Gone For Good

By Merla Gogel

“I’ve lost it all,” David thought when he realized he was studying the Bible. As a Muslim, David immediately believed that he would not be granted entrance into heaven – it was gone for good! 

David was a teen when, along with his family, he fled to Pakistan. Soon after arriving, his father insisted that David study English. David met an American who was willing to teach him, but his teacher never told him that their textbook was a Bible.

When David came to understand what he was studying, he felt betrayed. Furious, he set out to find his teacher’s house with the intent of hurting him because he know that he had lost any chance of entering heaven! When he finally found it, he called his teacher terrible names and stormed off.

Later, after David had time to reflect, he decided that since he had already lost so much, he might as well learn more about the Bible.

David returned to his teacher’s home and requested that they study together again.  With a different perspective, David began to understand the God of the Bible’s unfailing love and the need for a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. However what really attracted David to Jesus was how believers loved each other and those around them. Previously, David had only seen fighting and bickering, but the love of those who followed Christ and their compassion for refugee families had a great impact.

David was baptized in 1985 along with his brother. While his mother wished that her sons had not become followers of Christ and feared that they would now go to hell, she did not oppose their decision.  David did not experience any persecution from his family because his parents were very open people who even welcomed Christians into their home.

On the Move Again

In 1986, David and his family had to leave Pakistan. They moved to Germany, where his dad said that they would be honest with the government about their situation, they had lied enough.  The German police hired a translator to interview the family, and it was soon discovered that this translator was a former student of David’s father.  This made the immigration process easier; it was evident that God was going before David and his family.

After a couple of weeks in Germany, David worked up the courage to go to church, though he felt out of place because he didn’t have the proper clothes. Eventually he settled in a Mennonite Brethren Church. It was a quiet church, with no clapping and laughing — very different from what David was used to.  However in this church he learned to pray and grew in his walk with God. 

A New Job in a New Land

One day some people approached David about getting involved in Afghan ministry, though it meant yet another move, this time to Canada. David agreed and in 1992 he joined a Christian mission agency to begin recording radio broadcasts. His first broadcast was to the Republic of Seychelles; since then David has produced thousands of programs that have been broadcast to many countries. As David’s ministry expanded, he started a magazine and had the opportunity to meet more Afghan and Persian believers.

Packing Once More

Today David has a two-pronged ministry: One is in media, overseeing the radio program and translating the Bible into Dari and Pashto. The second involved yet another move.

About a year ago, David and his wife, Marie, transitioned to the United States to minister to Muslim refugees.

These refugees have deep wounds and are grieving their losses. They need someone who will wipe their tears and hold their hands, so hours are spent listening to them. David and Marie genuinely care for and love their refugee friends, and treat them with dignity and sincerity.  David believes that it is not their job to convert the refugees, just share the love of Jesus through their actions, allowing the Holy Spirit to do his work. 

David would like to see the church in North America more involved in reaching out to Muslims and encourages believers not to focus on evangelism but on making friendships. He cautions: Don’t make people a project! Build genuine friendships so the friendships can stand under the weight of the truth of the gospel when it is shared.

While there are many joys, ministry is not without its challenges. It is difficult for the refugees to adapt to their new life in America. Also, to see people’s hearts change so that Jesus is at the center of their lives takes time. In spite of all of this, working with the refugees is the most rewarding ministry David has ever had.

Years ago when David discovered he was studying the Bible, he thought his life was over, that he had lost everything.  He has since discovered, through his relationship with Jesus Christ, that he has actually gained everything!  A personal relationship with the true living God, who called him to serve Muslims around the world and to be a part of impacting their lives for eternity!  There is no greater joy than following and serving Jesus!

David and Marie are looking for people, young and more mature in years, to join them in their demanding ministry.  Look for various opportunities to minister to refugees and serve alongside David and his wife.  

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