“We need to awaken people to the central theme of Christian love even if some Muslims are terrorists, ” said the Rev. Hicham Chehab , pastor of the Salam Christian Fellowship in Lombard, Illinois.
The Rev. Chehab, once himself an extremist Muslim fundamentalist in Lebanon before converting to Christianity and eventually being ordained in the Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod , was reflecting on his recent mission trip to Michigan. There, early February, he proclaimed the Gospel message to the elders and congregation of the Trinity Luther church in Reese, a town of 1,365 residents near the shores of Lake Huron.
In his sermon to an estimated congregation of 450 people, the 52-year-old pastor, now a U.S. resident, stated: ” Jesus commanded us to go make disciples of all nations . That means the Hispanics, Somalians, Arabs, the Greeks—yes , Jesus meant all nations. ”
Rev. Chehab was accompanied by two converts from Islam who were baptized at Salam. The two converts, Iraqis who live in the U.S., gave their testimony for Jesus Christ and His power in saving souls.
As he preached, Pastor Chehab was quite aware that his audience was a mission-minded group residing in a region with a heritage of Christian pioneering no less dramatic and nor less inspiring than that of the Pilgrim epic at Plymouth Rock. Nearby Frankenmuth (pop.4,803 ) was the beachhead in 1854 for a colony of 15 German immigrants who braved many hardships before founding this site as an exclusive German-Lutheran town. (http://www.frankenmuth.org/aboutus/history ). Their mission had the dual purpose of giving spiritual comfort at the time to the German pioneers in the Midwest and to show the native Indians “Wie gut und schŏn es ist Jesus zu sehen ” ( ” How good and wonderful it is to see Jesus ” ) . This mission was instigated by a letter sent in 1840 from a German missionary in America to all the Lutherans in Germany; his letter asked for their help.
Commenting on these early German Christians as well as today’s pilgrim Christians, the Rev. Rick Richter*, former senior pastor of St. Peter Lutheran Church in Arlington Heights, Illinois and a friend of Pastor Chehab ” Faith and perseverance saw them through. ”
Shortly before embarking recently on a mission trip to southern Illinois to relate his personal conversion story and to preach about the Great Commission, ” Pastor Chehab commented, ” We Christians are little Christs and therefore should be daily on the mission of saving souls.”
Robert R. Schwarz
* Rev. Richter is author of “Comparing the Qur’an and the Bible: What They Really Say about Jesus, Jihad, and More”