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Abdul gave his life to Christ during a TPJ session in 2014 (His name, location and personal details have been changed or obscured to protect his identity).
The Prisoner’s Journey (TPJ) is one of our special programmes for inmates. To read more about it, click here.
Here’s an interview our TPJ team had with him…
TPJ team: What was life like before you accepted Christ?
Abdul: I was a Koranic teacher in Prison, prior to my incarceration; I had completed Koranic studies twice. While in prison, I was one of the Koranic instructors of new Muslims inmates. We were generally invited by Prison Fellowship to attend a new program called “The Prisoners Journey (TPJ)”. The Catalytic event made me to enroll for the TPJ.
TPJ team: What were your opinions and feelings about Christianity before you accepted Christ?
Abdul: My opinion and feeling about Christianity was that it was a false religion. I often mock Christians whenever they talk about Jesus Christ because in the Koran He was presented differently; likewise, I see them as people that are lost and need help in order to be shown the right way to worship Allah.
TPJ team: You mentioned you attended The Prisoner’s Journey program reluctantly… Why did you join and why did you keep coming back?
Abdul: I joined the TPJ basically because it was a general call and due to curiosity, I purposely wanted to observe what they have to offer.
In the first TPJ lesson, that focused on topics such as: Who is Jesus? Why did he come? So what? And the video clip that was shown.
I discovered something unique about the person of Jesus Christ; which challenged my initial views about Him. It also pointed to the fact that my understanding could be wrong and I needed urgent help. (The facilitators noticed Abdul’s tensed resistance and inner struggles. These made them pay attention to his questions and contributions).
TPJ team: What has learning about Jesus’ life taught you?
Abdul: I learnt so much about Jesus’ life from the gospel of Mark which the TPJ program was centered on; such as: Jesus is truly God; His love for the lost; compassion for the weak, poor, needy, sick, and humanity.
Snatched from the gates of hell; translated to the gates of heaven.
TPJ team: Since becoming a Christian, what has been your biggest challenge?
Abdul: As a new Christian in prison, my biggest challenge has been severe persecution from my former Muslim brothers, because I had disappointed them as one of the Koranic teachers. In the same vein, my uncle’s reaction about my conversion was rejection. My mother never visited me in the prison, when she heard that I have become a Christian she wept bitterly.
Another challenge I have been facing is with some of my Christian brothers (inmates), who often tease me; saying that I am a fake Christian.
Note: Though some prisoners expressed their doubts about his salvation, our findings revealed that he is an authentic believer in Christ. As a matter of fact, upon Abdul’s TPJ graduation, he voluntarily joined the follow-up class as well as the discipleship training. He has been an active bible study participant since August 2014 till date.
TPJ team: How is your life different now, than before you were a Christian? How are you living out your Christian values?
Abdul: When I was a Muslim, I do have sleepless nights because I often heard invisible people crying in my ears. I had always been pushed to commit crimes by unseen forces. Whenever I do so especially to non-Muslims, I feel happy.
I did not believe in forgiveness when someone hurts me. However, when I received Christ as my personal Savior and Lord, I began to experience a quiet, gradual and steady change in my heart, mind, and behaviors; such as inner peace, sound sleep at night, forgiving those that offend me and discontinued hurting and committing crime against people.
I became very enthusiastic to attend discipleship class, other church programs, and a deep desire to share the message of Jesus Christ with other people.
TPJ team: What are your hopes and plans for life ahead?
Abdul: My hope in life is that I am assured of eternal life in Christ Jesus and also to know God intimately.
My plans in the prisons are to live a sanctified life, to separate myself from other inmates with negative influence, and to witness to other inmates.
My plans after serving my jail term are to be courageous in sharing the gospel of Christ with my family members; though this may not be easy as they resent my conversion to Christianity and may persecute me, I will not renounce my faith in Christ.
I plan to continue with my handwork through sourcing for resources and work in order to rebuild my life again. However, if not accepted at home, I may need to seek for an alternative accommodation.
Note: This is the life testimony of Abdul’s TPJ experience in one of the prisons in Nigeria.