Coffee with Mohammed: One North African's Faith Journey in France

“I used to go to the mosque all the time.  I said all the prayers, but they are nonsense.  The guys don’t know what they are doing.  I said the prayers but my heart wasn’t in it,” Mohammed—Momo for short—told a Pioneer over coffee in France a couple weeks ago.

Momo attends a French language class taught by a Pioneer in France.  A Kabyle Algerian (the same as Augustine), Momo attends the class with students from Pakistan, Tunisia, Egypt, Arminia, Angola, and Sudan.  Like some of the others, Momo cannot read or write French, but he can speak it.  Like the others, he never finished high school.  Some in his class have only received a fourth or fifth grade education in their home country.  

The Pioneer finds that teaching French to newcomers is a ministry of bridge building.  Though French is not his native language, he has been in the country for a couple decades and knows that if his students can learn to speak, read, and write French they will have greater opportunities to work and navigate their new community.  He seeks to not only impart the French language, but to befriend his students, encouraging them as they adapt to new surroundings.   

Momo texted his French teacher on New Year’s Day and they met for coffee.  When asked if he reads the Koran, Momo responded, “I hate the Koran.”  Momo went on to explain that, from his perspective, the Arab Muslims in his city impose Islam on the other Arabs.  He called them “Fundamentalist” and “dangerous.”

“When I left the mosque they harassed me,” Momo said to the Pioneer, “but now they don’t mess with me anymore.  They know not to.”  Momo shared that he is actually a Christian now.  He heard about the faith on YouTube.  He has a Bible and when he has questions about what he reads, he uses Google to find the answers.  

The Pioneer hopes to grow in his friendship with Momo.  He wants to not only help him with French, but to begin discipling him, provide him with solid teaching and apologetics, and even help Momo see the importance of sharing his faith with other Muslims.  The Pioneer laments that it can be hard to find teachable hearts amongst those like Momo.  After years of ministering to Arabs and North Africans, he says that the men especially tend to be very independent, they don’t like authority, and when they become believers they pursue autonomy because they have a disdain for those who remain in Islam.  The heart’s desire of this Pioneer is to shepherd his friend, see spiritual growth in him, and—Lord willing—see him share his faith with his own people group residing in France. 

Momo and this Pioneer are not unique—their scenario is duplicated all over France and throughout Europe.  Many Muslims are like Momo was—their hearts are not in Islam.  And many who have come to Christ struggle with pursuing and receiving community in Christ.  

Pray for both Muslims and missionaries in Europe: 

  • That Muslims would awaken to the Truth of Jesus Christ (John 14:6)
  • That former Muslims who are now in Christ would be tender towards discipleship (1 Corinthians 3:1-9)
  • For this Pioneer worker and Momo—that they would start reading the Word together and that Momo would receive encouragement and instruction from his older brother in the faith (Colossians 1:28)
  • That Momo and others like him would be burdened for the other Arabs and North Africans in their city and they would preach Christ to their fellow countrymen (Acts 1:8)
  • That older Muslim-background believers would take on the role of discipler, evangelist, and pastor (Ephesians 4:11-12)


  • For more workers in the field—there are countless others like Momo in Europe (Matthew 9:38)
  • That Christians around the globe would answer the call to be bridge builders in France and beyond (Matthew 28:18-20)
  • That missionaries would persevere in their calling to learn French and Arab to reach across cultural and linguistic barriers with the Gospel (Philippians 4:13)
  • That missionaries would have the long view of their work and be empowered by the Spirit in the daily, difficult struggles on the mission field (Colossians 1:11-12)
  • That the Pioneer in this story—and others like him—would “not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9)