A Movement in the Middle East

August 2017 Newsletter (Download Now): Recently, I was invited to take part in a trip to Beirut, Lebanon to learn about a movement of new Muslim followers of Jesus. This trip took place during the time we are focused on our MP summer camps to share Christ in Ukraine and the Republic of Georgia. Regardless, I sensed the Lord’s direction and agreed to go.

I witnessed firsthand how Muslims, both refugees and others, are becoming followers of Jesus. In Lebanon, the non-Muslim population is called Christian. Thus, in people’s minds, if you call yourself a Christian it means you never were a Muslim. To keep it simple, these thousands of new believers are referred to as “Muslim followers of Jesus.” We trust God to sort out the rest. I was greatly encouraged by this move of the Holy Spirit and this newsletter is about that trip.

Beirut – I joined a vision trip organized by Church Resource Ministries (CRM) in southern California to learn more about God working amongst the Islamic population in the Middle East. Lebanon is a complex country made up of Muslims, Druze, and Christians (non-Muslims, by definition). We experienced powerful times of worship with fellow believers from Syria, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, and Egypt.

Bekaa Valley – The Syrian civil war started in 2011, and the resulting war with ISIS caused an influx of Syrian Kurd refugees into Lebanon and the establishment of temporary refugee camps around the country. Sharing borders with Syria and Iraq, Lebanon serves as a “safe stop” for them. Refugees arrive daily, but many that we visited have lived in their tents for several years. We visited a camp and makeshift school now hosting over 1000 refugee children. Most of them live in tents—simple wooden frames draped with heavy plastic, with tires on top to hold the plastic down in winter storms.

The tribal leader within Lebanon has embraced Christianity. A large number of Discovery Bible Studies take place among the thousands of refugee families. A Lebanese missionary speaking Arabic boldly proclaims the love of Jesus as he visits these families. CRM missionaries conduct Bible classes daily. One Syrian refugee shared how Jesus healed his daughter of trauma from the war (right). He told us, “Our home was shelled at night. We were in the basement. After that we decided to leave and walked for weeks to get here.” A 10×10 concrete slab is now called their home. He continued,
“A missionary told us about Jesus and prayed for my daughter. Her screaming and nightmares stopped.” He is not yet a follower of Jesus but he attends a Discovery Bible Study.

Discovery Bible Studies

CRM reports a conservative estimate of 1000 Discovery Bible Study groups across the Middle East. The concept is to assist people to “discover” who Jesus is by reading, discussing, and actually doing what they learn. The next week they return to the group and report on the results of their obedience. As a result, people are becoming “followers of Jesus.” A Discovery Bible Study includes a time of testimony, prayer requests, and praise reports. A log is kept of prayer requests and the answers. People are taught that Jesus answers prayer.

A testimony was shared by a young man named “John” who was tortured by ISIS. “I escaped on foot and after many days arrived at the Lebanon border with no documents or passport. The guard turned me back. I didn’t know what to do. I could not return to my home; that was impossible. So I stepped back and prayed. Another woman guard then asked me what the problem was. I told her, and she said, ‘No problem, follow me, we will fix this problem.’ They let me in and now I am here. This was a miracle only God could do.”

John then passionately continued, “My friends, Jesus has set us free. We must tell everybody about Him. Pray for me that I will tell more people about Jesus,” he pleaded.

I am pictured with John at right. I prayed for him; he prayed for me. Muslim followers of Jesus laid their hands on us and prayed for us to follow Jesus.

Thank you friends for helping Mercy Projects follow Jesus. I pray, with your help, we will walk worthy of His calling.

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