A Miracle in the Islamic Market - Testimony from Downtown Minneapolis

Rows of brightly colored fabric, glimmering cookware, and steaming chai overwhelmed my senses as I stepped through the narrow corridor. Women’s faces broke into smiles of curiousity beneath their hijabs. You’d expect to witness this scene in Egypt, Turkey, or Lebanon.  Yet here it was –a fascinating world literally katty-corner to my apartment in Minneapolis! 

After living overseas, I found this East African market strangely similar to the culture I’d left in India - hospitable, friendly, family-oriented. I strolled along, meeting shopkeepers and chatting. With every trip to the market, God birthed a deeper love for my Muslim friends - refugees & immigrants from an unreached nation where 99.9% of the population follows Islam. Most citizens there have not once heard the Gospel or encountered a true believer. Now God has brought them here - to our doorstep. And not by accident, I’m sure. 

One of the shopkeepers (we’ll call her Fahira) and I began to develop a sweet friendship. We’d laugh and exchange stories about family, work, and the ridiculously frigid Minnesotan winters. One day, Fahira’s usual smile was strained, her posture tense. “How are you today?” I asked, “And how is your family?”.  

Fahira then divulged a horrifying story which had left her restless & unable to eat for days.  Several of Fahira’s family members had been unjustly& violently imprisoned that week in East Africa. There is a long history of political turmoil, tribal wars, and prejudice between two neighboring countries there. Fahira’s brother and uncle were caught in the crossfires of yet another conflict. She had no confirmation of their safety and no way to intervene. One of her brothers was later killed while in prison. As we stood together that day, the sorrow and anger on her face was unmistakeable.  

I longed to offer some comfort but felt powerless in my feeble understanding.

My heart broke as I saw the turmoil in her eyes. I longed to offer some comfort but felt powerless in my feeble understanding. I knew that the only hope for these men was through the power of Christ! I tried to assure Fahira of God’s great love for her and her family, and asked if I could pray with her for their release. So we held hands tightly, right there in the market, as I prayed. In the next three weeks, my roommates and I dropped by Fahira’s shop to ask about her family and encourage her. After the third week, Fahira had news to share. Not one, but all eight of her remaining family members and friends had been released! I was ecstatic! 

“We prayed for that Fahira! Remember? We prayed, and God answered!” I exclaimed, nearly shouting in my excitement. I could not stop smiling as I left the market! God is good, oh so good. Now, nearly every time we enter Fahira’s store, she shares the story with whichever customer or friend happens to be present. She has also “adopted” my roommate and I - lovingly referring to us as daughters and herself as “Mamma” Fahira. Fahira has experienced a tiny taste of the depths of Christ’s infinite love and power. But even a taste leaves us hungry for more. We were created to know Him, and nothing else will truly satisfy.   

Jesus said in Luke 14: 18 ““The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free”. May all the unreached peoples of the world experience true freedom and hope in Christ! 

Justin Skinner