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Although Azam Aziz ministers in churches, he would rather minister in the streets among those who don’t know Jesus.

Although Azam Aziz ministers in churches, he would rather minister in the streets among those who don’t know Jesus.

People in the States often view the School of Global Leadership (SGL) as a training place for people from the USA; however, SGL also trains Trinidadians for missions.Through this training SGL Directors Mike and Pam Lumbard first met Azam Aziz. Following are excerpts of Azam’s interview with Mike Lumbard:

Mike: Describe the home in which you were raised.

Azam: My dad, from a line of Imams, wanted me to pursue the Muslim faith. My mom, from a Catholic background, encouraged us to be well rounded. My family is loving but greatly needs Jesus.

Mike: How did you come to place your faith in
Jesus Christ?

Azam: When I was around 13, I went to a worship session hosted by a Christian teacher. The joy and peace I felt left me confused. I explained my feelings to my dad, and he said, “Azam, I’ve been in churches before. I know that feeling, but don’t be fooled by it.” I sought that same feeling at the mosque, but it never came. I was attacked at my home spiritually to the point I saw demons [as clearly] as I see people. My mom’s dad was a witch doctor and desired to pass on a mantle of witchcraft to my brother and me.

At school I was bullied. I also dealt with depression. I pursued escape through the arts and sports, but I craved love and acceptance. My family loved me the best they could, but their love couldn’t fill my void inside.

By the age of 16, I entered the University of the West Indies. I pursued psychology because I wanted to give to others that which I desperately needed: help. There I met people manning a Campus Crusade for Christ booth. A staff member later presented the gospel to me and gave me a Bible that I stacked unread in my collection of books.

I met a young lady who was everything I desired. Both our families thought we would marry. Then one Monday she suddenly wanted to break up. I was deeply hurt. Exams were approaching and I needed to focus. Friends introduced me to marijuana. It seemingly helped me that semester, but I would later realize it was the enemy’s plan to destroy me.

I mostly stopped attending classes and when I did go, I was high. I thought, All of my life I fought to be good and ended up getting hurt. Now I will be bad and see if I get respect that way. I went deeper into the black market.

At the end of 2013 my parents discovered I had failed my courses so they made me move back home and go to school in south Trinidad. They took me to counseling sessions but that didn’t help. One evening in my room I cried out, “God, please help me!” I didn’t pray in the name of Allah or any other name; I was just making an appeal to the God of the universe.

The next day I noticed a plaque on the wall of a barbershop: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5, ESV). I didn’t question if this was an answer from God, but I was confused as to why it was from the Bible, so I went home and picked up my Bible.

Muslims can read the Old Testament, I thought. God showed me this verse to read, so why not? The verse that followed the one I had read on the wall really got me: “In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”

I began reading Proverbs five to six hours a day. I stopped smoking and feeling depressed. I wondered why I had never felt this great before.

I spent ten to twelve hours a day on a quest to know the Truth. I studied the Dead Sea Scrolls, the history of the Bible, the history of the Quran. I participated in secret Bible studies on Skype. One evening I came off a Skype call knowing I was at a crossroads. I cried out to the God of the universe, “Who is Jesus? Is He just a prophet or is He who the Bible says He is?” The thought of going to hell for my decision or lack thereof plagued my heart.

The next day I was standing outside my home waiting for a taxi. I said, “God, I don’t want to read the Bible now and miss a possible ride, but I promise that when I get on the bus I will read your Bible.”

Immediately a car drove up and stopped in front of my yard. After the driver cleared shoes from the passenger’s side so I could get in, I realized he was not a taxi driver. I told him about the promise I just made to God. He laughed and said, “I don’t usually come this way, but a voice told me to pass here. When I saw you, you were glowing and I knew I had to pick you up.”

I got goosebumps. He then looked at me and said, “When you get a chance, read 1 Corinthians 13.”

I had never read the New Testament. After I boarded the bus I read the chapter. I knew Jesus was God, and I began serving Him. As we spoke throughout the day I would hear Jesus’ voice as clearly as you would hear a person’s voice.

A few weeks later something supernatural occurred that prevented me from going to church (a story in itself). My dad told me that Allah was trying to protect me. I wanted to serve God, so I returned to serving Allah. Immediately depression and addictions came back. The enemy returned sevenfold. I wondered how this could be since I was serving God, and the truth hit me. Allah was not God. Jesus is God.

Mike: What made you want to share your faith with others, especially those in the Middle East?

Azam: I realized how blinded I had been and how blind others are toward the truth of who Jesus is. God gave me a vision of churches He wants me to plant unlike any the world has seen. He stirred within me a passion to go to Iraq, Iran, Gaza, Jordan, and ISIS camps. I know it is Him because in my flesh I wouldn’t desire this. I am taking courses in Arabic.

Mike: What about the missions and evangelism training at SGL made the most difference in your life?

Azam: This school revealed the heart of God toward missions. It taught about bridging borders, learning cultures, meeting needs, sharing the Gospel, and bringing in the harvest.

Mike: How do the gifts of the Spirit affect your ability to reach out to people?

Azam: “For the Kingdom of God is not just a lot of talk; it is living by God’s power” (1 Corinthians 4:20, NLT). I’ve prayed for the sick and seen them recover. I’ve cast out demons. I’ve given words of knowledge and prophesied over people. Wherever Jesus proclaimed the message of the Kingdom, He raised the dead, cleansed the lepers, cast out demons. I’ve seen situations where apologetics could not reach hearts as the gifts did.

Mike: What’s the most important thing our readers need to know about you?

Azam: I’m passionate for Jesus and willing by His Spirit to die for Him. If each believer of Jesus Christ would do what His Word says to do, the whole earth would be filled with His glory.

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About The Author

Mike and Pam Lumbard

Mike and Pam, his wife, are Directors at the School of Global Leadership, a missions training school in Trinidad and Tobago.