Mud or Chocolate?

by a Christian expatriate in the Arabian Peninsula

Someone once told me that the work of the Holy Spirit is like the sun shining on a dark brown substance. If it is chocolate, it becomes soft, pliable and responsive. If it is mud, however, it becomes hard, brittle and unyielding. Two local young men came in contact with the Good News, but they responded in different ways.

"Hameed" had a heart like chocolate. He is a student at the university, and met some Christians on the street who began to talk to him. As they explained the gospel to him over several weeks and months, the Holy Spirit spoke to him and he became a follower of Jesus.

At about the same time that Hameed gave his heart to the Lord, another man, Abed Abdul Razaaq, also met some Christians. His heart was hardened. His wife – who had a long-standing medical problem, and had seen several doctors elsewhere – went as a patient to the mission hospital in the south. She came home with a glowing story of the Christian doctor, and said, "That woman showed me more love than any doctor I've ever met."

Abed Abdul Razaaq told the police later, "I realized that day that I would have to go and kill that doctor. If she could have such an effect on my wife with just one meeting, then what effect would she have on this whole nation?"

On December 30, 2002, he went back with a machine gun and killed three of the missionaries – Bill, Martha, and Cathy. When arrested, he proclaimed, "I shall die a martyr and enter paradise because of this."

Many Yemenis were shocked at this event – most people knew of the good that this mission hospital had done, and that these people had died because of their faith in Christ. Two of them were buried on the hospital compound in the country and among the people that they loved so much. The family of the third requested that her body be flown back to the U.S.

About two months after this event, Hameed was knifed in the back as he came out of a bank, and $200 was taken from him. As he lay on the street bleeding heavily, he saw blood everywhere – his own blood – and he was convinced that he was going to die. His first thought was of the blood of Christ that had been shed for him on the cross. Then he thought, "I don't want to die for $200. If I die, I want to die like Bill and Martha and Cathy, those three missionaries, who gave their lives in the cause of Christ."

You'll be glad to know that Hameed was taken to hospital and has recovered. The event has strengthened his faith in Jesus.

In 197 AD, the theologian Tertullian wrote to the Roman leaders who were persecuting the early Christians, "The more you mow us down, the more we grow. The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church."

Abed Abdul Razaaq had hoped to scare and intimidate Christians by killing three of them. Instead he helped the faith of Hameed, a new Christian, to grow stronger.

Pray that God would soften the hearts of those who oppose the gospel and strengthen the hearts of those who have received it.

Reprinted from GO England/Wales fourth quarter 2003, by kind permission of the editor.

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