Jacob didn't expect that a Seinfeld reference that he made while teaching would open a door.
In a Muslim context, sharing the gospel often comes in ways unexpected. It is often through avenues and experiences that catch our missionaries off guard, when their best-laid plans fail and God opens up a door they never could have planned. One of our workers, Jacob* in a closed country found himself teaching conversational English at a prominent university in the country where he served. He, of course, hoped that this class would open doors for deeper conversation of spiritual things.
Jacob didn't expect that a Seinfeld reference that he made while teaching, however, would be what would open that door. Only one of his students, Arman*, from the Middle East laughed when he quoted the 90s sitcom. After class, Arman came to Jacob and asked him outright if he was a Christian. The Seinfeld reference had got his attention, but the student remarked that Jacob just seemed different to him.
This interaction was the start of a friendship between the two men that allowed Jacob to share the gospel with his new friend. Jacob taught Arman from Matthew, where genealogy texts fascinated him to learn about lives that were lived near his homeland. After a year of study the topic of baptism became a troubling subject for Arman. For him to be baptized would be viewed by his family as dishonorable and if he was baptized in secret and his family later found out it would only prove to them that it was a dishonorable thing he had done because he had hidden it.
Jacob realized that while he could affirm Arman's decision, he could never fully understand his decision, because he never had to pay such a high price himself. Ultimately Arman decided that if Jesus paid the price unto death, so could he and he was baptized. Arman has continued to live out his faith and his father has begun to attend church and other family members have begun to seek out Christ as well. Arman has been able to reach out to people that Jacob, as a westerner, would never been able to reach and brings them to home church groups. Through one random reference and a life lived out in faith, God is transforming the lives in this closed country.
*Names changed for security purposes