A few days ago, one of our responders popped by for a visit to our UK office. Normally based in the Middle East, Adel* had come over to the UK to spend time with an Arab church, doing some evangelistic outreach. We were glad to see him and very grateful that he spared a few minutes to chat with a member of our team. Here’s what they talked about…
So, Adel, can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Hi. My name’s Adel. I’m 46 and I’m single. [There’s lots of laughter as Adel talks about wanting to find a wife.]
I live in a city in the Middle East. I was born in a small town, but I moved to the big city about twenty years ago.
Do you like the big city?
No, I don’t like it at all. It’s nothing like the place where I grew up, which is more like here in Worthing. I didn’t used to live this kind of life. It’s so fast and noisy. In a way, I’m still trying to adjust, but because of my ministry, I have accepted this kind of lifestyle.
How did you come to join Arab World Media?
I worked in Christian radio for about twenty years, doing follow up. During this time, particularly in the past ten years, a lot of satellite TV channels and websites were established and people stopped listening to the radio because they have TV to watch. There were fewer messages and letters coming in, so my job came to an end.
Then I worked for a Christian satellite TV channel for about two years, specifically on a programme for people who had converted from Islam. People would respond and I would follow up with them.
A friend who I had worked with in radio linked me up with my current manager, Rafik*. He wanted someone to work with him in the response team. This interested me so I talked with Rafik and was accepted onto the team.
At this point in time, we didn’t have any phone lines. I asked Rafik if we could get some, as this is what I had done before. It was important as we Arabs are a talking culture. Arab people like to talk more than we like to write. Now we have four lines, three of which are in our office.
Putting Arab World Media to one side for the moment, what are you doing here in the UK? Are you here on holiday?
I came here to do some outreach. It’s kind of holiday. I like what I do – I like to serve, I like to talk about God. It’s not difficult for me to share the gospel with anyone, whether I’m on holiday or not.
How long are you here for? What are you doing while you’re here?
I’m here until the end of the month. We have a lot of places to visit. One of these places will be London. We’ll go to where the Arabs are and share with them about Jesus.
The majority of them don’t care about Christianity, which is why I go to them. I tell them about the gospel. Sometimes we find someone who can accept the gospel just like that, but most often we move someone from not caring at all to being interested in Christianity.
So how do you go about that?
We have some literature – Bibles and booklets – that we give out, but I like to have discussions with people.
We ask people if they know about the Injil [gospel]. They usually don’t know anything. Sometimes they care, sometimes they don’t. Sometimes we find people who want to debate with us. They say, ‘No you’re not right, your religion is corrupted, your Bible is corrupted, you have to follow Islam.’ I like this kind of discussion.
It’s very important to let a person hear something different. Because he is in a comfortable position, he considers himself to be following the right way. This is the time to tell him something new.
Going back to Arab World Media, what do you enjoy most about your role and what do you enjoy least?
The majority of my work I enjoy. I like to talk. It’s an amazing time of harvest. I have worked in this field for a long time, but this time is especially good.
It is dangerous because a lot of people in the region might consider that we are preaching, trying to convert Muslims to Christians. This is not right, not good, in their eyes.
It leads us, from time to time, to be afraid. Sometimes we feel afraid because we fear the government will make life difficult for us. Or we feel afraid of Islamic leaders. They don’t like Christianity or any religion that is opposed to Islam.
Also, sometimes I feel bad when I have talked for a long time with someone and they don’t accept Christ. I like to see harvest from my work!
From time to time, we try and encourage people who have depression to get in touch and this can be tiring. The calls from people who are impacted by this can be difficult. I can’t always help them.
We had an Iraqi lady who had depression. She came through our Arabic website, but she wasn’t interested in Christianity. She was a Shia Muslim and her husband kept having temporary pleasure marriages. She asked for help and I counselled her for some time. After that I began sharing with her about Christianity and, praise God, she accepted Jesus. It was so nice to find someone like that. We used different tools to reach her. This caused me to be more patient with other contacts.
Do you know what’s happened to this lady and her husband since then? Are there still problems?
What happened in this lady’s life is some kind of miracle. She got depressed and she tried to kill herself many times, but now she cares very much about her relationship with Jesus. She says something happened within herself and now she can manage her depression. Her husband is still the same – nothing has changed and he is still having pleasure marriages – but her relationship with Jesus is very strong.
Do you want to share another story?
Hadid* from Libya began to ask questions about Christianity via our Facebook page. He wanted to talk with someone on the phone, so I took his number and called him. I tried to feel positive about him the first time we spoke.
Hadid lives in a small city. Life is difficult there because of ISIS in Libya. When ISIS was established, Hadid began to think about Islam. He wondered if the problem was with Islam or Muslims, and came to the conclusion that it was Islam. He realised that a lot of bad things have happened in Islam prior to ISIS, but ISIS is more well-known because of its media presence. This persuaded Hadid that Islam is the problem. The behaviour of Muslims stems from Islam.
Hadid also had an Egyptian friend who was a Christian. He realised that this man was kind and honest. Hadid had suffered a lot because of Muslims, but not with this guy. He asked why and became curious about Christianity.
God did many good things in Hadid’s life and he prayed with me over the phone to accept Jesus. Now we’re trying to help him be discipled. He’s looking to come to my city, if I can find him a place to live. I’ll be arranging this when I get back.
Brilliant. And this has just happened over the last couple of days?
So one last question: How can we pray for you?
Two things. Pray for my ministry. I need wisdom. I receive phone calls and messages that I need to answer on time. I always need to find a good answer for these people. It is very important for me.
The second thing… I would like to get married. If you can pray for me, that would be good.
Thank you so much
That’s okay. You’re welcome.
*Names changed for security reasons.