For Dr Khalid Al Shammari, his honeymoon in the United States was not just the beginning of a happy marriage, or an interesting holiday in another culture; it became the beginning of a spiritual journey that would impact every aspect of his life.
Khalid grew up in a Muslim home and lived his whole life in Jeddah and Mecca. At King Abdulaziz University he specialised in microbiology and eventually got his Master's degree in bacteriology.
In 1997, he and his wife honeymooned in the States, where a group of Christians tried to convince him of the truth of their religion, and he them of his. They challenged him to pray and ask whether Jesus is God. Khalid did, but nothing happened initially.
"After several months, I had a dream," he shares in his Youtube testimony, "and I knew from it that Christ is God, who suffered on the cross instead of me. But I could not admit this openly.
"Because of this dream, I decided to read the Bible so that I could know the facts before making any decisions. I searched the Christian sites in Arabic. I found that the Bible consists of the Old and New Testaments, the old for the Jews and the new for the Christians. I decided to download the New Testament that belongs to the Christians and read it."
Khalid did this and through his reading realised: "I was supposed to die for my own sins and not [Jesus] Christ the righteous one. But He decided to leave heaven and to be crucified – to die in my place. I asked myself: why?"
Khalid says the answer is in John 3:16 – because Jesus loved us even though we were unworthy of that love, He chose to pay the price to wash us clean of sin so that we can be in eternal relationship with Him.
In the New Testament, Khalid saw that Jesus often referred to other writers like Daniel and Isaiah, or said "it is written".
"I asked myself, 'Where is it written? Who are these prophets?' A simple search led me to the Old Testament. It was as if God was saying, 'The Book of the Jews is my Word too. Read it so that the truth can be clear. See that those who lived before Christ knew of His coming and waited for Him in faith.'"
So Khalid downloaded and read the Old Testament and was interested to find that many of the teachings and practices of the Jews are still found today in Saudi traditions.
"I found many things of great interest to me. I came across a verse that said: 'You clothe me with skin and flesh and knit me together with bones and sinews.' (Job 10:11) I almost fell off my chair in surprise, crying 'God is great'! My wife asked me, 'What is going on?' I told her: 'The Bible mentions the details of the foetal formation in the mother's womb in a precise scientific way, contrary to what is in the Koran.'"
Khalid and his wife asked a Muslim embryologist and imams about the contradiction between the Koran and the science regarding this point. Surat 23:12-14 of the Koran says: "And certainly did We create man from an extract of clay. Then We placed him as a sperm-drop in a firm lodging."
No one could explain the problem to the couple's satisfaction. However, it did cause Khalid to be reported several times for apostasy and eventually blacklisted.
God but He
searched for me
and found me”He believed it was time to flee Saudi Arabia and told his wife they would have to divorce, as it is illegal for a Muslim woman to be married to a Christian man.
"I love you and want you to be with me," he said. "Choose for yourself."
She said: "I want to be with you."
Khalid warned her of the dangers, but his wife decided to stay with him in the hopes of winning him back to Islam.
However, after studying in-depth and comparing the teachings of Islam to the teachings of Christ, she too became a Christian.
On October 17, 2003, Khalid planned to flee to Jordan but did not know how he would get out of Saudi because of the travel blacklisting. For a week he prayed from Psalm 91:1 "Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty."
"On the day of travel, I said: 'Lord, I am not expecting you to open the Red Sea for me, nevertheless, please let me out of this dilemma in your way.'
"I was not demanding a miracle, as His existence in my life is the best miracle of all," explains Khalid. "Nevertheless, God gave me a miracle for at the time when I was boarding my flight, the immigration computer was shut down and the official couldn't check the records!"
Today Khalid preaches to thousands through Al Haya Arabic Christian TV.
'The whole credit is to the Lord Jesus Christ," Khalid asserts. "I didn't search for God, but He searched for me and found me. He saved me and my family.
"He is the only true living God who hears and responds and loves the people whom He created. God loves all people but He hates sin. Come today and know my Lord, Jesus Christ, because He is close.
"Words are unable to describe the joy that Christ has given me. I know this, that you too can experience this joy. Please consider the claims and the works of Christ," he urges.•