Mahmoud grew up in the Middle East in a strong Muslim family. As an adult, he heard the Gospel and became a follower of Jesus. But when a key church leader in his country recommended that Mahmoud attend the Arabic International Bible Institute (AIBI), Mahmoud was not interested. In fact, he was quite sure that he did not want to go.
Sometime later, however, Mahmoud met some brothers in Christ who were dedicated to serving the church through teaching the Scriptures. He admired them and he felt a desire stirring up within him to be like them. It was enough for him to re-consider his decision.
Soon after, Mahmoud enrolled at AIBI. Once he began the courses, he saw very quickly how the teaching impacted his own life and especially the way that he handled the Scriptures. He was no longer picking and choosing verses at random, but he was learning to study passages in their context and understanding their deeper meaning. In fact, Mahmoud felt that he had often mishandled the Bible in the past.
Mahmoud’s investment in Bible study brought him much joy. His heart was engaged and his mind was stimulated. His teachers encouraged him. As he studied, God began to clarify his calling. Mahmoud sensed that the Holy Spirit was speaking to him about being involved in church planting. He specifically felt that he should move into the capital city of his home country to start a church.
Mahmoud shared this idea with his team leader. He felt that he needed help and counsel, and his leader encouraged him. After moving into the capital, Mahmoud continued his Bible courses and sought out the fellowship and prayer support of his fellow students.
“How have these courses impacted your life and ministry?” one of his AIBI teachers asked him.
Mahmoud shared openly about how the Holy Spirit was transforming his life and equipping him for ministry. Then he added, “And the church is growing!”