I was born into an Islamic orthodox family and remember that from the age of five, after attending school, we had to go to Islamic School for three hours every evening. The way we were taught was extremely strict and quite alarming. So my early years and relationship with God was one of fear and trepidation.
During my teenage years, I met my dear friend Daniel Dass who was from a loving Christian family. His family welcomed me with great warmth. What was really fascinating to me was the love and peace I felt when they prayed. This was really alien to me at the time, coming from my Islamic background. So in my teenage years Christianity began to have an influence on my life which later transformed my life.
I feel truly blessed as it has become apparent to me that God had an amazing plan for my life and he has been guiding me, carrying me and drawing me closer towards him since I was about 8 years old, although I was born into the Islamic faith.
During my teenage years, I started to search for the missing jigsaw piece in my life and started to take Islam more seriously as it seemed the natural thing to do. This was difficult, as I had not been brought up as a strict Muslim and, at the age of 18, I had to learn the basics from scratch. I would carry out all the rituals before prayer and learnt to recite prayers in Arabic. Unfortunately, I never did understand what I was praying about or what it meant.
But despite my continued efforts, I still could not get that jigsaw piece to fit. So I abandoned my search in pursuit of my studies and a few years later I went to live with my brother and sister-in-law. They attended church regularly and occasionally I would go too. Each time, I felt rejuvenated and a sense of belonging which I had never felt before.
Nas and Sheila married in 1999 and their story continues.
Despite being blessed with a strong and happy marriage, a successful career, a loving family, strong network of friends and a comfortable lifestyle, I felt a strong desire within me to continue my soul-searching for this missing jigsaw piece.
Nas’ mother and brother lived with us during the first year of our marriage and because my mother-in-law was a strict Muslim, it made my attempts to go to church almost impossible. After a couple of years, I resumed my search for this missing jigsaw piece by going to various churches, but quite often alone.
After 5 years of blissful marriage, God blessed Nas and I with a beautiful, special gift, our first born, Daniel. I was so elated and grateful for this miraculous blessing and I started going to church now and again.
The impact of just10
Then my brother invited Nas and I to just10 Birmingham. Initially I made all sorts of excuses not to go, as it really did not appeal to me but, upon arriving at the venue, I was amazed at how hundreds of people of all ages and all nationalities flocked to hear J.John speak about Jesus, and how happy and devoted these people were who clearly had God in their lives.
I returned to just10 every week with no persuasion, for if nothing else I knew it would be great entertainment. I listened intently to one of J.John’s immensely moving sermons and then burst into tears.
J.John went on to say how God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. That verse struck an almighty chord within my soul and it was at that moment that I found the missing jigsaw piece that would complete and change my life forever. This was the day I gave my life to Jesus.
Since that special day in my life, the Lord blessed Nas and I with another son, Alexander, and both our children were baptised in July 2007.
Jesus is my life. Jesus loves me, cares for me and he picks me up when I am down. He accepts me for what I am and loves me for who I am.
Becoming a Christian has not been easy. I still have an uphill battle with some of my family but I know that through Jesus I will have the strength to overcome this battle. What I have learnt is that although I have upset certain members of my family, this is a small price to pay for the eternal love of Jesus Christ.
Having found Jesus has brought a sense of peace to me and my family and we can bring our children up to know and love Jesus.
So my final message to anyone who has not found Jesus yet, or simply is not sure of their relationship with God, is to open your hearts and welcome him into your life!