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Responding Boldly amidst Difficult Circumstances
Rev Arnold Chow
The situations in North Africa and the Middle East (MENA) are turbulent, much more so than ours. But according to mission research, there has been a strong trend in recent years for Muslims in MENA to convert to Christ. Obviously, the Holy Spirit transforms and uses some adversities to grow the Muslims' craving for the ultimate answer to life's questions. So, despite the turbulence, you can still be used by God anytime if you are willing to.
In the early days, a great persecution broke out against the church, and Philip was among those scattered outside Jerusalem. Just as Philip saw opportunities for work advancement in Samaria, he heard God's call to go to the desert road (Acts 8:26).
Directed by the Holy Spirit on-site, Philip approached a chariot and boldly started a conversation about Jesus with an Ethiopian. The African was then baptized in the wilderness.
Many Muslims seek the truth. God miraculously brings to the gospel wilderness messengers who put in the finishing touch and lead Muslims to Him.
An Egyptian university lecturer and imam of a mosque was well aware of the discrepancy between the Muslim belief in which love, kindness and forgiveness is proclaimed and the reality that churches are bombed and Christians killed. When he disclosed his doubts to others, he was targeted and persecuted. It brought physical and mental torment and gave him a severe headache about which even doctors could not do anything.
One day at a pharmacy, the shop attendant asked for the reason of the lecturer's frequent visits. "Are you all right?" the attendant asked. "God is missing in my life. I don't know who my God is, or how the vacuum inside me can be filled," he answered. "Before taking the medicine today, read this Bible I give you," the shop attendant responded.
Back home, the lecturer casually opened the Bible. But as soon as he started reading, he was overwhelmed by the Word of God. He had never read such inspiring truth. The words of Jesus were like living water springing into his life. He read the Bible until the next morning, and he gave his life to Jesus. The shop attendant became a gospel ambassador who put in the finishing touch and led him to Christ.
Sometimes, God calls Christians to harvest the mission fields. Indeed, the seeds sowed by some predecessors have ripened. Through miracles and dreams, Christ makes Himself known to Muslims. What is pending is a finishing touch.
Today when God calls, may you boldly respond and become an ambassador of the gospel. We may not have a calling to become "Philip" but we can certainly be the church and congregation that supports and sends "Philip." In the past, evangelism efforts to Muslims have centered around gospel radio and mail. Now it is via online media and satellite broadcasting. All these need sustained manpower and funding support.
In turbulent times, may we be fearless in the face of difficulties and boldly respond to the call of God to take part in His mission.
(This is an abridged version of Rev. Chow's original article in this year's NPAC Mission Journal.)