Joshua is a full-time staff member with Middle East Student Fellowship, leading university ministry in the north of his country and involving students in the life of a faithful local church.
Testimony of Conversion
I was born and brought up in the Middle East. I grew up with Roman Catholic parents who heard the gospel when I was a young boy and left Catholicism. Because they did not have wise, godly people around them, they went to multiple unhealthy churches. Growing up I was part of Catholicism, then ‘house church,’ then a church that now I would call a cult, and another church that preached a works-based gospel.
When I was around 16 my uncle started to share the gospel with me and encouraged me to read the Bible for myself. Even though I was very much part of ‘church life’ I was clearly living a hypocritical life, and this church preached a works-based gospel which I thought was the way to prove myself to God. I was very proud of everything that I did in the church, from setting up the sound system to sometimes leading and teaching at the youth meeting, but deep down I knew I was living a hypocritical life.
When I started reading the Bible and hearing the true gospel more regularly, the weight of my sin caught up with me. I realized my utter inability to save myself and trusted in Jesus as my only means of salvation. I realized that Jesus died on the cross to pay for my sin and that He gives me the free gift of his righteousness. Because Jesus died for me and rose from the dead and intercedes for me, I now have confidence and access to approach God and can have a relationship with Him!
Unfortunately those early years, after I became a Christian, were very confusing. I was hungry for God but my church wasn’t preaching the gospel, so I started looking online for faithful teachers who exposited God’s word. I grew more hungry for the faithful biblical teaching that I was listening to online and visited a church in our city after a friend invited me to check it out. I remember to this day my shock to find faithful expositional teaching here in my country. The pastor preached through the book of James and my hungry soul was satisfied that day. My family and I decided we needed to attend a faithful church and so we left our old church and joined this church.
Call to Ministry
I was in my last year of high school when I joined this faithful church and at this time I met a staff member who invited me to Middle East student ministry and to attend different Bible discussions on campuses. I started to meet with him each week for discipleship and attended conferences. During this time I was trying to go to the USA for my university, but because of different issues I was unable to get into university there. After applying to other larger universities in the Middle East and not getting in, I ended up joining a small one in the north of our country. I was truly irritated and deeply disappointed at not making it.
Because of my frustration during this time, I decided that I would only go to university to attend classes and would not get involved with the ‘immature’ students there. At my first Middle East student ministry week, I kept hearing stories of how students across the country were doing great things on their campuses, and I felt very alone and had a lot of self pity. But during this time the director really challenged me to see that God was not in need of me, but that He was offering an opportunity on my campus with no Christian witness to be a light for Him. He could use me for His glorious work. This truth challenged me so deeply and set me up for ministry, first as a student, and then full-time later on.
In my second year as a student I started to realize that even though we were sharing the gospel with students and they were coming to faith, our movement in the north was not connected with the church sufficiently enough. So I moved closer to the universities and the church to help encourage students to come to church and help the church have a vision for our work.
I have been involved in this work for two and a half years full-time and am currently involved in two cities, seeking to continue to share the gospel and disciple students in this strategic time of their lives to know and love Jesus. The Lord has given us much fruit and it is exciting to continue to be part of and used for what the Lord is doing in this area among the lives of students from all across the world but especially from this region. It is amazing to be in the same spaces and be able to share with students from Sudan, Syria, Afghanistan, Eritrea, Oman, and many more countries!