It could have been a night like any other. The strong smell of salt hung in the warm breeze as we walked towards the water.

I could hardly believe what was happening. Joy fluttered about wildly in my heart.

Steps away from the water, our group of six men sat down in the sand. One of the men spoke up. “Ali, why don’t you tell us how you made your decision?”

Ali is from the Gulf region—which includes the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Saudi Arabia, and other countries in the Arabian Peninsula. It’s a region with some of the hardest spiritual soil in the world.

One night, Ali had a dream about Jesus. That dream led to conversations with Ahmed, a Muslim-background believer. When Ahmed shared the Gospel with Ali, it cut through his thoughts about religion. He found Jesus, and his life was changed.

Ali was afraid of being baptized at home, where turning to Jesus is rewarded with death.

I listened to Ali share his whole story. I had just met him that day. Earlier that morning, Ahmed and Ali had traveled from their nearby home country to meet with our team. He feared being baptized at home, where turning to Jesus is often rewarded with death.

Ali finished sharing and we all waded out into the warm, calm water. My teammates and I stood a few feet away and watched Ahmed and Ali wade further. Ahmed had only been baptized one week before. He nervously tried to figure out how best to baptize his friend. Suddenly, his fear gave way to excitement. He thrust Ali down with a splash and pulled him up again.

Ali emerged from the water and could hardly contain his excitement. He had truly found Jesus.

Stories like this thrill us. They show us that God is not silent. He is drawing Muslims to Jesus in the Gulf region.