Growing Up in a Muslim Country

Kamal FeregAn environmental engineer, Kamal Fereg, was born and raised in Egypt and studied the Islamic religion in school for 12 years before he had an experience that changed his life. Now a professing Christian, Fereg established a Middle Eastern Christian Ministry to serve Arabic-speaking people who live in South Florida. On June 18 at a Christian Businessmen’s Connection luncheon, Fereg shared the following story of his childhood in a Muslim country.

Fereg’s  Story

When I came to Christ, he changed my life. I came from the Middle East and was raised with ISIS and the Muslim Brotherhood. This is not new.  It’s been in existence for hundreds and hundreds of years. If you lived there, even as a child you had to carry a knife. I can remember one time a man stole a woman’s purse and I chased him down and knifed him and thought I was doing a service for God. In a Muslim country, this is the way it is. When ISIS is beheading people, they think they are doing service to God. It is different from the foundation here. In a Muslim country it is all based on violence. And when I was a very young kid, I was living in this environment.

His uncle

I have an Uncle; he dropped out of school and many hated him because of his bad attitude. He was thinking of killing himself, and as he was walking behind two men in the street, he heard one man witnessing to the other man about Christ. So, my uncle said to himself, “This is what I need.” But he could not approach them to find out more. A while later he was walking in a park in Cairo where  someone gave him a Christian tract. He read it, but still didn’t know what to do.

At the end of the  tract was an address. So he walked about 25 minutes to get to this address, and it was a home for Christian meetings. They were having a revival at the time, and he went in and accepted Christ there. My uncle went home and told the family his life changed, and they said, “Not you. You are a troublemaker.” My grandfather said he was becoming sick mentally and was considering taking him to a psychiatrist. And some said it was just a phase that would go away. But it didn’t go away.

He got a Bible, went to church and witnessed to everyone in the house. He changed from cursing and complaining to being nice. That brought attention to the Lord. Two years later his mother accepted Christ, then my mother accepted Christ, but I didn’t want to be like him because he was crazy.

The teen years

At the age of 13, I got involved in a gang. I behaved okay at my house, but  this was a bad group that I was with. We were doing some bad things. One day my uncle asked me if I spoke English. I spoke a little English and some French. So my uncle said, “We have a preacher coming from Holland, and he’s going to speak in English and we need someone to translate.” I did not want to do it, but eventually my uncle persuaded me.

The meeting was at the same place where my uncle accepted Christ. It was a big hall with about 3,000 people. The man from Holland was speaking about the love of Christ, but for some reason I felt all the time he was looking at me and speaking about my life. I got angry because I thought my uncle told him about me and I was  being  set up. But he was really speaking in general terms about how deep and high and wide is the love of Christ. (Ephesians 3:14-21)

When he gave the invitation, I stood up to leave. I was 16 or 17 at the time, and an old man came and put his hand on my shoulder and asked me where I was going. I said, “I’m leaving,” and he said, “Why don’t you come forward with me.” It was like the Holy Spirit speaking, so I went up and I couldn’t stop crying because there were a lot of heavy burdens on me. Finally, I thought about it, and with a loud voice I accepted Christ in my life.

Immediate change

Now I know for some people change comes gradually, but my life changed that minute. I closed my eyes when I prayed, and when I opened my eyes, I looked at people differently. The joy I felt changed my life. That decision changed my direction. I was failing school, a trouble maker, choosing bad friends. God not only changed my heart, but He changed my life, and I became successful. I left my friends and found new friends. Now as an engineer I understand the importance of plans; I know God has a perfect plan for me. All I have to do is obey him and let him direct my life.

After experiencing this change in his life, Fereg went on to study engineering in Cairo and was trained in Germany and Switzerland. He immigrated to the United States in 1979 and completed graduate studies in engineering at New York Institute of Technology.  Fereg worked at EBASCO, a nuclear power design company, in its energy department located in the World Trade Center, and later managed an energy engineering company (Alpha Energy) which he bought in 1985. He sold the company in 1999 and still does consulting for the company today.

Reaching out

Now a father with two children in college, Fereg ministers to Muslims, speaking in many churches and organiza- tions on how to share the story of Christ with them.

Fereg said he has found that one simple act makes a big difference to his Muslim friends: prayer. Muslims may wish for success or protection, but they don’t pray for each other. Fereg said he once had a Shiite man call him and say, “Can you  pray to your God for my wife, who is sick?”

I tell them, you can pray to Him too, and God does miracles by showing himself to Muslims.

If you would like to learn more about Fereg’s Middle Eastern Christian Ministry, visit arabicchristianchurch.com.

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