I recently spent a couple of days last week with the leadership of the Voice of the Truth Ministries, who have ministered to Muslim around the world for 43 years. I thought I would hear despair and hand wringing, frustration at a world that seems crazy.
I got just the opposite.
According to the Dr. Mateen Elas who serves with the ministry, the chaos of the Middle East is actually seeing opportunity as never before. “For decades, the veil was dark. Missionary agencies gave up. But today, “God is breaking up hard ground,” he said. “Muslims are coming to Christ in numbers never before seen.”
Most of the evidence is anecdotal. Missionaries are giving glowing reports. Churches are seeing new converts in droves. One church in Berlin, Germany has grown from a sleepy mainstream church of less than a 150 to now a thriving congregation of 600 in just a few months, the pews filled with Muslims who have found Jesus
In Iran, one worker reports over a two week period 200 converts following Christ in baptism. According to Mateen, this flood of Muslim refugees is exposing them to the gospel as never before. They are encountering Christians giving aid, churches that operate freely, and a society that comes from a worldview entirely different.
“When we talk to those in the field, in every setting, there is an openness as never before,” he said.
Why the openness?
There are a few reasons Muslims are suddenly open to the gospel
- Satellite Television. Shows like Iran Alive are reaching deep into every village and town in this country. Satellite TV is like a secret weapon in the battle for Muslims’ souls. Authorities monitor many areas of an Iranian’s life. However, no one can control the programs Iranians watch in the privacy of their homes.” Of the 55 million Iranians with Satellite television, Iran Alive has 3-5 million viewers at any given time. There are similar efforts by both Catholics and Protestants.
- The Internet. While outside e call to prayer may be heard, inside in the privacy of a home the glow of a computer screen can proclaim the gospel. There are hundreds of sites that are seeker friendly to Muslims and the impact is being felt.
- ISIS and 9/11 – We are horrified at the atrocities we see at the hands of ISIS. We all remember where we were when the towers fell. These pierced our hearts. And these events are all piercing the heart of the good Muslim too. There are mothers of Islam who simply want to protect and nurture their children. There are Muslim fathers who want to provide for their families. They don’t know any other life. They’ve never been exposed to the gospel. They are questioning the radical elements of their faith and shocked that their texts actually support these groups.
- Visions and dreams – If you aren’t aware of this, it’s very real. By the thousands — or more — Muslims are receiving direct divine intervention through visions and dreams of Jesus himself. I’m not a signs and wonders guy and have a healthy degree of skeptism. But who am I to say that God won’t reach people any way wants behind the Crescent Curtain. One missionary in the field told me, “It happens so often that we don’t even question it.” The “it” is a “vision.” Very often, a Muslim will jolt out of bed and have a vision of Christ or an angel. They will be given specific directions or told to read or listen for something.
Don’t be afraid
This is hard to do when we hear stories about ISIS beheading children, enslaving men, and keeping women as sex slaves. This is hard to do when the innocent are oppressed. This is hard to do when your faith is under fire and the politics of government tell you to look the other way.
“There is a sea change happening,” said Mateen.
This story is part of a series written after a journey to Jordan in October where I met with Syrian and Iraqi Christian Refugees. Please read and consider sharing each of them.
How you can help
You can help by sharing each of the stories above by email, Facebook or Twitter. This is not to build any kind of personal following, but to help these stories somehow, someway reach the right people who can change the face of the refugee crisis. There is power in a simple click. You can also subscribe here to receive all the future posts and I ask that you share them broadly as well.
There are many opportunities for attention and money, but I want to remind you what the Apostle Paul said.
“So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, but especially to those who are of the household of faith.”
Many of these people stood up for their faith under the threat of death. And as a body of believers, we need to rush to their side, to remind them that they are not alone. We do not do this by condemning Islam. Painting broad strokes of fear does not help in any way and only serves to isolate the innocent from Christian love. The enemies are those who terrorize, in any name.
Please share this message with your friends, as this is a chance to give real, immediate aid to those on the front lines without any bureaucracy or middlemen.
You can also give online here. Under Missionary/Project Name, “Madaba – Refugee Fund”
Checks can go to Team Expansion, POB 91294, Louisville, KY 40291, memo line, “Refugee Fund”
I would also encourage you to become a regular supporter of these people who are working every single day on behalf of the gospel for the sake of Syrian and Iraqi refugees. I’ve seen how they use money and how they live and I’m a believer that this is a worthy cause.