On a warm spring day in Houston, *John Harper shelters inside from the Texas heat. Children laugh and chase each other in his apartment complex’s courtyard. Women hang vibrant colored fabrics to dry as they watch their little ones climb and giggle on the nearby playground.
It might seem like a typical apartment community, but it’s unique. Harper, born and raised in America, is the minority. Most tenants are Muslims from South and Central Asia, and a meat butcher, grocery store, restaurant, and mosque for this Muslim community are a short walk away.
John intentionally lives in this complex to build relationships and share the gospel of Jesus Christ with the hope of starting a Bible study or house church with his unreached neighbors.
Harper, a single man in his early 40’s, plans to serve in a South Asian Muslim country. He realized Houston has more folks from his unreached people group than the rural Southern town he lived in before.
Harper met Global Gates’ Texas Hub Leader Kevin Greeson soon after he moved to Houston last July. Greeson, who is the author of “The Camel: How Muslims Are Coming to Faith in Christ!,” invited him to join Global Gates’ Pathways Texas Internship. He accepted the invitation a few days later.
The training Harper has received the last nine months has helped in a variety of ways. For example, he now understands how to engage his Muslim neighbors in spiritual conversations and get to the gospel with them.
His strategy for ministry to the unreached peoples around him is to show a genuine desire to know, love, and serve them. An evangelistic tool that has been effective in his conversations with Muslims is “The Korbani Plan of Salvation.”
Korbani is the Islamic word for sacrifice. This model takes Muslims through stories such as Adam and Hawa (Eve) in the Garden of Eden when God killed an animal to cover their sin and shame. It also goes through the story of when God provided a ram in place of Ibrahim’s (Abraham) son as the sacrifice. These stories point to Jesus, who is the perfect and final sacrifice.
This resource enables Muslims to piece the puzzle together and helps them see why they need Christ.
The Holy Spirit has also used this season to teach Harper to patiently love the Muslims he labors to reach as God has patiently loved him.
This internship has matured Harper as he prepares to serve overseas. Receiving mentorship from veteran practitioners has been an invaluable experience.
“Pathways, I love these guys,” Harper said. “They love doing God’s work and teaching other people to do God’s work. Houston is a great opportunity for people who feel called to go overseas to get experience with their people group. It’s going to ease the burden of culture shock before heading overseas. It’s a launching platform.”
“It’s a good place, even if someone doesn’t feel called overseas, to come where all these people groups are.”
Harper added Houston can open people’s eyes to see how some parts of the world are in desperate need of the gospel.
Pathways Texas gave Harper the tools to be gospel light in his Houston apartment complex and South Asian soil.
*Intern’s name changed to John Harper for security reasons.
– Ben Doster, Global Gates Director of Communications, email@example.com