Spreading the gospel in Muslim communities

Lauren O'Shea | Near East

For 26 days, Jon*, Kyle*, Leo* and Marco* ventured through a Muslim-majority country, tasked with going to extreme lengths to make the gospel of Jesus available to unreached people living in the religiously closed countries of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).

The four young men comprise the OM MENA Traveling Team, or MTT, and during their time in the country, they distributed Christian literature, built two refugee shelters, distributed food and medical supplies to Syrian refugee camps, assisted a sports ministry and visited families and Muslim-background believers throughout the region. 

“Each day we trusted God to lead us to the right people and right places,” Marco recalled. “Quite often we’d set out for the day with only a general plan of what we were going to do. Each and every day God brought us to people who needed the good news [of Jesus],” he continued.

Praying with Muslim-background believers

The team was distributing literature when they met a man who took a Bible and then asked for as much literature and as many Bibles as they guys would allow. After a bit of conversation, they found out that this man was a Syrian refugee and a Muslim-background believer (MBB).

“The man told us that he had a dream or a vision about Jesus while he was still in Syria, and that’s what led him to search for more information about the gospel when he and his family fled to Lebanon,” Leo said. “They ended up connecting with a small Bible study group when they first arrived, and now they are quite involved in leading studies with other MBB’s in their neighborhood.”

The man invited the team back to his house to pray for him, his wife and his five children. The MTT guys prayed that this man would receive healing for a severe leg injury and for safety and provision for the whole family.

After they were done praying, the family asked if the guys would follow them to a friend’s house to pray for their child who was ill.

“I was moved by their faith in the power of prayer,” Jake said. “Even in their difficult circumstances, their faith wasn’t shaken.”

Hungry for the Word

The guys were passing through a small village and passing out Bibles when they met a Druze man who was thrilled to meet followers of Jesus Christ. The man ushered the MTT guys into his store and showed them that he already had a Bible and had been reading it every day.

“He said that someone gave him the Bible earlier that week,” Jake said. “It was really encouraging to meet him, and others like him, who were so hungry for the gospel.”

Moved by locals’ hospitality

As they travelled throughout the region, the team experienced the blessing of Arab hospitality. Almost everywhere they went, the guys were welcomed into family homes and presented with a meal to eat, or offered a ride in the car from a stranger passing by.

One day, they met a Syrian refugee family who was interested in talking more about Jesus. The family welcomed the guys into their home and gave them delicious cakes and tea.

“It was so cool. We got the opportunity to pray for them, and we found out that they had been going to one of the churches that we had been partnering with,” Leo said. “They invited us back for dinner, as well. They were such a blessing to us.”

Another time, the team was walking along a road when a car stopped just ahead of them. When they walked past the car, the driver told the guys to hop in.

“The car was already full, but he really wanted to give us a ride,” Leo said. “This kind of thing happened every time we went out. It was truly amazing.”

Depending on God

Reflecting on their adventures in the Muslim-majority country, the MTT guys agreed that the biggest thing that God taught them during that time was dependence on Him.

“So little of our schedule was confirmed ahead of time, due to the nature of the work we were doing,” Jon said. “It was awesome to see how God led us through each situation and to experience His provision,” he said.

“We prayed that God would go before us and open up the hearts of the people we’d be ministering to. And He did!,” Marco said. “We were shocked by the number of people who were so open to receive what we had to offer - the light of Christ,” he continued.

The team continues to rely on God as they have now travelled to their next destination country and are trusting that the Lord will use the people of the local church to follow up with unbelievers who received literature.

“The literature helps them initially and they get some good reads, but they need someone to follow up and disciple them if they’re going to grow more,” Marco explained.

Please pray for the people who received the literature the MTT distributed. Pray that they would be motivated to continue seeking Christ, and that established believers would be diligent in seeking them out and discipling them. Pray for the MTT as they travel to and minister in other countries in the region. 

Interested in this ministry? Apply for MTT

*Name changed

Lauren O'Shea is a journalist from the United States. She is a communications intern for OM Middle East North Africa and is dedicated to telling the world what God is doing through global missions and the arts.

Published: Tuesday, 09 August 2016
Credit: Lauren O'Shea
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