Growing up in a traditional Muslim home in Albania, Stiljan knew little about the Christian faith.
“I did not know who the true God was,” he says. “To be honest, I was very prejudiced against the people who came to my village to talk about Jesus.” He felt the message that Jesus was the Son of God was blasphemy. “I cursed them and wanted to expel them from the village,” he remembers. “I told my friends they wanted to destroy our Muslim religion.”
One day, as a Christian missionary was explaining the way to salvation, Stiljan decided to listen out of curiosity. He was ready to debate and embarrass the man. But to Stiljan’s surprise, the missionary responded to all of his rebuttals with love.
“As Muslims, we believe that by slaughtering a lamb and following the rites, we can receive forgiveness,” Stiljan says. “The missionary asked me if sins could be forgiven through the blood of an animal. I did not know the answer and became very interested in finding the truth.”
A friend soon invited Stiljan to a Christian camp. There he attended a Bible League Project Philip Bible study and first began to understand the love of God and His sacrifice. During the camp, Stiljan accepted Christ as his Savior.
“When I belonged to the Muslim religion, I did not feel the love of Allah. I was just afraid, and God seemed very far away,” he says. “I accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior. In that moment, many things changed for me, including the way I thought about life and the way I spoke. I began to truly feel God’s love.”
Today, Stiljan is dedicated to sharing the Gospel, just like Philip in the Book of Acts. But he is often met with hostility from those in his Muslim-dominated community. “Ever since I surrendered my life to Christ, I’ve had my difficulties like any other believer. Other people, even friends, have been prejudiced toward me. ‘Your family is Muslim, why do you believe in Christ?’ they ask me,” he says.
“I had problems with my family. At first, they could not accept the fact that I had become a Christian. I resisted their pressure by praying and showing the love of Christ in action, and I preached the Gospel to them.”
Stiljan’s obedience is bearing fruit; some of his friends have dedicated their lives to the Lord. Praise God! Now a trained Project Philip Bible study leader, he beams, “God has placed in my heart a great desire to share the Gospel with people who have not heard of Christ. I want to thank Bible League’s donors for all the materials and the Bible that I received. You provided me with the necessary equipment as a soldier of God.”