(May 3, 2015) Maureen McQuillan recalls a memorable believers’ water baptism service:
Ali, a converted Muslim from Iran, had expressed his desire to follow his Saviour Jesus through the waters of baptism.
A humble and most sincere man who loves Jesus and doesn’t hesitate to share his faith in Christ, he had his wish fulfilled in a heart-touching baptism service at last month at the Highton campus of Moolap and Barrabool Hills Baptist Church, Geelong, Victoria, last March.
The service meaningfully centred on Ali’s baptism and quite a few of his converted Muslim friends from Melbourne and Hoppers Crossing attended to celebrate the occasion. Moein, a delightful young Iranian friend I know, was among the visitors and kindly supplied photos for this article.
Barrabool Baptist’s teaching pastor Matt Jacoby conducted the baptismal segment along with Reza – who only likes to known as ‘a servant of Jesus.’ Matt Jacoby highlighted the meaning of adult believers’ water baptism and Reza interpreted for Ali as he shared his testimony in Farsi.
At one point Ali, Reza and visiting friends came to the platform and joyously sang a worship chorus – He Completed the Victory – in their native language. It began with Reza teaching the congregation to declare, ‘Isa khodavand’ – Farsi for ‘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. Repeatedly 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, he challenged through Reza: ‘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
What a great testimony! 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 (www.assistnews.net) and our friends in the Assyrian church where my husband Robert and I have ministered, we regularly learn that Jesus (Isa) has appeared mysteriously in Islamic nations. That in supernatural ways 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.
I encourage Christians and churches to reach out to such converts 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 supernatural moving of the 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 from the Muslim faith.
Maureen McQuillan is a gifted communicator ministering practically and prophetically. Links: www.connectingwithyou.net / firstname.lastname@example.org / Int + 61 411 615 855