Ali, a converted Muslim from Iran, had recently expressed his desire to follow his Saviour Jesus through the waters of baptism.
A humble and most sincere man who loves the Lord Jesus and doesn’t hesitate to share his faith in Christ, Ali had this wish fulfilled in a most magnificent, heart-touching water baptism service last month at the Barrabool Hills, Highton congregation of Moolap and Barrabool Hills Baptist Church, Geelong, Victoria.
A delighted Ali, after his water baptism (Photos, courtesy Moein)
The service was meaningfully centred on Ali’s baptism and quite a few of his converted Christian friends from Melbourne and Hoppers Crossing had attended to celebrate the occasion. It was a blessing to be there that Sunday and to notice Moein, a young Iranian friend, among the visitors (He kindly supplied the photos in this article).
The church’s teaching pastor Matt Jacoby conducted the baptismal segment along with Reza – who prefers to known only as ‘a servant of Jesus.’
Matt Jacoby highlighted the meaning of adult water baptism and Reza interpreted for Ali as he shared his testimony in Farsi.
At one point Ali, Reza and the visiting friends came to the platform and joyously sang a worship chorus – He Completed the Victory – in their native language. It began with Reza challenging the congregation to speak in Farsi and declare ‘Isa khodavand’ which means Jesus is God.
With delight everyone meaningfully did so! It was an impacting, outstanding worship time.
Indeed the whole baptism service was different and precious and this was a very special moment. But the real centre of the occasion was Jesus Christ – as Ali himself kept pointing out.
Although he was speaking in his native tongue, on a number of times he urged Reza to ensure that Jesus Christ was given the glory.
For example, at one point as Ali shared his testimony, the congregation was deeply touched and began clapping. Ali immediately held up one hand for quietness and with the other pointed firmly at the people. Then, through Reza, he challenged: ‘Who are you clapping? We give Isa – Jesus – the praise, not me!’
Reza, Ali and Pastor Matt
In John 8:32, Jesus said: ‘You will know the truth and the truth will set you free.’
The very first time I experienced the presence of God, it was in my country Iran, while I was at someone’s house simply having a shower!
It happened in something like the speed of light, perhaps even faster – if that were possible. It was merely a brief sentence but I distinctly heard the words: ‘I AM – with you.’
However, that day, I didn’t realise it was the presence of God, because I didn’t know him personally. That would come later.
After that event, in less than three months, due to the problems and difficulties I faced in my country, I began my journey to Australia.
Although I had not discovered Jesus as Saviour and Lord at the time – that would happen shortly in unusual circumstances – I know now that this move was in keeping with God’s plan for my life, for my future.
There were almost 150 people comprising three or four nationalities on that boat on the way to Australia and the majority, like me, were Muslims.
One dangerous, frightening night
One night, the weather turned stormy along with heavy rain and everyone was anxious.
For the first time, very calmly I looked up to the skies and found myself asking Jesus if he was willing to receive me into his banquet – and he did!
I had discovered the reality of the one true God and Jesus my Saviour.
After this experience, my interest in Christianity increased – but at the same time my personal difficulties increased as well, to the point my Muslim wife, unfortunately, separated from me.
However, as my difficulties grew, it seemed the presence of my God intensified in my life.
One day as I walking on a street in Sydney a man, whom I didn’t know, called me by name and took me aside. He recalled the biblical stories of Hozeya (Hosea) and Job to me.
When I heard these, I felt my spirit was refreshed. Then, amazingly, he shared that he’d seen me in a dream that God had given him earlier. It was like the Acts 9 story of Ananias and Saul!
Later, according to God’s plan for me, I left Sydney and came to reside in Geelong.
My own dreams
In Geelong, through God’s love and grace, I met Reza, a follower and servant of Jesus.
I myself experienced two separate dreams: In the first dream, God – while speaking to me – addressed Reza as his own disciple. It was through Reza, my brother-in-Christ, that I really came to know more about Jesus and to grow in his love.
The second dream was equally precious – God himself called me his child!
Today, with my own free will I stand here to testify to the Lordship of Christ and through my baptism today I declare openly that I too am a follower of Jesus.
I give all glory and honour to my God and to my Saviour, Christ Jesus of Nazareth. آمین – Amen!
God is moving supernaturally
Moolap and Barrabool Baptist Church’s theme this year is Openness – the church certainly demonstrated this godly character to its guests. As inferred above, this was a baptismal service with a difference.
It was a joy indeed to meet Ali afterwards and personally witness his joy and sincerity in respect of his faith and trust in Jesus.
Through ASSIST News sources (www.assistnews.net) and our friends in an Assyrian church that my husband Robert and I minister in, we often learn that Jesus (Isa) has appeared mysteriously in Muslim nations. That in some wonderful way he has revealed himself to Muslims leading to their conversion to Christ, that even in dangerous circumstances overseas he is using them to reach family and friends. Many are discovering scripture’s great I AM.
I encourage Christians and churches to reach out to converts from the Middle East and help establish them in their faith. And to assist them with English and settling comfortingly in western nations so new to them.
A people with an awareness of the supernatural, their appreciation for God’s word, gratefulness for their Saviour Jesus’ Calvary sacrifice and the movings of the Holy Spirit are all deep and strong.
We must understand that they respond to meaningful friendship and Christian love and that culturally and language-wise they are in an ideal position to reach others of the Muslim faith.
Maureen McQuillan, Life Focus Ministries, is a gifted communicator ministering practically and prophetically. Special to ASSIST, Dr Robert and Maureen regularly minister cross-denominationally and cross-culturally. Links: www.connectingwithyou.net / firstname.lastname@example.org / Int + 61 411 615 855