An Increasing Hunger: God Working in the Hearts of Muslim Women in Southeast Asia

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by Miriam Adeney

“No conversion stories before lunch. Just tell us what women are doing around the world to help their communities.”

With that caution, I was invited to speak at an all-day evangelistic picnic for Muslim women in Southeast Asia.

Sixty women sat cross-legged in a great circle. I told them about rich women, poor women, segregated women, and war-ravaged women, all Muslims collaborating together to help their own communities. After that, we brainstormed, played games, sang songs, and shared food spread out on huge banana leaves.

Finally, we rolled up the leaves. Lunch was over. Now I could speak about conversion. What would I say? When I had begun my first talk, the words had brought nods and smiles. I had opened it this way…

Greetings, my sisters.

Why do we exist?

Well, why were Adam and Eve created?

To worship God, and to take care of his earth.

That is why we too have been created.

Not for our own selfish pleasure.

We are here to worship God, and to take care of our neighborhoods and our society.

Now, as I began my second talk, I mentioned specific needs in their communities. I expressed confidence that as women they could make a difference. “But—“ I added, “we ourselves also have needs. We struggle. We sin. We become discouraged. We cry. We need encouragement. Empowering. Forgiveness.”

John 8 at work among Muslim women

Then I told them about Habiba, an Egyptian who worked hard for social justice. One day, Habiba read about Jesus’ encounter with the woman who was accused of adultery (John 8:1-11). The crowd was ready to stone her. Would Jesus agree?

When Habiba read what Jesus said instead to that vulnerable woman, she opened her heart and experienced the mercy, righteousness, and presence of God through Jesus. Today, she and her husband help their community in many ways, empowered by Jesus.

“What will sustain us in the long journey to help our communities?” I asked. “How can we bless our communities, unless first of all we fall to our knees and cry out to God until he pours his blessing on us?”

When I finished, we had a time of silent prayer. Each woman was invited to come to God in the quietness of her own heart. Following this, several women joined Bible studies.

Since then, like Habiba, several have come to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Praise God, who is doing such marvelous things in Southeast Asia and beyond, even into each of our neighborhoods!

Miriam Adeney
Miriam Adeney has provided continuity in Seattle Pacific University’s department of Global and Urban Ministry for more than three decades. She is author of six books, more than 150 articles, and has taught on five continents. Her most recent book is Kingdom without Borders: The Untold Story of Global Christianity.
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