout Ramadan. Tonight, with her husband, she would pray throughout the night, seeking a vision from an angel which would assure her of her forgiveness of her sins. She desperately sought for that assurance.

That night she and her husband lay on their prayer mats on the floor, their hands extended in prayer. Zebo was tired from her day’s work but she faithfully tried to stay awake. When she dozed, her husband nudged her back to prayer.

Exhaustion finally overtook her, and she dozed. During this time, she had a dream. She saw a wide river and a friend was standing near it, calling her to come. She walked toward her friend, and the friend linked arms with her and walked toward the river. She felt tremendous peace and joy. Then her husband nudged her awake.

In the following days, Zebo couldn’t forget the dream but she didn’t know what it meant. She went to her friend and asked, “Do you know what this dream means?” The woman promised to pray about it and returned.

Later, she returned to Zebo and said, “Jesus said He is the Living Water (John 6:35). Whoever drinks of Him will not be thirsty.”

“So you were leading me towards Him?” asked Zebo.

“Perhaps,” replied the friend.

Zebo pondered this dream for many days, although she never publicly professed to believe Jesus’ words. Pray that as she prays tonight, she will remember this dream. Pray that through her rituals and religious seeking, she will seek Truth. Pray that Truth will be revealed to her, and that she will believe.


No Room in the Mosque

So many things can be said about this picture. You could comment on the fact that these Muslim friends are ardent enough about their faith to publicly pray in the middle of the workday. They aren’t ashamed, despite the blatant hatred many show them here in Moscow.

Or, you could comment about the fact that there is no room for them in the mosque. It is filled to overflowing. They are praying in the streets, on the sidewalks, wherever they can find room.

Maybe you find something else that strikes you about this picture . . . If so, share a comment with us.

In so many ways, Muslims here in Moscow find that there is no room for them, no place for them. It is often almost impossible to find decent work. They are scorned for their skin color or nationality. They are mocked because they don’t speak the language fluently. Their customs and worship are looked down upon here.

God promises that those that seek the Truth will find it. Pray that they would not be blinded by tradition, customs or culture. Pray that they would single-mindedly, fervently seek Truth. And then pray that God would put people in their path to share that Truth, people such as you and I. May we be as fervent in our faith; may we not be ashamed to publicly profess what we believe and daily, openly live it.


Muslims in Moscow: Featured in the 30-Days Prayer Network Guide!

The 30-Days Prayer Network Guide is a great resource for praying strategically for Muslims during the holiday of Ramadan. We are featured on day 21. You can check it out here. Take a minute to inform yourself about the needs of Muslims in Moscow, and then read on to find out about Muslims around the world.

While Ramadan is an excellent time to pray for Muslims, you can also use the guide year-round to continue to pray for Muslims. Thank you for being a part of the work here through your prayers!


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