Ray Bakke, Chicago, IL USA

Perhaps the most dramatic story I've ever come across took place in Surabaya-the largest city in East Java. I was taken down to the waterfront, and there I met a family. We walked together into a slum where all the sewers back up when the tide comes in. It's smelly and it's full of fanatic Muslims. A Pentecostal church in this city happened to have a ministry of prayer walks, so they assigned a member to this slum. He walked there for weeks and months. No Muslims were ever offended by this. They knew he was praying for the community. because they had asked him what he was doing. Muslims believe in prayer and practice it publicly five times each day.

This Christian become so concerned about the neighborhood that he sold his middle-class house and moved his family, including three children under the age of ten, into this slum. They now lived in a ticky-tacky two-room box house surrounded by fanatic Muslims.

The Christian went back to his home church and asked for a big offering for the slum commuity. All the Christians there felt so guilty they gave him a lot of money. He came back to the slum and called together all the Muslims he knew. He told them, "The Christians of Surabaya have given me all of this money, and I'm giving it to you to build a mosque." The Muslims could hardly believe what they heard! He gave them the money and he helped them build a mosque. This happened in 1985. When the mosque was completed and dedicated, he was invited to sit in the front row as one of the honored guests.

When he was invited to speak, he stood up and said, "I'm going to start a Bible study in my house. You're all invited." And they all came! Six months later this urban missionary had baptized thirty-five Muslim in the name of Jesus!

Can you imagine a Baptist missionary, a Presbyterian missionary, any missionary..., reporting to his funders that he used their special offering to build a mosque?

What got through to these urban Muslims was not whether this was a good strategy or not. But rather this Christian's incredible love for the people and they saw right through that and they wanted to know the Jesus who would give him that kind of love.