I grew up in the Arabian Gulf and was raised and loved by a Muslim family. When I was a teenager, I met this guy through some friends. Since he was from South Asia, I started making fun of him because that was the habit of the local Arabs. He hated me at first, but then to stop my behavior, he befriended me - that did stop me from teasing him and we became best friends. (He was a wise guy even then!) At that time he worked in a little record store and whenever I wanted to skip school, he was there working in the store and listened to my concerns. He gave me advice when I needed it, and he wasn't even a Christian yet. Both of us had our bad habits, but he never introduced me to his and vice versa. We really loved each other as brothers.
Then I started searching for God, wondering about Him and wanting to have a relationship with Him. Growing up I studied the Quran in school every day, and I had so many questions about God. I wondered why God was so harsh and far away in my most difficult times. As a Muslim I believed (like other Muslims) that I had one angel on each of my shoulders, one that recorded my good deeds and one the bad deeds. As I started thinking about my life and the Quran, I realized all Muslims, even the prophet Muhammad, would go to Hell for certain sins they committed in their lifetime - Wow! I knew that some of the biggest sins were unforgivable by God (according to the Quran), and unfortunately I was doing them. So I thought to myself ... "Why is God so unfair? He created me from the beginning to punish me - He knew I was weak, but is going to punish me for my sins. ... He knows we have a sinful nature, but then punishes us for that ..." The wall between God and I became greater and greater. I decided I might as well sin a lot and enjoy it since I was going to Hell anyway. I started searching in the wrong places for God, but always kept in touch with my friend.
One day I went to his house. He wasn't a Christian yet, but his parents had become Christians and were holding prayer meetings at their house. That day they were showing a film about Jesus. I remember making fun of the whole thing, asking questions like "How could a prophet appear on TV? Who painted Jesus' picture? Did they have Polaroid cameras then? Ha, ha, ha ..." But no one there seemed offended.
After that I went back to my own Arab country to study at a university, where God cut all of my bad relationships off. (I don't know why, but he kept my best friend in my life). Well, during that time, my friend became a Christian and when I found out, I was jealous... I wondered what the Christians offered him that was better than our friendship; he got very involved with a church in the Arabian Gulf. I thought, "What is Christianity anyway? 3 Gods? And then one of the Gods dies and there are two left?
When I went back to the Arabian Gulf after finishing the semester, I had a dream about Jesus. In the dream, Jesus told me to come to Him and read the Bible and He would show me the way, truth and the life. The next morning I was excited and told my mom about it. She said my dream about Jesus was a "victory" (a lucky dream), and that surprised me. A few days later I saw my friend and expected him to spend a lot of time with me that day. He told me that he was going to church (it was Sunday) and he invited me. I had a great desire to see how the Christians prayed and I wanted to go with him. At church they had communion and I wondered about what it was. Another acquaintance of ours said I couldn't take communion unless I was a believer in Christ. My friend listened and answered my questions. During the next couple of weeks I thought a lot about Christianity and began reading the Bible. The more I read, the more I wanted to read and know. I was hungry for truth.
One morning an American Christian that I had met invited me for breakfast to discuss questions that I had. I asked him if he wanted to become Muslim, and he replied wisely. He said, "You know, if Islam gave me what I have in Christianity, I would become Muslim." And he told me that he had read the Quran. I felt like he really respected me and my Arab culture. A week after that I again went to church with my friend and I'll never forget what happened. The pastor of the church gave communion at the front of the church. I went forward and he said, "Younathan. this is the blood of Jesus that was shed for you....." I was so touched that he knew my name (it was and is a big church). I gave my life to Christ, and afterwards my friend and I called ourselves "David and Jonathan" as a picture of the deep friendship we shared.
Well, that's how we came to be good friends, and those are some of the details of my testimony. It's difficult to write down all of the details and thoughts. I want to let you know about my life now. ... I'm married to a beautiful wife and have three young sons. We have been in the USA for almost 8 years during which time I have studied education and worked as a teacher. We have been waiting for the right time to go back to the Arab world to teach and reach out to Muslims there, and the time has come. We just recently accepted positions.