Hazim didn’t appear to be a likely candidate to study the Bible. In 2018, he was pursuing a university degree in Islamic studies in a closed country in MENA because he wanted to gain a deeper understanding of what he believed.
Kamel, who was serving on a team of Middle East University (MEU) theology students doing online follow-up picked up Youssef’s query. It didn’t take Kamel long to wonder if Hazim was really interested in learning about the Bible. Hazim raised impossible questions and debated every point of Kamel’s responses.
Kamel was certain, though, that God had put them together. Hazim and Kamel both came from the same specific region of a North African country. They both spoke the same, uncommon regional dialect. Just as meaningful in retrospect, their first series of studies featured stories of Jesus’ miracles that were chosen to show a glimpse of God’s love and care.
What Kamel did not know was that Hazim was on a journey to find out if his understanding of God was accurate. Ever since he was very young, Hazim had been seeking to know “what is truth.” Hazim had grown up with the sense that something was not right in his family’s faith. In fact, he intended that with his religious degree, he would be better prepared to compare his faith to other religions.
When Kamel graduated from MEU in 2020, he returned to his home country and began meeting in person with Youssef and a handful of believers. In spite of Hazim’s debative approach, Kamel sensed that he had a sincere heart with a strong desire to know God. As they met each Sabbath with their worshiping group, Kamel saw God answering Hazim’s longing for the truth about Himsef and knew the Holy Spirit was working powerfully in his life.
After completing several series of Bible studies, the group began studying the 28 fundamental beliefs found in Scripture that are embraced by the Adventist Church. Among many other things, Hazim learned about the sacredness of the seventh-day Sabbath day. He was deeply convicted at first, but as Satan’s temptations weighed heavily on him, he began doubting.
As a small business owner, he did the math and quickly realized that Saturday was the day his business took in the most money. It was his livelihood and to close would mean serious losses. He was faced with a difficult decision.
In an act of utter faith, Hazim counted the cost, claimed God’s promises and closed his business on his most profitable day. It was a decision God honored. In the weeks that followed, God blessed his business and income on the other six days of the week increased.
But his blessings were not only financial. His life was filled with spiritual blessings as well. After three years of studying the Bible, Youssef expressed a strong desire to accept Jesus as his Lord and Savior and to carry the unique message of the Adventist Church to others.
In March 2022, Youssef decided to be baptized and to continue his personal journey with Jesus as a brother in the Adventist family. He has begun to share his testimony with his friends and prays daily that they too will come to see God in a new light–as a loving, saving God.