Tuesday, February 1, 2011

‘Which None Can Shut: Remarkable True Stories of God’s Miraculous Work in the Muslim World’ by Reema Goode – Book Review

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As I’ve mentioned several times here, our church is involved in an outreach campaign here in Metro Detroit this year called E.A.C.H. – Everyone A Chance to Hear,  to bring the Gospel of Jesus Christ to every person in this region. Being that Metro Detroit has the largest Muslim population outside of the Middle East, it is important to understand the Muslim mindset so that we can make a connection with them. I have read many books about Islam and its members. The latest is ‘Which None Can Shut: Remarkable True Stories of God’s Miraculous Work in the Muslim World’ by Reema Goode.

Here is the synopsis of this interesting book:

“See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it.” Revelation 3:8.
Imagine a place where becoming a Christian is a punishable crime – and your own family exacts the punishment. Where those who spread the Gospel among locals are deported if discovered. Where converts to Christianity faces persecution, isolation, or even death as the price for their faith.
“Reema Goode” and her family are Christians working in a closed Middle Eastern country where all of these things are true. Yet they are also firsthand witnesses of a whole new trend that is taking shape in missions to Muslims. Despite all obstacles, God is opening miraculous doors in the Islamic world, where an unprecedented number of Muslims are becoming followers of Jesus.
In this powerful collection of personal stories, Reema takes us deep inside her Arab neighborhood to show how God is opening doors in just one of many Islamic communities. As she walks us through everyday life in a Muslim town, she reveals the diverse, creative, unexpected, and thrilling way God is reaching her neighbors with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
This encouraging, uplifting, and even humorous firsthand account of a Christian family living among Muslims will inspire in your own walk of faith, teach you how to pray for Muslims and those who minister to them, and encourage you with the knowledge that God’s loving Light is penetrating the darkness.

Here is Mrs. Goode sharing a story about how Christ is meeting Muslims right where they are. According to the ‘Which None Can Shut’ Facebook page: ‘The videos of Reema Goode on the Internet were produced using voice-alteration techniques and, yes, it does kind of make her sound like a man. Her voice was disguised in order to keep her from being recognized. If Reema's real identity were known, then her location could be investigated. If her location were discovered then she, her family, and their neighborhood could be at risk:’

Here is an excerpt from the Oasis Audio version of this book:

The Foreword is written by Brother Andrew, a Christian missionary famous for his exploits smuggling Bibles to communist countries in the height of the Cold War, a feat that has earned him the nickname "God's smuggler." He writes about reaching out to the Muslim community:

Maybe we heard God’s call but did not go…did not tell, did not share, did not care.
Maybe we thought it was too dangerous. But not caring and sharing is far more dangerous!
Yes, each person has a story; in fact, this book is full of them. What these stories from the Arabian Peninsula tell us is what happens when they meet the love of Jesus.
And that is why I look forward to a hundred more books like this one.
It’s not just their story; it’s “His” story. (p. ix)

In the first chapter, entitled ‘The Story Behind the Storyteller,’ Reema (which is a pseudonym) shares her heart for missions shortly after she became a Christian:

Tuning in to the radio one day, she heard a program that seemed to give her the answer. It was Moody Bible Institute’s Stories of Great Christians, the dramatized testimonies of famous missionaries. Hearing how believers had left the comfort of home to bring the Gospel to the end of the earth made Reema wonder: Had all the Christians already gone to other countries where the message of the Bible was unknown, unavailable, or even banned? Her humorous naiveté served to draw her on to more serious thoughts.
The revelation that there were still places in the world where people could live their entire lives and die without having her heard the Gospel caused Reema to ask herself a question. With what she now knew, how could she stay in America, where there were Bibles in every bookstore and complete freedom to choose Christ? And so, although she finally did find other followers of Christ and became an active part of a church fellowship, Reema was now committed to going to an unevangelized field someday. It turned out she wouldn’t be going alone. (pp. xiv-xv)

God brought to her a man with the same worldview:

Reema met Mike in a cafeteria. She happened to get in line next to him, and then he followed her to her seat and wouldn’t go away. She was actually a little miffed, assuming that this obviously older man, who was also tall and handsome, must be married. It soon became clear he was not. He was a single Christian man who had committed himself to serving God on an evangelized field, and he was looking for a like-minded wife to God with him. There were married without the year. (p.xv)

They followed the Lord’s leading:

After three years of establishing a church support base to stand behind them, Mike and Reema arrived on the Arabian Peninsula. They, along with their two children, Tim and Lydia, are still there. (p. xvi)

In the Preface, Reema shares why she wrote this book:

We’d like to shift the vantage point, focusing the reader’s lens from a distant “aerial view” of the Muslim World at large to “zoom in” on how God has actually been working in the practical, everyday life of just one of many Islamic communities over the past several years. Instead of sharing statistics about how Muslims are coming to Christ, we want to walk you through the local scenery where we live through stories, and let you see for yourself the incredibly creative, diverse, unexpected, and thrilling ways in which God is reaching our neighbors with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. His Word is spreading, and His Spirit is confirming the Truth to their hearts in very real ways. (p. xix)

This book is full of amazing stories of how God is moving in the Muslim World. One of these instances is when Reema explains to one of her acquaintances how Jesus is the Lamb sent to save us:

“God said that Abraham’s son had to die, just like He says sinners have to die. God stopped the son’s death and sent a ram from Heaven to take his place, just as He stops our death by sending a Substitute from Heaven to take our place. Dear Noora, don’t you see? That’s why Jesus is called the Lamb…the ‘Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.’ He is the ram sent down from Heaven to die for us! Jesus sacrificed Himself to fulfill our death sentence. All who believe and confess Him are forgiven, and allowed into Heaven with God forever!”
I could hardly contain myself. Just telling the Gospel through the vivid imagery of that story was a thrill in itself. But there was more to rejoice about. There were tears emerging from Noora’s beautiful, dark eyes and lodging in her lashes. She understood. I think it was the first time she had really understood. (p. 51)

One phenomenon that I have heard about for years is how Jesus is revealing Himself to Muslim adherents through dreams. Reema and her husband, Mike, heard firsthand about one of those dreams from the building attendant in their apartment building:

“Well, one night I was sleeping,” the young man began. “I was sleeping but I heard someone calling my name. Ibrahim. Ibrahim. So I sat up and looked, and there at the foot of my bed was this…this man. But he was like nothing I’ve ever seen before. He wasn’t standing on the ground; he was somehow above it. And he was wearing brilliant clothes of amazing whiteness, with a band of shining gold around his waist and across his chest. His hair and beard were dazzling white-gold. And there was light…coming from his face...” (p. 134)

Reema and her husband, Mike, pointed Ibrahim to Revelation 1:12-18, and he came to the realization that Jesus appeared to him that night. The following happened:

In the next moment, Ibrahim became a child of God through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
He was radiant. The glory filling his newly cleansed heart shone through his face. I couldn’t help but ask how he felt. Smiling broadly, glowing with new life and freedom, he said, “The fear is gone! I’m not afraid anymore. Now if they kill me,” he pointed upward, “I know where I’ll go!” (p. 138)

Jesus is really moving in the Muslim world, and it is amazing!    

Mrs. Goode provides information on several websites that will provide more information on Islam:

English language sites for Christians:

·         www.pray-ap.info – praying through the Arabic Peninsula
·         www.morethandreams.org – personal stories of believers from Muslim backgrounds
·         www.answering-islam.org – FAQs answered
·         www.engagingislam.org – information on training seminars for evangelism and discipleship

Arabic sites for interested Muslims and believers from Muslim backgrounds:

·         www.arabicbible.com - contains Arabic Bibles in different formats
·         www.dreamsandvisions.com - shares personal stories of believers from Muslim backgrounds
·         www.islameyat.com – Arabic audio and video teaching; Daring Questions program)         

As noted, I have read several books (and watched one DVD) of late with a Muslim theme: ‘The Topkapi Secret’ (you can read my review here), ‘Little Town of Bethlehem’ DVD (you can read my review here),  and ‘The Twelfth Imam’ by Joel C. Rosenberg (you can read my review here). This book was different in that it showed how Jesus is reaching people right where there are – no matter where they are! I appreciate Mrs. Goode sharing these stories with us. It is incredible and inspirational, and it comes with my highest recommendation.

You can order this book here.

This book was published by Tyndale House and provided by them for review purposes.

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