It is 10 am on the day of Aid el Adha (Feast of the Sacrifice) in North Africa. I am currently listening to the sound of a sheep as it dies. The sound comes from the throat that was slit. Much of the blood has already been drained but the lungs are still trying to breath. I can hear the stuttered sound as I type. It just stopped.
For the last three days our neighborhood has been alive with the bleating of sheep. The kids haven’t slept will the last couple nights because it was so loud. But the sound is now gone. At sunrise the call came from the mawazeen (man who calls on the faithful Muslims to prayer) came from the loudspeaker of our neighborhood Mosque just a block away for the sacrifice to begin. The chanting over the loudspeaker continued for over an hour as blood was shed by the head of each family.
The men are be doing the muscle work right now of stripping the skin off of the sheep starting around its neck. Many will blow the sheep up with air from a bicycle pump to make this job easier. The first meal of the day for each family will be the innards. Liver, heart, intestines, pancreas, and even the fat that surrounds the intestines will be eat on a skewer by each family. The women are working to clean all that their men bring them in large tubs in the sinks before cooking over the coals. Later tonight the meal will be the head with the brain since it must be eaten during the first day. Young men will start preparing large fires in drums in the streets. They will charge a few cents around noon time to char the heads. The smell of burning wool from those fires will begin to rise a little after lunch.
Tomorrow the meat will be eaten starting with the legs. The body will be hung somewhere in the house while it is eaten bit by bit over the next week. Blood stains will be left on the steps leading up to every apartment from this slaughter for months to come.
I estimate that 5 to 6 million sheep were both this week and sacrificed just in our country over the past hour. How many more millions throughout the Muslim world where they have never heard that Christ is their sacrifice once for all time for all men? But some have heard.
Rachid in the south wrote me yesterday. He had a big fight with his dad because he did not buy a sheep to sacrifice to cover the sins of his wife and kids. He has three strapping young boys from 3 to 8 years old. He was one of the first Muslims we saw get saved here during our second year in the country. He lives in a city of over a million people with an estimated 50 Christians in total. He wrote me again this morning and said: “Hello brother. I do not have any reason to fear anymore now that the Lord Jesus is with me at every step. Your prayers help me. I am truly so happy because my wife is very interested and she wants to know everything about Jesus Christ. I am so thankful. Thank you for everything brother.”
My brother in the north called me last night with the happy news that his doorman has expressed faith in Christ and wants to be baptized this Sunday along with another new believer! His doorman told the pastor that years ago his dad watched the Jesus Film and has ever since loved Jesus. God brought my friend along to complete this man’s understand unto salvation, no doubt.
God is working in the Muslim world! But there are still millions in this city and every other city in Muslim North Africa who have never met a Christian. I meet people day after day and I always ask them, “Have you ever met a Christian?” “No. Never.” is always their response. “Have you ever seen a Bible?” “No. I’ve heard of it.” is what follows.
Pray today for the Muslim world. If you think God might be pushing you to the foreign mission field by the moving of the Spirit in his heart would you consider moving to one of the 51 countries in the world that are more than 50% Muslim? Would you come for a summer internship to share Christ with Muslim University students in North Africa?
Would you consider coming to The Kanisa Conference in Alpharetta, GA this coming March? Kanisa means church in Arabic. We are going to gather with as many as are serious about planting churches in the Muslim world to pray and learn. (email me for details)