The Blue Cord, by iHOPE Ministries

How Connie Grew Bold at Sharing Jesus

Episode Summary

Connie was suspicious of Muslims and never considered engaging with them. Then she met a Muslim who deeply desired to go to heaven. The woman’s desperate prayers for Salvation broke Connie’s heart. It was a moment that forever changed her thoughts and actions. Find out how she pushed through fear and apathy to share the hope of Jesus with an Imam’s wife. This episode will leave you hungering to tell others the Good News and give you baby steps to begin.

Episode Notes

Connie was suspicious of Muslims and never considered engaging with them. Then she met a Muslim who deeply desired to go to heaven.  The woman’s desperate prayers for Salvation broke Connie’s heart. It was a moment that forever changed her thoughts and actions. Find out how she pushed through fear and apathy to share the hope of Jesus with an Imam’s wife. This episode will leave you hungering to tell others the Good News and give you baby steps to begin.  


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Episode Transcription

Karen (00:51):

When I was a kid most Americans identified as Christian. I didn't need to share my faith unless I was going to be a missionary. Now, many people of other faiths and cultures live here. We can literally cross our streets and declare God's glory among the nations. And yet we're not! Something similar happened to the Israelites. God reveals in Numbers 15:38 - 47, that after another round of not doing what the Lord told them to do, He gave his people a reminder, a tassel with the cord of blue, at the hem of their garments, so that every time they saw it, they would remember Him and His commands rather than following after their own hearts. Now rich with meaning and purpose, the blue cord was a symbol of God's divine commands that they serve a holy living God who left instructions for how to remember and to trust him now inspired by that biblical blue cord. I pray that this episode of the iHOPE Empowers podcast series called the blue cord will be a catalyst for you to go be His witnesses and declare His glory among the nations among you. You know, you must be someone who believes in the power of the gospel to change lives. And I'm glad you've discovered this podcast. Today I've invited my friend, Connie Parker to think about the Great Commission with us. Connie are you there?

Connie (02:22):

I'm here. Hello,

Karen (02:24):

Well, great, welcome! Well, Connie and I met almost a decade ago at an iHOPE Ministries workshop. And back then, I remember Connie, you were just starting to engage with women of other faiths and cultures as an authentic Christian witness and you were kind of wrestling with what that might look like in real life, and fast forward, almost a decade later here she is. She's actively engaging with and discipling women of other faiths and cultures all over the world. It's been an awesome thing to watch you from afar Connie. So we're going to talk and think about Jesus's words in Matthew 28:19, where Jesus told us to go make disciples of all nations. Now that verse is known as the Great Commission and so we're going to talk about the Great Commission today. So Connie, when you think about it, the Great Commission, what were your earliest thoughts about what that meant?

Connie (03:21):

Well, I grew up in the church. My dad was a pastor and I thought the great commission was we were going to send missionaries all over the world and they were going to go evangelize. We were going to send the money and they were going to do evangelism.

Karen (03:36):

I thought the same thing.

Connie (03:39):

There was always a cross-cultural influence. And I would come to hear these stories of amazing missionaries coming back and telling us stories about what they had gone through and what their cultures were like and they would bring little samples of things. So it was really fun, I enjoyed the cross-cultural piece of it, but it never occurred to me that I should be sharing my faith with other people from other cultures here in this country.

Karen (04:06):

Well, that so resonates with me too, Connie, because when I thought of the Great Commission, I thought about those flannel boards in Sunday school and saving our pennies for the Lottie Moon fund so that we could send missionaries overseas to share Jesus. It never dawned on me just like you Connie that meant I should be sharing my faith here too. So kind of knowing that I know for myself, I went through this journey where I was mostly apathetic about sharing my faith, especially with women of other faiths and cultures. And then as some things unfolded within our world, then I grew fearful. And so Connie, I'm just wondering if you went through a similar kind of journey yourself and what that looked like for you.

Connie (04:49):

Yeah. It was just gradually things happen, not all at once. I was part of a culturally diverse church. We had lots of people from, especially women from other cultures that were part of our church. And I was a friend of them. I enjoyed meeting them. I enjoyed learning about their cultures, but they were already believers, so no evangelism was needed.

Karen (05:11):

What was the shift for you? I mean, was there a stage where you maybe were apathetic or fearful and then that moved you to empathy? What did that look like for you?

Connie (05:21):

Yeah, I think I was fairly apathetic, but a young woman named Susan came into our women's group one time and she told me her story, which just really challenged my heart. She was from Iran and she grew up in a Muslim home there. She always had a deep desire to go to heaven. And she had been told that if she could pray a certain prayer, a certain number of times on one specific night in a year, then she was guaranteed to have a place in heaven. So she told me that she tried and she tried and she always failed. And it was, I think it was even multiple years as I recall, but she could not do it and that she just failed miserably. And that led her just kind of give up. And she decided to find out more about Christianity she became a believer and ended up coming to our church. But just the desperation of that failure of not being able to do what she needed to do to get to heaven. Just that just broke my heart. As I thought about what Christ has done for us.

Karen (06:25):

I hear you. I have had some of those same kind of thoughts as I began to engage with women of other faiths and cultures. There was a moment where suddenly I was very empathetic and realizing, wow, she needs Jesus. She doesn't know Jesus, but then there's a shift. I wasn't ready yet to share Jesus myself. I was empathetic, but not enough so that I had compassion and I was going to take action. Just wondering, Connie, how about for you? What was that shift that moved you from empathy to compassion?

Connie (06:56):

Well, I would say it happened at one of the first iHOPE workshops that I attended. I walked in the room and when I came in, there was a woman sitting at the back and she was dressed in a black hijab that covered most of her body, including her head and the lower part of her face. And all I could see were her eyes in those days, there was a lot of suspicion about Islamic people and the thought that came through my mind, what is she doing here? Is she just curious, should I go and greet her or would she be embarrassed? She didn't seem to know anybody. And nobody seemed to be talking to her. And to be honest, I was a little fearful about welcoming her. Then partway through the presentation, she was invited to come up to the front to share her story. So that shocked me. And as she shared, she took off her face and head covering and it was just amazing the transformation that came over me as I saw her beautiful smile. And then she began to share her story and she told how she had been lonely and longing for friendship. She'd been curious about Christians yet she was unable to connect with anybody who would tell her about it. And once again, my heart was broken for all the women that I had ignored because they wore a hijab and I had assumed that they were comfortable with their religion and didn't want me to share mine. And then because of the hijab, I couldn't tell whether they were friendly or whether they were angry, but God gave me a new compassion for these women. And from that time on, I really determined that I was going to befriend every one of them that I encountered, whether it was at the grocery store or in the park or on the walking trail, wherever I met them, I was going to at least smile at them. And I convinced myself, I should just assume that under the hijab they were smiling at me and they, they just needed a friend and so that's where it really turned, I think from empathy to compassion for them.

Karen (09:01):

Oh, I love it. so here's the thing about compassion. Compassion moves us to action. So when you just now started to have this compassion well up within you, was there a time that you were like emboldened to courageously take a first step of action toward a woman of another faith or culture?

Connie (09:18):

Okay. So that happened at another, iHOPE workshop. All the attendees were put into small groups for a visit to a local mosque. And I wasn't sure that I was up to that. I have to admit it. I almost backed out of it and decided that I needed to go home and in the end, I decided to give it a try. So we arrived at the mosque. There was a small group of us, maybe four or five of us. There was no prior invitation. And there was a woman in the reception area. And she said she would be happy to give us a guided tour of the facility. So we walked all through it. We could even stand in the women's area and we could look down at the men and prayer time below us. Then after they left, she sat down on the carpet and we all sat down around her and she began to share her story. And she told us, first of all, that she was the wife of the Imam And then she told us that as a college student, she had been seeking God and she decided arbitrarily to try Islam first. And then she openly shared how she met her husband. And she began to share her journey, including a story of how she had connected with a Christian in a previous city where she and her husband had been working as an Imam. And the two had become really good friends and she really had enjoyed that relationship. It was clear that she was somewhat lonely. So as we left the mosque, I happened to walk out beside her. And I told her that I could really identify with some of the experiences that she was having as an Imam's wife because I was a pastor's wife. And I had been the daughter of a pastor, and I could really identify with some of her struggles. So I gave her a little piece of paper with my email address on it. And I said, just contact me if you'd like to go for coffee sometime. So she contacted me and we went out for coffee at a Starbucks, and we had this very interesting conversation. It was open. It was very honest about our roles as wives of men in ministry as moms for teenagers, her teenagers were about to go off to college. She was afraid they were going to lose their faith in college. So just very similar paths. And we just shared openly and honestly and had a good time together being friends reconnected with her several times after that, and things became a little more challenging when there was a lot more animosity towards people of the Islamic faith. I believe that seeds were planted and I just really enjoyed meeting her and can remember very clearly the conversation that we had. It was just a conversation of friends.

Karen (12:03):

You know It's so interesting. It all started with you being emboldened number one through your compassion to put yourself out there in a situation you wouldn't have normally gone through. And then in that moment, through that sense of compassion, you were courageous about giving her your phone number and the next thing you know, she needed a friend. So she reached back right out. And I know we don't have time to unpack all this together on our podcast today, but I know you planted a bunch of gospel seeds. You don't know how those will come to fruition, but there's a reason that you were there in her life for such a time as that as an authentic Christian witness. So awesome. Well, I know Connie, since those early days a lot has changed.

Connie (12:44):



I know you kept putting yourself out there and you kept on intentionally engaging with women of other faiths and cultures and discipling them as well and I know that you didn't go from zero to expert overnight. So what's one baby step that you did in the beginning.

Connie (13:02):

I think the most important step I took was that intentionality, if we're not intentional about building those relationships, it's not going to happen. We all get busy with our lives and we have so many other things to do that we don't think about what it might mean to somebody else who's a neighbor or someone down the street that may just be looking for a friend. And so it really is dependent on us seeking out those people. When we see them to just befriend them and ask if there's anything we can do to help encourage them to come and have coffee with us or develop those relationships. It starts there I think, knowing that we can share the love of Jesus with them in a way that will encourage them to get to know Him more.

Karen (13:58):

Those are wise sage bits of advice, Connie, and as you step out and you begin to befriend, a woman of another faith and culture, I know Connie, this is natural for you at this point because you've been practicing it for a long time. It's very natural for you to mention right up front, that you are a follower of Jesus. So this isn't something that you hide in that relationship, you don't want to build a relationship on everything, but Christ just like you did with that Imam's wife, she knew that you were a follower of Jesus, which opened wide the door for spiritual conversations of the heart to happen afterward. And so I know you go out in your day-to-day with this kind of intention. Even when you do something in the morning, I know that you have a routine every morning that allows you to practice intentionally being an authentic Christian witness. What does that look like for you?

Connie (14:43):

So in retirement, one of the things you get to do is sleep in a little bit, but I also get to spend my mornings my very favorite way, which is to go out on a walking trail. And I usually walk four miles a day, 75 years old. So you know that those four miles are good for me. And that's my Jesus time. That's the time that I really get to share with Him what's on my heart and then listen to His heart. What does He want me to do? What should my day look like? How should I structure it in a way that will fulfill His agenda and His purposes for me? So that's my big secret is just to grow in my relationship with Jesus, listening for His voice and walking in obedience to what He tells me to do.

Karen (15:33):

And I think that's the heartbeat that emboldens you then because you know who you are in Christ. It enables you to love others well, too, I'm imagining Connie. I know that's exactly probably what's happening. Along with that, Connie. I know you've had several opportunities to pray with women through the years in Jesus's name. Is there anyone that comes to mind for you off the top of your head?

Connie (15:56):

I'm thinking about, as I told you, as I walked the trail, I meet lots of people and some people are there almost every day and you can kind of develop friendships with them or relationships with them. I remember there was an older man who was really struggling with his health issues. And I asked if I could pray for him. And he said, well, I'm an atheist, but you can pray. So I prayed for him. I later found out that his wife was a believer. So it was very interesting to see that dynamic, but people are very open to prayer. And I think that's really key that when you see somebody who has a need, that you can pray for them. Another time, a funny thing happened it looked like there was a husband and wife. I was assuming a man and a woman were walking and they seem to be having this rather heated discussion. And so she turned around just about where I passed them. they were coming toward me as I passed them. She turned around and started walking with me, walked away from her husband, and started walking with me. And she started grumbling about her husband and complaining about him. And I said, well, have you ever thought about praying for him? She was like taken back. I get to share some really interesting experiences sometimes with people on the trail, but I, people kind of know me now as a believer. And so I can stay connected with them in that way. I'm pretty open about my faith just walking along the trail.

Karen (17:30):

You are a prayer warrior on the trail. Well, I love it because, okay. So listeners, one of the things that we often think about, especially when we move into the stage of empathy is that we think, oh, I need to pray for women of other faith's that they come to know Jesus, but I tell you one of the most powerful things that you can do and it's so simple is to pray together with someone of another faith or culture. And so if you're wondering what that looks like, what that sounds like you can go to iHOPE's website for a downloadable prayer that is a really powerful prayer to pray, especially with Muslims that you meet. And so just go to, and just join our email list. And you'll get that downloadable prayer that you can be looking to pray with women that you meet from other faiths and cultures. Okay. So, Connie, I know you have some more, just Sage advice, words of wisdom, practical application. Tell us one more thing. What else should we know?

Connie (18:31):

Just get ready for an adventure. Every time I walk out of the house in the morning to pray as an adventure for me, for the past five years as I've been doing this, it's been amazing just to see what God's doing. And I get excited about God at work and the hearts and the minds of people and not only in this country but also around the world, God is amazing. And he's doing some amazing things. So get ready for adventure. That's what I'd say.

Karen (19:02):

Well, thank you, Connie. Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom and your journey with us today. I think you've given our listeners a lot to think about. Often one of the big questions I hear from women is I'm ready to go out and to meet women of other faiths and cultures. Where do I go? What do I do? And I think you have shared with us, it's right outside your front door in a nearby park.

Connie (19:24):


Karen (19:26):

You don't have to go far. So thank you, Connie. Thank you. And listeners, as we close out our time together today, I want to leave you with one thing to think about and to talk about with your faith-filled friends this week and that is this, think about your earliest impressions about what Jesus meant when He said to go make disciples of all nations. What is that impression and how has your understanding of the Great Commission shaped your Christian witness today? For me, the impression that the Great Commission was not meant for everyday ordinary Christians like me pierced into my mind and fastened into my subconscious like superglue well into adulthood. And it never occurred to me to intentionally seek out women of other faiths to share Jesus. How about you? Thanks for listening to this podcast. A donor-supported series from iHOPE Ministries For more bite-sized things to know and do to share your faith with intention. Follow us on Instagram at iHOPE Ministries, then go to and sign up for our weekly e-newsletter. If you enjoyed today's episode, please rate and review the show on Apple Podcasts and subscribe wherever you listen. Your review helps the show empower more everyday Christians with the current confidence and know-how to share Jesus in our generation. See you next time.