Don't let anyone tell you that the Arab Spring failed or is no longer alive and well! It is roaring like a lion throughout the Middle East, especially in the hearts of young people. The worldwide web, ease of communication and travel, satellite TV, and handheld computers have brought world events and brand-new ways of thinking into nearly every living room in the Middle East. As a result, Muslims are hearing the Gospel at a rate unprecedented in history.
Thousands of Muslims are hearing directly from Jesus, too, in dreams and visions. The prayers which were poured into the 10/40 Window in the past 20 years, perhaps by you and/or your congregation, have had a profound impact in the Middle East. There are now two countries in the Middle East that have over 1 million Muslim background believers in the underground Church, and the numbers are increasing by the day!
This is indeed a harvest time with Muslims in the Middle East and around the world. The atrocities of ISIS, and the fundamentalist theology which undergirds it, have driven large numbers of Muslims worldwide to leave their faith and search for greater truth. The missionaries and Christian leaders in these countries need our help! They would love to see congregations in the United States help them participate in one of the greatest movements to Jesus in history.
For this reason, I helped lead a trip of ECO leaders to the Arabian Peninsula last fall. It is a privilege of my organization, Presbyterian Frontier Fellowship, to assist ECO churches be part of God’s mission of taking the gospel to unreached people groups, which have still not heard the good news of Jesus. ECO Synod Executive, Dana Allin, along with Director of Global Engagement, Bill Young, are hoping that ECO congregations can become directly involved in helping the Gospel advance in the Arabian Peninsula and Middle East.
During last year's trip, we heard heart-wrenching stories from the Muslim background believers we met. In many of the Middle East countries, the government officials and leaders are unusually cruel and harsh. They demand strict obedience to Islam, even though their own lives are far from pious. Common people suspected of becoming followers of Jesus are often jailed, beaten, and left homeless, with their properties confiscated by these governments. We were told that in one particular Middle Eastern country, which is often in the news today, over 50% of the population is clinically depressed, 25% addicted to drugs and alcohol, and large segments of the population unemployed. Without Christ in their lives, the country is dark and nearly without hope.
The leader of this one particular group of believers began a ministry called "Light and Power". People coming to faith experience Jesus vividly and clearly; they refer to Jesus as the one who gives them light, vision, hope and power in an otherwise hopeless situation. The Bible verse which came to my mind when we met them was John 8:12, "Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, 'I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won't have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.'" Many more want to be discipled in their new faith, away from authorities who would arrest them.
I would like to invite you to come with me and other mission leaders to the Arabian Peninsula on a vision trip, November 14-21. We will be meeting with the leaders of four different ministries with whom PFF has developed relationships during the last two years. All four help support the growing underground Church in the Middle East.
I believe that this is a very special hour for the Church worldwide. The only thing that will stop radical Islam from causing more destruction in the world is for Muslims to come to worship Jesus Christ. Just as Jesus stopped the first century terrorist, Saul of Tarsus, dead in his tracks, and helped him become Paul the apostle, Jesus is doing the same today across the Muslim world. Workers in the Middle East need you and me to come alongside them with encouragement, prayers, and love as the Holy Spirit would lead us. Please let me know if you would like to learn more about PFF's opportunities in the Middle East or would like to be part of the trip to the Arabian Peninsula this fall. God bless!