Christian apologist Ravi Zacharias penned a heartbreaking letter remembering the life and legacy of his protégé, Nabeel Qureshi, and said his late friend's ultimate desire was to "cover the globe" with the Good News of the Gospel.
The founder of Ravi Zacharias Ministries said he felt a "deep" and heavy" loss after learning that Qureshi passed away on Saturday following a year-long battle with stomach cancer.
"Yes, we dreaded this moment, but it is here," he said. "Our Lord understands. Even He wept over Lazarus, knowing all along that He would raise him. The pain of death is real. Even short farewells are painful. I have a flood of memories."
While Qureshi was just 34 when he died, his brief life had a "big" impact on many, Zacharias said.
"That is rare and is a tribute to an amazing man. I will miss his voice on the phone saying, 'Hello, uncle,'" he continued. "I will miss his memorable smile. Most importantly, I will miss watching him preach with an anointing that was rare. I will write more later. For now, I just wanted to say how saddened we are by the loss of a fellow apologist whose powerful messages changed tens of thousands that heard him."
He concluded: I mourn your loss. I weep over a friendship that was so short. You taught me so much. You often asked me after a message, 'Uncle, how did I do?' My delight was great. Greater will be your delight now as you ask your Lord and your God, 'Father, how did I do?' You will hear the divine accolade: 'Well done, my child.'"
Qureshi, author of the bestseller "Seeking Allah, Finding God", served with the RZIM team for several years before his death. He received the cancer diagnosis on August 24, 2016 - eleven years from the very day he acknowledged and received Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior.
Zacharias also wrote a powerful obituary in honor of his friend for The Washington Post, explaining that while Qureshi's conversion experience "stirred many questions," it was his "gracious and clear responses" that touched many in the Islamic world.
"He met numerous people who had read his book and made their own journeys to faith in Jesus," he said. "It also hurt him deeply when Muslims were painted with a violent brush, something he believed was false and wrong-headed."
Zacharias said Qureshi was "not just an evangelical; he was passionately evangelistic."
"He desired to cover the globe with that good news: that God's forgiveness was available to all. When he spoke, he held audiences captive," he said.
The evangelist reflected on his final trip with Qureshi, where they traveled to Malaysia together.
"Even though his body was weak, his passion was undiminished," he said. "His answers to people's questions about God and Jesus were profound and persuasive. It's hard to believe that Nabeel Qureshi has left us all too soon. I am reminded that he died the same age as Jesus was when his mission was accomplished."
Zacharias expressed confidence that Qureshi is now in Heaven, and said that while he grieves for his wife, Michelle, and his young daughter, Aya, he does not mourn for his friend.
"Nabeel would want more than anything else that we carry the message of Jesus to help change the world," he concluded. "Only then can we understand that the sad news of Nabeel's death is temporary."
After announcing his cancer diagnosis last August, Qureshi frequently used social media and YouTube videos to update his followers on his health and share the Gospel.
In his final video, published last week, he reflected on his ministry and said he hoped to leave behind a legacy of "love, peace, and truth."
"When we talked to people about our beliefs, we should do it through a lens of love, and the whole point should be to bring people together, to bring people together to the truth, and not to hurt one another, but to help one another."
He lamented that far too often, people use the information he shared to "undercut" one another.
"That has not been my intent," he said. "My whole point in teaching is for love to reign. So, as you consider my ministry, I hope it leaves a legacy of love, of peace, of truth, of caring for one another. That is my hope and my purpose behind this. If at any point, I have said anything that seems to contravene that, I do apologize and I hope that is not the legacy that I leave behind."
"Our God is a God of love. That should be what keeps us driven," he added later. "That should be foremost in our mind. So, whether you are talking to a Hindu, a Jew, a Muslim, a Christian, whoever you are talking to, may it be out of love."