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Friday, May 18, 2012

The Story Behind The Next Target

by Nikki Arana

  
THE STORY BEHIND THE NEXT TARGET

Many people are interested in how I came to write The Next Target, which is releasing June 1, 2012. It was inspired by my ministry, AVoice for the Persecuted. I help persecuted Christians who are under the threat of death . . .  here in America! That is code for Muslims who convert to Christianity. Working with Muslim Background Believers (MBBs) has changed my life. You see, after talking and working with numerous Muslims who have come to know Christ, I realized that I hardly knew Him at all.

Muslims who convert to Christianity pay a huge price for their faith. Most I talk to live under persecution by their former friends and family. They have no jobs because they live in a Muslim community and are shunned. And of course there are those who have been deported and/or killed. As I heard their stories I realized that my Christianity has cost me nothing. That I can never know Jesus like they do. They have paid a great price to know Him. And they love Him as you would love someone who has saved you from certain death. Oh, I know He saved me from sin and death. But I don't know it experientially like they do. I know because I have read about it in the Bible. But I have never lived under the threat of eternal damnation like they have. Islam is an unforgiving religion and God is presented as cold and unpredictable, judging you every moment, noting your sins, waiting for your death to exact His judgment. And there is no way to escape Him. That is as real to them as the assurance of salvation is to us. When they meet Jesus, and often He comes to them personally to overcome their fear of Allah, they realize that He died in their place. That God exacted His judgment on Him, that Jesus suffered so they will never have to, and they fall on their knees and worship Him. They worship and love Him in a way I never can. I have never experienced what life and death would really be . . . without Him. Though I do understand better now, thanks to their testimonies.


That is how I came to write The Next Target. I feel a burden to tell their stories. To introduce American Christians who have a fear of Muslims to characters who are patterned after Muslims and MBBs I have met. They live and work among us. We can reach out to them, model the love of Christ, and then with the leading of the Holy Spirit, give them what Islam can never give!

Yes, evangelizing Muslims can be scary. And that’s why the tagline for The Next Target is: Would you share your faith if it would cost you your life? I am hoping that people will consider that question. I had to. And I hope they realize what I did in a single moment as I was talking to an apostate, discussing the fact that he might soon be put to death. He said, “Nikki, if I have to die here I doesn’t care. I already gave my life to Christ.” Those few words, spoken from that man’s heart, changed my life forever.

Are there Muslims living or working in your world? Would you be open to starting a friendship with them?


Read The Next Target Excerpt

Nikki is giving away one copy of The Next Target here at the Inkwell. One winner will be drawn from comments left on this post until midnight Sunday, May 20th. The winner must have a continental US postal address. If the winner lives out-of-country, Nikki will provide a free Kindle copy when it is available.  (Download the Kindle app if you don't have a Kindle.) Entries must be accompanied by a valid email address (remember to use (at) and (dot) so the web spiders don't find your email address).

And here's some great news - The Winds of Sonoma, Winner of the Carol Award, is Free on Kindle May 16 - 20. Click here
And you can win a Kindle to read it on! Details are at the News! tab on Nikki's website at www.nikkiarana.com  

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Nikki Arana

Author and Speaker

Nikki Arana has received numerous awards for her writing, including the American Christian Fiction Writers' Book of the Year award and Christianbook.com Top 20 Novel of the Year for The Winds of Sonoma. Through her ministry, A Voice for the Persecuted, she inspires hearts toward evangelizing the Muslim community.
Visit Nikki at: www.NikkiArana.com


23 comments:

  1. Wow Nikki! What an amazing truth you share. Our Christianity has cost us little or nothing. I follow Voice of the Martyrs--a sure way to be reminded of the easy path we have in this country. I feel our religion rights are falling away but we know nothing of persecution yet. I hope your new release touches a lot of people and I want to read it and share. Thank you so much for visiting with us today.

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  2. Great article, Nikki. I also have many friends who are MBBs. They are very inspiring.

    And...I've also written a book with a Muslim protagonist. But at the moment it's looking like that one might be for a little later in my career. I have much more interest in my historical romance series right now. I do hope to come back to it, though. I had one company that would have published it if I was a better known author.

    Keep up the good work.

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  3. Good morning, ladies.

    Nikki, thank you for trusting me with your post. Many authors ask what we want them to write about and usually, the answer is to write what's in your heart. I think it says a lot that this was the second post you wrote for us because you felt the first one wasn't personal enough. I think this is the one God laid upon your heart.

    And considering all the trouble I'm having finding authors for my Author Memories blog, I have to say in my own defense that no, I did not reject Nikki's first post.
    (Please excuse the promo)

    I'll be back later...must go tweet about Nikki's giveaway.

    And although Inkies aren't eligible to win her book, Nikki's eBook, The Winds of Sonoma, is a free Kindle download until Sunday. :)

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  4. Good morning, ladies.

    Nikki, thank you for trusting me with your post. Many authors ask what we want them to write about and usually, the answer is to write what's in your heart. I think it says a lot that this was the second post you wrote for us because you felt the first one wasn't personal enough. I think this is the one God laid upon your heart.

    And considering all the trouble I'm having finding authors for my Author Memories blog, I have to say in my own defense that no, I did not reject Nikki's first post.
    (Please excuse the promo)

    I'll be back later...must go tweet about Nikki's giveaway.

    And although Inkies aren't eligible to win her book, Nikki's eBook, The Winds of Sonoma, is a free Kindle download until Sunday. :)

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  5. Thanks for sharing this, Nikki (and Anita!). I'm about halfway through "The Winds of Sonoma" and loving it thus far. I love stories that make me think and question my attitudes and beliefs about issues of the day.

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  6. Thank you, Nikki.

    When I was a child, being a missionary to Muslims meant learning another language and traveling to another continent. And now it means stepping out my door. God has brought the world to us, and it's a rather frightening responsibility. It was so much easier back when I could just donate some money for someone else to go.

    My 17-year-old son recently called a Muslim childhood friend from our years in the DC area -- just to tell him that if he ever wanted to talk or had questions, C was there for him. I'm a bit in awe because he has more courage than I.

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  7. Nikki emailed that she's busy with a family member and will be here later.

    And if an Inky wants to delete one of my duplicate comments, that'd be appreciated. I'm in another account right now and don't want to switch over.

    Niki, I downloaded The Winds of Sonoma too, but haven't had a chance to read it yet.

    CJ, you reminded me that the kids and I worked as extras on the CBC TV show, Little Mosque on the Prairie a few years ago. It's still being taped within an hour of my house, but it's in its last year. It was a fun production to work on because it didn't so much as discuss the religous differences, but it showed that Muslims can live in the community without raising fear.

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  8. Oh, yeah. After you told us about Little Mosque on the Prairie I watched the whole first season. It was cute. Kind of skewed, but cute.

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  9. Interesting post. I once spent time talking to a Muslim woman who was very interested in Christianity. It didn't take long, however, to see that she didn't want anyone else to know what we were meeting with her about. In the end, her fear won out.

    Your book sounds wonderful!

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  10. wow... such an interesting post. i went to graduate school with a couple of Muslim women. one in particular wasn't too interested in becoming a Christian, but she and I had some good conversations while we worked on a student film together. she appreciated the fact that I didn't try to "convert" her like so many of the other students were doing. i told her that that wasn't my job. my job was to share Truth with her and how the Lord has worked in me - what she did with that information was between her and God. She looked thoughtful after that, perhaps I merely planted a seed.

    i appreciate you sharing with us Nikki - it is inspiring to read about how others act upon what they feel the Lord leading them to do. thanks!!!

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  11. Anita, I have some issues with showing the "fun" side of Muslims in the neighborhood. I think there are valid reasons to have a healthy fear of Islam. Wherever Islam is dominant, members non-Muslim faiths are persecuted in the name of Islam. Sometimes the conditions are "mild" (non-Muslims may live as second-class citizens in a "dhimmi" state) and sometimes the persecution is horrific.

    Unfortunately, we seem to be at a place in history where where the more moderate/tolerant voices in Islam are losing the theological argument to those who advocate violence in the name of Islam.

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  12. Didja see me, Dina? Huh?

    I'd have to check which seasons I was on for that production, but the two scenes I remember most are the airport scene and the picnic scene. Oh, and the Christmas scene. And the fair scene where we even got Nelson involved although he didn't feel comfortable, didn't take orders, and the director kept yelling, "Cut!" so that he could come over and tell Nelson - again - what to do. Nelson made it clear I was to NEVER book him again. LOL It was a great experience.

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  13. Amen, DebH. That's exactly how I feel about my writing.

    Nice to see you here, today. :)

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  14. CJ, I don't doubt what you say. But I don't believe we need to hound them about Christ, either. I trust that if I live my life according to His teaching, others will see and want what I have.

    Out here on the prairie, Muslins are a small minority. They stand out by their clothing and draw curiosity wherever they go. Creating hatred by battling Islam in a province already rampant with prejudice against the First Nations peoples won't show God's love for all humankind.

    Baby steps. I believe in showing them that as children of God, we love them regardess.

    Show them. Then tell them.

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  15. wow...thanks for sharing, nikki. a wonderful article.

    karenk
    kmkuka at yahoo dot com

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  16. It is so uplifting to see all the discussion here.

    Niki, I love your comment about “The Winds of Sonoma.” When you say “I love stories that make me think and question my attitudes and beliefs about issues of the day.” You are my reader. You are my target audience. (cyber hug) I am just starting a FB group which will be authors who write Transformational Fiction. That is fiction that does just what you describe. I blogged about it if you or any other followers here want to learn more about it. http://www.nikkiarana.com/blog/

    Barbara, what you describe about the frightened Muslim woman happens a lot. Evangelizing Muslims means engaging in spiritual warfare. That’s why it is a friendship ministry. Reach out and form friendships with the Muslims who live and work among you. Never share the gospel until they ask you about it. Just love and serve them. The Holy Spirit will do the rest.

    Deb H, Yes, seed planting is exactly what it’s about. Good for you!

    CJ and Anita, you are both right. Though I wouldn’t say, “ I think there are valid reasons to have a healthy fear of Islam,” because that kind of fear is not from God. But I would say, “It is imperative that one understands that Islam is a satanic religion and form of government that robs people of their liberty and sometimes their life.” Notice, it is Islam that is the problem, not the Muslims. There but for the grace of God go I. Any of us could have been born into it. And if we were born in an Islamic country there is no way we could ever seek the Truth. It is not only forbidden, it is not available. Remember we live free by the grace of God. Knowing how He has so richly blessed me, I can’t sit by and let Muslims that are within my reach die lost. There is an important scriptural truth here, I am not meant to serve the Muslims, I am meant for God to serve the Muslims through me. And that is what I have tried to do, which goes to Anita’s point.

    Thank you so much for taking the time to comment and share. I will check back again later. I have aging parents and am the sole caregiver for them. Mother, age 90, recently had a massive stroke, and dad, age 94, is in heart failure. Today they have needed me.

    If you like, let me challenge you with the question the book asks, Would you share your faith if it would cost you your life? You might think my answer to that question would be obvious. You might be surprised!

    Love and blessings.

    Nikki

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  17. disturbing considering who we are in Christ and the mandate - to love -
    the only commandment -
    neighbours [others] as selves...
    we're bought and paid for - not our own..
    thx for transparency Nikki!
    tweeting regularly for you..blessings
    faithhopecherrytea at*gmail.*com

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  18. The tagline is profound. And I would have to say, yes. We are already seeing our Christian faith trampled upon.
    As for Muslims in my area...there aren't any. But I did have a French teacher in college who was Islamic. She hated me.
    I would befriend them, just as I would befriend an atheist or a homosexual or a buddist, etc. BUT, I would guard my heart so that I would not be influenced by their ways. They would not be dear friends while being unbelievers. And I wouldn't water down my testimony, faith, etc. to make them comfortable. My best friend is atheist (after she decided not to be pagan or agnostic). I'm still working on her. ;-)
    Fear, though, is a tough bond to sever. It takes the other person to be willing enough to leave and follow Jesus.
    I did it once, and it cost me a marriage and a home.
    Nikki, you mentioned that Islam is a satanic religion. I absolutely agree. I've read the quran. It is definitely the devil's bible...which explains why it was given to a man at the height of Christian expansion.
    I wish I could type more, but I'm without internet and typing on my phone is taxing to say the least.
    BTW, the book sounds like a page-turner! Be blessed.

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  19. Wow, Nikki, this is an amazing post, as I'm certain your book is, too. I see it for pre-order on the Nook, but no others. I'll look forward to reading the new one, but I'm sad I can't download the Winds of Sonoma.

    I live in a very non-diverse community and have only, to my knowledge, met one Muslim woman. I met her two years ago in a specialized class we were in. She was an adorable woman, as sweet as can be. My heart broke when she told me about living in NY and how she was treated after 9/11. She had to keep her children inside. It was incredibly heart-wrenching to hear her story.

    On another note - being the non-diverse community - there were two Hindu men who owned a restaurant here. After 9/11, the majority of the community stopped going to their restaurant, called them ugly names and basically ran them out of business. It was also incredibly sad as one of the men had a serious heart condition and ended up getting a heart transplant. They were very kind and gentle brothers, and I remember once when we went to their restaurant for my husband's birthday, they baked him a lemon cake.

    The ignorance of some people frightens me more than being afraid of someone due to their race or religion.

    Nikki, please come visit us again sometime.

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  20. Thank you all for your comments.

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  21. Thanks for the great post Nikki. I don't know any Muslims in my city but since I am retired now I don't get out and about as often as when I worked. I downloaded your book and looking forward to reading it.
    Thanks for stopping by to chat and share with us and thanks Anita for hosting giveaway. I also posted your big giveaway and free download on FB.

    misskallie2000 at yahoo dot com

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  22. Hey, misskallie, nice seeing you here.

    Thank you, Nikki, for sharing the story behind your new release. And an especially big thank you for giving away one copy of it to someone here.

    Folks, the draw is still open until midnight, Sunday May 20th.

    If you want to be entered, however, you MUST leave your email address in a comment - unlike my Author Memories blog where I usually see you all.

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  23. Here it is Monday night and I just realized I forgot to make the draw! Sorry about that, folks.

    Using random.org, the winner of Nikki Arana's new release, The Next Target is...

    FaithHopeCherrytea!

    Congrats to FaithHopeCherrytea. Nikki will be in touch with your concerning your postal info.

    Thank you everyone for sharing your views on this controversial topic. May God give us the knowledge and wisdom to glorify Him in a way that shows others what we have so that it gives them a craving for Him as well.

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