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Posted August 13, 2009

Walid Shoebat's Journey

Walid Shoebat was born in Bethlehem. A reformed terrorist, he was indoctrinated against the Jewish people as a young child. He was told that the Holocaust never happened. It was all fabricated. But when watching World War II movies showing emaciated Jews struggling to walk, he often wondered, "Where did they find all of those skinny actors?"

I'd read one of Walid's books, Why I Left Jihad, and was amazed he would have the courage to lecture all over the United States. He often traveled with body guards as he tried to share his message at college campuses and churches.

When asked where he was educated, he said, "The United States, of course."

Though his mother was American and a prior church pianist, she wasn't allowed to visit America once she married Walid's father. Holding on to her U.S. passport and driver's license, she carried the dream in her heart of one day returning to her homeland.

His mother hid her Bible in her separate bedroom where she read every day while smoking. Walid used to swipe her cigarettes after she'd fallen asleep. One day, he also found her Bible beneath her sofa. He threatened to reveal her sin to his father. He couldn't wait to side with his father and "turn his mother in."

She calmly said something akin to Clint Eastwood's "Make my day," but it was more like, "Go ahead. And I'll reveal your smoking habit to your father as well."

They made a pact: She would supply him with cigarettes. In turn, she could continue to read her Bible and smoke in peace. She'd already lost hair and teeth from her husband's physical abuse. The thought of a Savior was the only comfort in life she had. As they lounged in the same room puffing away, Walid asked, "Why do you read that? You know it's not truth because it was written by man and changed so many times." She began to share her Christian beliefs and why she believed the Bible to be God's inspired Word. She even took her son on covert "field trips" to Jerusalem.

As Walid put it, "Rocks and artifacts don't lie." A seed of doubt began to sprout. But it wasn't until much later, after he read the Bible in its entirety, that he began to understand the truth.

During my interview with Walid, my big question was, "But aren't you afraid of being killed by those who are angry you're speaking out?"

His reply was, "It's like my son says, 'Do you want to go while lying on a bed with tubes hanging from every orifice, or by a quick death?'" It's funny what popped into my head when I thought about dying. I remembered a Faron Young song that had a catchy lyric: "I'm gonna live fast, love hard, die young, and leave a beautiful memory." But just as quickly, Jesus's words came to mind: "Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven." Matthew 10:32-33

When Walid's speaking out couldn't be stopped, his enemies' tactics shifted to discrediting his story. Walid had to stand strong and believe God's words, "Do not fear."

And I also remembered - no one ever said it was going to be easy to follow Christ. No one said it was going to be easy to do the right thing.

But whatever the outcome from trying, it sure beats the orifice thing.

If you'd like to know more about Walid Shoebat's story, check out his interviews by Zola Levitt at http://www.levitt.tv/media/watch/1610

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