By the director of Arab World Media

Beauty from ashes

…a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. (Isaiah 61:3)

What a wonderful passage from Isaiah! Beauty instead of ashes. Joy instead of mourning. Praise instead of despair.

Just recently I saw this verse come to life in the lives of Syrian Muslim women who have fled with their families to Lebanon.

I was visiting colleagues in Beirut and got invited to a Bible study but this turned out to be a Bible study with a twist. They forgot to mention to me that the ladies coming to the study were Muslim. As I waited at the back of the church hall, in walked a crowd of Muslim women, veiled in hijabs with their children in tow. The children went off to another part of the building to sing songs and learn verses from the Bible, while the ladies remained in the main hall for a Bible study.

The meeting began with music (videos in Arabic, including some that we have produced). Then came a message from the pastor. Jokes were shared and the atmosphere was very relaxed and informal. A wonderful connection was made.

Around 55 ladies were present. Only two of them had made a commitment to the Lord. T the others were there to enjoy being with believers and to learn from the Word. I was blown away as I saw what God is doing in the lives of these women. Only he could make this happen – he is clearly drawing people to himself.

God is truly bringing beauty out of ashes. Many of these women had suffered greatly – walking miles and miles to get away from their situations back home. They are waiting to be resettled, but in the meantime the church is using some of our material, including our self-help modules, to help them work through some of the things they have experienced. The women freely share prayer requests with the rest of the group. One shared a dream she’d had of Jesus.

This was so real and unreal at the same time. I felt like I was in the throne room of God! The Lord is doing a new thing, and we are seeing an awakening in the hearts and minds of Muslims who are seeking truth.

See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. (Isaiah 43:19)

Thank you so much for partnering with us in this gospel effort.

The Arab World Media Director