Medhat is a local partner working across the Middle East. Here he tells how people have come to hear the good news of Jesus both in person and online, even during lockdowns.
“I was afraid I was on my own!” This was the first thing that A, a professional man in Cairo, said when we connected him with another Christian at his workplace.
My ministry is all about connecting those exploring faith with Christians in their local area. I build and maintain a network of trusted volunteers who connect with seekers near them. Our volunteers answer questions about anything related to our faith and connect people with other local Christians, and help source any materials they might need.
A’s faith journey had begun when some Islamic hardliners made references that A wanted to investigate further. As he researched those references, A came across some Christian programmes. He contacted the makers of one programme and subsequently said, “I accepted Christ as my Lord and now I feel like a newborn baby living a new life.”
On meeting A, our volunteer noticed the joy on his face. A expressed a desire to be baptised, though he was also afraid. Our partner encouraged him not to rush into baptism before some discipleship to prepare, and met with him twice a week to learn and study the Bible together. In one of his first discipleship meetings A brought his friend and started sharing about Jesus – A is very eager to reach people around him with the good news.
Like A, many others get in touch as a result of TV and radio broadcasts, social media posts and other online material. Some have seen broadcasts from our organisation and contact us directly, others get in touch with media organisations with whom we work closely – we support those organisations by connecting seekers with our volunteers.
Another part of my work is in empowering local churches and home churches to use the internet – so this area of work has become very important in the last year.
Normally, I would travel to encourage our volunteers, as well as speaking to them regularly by phone. Although I have not been able to travel over the last year, I continue to be encouraged as our volunteers share stories of God at work. God is doing great things even in this pandemic – we see people coming to Christ and lives changed.
Finding a family
L is a university student from a Muslim background, studying in a different country to where she grew up. She lived there with her mum, but then her mum died and she was totally alone, far from family. L has been very lonely since her mother’s death, and has gone through trauma in her life.
Several years ago, L and her mother had been introduced to a church, but felt their faith was not taken seriously. A partner organisation connected with L online over several months, and now she is in touch with a female volunteer from our network. She reported that, “L is a wonderful girl and has a strong faith and loves the Lord Jesus a lot,” and L would like to be baptised. L is being linked up to a Zoom discipleship group and our volunteer meets her regularly and takes her to church, and they celebrated Christmas together.
Our volunteer hopes to see her get to know faithful believers in her city who can encourage her faith and make her feel like she has family.
One of our field partners, a pastor, met with an Iraqi refugee woman who had requested discipleship. As he met with her, he was also put in touch with another woman in the same city, a refugee from a different country who wanted to learn more about Jesus. After several visits, the pastor decided to start a house church meeting in one of their homes and encouraged them to invite others. Now there are over 25 members in that meeting excluding the children!
During the pandemic, we have further developed the material we put online, to engage seekers and to support our partners.
Up to now, we have mainly given training and resources to our volunteers on the ground, to help them to answer questions as they meet with seekers. Now we are also giving that support to our media partners who are engaging with such questions online by creating a website bringing together relevant information.
We are also responding to the fact that people are having dreams and seeing Jesus, but not understanding what they are dreaming or why. We’ve created a visions and dreams Facebook page to help them explore this, and to connect them with the good news.