The authors serve in the Middle East.
We usually hear and see on the news the sad and troubling stories about the Middle East. Yes, it is true, there are wars, there is oppression and there is a lot of tension. However, we are very wrong if we think that this is the whole story – because it is not! There is something amazing going on in this part of the world. It is a work that reaches hundreds of thousands of people. We are talking about proclaiming the message of the Bible through social media platforms like Facebook and YouTube. ‘Because a great door for effective work has opened to me’ (1 Cor. 16:9).
Middle Eastern societies are very much centred around family ties, traditions, cultural values and of course, religion. It would be very difficult for an individual to start questioning shared values within their family or tribe. It is even more dangerous when you start to ask questions about religion. However, through the internet, people are able to hear and see more of the outside world. You can search the internet without anybody knowing what you are doing. So, people search for answers to the questions that they are not allowed to ask in their own circles. This much safer environment is full of opportunities for ministry via social media.
A Way in the Wilderness
Four years ago, the Lord guided us to start a ministry to help people encounter the Bible and find the Lord Jesus Christ via Facebook. We started by recording lessons about Christian faith, the Bible and the message of salvation and uploading them to our Facebook page. From the time we started this ministry, the Lord has done many great things! We grew from a few subscribers to more than 285,000 followers. People visit our Facebook page from many different countries and the vast majority of them are Muslims. They have a lot of questions: Who is God according to the Bible? Who is Jesus Christ? The Trinity – do Christians worship three Gods? Is the Bible the Word of God or has it been changed? The crucifixion – did Jesus have to die on the Cross? Was there not any other solution for forgiveness of sins and salvation? And many more questions about sin, eternal life, judgment day and faith. All these questions come from the false teachings they have learnt about Christianity. We have a full-time worker and some helpers who are kept busy replying to all their questions. Please pray for our workers because they need a lot of wisdom to share the truth in a wise way. Many of our visitors ask for Bibles and we also send the New Testament to them electronically. Videos with Bible messages are shared on our Facebook page and some of them have been viewed almost 100,000 times.
The Middle East is known for its dryness but our God is sending streams of Living Water. ‘I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland’ (Is. 43:19). His ways are beyond all our understanding. The Lord is indeed doing a wondrous work!
A famous Egyptian TV anchor recommended that all the schools teach the Sermon on the Mount because of the value of the ethics and morals of Jesus Christ! His comments during the show caused a lot of outrage and hatred among extremists; one of them used his own TV show to publicly insult Jesus. Quickly, this topic became a very heated discussion between people on social media and TV in the whole of the Middle East – 22 countries and 400 million people. The result was that millions of people searched the internet for the ‘Sermon on the Mount’ to find out what it was about. One of these individuals is a religious Islamic law scholar and teacher with a lot of knowledge about his religion. He decided to read the ‘Sermon on the Mount’ for himself and in doing so, God touched his heart. He was amazed and started crying. Then he went seeking for more knowledge and found our Facebook page. He and his 16-year-old daughter listened to our lessons. The man had many questions about Christianity. After these were answered, he decided to become a Christian and his young daughter did the same. Then he told his wife and his two sons about their conversion. His sister was also attracted by the beauty of the gospel. Nine of his family members have accepted the Lord as their Saviour. This man is now a consistent attendee of our Zoom meetings. Soon we will begin discipling and preparing him for ministry among his own people who live in darkness.
people search for answers to the questions that they are not allowed to ask in their own circles
M was working as a sniper for the government in a neighbouring country, which earned him a lot of money. Through the Facebook page, he came to know the Word and he accepted the Lord. He quit his job taking lives and started working as a fireman. He now attends our Zoom meetings.
K had a very troubled life and he was dealing with evil spirits. He came across our Facebook page where he started hearing the Word of God. At first he was aggressive and insulting. We prayed for him and with patience and grace we shared the gospel message with him. He was touched and began to understand and acknowledge the good news. He accepted the Lord Jesus as his Saviour and his life was dramatically changed. When he asked for forgiveness, the Lord’s light shone into his heart and delivered him from the devil’s chains and he is now growing in faith.
A asked for the Bible, so we sent her a New Testament. As she read it, she grew to love the Lord Jesus and wanted to know more about Him, so we shared the gospel message with her and she accepted the Lord Jesus as her Saviour.
Another woman was totally depressed and wanted to end her life. She contacted us on Facebook and one of the team shared the gospel with her. After a lot of questions and many discussions, she accepted the Lord and now has peace that she never knew before.
There are many more stories of how the Lord has changed the hearts of people through our social media presence. It is also a way to encourage and strengthen people in their walk with Jesus Christ, people who are often isolated and cannot talk about the good news with others. In this quiet work, the sowing is not always easy, sometimes it is done with weeping, but the Lord promised us we will return with rejoicing, bringing the sheaves with us. ‘He who goes out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him’ (Ps 126:6).
- for the people who hear, read and discuss the gospel message on social media to know and accept the Lord Jesus as their Saviour
- for spiritual growth for those who have accepted the gospel message to be able to serve Him within their families and communities
- for the protection of believers who face danger and persecution
- for wisdom and grace for believers who serve through social media to answer questions and to guide people to the Lord
- for the work to grow, for more believers to serve and to rejoice in the harvest.