By Jon Hill
The clash of cultures between Christianity and Islam weighs heavily in international affairs, but it takes on a very personal character in the life of Abdoulaye Sangho.
TWR’s international director for West and Central Africa was born into a Muslim family in the legendary Islamic city of Timbuktu. When a missionary dentist fixed the boy’s teeth and took the time to befriend him, giving books to the avid young reader, answering his questions and introducing him to Christ, young Sangho internalized the lessons that he would later apply in his own ministry.
“Muslims need to know we love them,” Sangho said. “We don’t love them just because they are lovable people but because it’s a command from the Lord. If you want to share the Word of God with a Muslim, he needs to know firsthand that you really have true love for him, and then he can listen to you. If you are far from him, if you don’t have any relation with him, if you just throw the Word of God at him, he is not interested.”
Sangho brings that perspective to two radio programs he produces and hosts: The Prophets and The Messiah. The Prophets, which he adapted from a program produced for TWR’s national partner in Serbia, focuses on the biblical prophets who are also revered by Muslims, and it offers a Christian perspective pointing forward to the coming gospel.
His original content in The Messiah, which isn’t on the air yet, helps listeners understand that Jesus Christ is much more than one among many prophets, that instead he is the only Son of God and sacrificial lamb for the forgiveness of sin.
“They have a great idea about God, but they think God is so far, too far from us,” he said. “So, we try to use this [common ground] while bringing God close to them. The goodness of God is evident for Muslims, but the closeness of God is not evident.”
The Prophets is airing now from TWR’s West Africa Transmitting Station, and both programs will be broadcast into predominantly Muslim areas of Nigeria over the planned Oasis Transmitter. There’s already interest in using the programs in other regions with large Muslim populations such as Indonesia and Russia.