My journey to the Lord – Ashraf Jappie

Ashraf JappieI was born a Moslem only to find out later that scripture teaches I was a born sinner. I was born in Cape Town where attending the mosque and madressa was the norm. During this period I never heard any one mention the name of the Lord, let alone talk about Him.

We moved to Pretoria while I was still young and still practicing the Moslem faith. During my years at school there was a subject called “Bybel.” We were supposed to be taught about the Lord, but nothing really sank in and I would use that class to catch up on schoolwork or to just relax.

After finishing matric I started working and during this time I met Phina, my future wife. I believe that the Lord sent her my way. During our courtship we had a lot of opposition from both of our families because I was a Moslem and she was a Christian. Phina’s family were very opposed to our relationship because they said that if we married, according to the Moslem faith, I could divorce her simply by walking around the table three times saying “I divorce you” and the marriage would be over regardless of whether there were children involved or not. We only found out later, after we had already accepted the Lord, that one of Phina’s uncles had said he would run her over for marrying a Moslem.

We were together for four years before we got married and we didn’t actually discuss whether I should become a Christian or Phina should become a Moslem before we got married. As it happened, Phina turned to the Moslem faith and, as is customary in the Moslem faith, she acquired a new name and then we “nicca’d” (marriage the Moslem way).

During the four year period prior to us getting married I had some encounters with people who tried to share the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ with me, but as soon as they approached me I used the excuse that I was not interested as I was a Moslem. This excuse seemed to work well until one day I encountered a lady who did not accept my excuse that I was a Moslem and proceeded to tell me about the Lord Jesus Christ anyway. That encounter made me feel very uncomfortable as I was alone surrounded by people telling me about someone I had never given a second thought to, but what made it even more disconcerting was that minutes before these people entered the gate I had been surrounded by four or five people, including Phina, and all of a sudden I found myself alone. I couldn’t retreat into the house as they had because it was their house and I was the unwanted son-in-law.

After we were married I recall an incident where we went to visit Phina’s mother who had fallen ill and was in hospital. Arriving at the hospital we proceeded to the ward, but before we entered the ward we could hear Phina’s Christian uncles singing hymns at her mother’s bedside. We stopped dead in our tracks, turned around and basically ran back to the car, not wanting to be part of the group that was singing praise to the Lord Almighty. Sad to say we turned our backs on the Lord, something we only realized we had done after we came to know Him.

Days and months went by as we celebrated the Moslem religious days until the day came that the Lord decided to reveal Himself to Phina and myself again.

We did not receive great blessings from the Lord (by human standards), instead the Lord blessed us according to His will – helping us to buy our first home, Phina giving birth to our first son, and of course the trials which strengthened us – all of which brought us closer to one another and to Him. Being afraid to tell my father that I had left the Moslem faith and was now serving the Lord Jesus Christ we attended church services in secret. Sunday mornings we would get all dressed up for church and then dress down after church when we went to visit my parents.

The time came when I confronted my father and admitted to being a Christian. It was difficult but I was relieved. Another testing the Lord allowed was that my father would bring one of his family members, with a man who to this day I do not know, to our home to explain to me the consequences of leaving the Moslem faith and turning to the Lord. I remember being asked by this man, “Do you openly renounce the Moslem faith?” I answered emphatically, “YES!”

Thinking back, he was confident that I would answer in such a way that his next statement would (so they thought) make me rethink my position as a Christian and return to being a Moslem. This man then informed me that according to the Moslem faith I was no longer my father’s son and would not inherit anything from him. Through the mercy of the Lord I answered that even though I was disowned and no longer his son my door will always be open to my father. He now lives in Cape Town and when he does come to Pretoria he visits us.

The Lord recently revealed to me the mercy, grace and long-suffering that He showed toward me when I compare myself to others who were brought up in, as I knew it, Christian churches where the Gospel is preached and they live Godly lives. Not that I think that their salvation is any less merciful than mine, but words fail to describe the gratitude I feel, for I am simply overwhelmed with praise, thanksgiving, and humility when I consider the mercy I have received.


May the Lord bless you.

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