As the Global Engagement Symposium began, I interrupted the buzz of conversation...
When I think of the Arabian Peninsula, I imagine the Arabian desert with sand and lots of it! Blazing sun and parched land with sparse vegetation, and the occasion camel or oasis. The desert wilderness is not an easy place to live, but it is a place where God is at work! As witnessed by the Hebrew people who were led out of Egypt and wandered for 40 years in such conditions, there was much to complain about with the harsh living conditions. But also tremendous opportunities to encounter the living God – just re-read Exodus 16-20! On a recent journey to the United Arab Emirates with our partners at Presbyterian Frontier Fellowship (PFF), I discovered that God is very active encountering the people who live and work in this fascinating place in our world.
During our travels we encountered a variety of people from around the world who live and work professionally on the Arabian Peninsula (pictured below), which gives them the opportunity be a witness for the gospel. The Christian workers we met confirmed what the research has reported: the number one reason Muslims say they have become followers of Jesus is from the witness of Christians living in their community. Among other factors like disillusionment
with Islamic terrorist groups or oppressive governments and dreams or visions of Jesus calling, the core factor is a personal encounter with someone who lives the Christian life in their community. Even in places where evangelism is restricted, Muslims are approaching Christians and asking questions which lead to conversations about Jesus and opportunities to share the Scriptures of the New Testament.
The stunning reality is that even though more Muslims than ever before are reporting such transforming encounters with Jesus, there are still millions of Muslims in the world who have never met a single Christian! More than a few times during our visit, we were challenged to consider the call to come or send others to work and live in the Arabian Peninsula as a witness for Jesus in response to the amazing ways that God is stirring up an openness to the gospel. They echoed the words of Jesus, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few” (Luke 10:2).
We spent time with some folks who could update us about the fast-growing Christian movement happening now in Iran. These incredible partners are focused on leadership development and discipleship to support church growth in a place where Christianity is exponentially growing despite the restrictions and harsh persecution they face. With the use of technologies and creative “vacation” weeks of training, house church leaders are being trained by more mature expat leaders. When asked, “How is this tremendous growth happening?” They remark on the transformation that Jesus brings to people’s lives, which serves as a witness to God’s grace and power in the gospel. God is providing streams in the dessert!
Streams of Living Water
The Christian workers who have answered the call from God and live in the Arabian Peninsula are like the streams of living water that God is bringing to the desert sands and parched souls in this part of the world! It was such an inspiration to meet some of these workers from around the world, and particularly to encourage our partners from Egypt. These Christian Egyptians have awakened to the way that God had uniquely prepared and called them to share the hope of Jesus with Arabic speaking Muslims from around the region who are making serious inquiries. Over the past two years, those inquiries have turned into personal discipleship relationships with over 40 Muslim background believers! Streams of living water flow in and through those relationships and conversations! What a privilege to join with what God is doing to bring living water to the peoples of the Arabian Peninsula.
Would you like to learn more? Get involved in some way? Specific names and locations cannot be shared online. If you would like hear about the details, please get in touch with Jen Haddox, Director of Global Engagement, by phone or email.
Director of Global Engagement
Here are three ways you can respond today:
– Make a commitment of personal prayer, or to gather others for prayer. Learn more: http://www.pray-ap.info.
– Send financial support to one of our partners Egyptian or Persian partners who are discipling and training Muslim Background Believers. Give secure direct gifts through PFF, https://secure.qgiv.com/for/?key=pff.
– Ask to join the network of ECO members who are engaged in God’s work in the Arabian Peninsula! Send an email to email@example.com.