Nacho Libre Leads Muslims to Christ
Immigrant ministry is never boring, especially when God uses interesting means.
From a Pioneers missionary working with Muslims in the US
Recently, a few of our interns were out in the city to look for spiritually receptive people in the Muslim neighborhood near us. Our goal is to see Muslims come to faith in Jesus by investing our time getting to know the Muslims in our city. The day seemed to be a bust, and they were tired. However, they decided to press on and go to dinner at an immigrant restaurant there in the area.
Just after stepping into the restaurant, they met Ali, their waiter. He was full of joy. After a bit of conversation and talk of spiritual matters, Ali leaned in with a surprise.
“I had no peace in Islam, but I found peace in Jesus.”
“I am no longer a Muslim,” he said in a low volume. “I’m a Christian. I had no peace in Islam, but I found peace in Jesus.”
God can use anything to help Muslims come to faith.
Within a few days, we gathered together for breakfast with Ali and his two sons. We wanted to hear his story of coming to faith. And as we talked, his 16-year-old son noticed the movie Nacho Libre on my teammate’s shelf. It’s a slapstick comedy about a monastery cook who moonlights as a luchador, or Mexican wrestler, to supplement the funds used to feed the orphans in their care.
Ali and his sons were spiritually inspired by the movie, despite its silliness. They say that the movie was their first exposure to Jesus. In it they saw a Christian caring for orphans, and that raised questions in their hearts about a God who cares for the marginalized and downtrodden. And God had prepared their hearts to hear a message of His love before seeing Nacho Libre.
Now we are meeting with Ali regularly to disciple him in his new faith. He has yet to be baptized, and we were the first believers to share communion with him. So, we are working to build a foundation in him of what Christian life is like and casting the vision for sharing what he learns with his family and friends who are far from God.
Though Ali is still a baby believer, his love for Jesus is so real. He can’t wait to be with Jesus and give him a big, long hug. We shared tears together while talking about how Jesus’ love transforms us.
How to pray for Ali and other Muslims who come to faith
Though his love for Jesus is real, Ali has a lot of fear about sharing his faith with other Muslims. Some of the fear stems from past trauma in his life. Would you pray with us for Ali? Ask God to grow his boldness to share the peace and love he found in Jesus. Though he is struggling with fear, he has been sharing scriptures with his mother in South Asia.
Ali is also busy working to support himself and his sons. But God answered our prayers by helping him find work that pays a fair wage and is legitimate. It also frees up more time so we can meet with him. Will you pray that he will know how to make time? And pray that we will have wisdom about how to encourage him to meet with us while also having compassion on him in concerning the circumstances of his life.
Why we are so excited about meeting with Muslims who come to faith
Nearly every movement of unreached people coming to faith in Jesus is led by cultural insiders. That means they know, understand and participate in cultural practices, speak the language and have influence and reputation among a group of people. Cultural outsiders like ourselves are merely catalysts who can coach a cultural insider from the outside.
We believe leadership and multiplication happen from within. Ali is a Christian insider from a Muslim background. He speaks the language, knows the culture and has intimate relationships with other Muslims from his own country and people group here in the US.
Is God leading you to ministry to Muslims or immigrants?
Read more about Pioneers missionaries working with immigrants:
Stories from the pursuit
Photo Essay – Remembering What God Has Done
Turning points from our 40 years: “We continually reminded ourselves that God didn’t say, ‘Go into all the world where you can get a missionary visa.’ He just said, ‘Go into all the world.’”
Seeking God on the Edge of the Sahara
“There is no easy way for people to follow Jesus here.” Pray for more to seek God, and for those already seeking God to not lose heart.
Opportunity: Learn about Muslims and Islam
Is God calling you to serve in the Muslim world or among Muslims close to home? Go prepared.