‘I do not have much trust in myself and I fear the future…’ ‘I don’t like violence and I’m looking for peace in my life…’ ‘I’ve tried committing suicide but I did not succeed…’ ‘No one is beside me…’ ‘I have been going through some tough times with family issues…’ ‘Time is passing by and the Lord is still knocking at the door of my family members…’
These are just a selection of the many messages Zeina has received through our online ministry this year. Here she tells us a little a bit about herself and what she does as a member of our response team…
Tell us a little bit about yourself…
My name is Zeina* and I have been in ministry with Arab World Media for 15 years. I am Lebanese but I emigrated to Canada as a teenager. I married a Frenchman and moved to France, where I now live. I have two daughters.
What do you do?
I answer emails that come in through the online ministry website. We receive many questions about Jesus, the Bible and the Christian faith. Many Muslims have questions. A lot of the emails I receive are from women with depression. I am in contact with some of these through Skype. I try to comfort them, to talk and to listen to them.
I am also available to chat online with enquirers for a few hours a week, and participate in the chat room where Muslims and Christians from all over the Arab world come to learn and discuss things. We explain the Word of God and we are open to questions. Everyone is free to participate.
What is the most rewarding part of it?
When I am able to help people feel better. When a person says a verse gave them comfort and peace. When I pray with someone and they accept the Lord. This has happened to me nine times. It is rewarding – I feel that what I have written has been guided by the Lord and that it has made an impact on a person’s life.
What’s your biggest challenge?
The depression campaign** has been a big challenge for me. I have received many emails from women who are depressed. The challenge is to tell them that life is worth living and that they are loved by God. I assure them that we are praying for them. However, when I tell someone that they can take their problems to Jesus, there’s always a chance they won’t continue to talk.
A lot of your contacts are quite distressed. What do you say to someone who is very upset, perhaps suicidal?
That God loves them, that they are not alone, that we are there to listen… I try to make them realise that there is always light ahead. I often share a verse or two from the Psalms.
How do you deal with angry or abusive messages?
I always answer them. I try to show respect, love and concern. I say, ‘If you want to continue, I am here. If not, I respect that.’
Do you see a change in the people of the Arab world? Has it become more or less open to the gospel?
Yes! Within the last four or five years especially, there has been a lot of interest in the gospel. Media, the internet and cell phones mean people can now get in touch and get out of their world so much easier than before.
How can we pray for you?
Please pray for wisdom when I write and say things – that I would be truly genuine. Pray that I would be able to respond quickly to depressed people. You can also pray for my family in Canada to be searching for a true relationship with the Lord, for my daughters to continue going in the right direction with their faith. You can also pray for a trip I am taking in July to visit refugees in Greece.
*Zeina is a pseudonym.
**The depression campaign is one of the self-help video modules we have produced specifically for women of the Arab world. These have been viewed by thousands of women and men throughout the Arab world.