Finding Jesus in Tanzania

Rafik is a Ministry Coach in our MCNetwork in Canada. He also serves on the board of ICM Canada and has an encouraging testimony. Here is a portion of it in his own words:

I was born in Tanzania  into the Shiite Muslim religion called the Dawoodi Bohora. This Shiite sect originates from Yeman in the 10th century with headquarters now in India. I was trained in the Koran in a madrasa from an early age and by the age of 16 had developed a deep thirst to know God personally. I began to search in my own religion, becoming more pious and zealous, seeking to please Allah through prayers, good works and fasting. 

Yet a personal relationship with God remained elusive. At the time I wrote in my diary, “Where are you God?” This led me to develop severe anxiety and fears, to the extent that I could not even go out socially and connect with friends. I  then began searching for peace through TM (Transcendental Meditation), Yoga and began dabbling in the occult practise of palmistry and astrology. But nothing satisfied my soul.

In 1978 I was selected by the government to study clinical medicine, but due to my mental state could not study. I was even sent for psychiatric treatment, which resulting in becoming addicted to tranquilizers. Two years later, while still studying at the school, my professor (who was also the doctor treating me) asked to buy me a Coca Cola and opened up Acts 9 and began telling me the story of a certain Saul of Tarsus.

We came to the passage in Acts 9:3-5, where Saul heard the voice of the Lord saying, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” As I read “I am Jesus,” I prayed in my heart, “God is there any truth in this Jesus?” At that very moment a miracle happened that is hard to explain.  I developed a powerful attraction towards this name of Jesus and the Bible. I asked the doctor how I could become a Christian. Over the next days he shared many things with me that at the time I did not fully understand, but I did know that I had encountered Jesus while reading the Bible and God had touched my heart.

So I began reading more and more of the Scriptures and strength, peace and joy filled my heart and my life began to change. A short time later I was also miraculously healed from drug dependency and set free from demons.

My life had been so changed, I felt compelled to began preaching on the streets and sharing my testimony in churches  and various schools. Then in 1983 I held my first open air Gospel meetings and this launched my ministry throughout cities in Tanzania and Kenya. It was at one of these open air meetings that my wife, Safia found the Lord. We had met as children and had been married at a young age. Since that time she gave her life to the Lord we have been serving him together.  In 1991, after graduating from Bible School and seminary, I served as a missions pastor and continued to teach, preach in bible schools and colleges. It was this that led me to do some teaching at ICM’s in-service pastoral training in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. In 1996 I felt impressed to plant a church amongst the unreached East Indian population in the city of Dar es Salaam. I  pastored this church for several years and trained several leaders from the church who in turn planted other churches in Dar and as far away as the UK.

But Rafik’s story was about to take another turn that would connect him to what God is doing in Canada. In 2006 he and his wife Safia, felt led of the Lord to move to Canada, so together with their family of six they began the immigration process.  He landed on the west coast of Canada in BC and by 2010 was serving as an associate pastor in a local church. It was also during this time that he joined our ICM Canada team as a board member. He has taught evangelism and church planting at a local Bible school, helped with several church plants, and is currently a chaplain with the Salvation Army in downtown Vancouver, where he works with the homeless , addicts and refugees.

Those of us with the privilege to know Rafik and Safia personally can attest to their passion to share the love of Jesus with others and see lives transformed. We are glad to have them as part of our Ministry Coaching Network (MCNet) as they continue to touch many lives.

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