“My name is Mariam Fanneh. I am looking for a Bible-believing church. Where is the pastor?”
At first, I hesitate to answer, thinking she is a jihadist or a suicide bomber. Her appearance looks like a Wahhabi Muslim, with her head all covered. A Wahhabi Muslim is an Islamic fundamentalist and extremist that strictly follows the Koran and the hadiths of their prophet.
I responded with a question as Jesus did when the chief priest and elders in the temple questioned Him (Matthew 21:23-27). “Are you a Christian?”
“Yes,” she said.
I was very hospitable, inviting her to sit and giving her a glass of water to quench her thirst. Then I started raining questions on her.
“Who showed you the church? How did you become a Christian? Are you an Adventist?”
“My husband was seriously sick. I took him to various hospitals in Mali. The doctors could not determine his illness. Someone advised me to take my husband to the Christians; they would pray for my husband to get well. I took him to a Sunday church. The pastor prayed for my husband, who was recovering. One year later, my husband died. I relocated to another city and asked my elder brother, a Muslim, to show me where I could find a Bible-believing church. I followed the direction of my brother. The pastor was so hospitable. He introduced himself and told me about the church. He said they were Seventh-day Adventists and worshiped on Saturday, the Sabbath. After a long conversation, the pastor showed me other Sunday churches around town and then took me home. As he was leaving, he said, ‘I encourage you to revisit us.’”
The Friday before Sabbath, I wanted to visit Mariam and encourage her to attend church on Sabbath. Something distracted me, and I did not visit her. On Sabbath, I saw her in church. I give praise to God. Since then, she has been frequenting the Adventist church. Mariam received a warm welcome from the women, who asked her to join them in their prayer group.
Sister Mariam has four children, three boys and one girl. She wants them to stay with her and practice the Adventist faith. Her eldest son is with her former pastor of the Sunday church. One day she went to visit her son. The pastor of the Sunday church asked, “What church are you attending?”
“The Adventist church,” Mariam replied.
The pastor screamed, “You should leave that church!”
“No. Since I began frequenting the Adventist church, the teaching has been good, and they are using the same Bible as yours. Why are you telling me to leave the church?” Her former pastor did not give any reason.
When Mariam recounted the situation to me, I asked, “What do you think?”
“Pastor, I am not leaving the Adventist church. I am learning a lot. I understand the Bible more than ever, and I want baptism.”
Join us as we pray for Mariam and her children.