Kilifi is a town just 56 kilometers north of Mombasa on the Kenyan coastline. It boasts some of the most beautiful beaches in the region. Historical sites in Kilifi’s old town date back to the 14th century. These combine to make it a popular tourist destination.
Despite its peaceful, picturesque setting, however, Kilifi can be a very dangerous place. Especially for evangelism.
Just ask Michael (not his real name), a convert from Islam who has been actively sharing his faith and God’s Word in Kilifi. The town and surrounding area are mostly Muslim, and many are staunchly opposed to the introduction of Christianity—something that been expressed in the region through acts of violence against followers of Christ.
Undaunted by the strong Muslim presence and threat of persecution, Michael desired to share the Good News with the people of Kilifi. His first attempts involved reading Scripture to them in public.
“It was hard and impersonal,” he admits. “Often I got the feeling that they either didn’t believe what I said or didn’t understand. I could tell what was going on in their minds, the doubt, because I had been in their shoes before.
“I longed for the day each listener would have their own Bible to refer to as I spoke and also that they could read on their own when I was gone.”
Michael prayed and God answered, supplying NIV Bibles through a Biblica partnership with Lifewords ministry.
“I was very excited to receive the NIV Bibles from Biblica!” he says.
He soon began giving out these Bibles to small groups and leading them in studying the Word together. He would give them reading assignments when he finished. This worked wonders, he explains.
“This is because they are able to read for themselves and wrestle with the ideas. Eventually they ask me to explain things.”
His labors have clearly not been in vain, as several people in Kilifi have chosen to put their faith in Jesus.
One of these new believers reports: “Michael is a childhood friend. We used to go to mosque and madrassa together. When I heard that he had converted to Christianity, I was enraged. We met and he talked to me about Jesus. He described a Jesus who was very different from the one presented to me by Islam.
“He gave me a copy of the NIV Bible for my use. He would then send me verses via text and I would refer to my Bible.
“I was struggling with emptiness, hopelessness and disillusionment in my life. I knew I was lacking something but I did not know what. I felt like there was a big hole in my heart that needed to be filled.
“Matthew 11:28 (“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”), spoke to me. And I decided to follow Jesus.”
Michael continues to faithfully and courageously present the message of salvation in Christ to the Muslims of Kilifi, no matter the risk to his life. And as he does, the Scripture is speaking to them, filling the holes in their hearts, drawing them into relationship with the God who loves them.