By Timur Nesbitt, Boyce College Graduate
My name is Timur Nesbitt and I grew up in Central Asia. A long time ago my biological parents left me in a hospital when I was born. I became an orphan for 16 years. During my time in the orphanage, I practiced Islam. I went to the mosque, prayed five times a day, and tried to do good deeds. But at the same time, I was a slave to sin: I lived a double life, righteous and wicked. However, I knew that a gracious and holy God had a plan for my life.
In his sovereignty, God sent my way a Christ-following orphan kid who was unashamed of the gospel. He began to share with me what Christ has done for sinners like me, but I did not believe in this glorious gospel right away, as it sounded too foolish to me. For many months I suppressed the truth with my pride and religious arguments. But the Holy Spirit did not give up on me at all. He was working in my heart by revealing to me my sin and His righteousness and conviction.
After hearing the gospel again I repented of my sin and put my trust through faith in Christ alone. At that time, I knew I was born again. I became a new creation in Christ. My life was changed – turned 180 degrees. I was not the same. I realized I once was lost but now I’m found. I was blind, but now I see. I praise God for an amazing conversion. I have been a believer in Jesus Christ since then.
After I became a believer, I had a hunger for God’s Word, so local believers gave me the Bible to read. I began reading God’s Word every night in the bathroom, as I feared I would be discovered. I learned so much about Jesus and His redemptive work. I realized that the whole Bible is about Jesus Christ. I learned that I am called to share the gospel with others, so I started to share the Good News of Christ with the other orphans alongside the Christian orphan who first shared with me. It was tough for us to do so, but it was glorious. Before our graduation from the orphanage almost everyone in my class became a Christ-follower. We praise God for that. Later, after my graduation, I was adopted by an amazing, godly family.
Boyce College Experience:
In 2011, I was accepted to study Expository Preaching and Pastoral Leadership at Boyce College in Louisville, Kentucky. I was there for four years and I loved being there every single day. At Boyce College I learned a lot about God, the seriousness of the gospel, missions, and the Church. My experience on campus was wonderful. The professors of Boyce and Southern Seminary are amazing Bible teachers, theologians, and pastors. I learned a lot from them. Because of their teaching, leadership, and encouragement I have ended up serving in Central Asia, bringing the Gospel to the people I love. I learned what it means to be a pastor, church planter, and Christian leader. I am so thankful to God for Boyce College and Southern Seminary and their leadership.
Cultural and Religious Challenges to the Gospel:
I think the cultural and religious challenges to the gospel in Central Asia are evident and huge. I do not think it is only difficult in Central Asia. It can be tough in any culture, because the gospel is offensive and a stumbling block (1 Cor. 1:23). The context where I serve is quite different from the West. Sometimes I find that sharing the gospel with locals here is easier than that in the West, simply because people here have never heard anything like the Good News before.
In the States most Americans have heard about Jesus, but they are mostly ignorant of it. Simply put: To share the gospel in Central Asia is easier than in the States. I could be wrong, but this is how I see it. I love serving here because it brings so many different challenges and so much joy when I see my people repent and put their trust in Christ. When I share the gospel with Muslims, I try to show them in the Holy Scriptures the reality of the holiness of God, their sinfulness, and Christ’s gracious sacrifice for them. That is what they need to know in order to be saved.
I do not try to use anything except the Bible to win a Muslim for Christ. I want them to see how wonderful the gospel is in Christ Jesus, because all they need is Him. I know some believers use different approaches in sharing the gospel with Muslims. I praise God for that; however, I prefer to do it this way. I do not think there is a special secret or method as to how to reach Muslims for Christ. We have one tool: The Word of God. Muslims need to know what the Bible says about the Christ, His person and sacrificial work on the cross.
I have devoted my life to be faithful to the gospel calling in Central Asia. I do so without any fear. I just go with the fear of the Lord in my heart to serve Him. My goal is to plant seeds, share the Good News, and make disciples of all nations. I have been serving in Central Asia for over 5 months and I already see the fruit of my labors through God’s gracious grace.
We planted our first church with 25 members and four elders. We have been growing and making disciples by teaching them the gospel and training them theologically. The Lord provided us with a place to meet every Sunday for worship. He continues to provide for us and for our church needs. We are thankful and praising our God for work He started here in Central Asia. To Him be the glory.