Lutz Campus

18333 Exciting Idlewild Blvd.
Lutz, FL 33548

Idlewild at The Springs

8209 N 19th St
Tampa, FL 33604

Iglesia Bautista Idlewild

Main Campus, Student Building, Hall 2

Not So Different

Not So Different

“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” (Gen. 1:27)

It was the third time I had received a call on my cell phone from a number I did not recognize or have in my cell phone directory. That  evening I received another call from the same number but this time it was on my home phone. Most times I  let it roll to voice mail but this time I decided to pick up the phone. And I am glad I did because it was Mamadou (no danger to him, this is a very common name, it is like saying I received a call from John), a young Muslim English teacher I met on a mission trip to Mali two years before.

I was surprised by his call, but glad to hear his voice. He just wanted to say “Hi!” He was thinking of you and wanted to share what was going on in his life.

When I met Mamadou two years ago, we connected right away; the fact  he spoke English was a plus! One night I shared the Gospel with him. He was receptive to the message and had many questions. After a long conversation I said to him, “You say you find this story (The Gospel) very credible and that it makes sense to you.” Tell me then, “Would you like to walk the Jesus way tonight?” He replied, “Yes it makes sense to me, but no, I cannot walk the Jesus way tonight!” I asked him, “Why not?” He replied, “Because if I walk the Jesus way, my parents, who are radical Muslims, will persecute me and ask me to leave the house; they will physically hurt me.”

Mamadou did not choose to walk the “Jesus Way” that night, even after a long explanation regarding the eternal consequences of his choice. But I continue to pray for him and remember him often. I  recall a previous phone conversation I had with him a year ago. This day I called him. We spoke about many things, but I remember one of the things he wanted me to pray for was for him to find a wife. Being a 30 year old Muslim without a wife was not viewed favorably among his friends and family. I told him I would pray for him and ask God to send him a wife. I also told him  he would have a chance to meet my wife when the next mission team arrived in January.

I vividly remember this phone conversation because it makes me smile when I think of it. When the mission team arrived one month later in Mali, Mamadou came to the compound one night  and someone introduced him to Lourdes, my wife. He immediately Mamadou asked with a smile on his face, “Are you the wife Pastor Ray sent me?” I would have loved to have seen the expression on Lourdes’ and the teams’ faces that night! Mamadou had misunderstood thinking I was sending him a wife rather than my wife was going on the trip to Mali. We laugh every time we talk about that incident.

As the tenth anniversary of 9/11 approaches I reflect on Mamadou and his struggles with finding a wife, getting a higher paying  teaching position, not having a car to travel to work, and many of the same kinds of struggles we in America experience. I am reminded that not all Muslims are terrorist and not every Muslim hates Americans. I am reminded that God also made Muslims in His image.  And we are to reflect back to them what the “Image of God” really looks like. What it looks like when we are reconciled with our Creator and have the hope of eternal life. We have the obligation, no, we have the privilege of showing them the way to “true life”.

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. -John 14:6

On 9/11, remember the 4.5 billion Muslims who live in the “1040” window (visit for more info). If you don’t have a Muslim friend, remember Mamadou and pray for him. Pray that someday he will have the courage to “walk the Jesus way.” Oh, and that he may find a wife!

Make this your prayer verse on 9/11:

“I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.” -John 17:1

Ray Sanabria

Want to meet some friendly Muslims who are willing to listen to the stories of the Bible? Those who are interested in learning about your “Story?”

Join us on one of our mission trips to Mali in 2012. Visit our 2012 Mission trip calendar on this blog or e-mail for more information.