Her name is Laleh.* Her tribal group numbers less than a million people and is 100 percent Muslim. This nomadic people lives in an area of the world fraught with constant conflict and danger. Their mother tongue has no written form, and there is no Christian witness in their midst. Marriages are arranged, and, like Laleh had been, many girls are wed around age 12.
But God brought Laleh out of her country to the United States, to a community where there is a church made up of believers from her home region in the Middle East. And, a few months ago, He led her to visit this fellowship. She’d never been in a church, and when a Christar worker serving there shared the gospel, it was the first time she fully understood the truth and hope of Jesus Christ.
Within weeks, Laleh put her faith in Him and began attending the church regularly. Just last month, she publicly professed her faith through baptism. She has also brought her dad, mom, sister and daughter to the church, and by God’s grace they too will comprehend and embrace the good news.
In this season of celebration of the birth of our Savior, I often think of Laleh. This Christmas will be the first time she joins believers around the globe as we accept the ancient invitation to “come let us adore Him.” It will be the first time she experiences the wonder of our God who “became flesh and dwelt among us” and is filled with the joy of remembering the birth of Jesus, who “came to free us from our sins.”
There are many miracles in Laleh’s story, numerous moments when God, in His goodness, directed her to the right place at the right time. He also brought her to the right people. Years before, He’d given the pastor of the church Lelah visited a heart for her people group. This pastor, who also came from the Middle East, had long been praying for Laleh’s people and had asked God for an opportunity to share the gospel with them when he was in their homeland. The Lord didn’t open that door in the Middle East, but instead paved the way to answer his request thousands of miles away. You can image the pastor’s joy and wonder as he was able to see Laleh find true hope in Christ and convey the good news to her family.
This pastor invites us to continue praying for him as he disciples Laleh and others like her. We also join him in praising the Lord for bringing the least-reached to places where they can hear and respond to the gospel. Yes, we pray for the millions around the world who are still unreached with this hope. But God has reached Laleh—and you and me—with His grace. Together we respond, “Glory to God in the Highest!”
Enjoying the Treasure,
Dr. Steve Coffey, Director of Christar U.S., began work with Christar in 1989. He and his wife, Beth, initially served among North African immigrants in France. In 2001, they returned to the U.S. for Steve to lead the Christar Church Planting Division. In 2005 he became Director of Christar. Before serving with Christar, the Coffeys worked for a year in a humanitarian project in the Red Sea hills of Sudan among the Beja people. Dr. Coffey’s education includes an undergraduate degree in history education from Liberty University, a Master of Divinity from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary and a Doctor of Strategic Leadership from Regent University. The Coffeys have three children and four grandchildren.