January to March 2020

Taste and see

As we are celebrating the people who’ve contacted us over this first quarter, we have been reflecting on Psalm 34. David is praising the Lord for delivering him from his enemies and writes,

I sought the Lᴏʀᴅ, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed. This poor man cried, and the Lᴏʀᴅ heard him and saved him out of all his troubles. The angel of the Lᴏʀᴅ encamps around those who fear him and delivers them. Oh, taste and see that the Lᴏʀᴅ is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him! Oh, fear the Lᴏʀᴅ, you his saints, for those who fear him have no lack!
Psalm 34:4—9

Arabs who contact us have usually had a first taste of God’s goodness. Many are looking for answers to questions that they feel Islam cannot explain. They remain dissatisfied with what the Qur’an offers and disillusioned with contradictions. Often, seekers express that they lack peace as they focus on fear and judgement.

As we all know, tasty food is difficult to resist… especially if it’s chocolate or something equally as sugary! In Psalm 119, David says that God’s words are ‘sweeter than honey to my mouth.’ Below you will read about several seekers who had already experienced that first sweet taste of the gospel or the Christian faith in some way before they contacted us. We praise God for creating a hunger in their hearts, and pray that more across the Middle East and North Africa will ‘taste and see that the Lord is good!’

The statistics: January to March 2020

Four times a year, we review the results of our online efforts. Have a look at the encouraging results below.

After tweaking some backend code and changing the way people could click to download our materials, we were so thrilled to see 3,365 Bible downloads in the last three months. Our online campaign that encourages people to seek the truth of the gospel remains highly engaging. As people learn more about the Scriptures, many want to download their own copy and read more themselves.

We’re overjoyed that 56 Arab seekers have professed faith in 2020 thus far! And out of that number, eight new believers boldly declared their salvation in Jesus by being baptised. I’d encourage you to pray for these new believers and disciples — pray that their faith takes deep root and that they’d be physically, emotionally, and spiritually protected against persecution. Pray that they will shine Jesus’ light brightly in their communities.

The people behind the stats

What’s the difference between Islam and Christianity?

Abbas* from Algeria came across some information about Jesus online. Intrigued by what he read, he did some further searching and found our ministry website. The more he read, the more he was convinced he wanted to become a Christian. He sent a request to be put in contact with a responder. To begin with, Abbas didn’t seem to understand that there was much difference between Islam and Christianity. Over five months, Abbas and our responder had many discussions about faith. Abbas asked many questions about the gospel, and our responder explained how different a relationship with Jesus is in contrast to following a religion to appease God. Abbas finally understood and accepted Jesus into his heart. He is fearful of people finding out, so our team continues to disciple him online.

Please send me a Bible

Muhsin* messaged us asking for a physical copy of the Bible. He’d studied the Islamic books for four years but hadn’t found any answers to his questions. He lives in North Africa, and obtaining a printed copy of the Word in his local language isn’t straightforward. We put him in touch with one of our responders to help him download the Bible and discuss some issues. Muhsin was very open in his first exchange, excited to hear about the gospel, and eager to meet with someone locally. Our follow-up worker made contact and said,

‘We got in touch with Muhsin. He was delighted and encouraged to know of other local Christians. As we were chatting, some biblical misunderstandings surfaced. It was great to be able to speak through these. We’re keeping in touch and looking forward to meeting in person.’

How can I follow him?

Chirag* from Jordan sent us a message because he’d discovered mistakes and contradictions in the Qur’an. He had already started reading the Bible, and his questions prompted him to get in touch. He didn’t understand the deity of Christ and wondered why there were so many different denominations. Our responder helped to answer his questions, to which he said, ‘You have clarified all I did not know about Christianity. I will do my best to read the gospel you sent me. Thank you so much!’

Three months later, Chirag wrote this declaration,

‘I now believe in Christ, the incarnate God. He is the One whom we should worship. He came to bring peace and sacrifice his body for the sake of our sins. How can I follow him?’

Our responder prayed with him, and Chirag received Christ that day. Hallelujah!

Christ has changed my heart

Mayar* had already read the gospel before contacting us. She had also found some biographies written on famous saints, but all this new information was confusing to her.

‘I don’t understand who Christ is exactly. Is he God, the Creator? Is he the Son of God? Is he human? Please answer me.’

Over two months, responder Mira chatted through Mayar’s questions. She was able to clarify the truth of the gospel to Mayar and lead her to the living God. Mayar was overjoyed and exclaimed,

‘Christ has changed my heart. I want to follow him. And I realise my family need him too.’

Mayar received Jesus into her heart and immediately began praying for her own family to know him. She would like to meet local Christians. However, her father is a well-known sheikh, which makes follow-up very challenging.

Some ways to pray

We’re in contact with a few people who are on the cusp of making a declaration of faith, or they’re considering getting in touch with local believers. They’re sort of like Peter getting out of the boat to meet Jesus on the water. Peter took his eyes off Jesus for a second — distracted and afraid of what was going on around him — and began to sink. But Jesus grabbed his hand and saved him. I’d ask you to pray for wisdom, discernment, and boldness for these individuals. We’d be thrilled to add their names to the ever-growing number of Arab seekers who’ve come to faith in Jesus.

Similarly, pray that we at Arab World Media would keep our eyes fixed on Jesus. Amid this global pandemic, it is easy to take our eyes off what’s important and be consumed by worry and fear. But we are in God’s hands. Pray that we will trust and obey him as he calls us and leads us in ministry.

* Names changed for security.
** All Bible quotations are from the ESV unless stated otherwise.
*** Testimonials shared here are direct quotes from our contacts. The views of these individuals are not necessarily the views of Arab World Media.