Nearly every night Mahmoud’s father would get drunk. Often, he would hit Mahmoud’s mother, sometimes hitting her until she collapsed on the floor. Mahmoud’s father’s was an angry and bitter man. All of his family and many of his friends had been killed by Islamic extremists, and he had been forced to flee his homeland and move to an impoverished area of a neighboring country.
Mahmoud hated his father and longed to escape the violence and anger of his home. One day one of his friends at school invited him to a youth program at a local church. Anything was better than going home, so Mahmoud agreed to go with his friend. It was at this small gathering of young people that Mahmoud first heard about Jesus. He was captivated by the stories in the Bible that described a way of life so different to the one he knew. He soon realized that all the things he longed for were offered by Jesus—unconditional love, forgiveness, peace and purpose. He decided to become a follower of Jesus.
As Mahmoud read his Bible and discovered more about the Kingdom of God his attitude to his father began to change. He realized that the only person that could help his father was Jesus. So one evening he asked his father whether he could read the Bible to him. Surprisingly, his father agreed.
Every night Mahmoud would read the Bible to his father. He started to see changes in his father’s behavior. He was less angry and he didn’t drink as much. One day Mahmoud’s father asked if he too could be a follower of Jesus. With great joy Mahmoud guided his father into a relationship with Jesus. Mahmoud’s father’s life was transformed. He went from being a bitter and violent man to being someone who was known for his love, generosity and compassion.
Mahmoud is now seventeen years old and is one of Youth for Christ’s emerging young leaders. At a recent training program Mahmoud shared his vision for reaching the young people of his “limited access” Islamic nation. He is a gifted musician and has organized a number of large music festivals. Over the past year Mahmoud has been able to share the transformational message of Jesus with thousands of young people. He is training other young leaders and has a vision for influencing every young person in his nation.