I have been doing mission work in Ghana for nine years, and mostly in the Northern Region, so being in a culture that is predominantly Muslim is nothing new to me. Just like many Christians in the US and other parts of the world, many of them are "cultural" Muslims. The teams have always had easy access to the government schools in the villages where we go in and engage them in Bible storytelling, songs and games.
They knew we were coming. And they were ready.
How did they know we were coming? Because they had their eyes and ears open. Before our arrival, the local pastors approach the village chiefs and school headmasters seeking permission for us to come to the schools. Most, but not all of them, are Muslim. The local Imams are very involved with knowing what is going on with the children and they stay in close contact with the teachers at the schools. It is not unusual to see the local Imam sitting on the school steps during the school day, keeping watch.
How were they ready? Recently there has been a big push for Islam in the North like never before. There are two organizations pouring tons of resources into this area, and one of them is from the USA (shocking or at the very least surprising, isn't it?) I've been in many rural villages in the past two weeks and every single one of them has a new mosque. The local Imams are holding Arabic classes for all the children in the afternoons, after school dismisses and on Saturdays. They have taught the older boys to ask key questions (we've heard the same questions in two village schools) that challenge the Christian faith. These questions focus primarily on the virgin birth of Jesus and the Trinity.
Ho do we respond? First of all, we don't debate. Secondly, when this occurs we call in Pastor Mohammed, a former Muslim and the national pastor we work with, to answer the questions. We actually thank God for these opportunities because it is a way for these children to hear the Truth. They are free to ask any questions, instead of just the ones they have been trained to ask. How amazing that the Lord gives us this opportunity to share the love of Christ with them in this way?
Does this worry us? No, not at all (not because we serve a bigger God, but because we serve the ONE True God), but it has been a sobering reminder to the Ghanaians and Americans that we MUST DO MORE to spread the Gospel. Not just here, but all over the world. And we must train our children, not just send them to someone else once a week and hope they "get it". We need to bind the Word of God on their hearts and hands (and ours as well).
All Christians should be able to defend their faith. Can you?