I have been in contact with Dr. Mahmood since Oct 2015. Dr. Mahmood had worked in the medical field, practicing at a hospital in Syria. We became close friends; his family and ours used to meet for family gatherings. I found that Dr. Mahmood was open to hearing the Gospel, so I gave him a Bible, and I helped him to navigate it. Each time I met him, I talked about the cross of Christ and what He did for our salvation. From time to time we talked about the Bible vs. the Quran. On Good Friday, 2016, I met with Dr. Mahmood to talk about the significance of the day, that we are all forgiven because of Jesus Christ, and that Satan has been defeated by the cross. We talked about many things, including forgiveness, and how we need to forgive others. He talked about how difficult it was for him to forgive the radical Muslims who had forced him and his family to leave their homeland. At conversation’s end, Dr. Mahmood confessed that Jesus Christ is God, and he also confessed that Jesus Christ died on the cross and rose again to pay for our sins. I invited him to join in the Easter worship service that Sunday. He accepted my invitation. We sat together during church, and it came time in the service for communion.
He wanted to take communion, but I stopped him, as I told him it is only for Christians, to which he replied, “I am a Christian-- I believe in Jesus Christ.” I kept saying that we should talk with the pastor first. Dr. Mahmood wanted to meet the pastors and spend time with them. We did that. Dr. Mahmood was interested in making this church his home church. He agreed to join the new member classes. We encouraged him to begin reading, and to keep reading the Bible as it would make him strong in faith.
Then, on Sunday, June 26th we had Dr. Mahmood’s public baptism in church. I say public, because initially he had requested a private baptism. After talking several times during the new member classes, he was convinced of the significance of public baptism, both for him and for the whole congregation. Part of the meaning of baptism is that of one body celebrating salvation and of the one being baptized joining the big family of Christ. What surprised me was that he had invited his Muslim daughter to come and witness his baptism. She liked the church.
Furthermore, she was taking pictures of his baptism and the celebration which followed. What a witness!
Please keep praying for Dr. Mahmood’s family, as he was brave enough to make this decision to be baptized in public. Now he has become a model for the rest of his family. I believe that Dr. Mahmood made the public baptism decision through the power of the Holy Spirit on behalf of his family. Keep praying for the four members of his family who still need the light of Christ.