During my recent Middle East trip, I was blessed to spend time with ‘Lucas.’ ‘Lucas’ is from a Central Asian nation devastated by tribal warfare and radical Islam. For his family’s safety, ‘Lucas’ was forced to relocate to another country in the region. He is part of a very healthy church and under the care of biblical elders. While pursuing a degree in theology, ‘Lucas’ also maintains two Facebook pages in his native language. One page focuses on gospel content, while the other offers apologetics material. These Facebook pages have over 20,000 followers and some months average over 100,000 visits!
‘Lucas’ is also using technology to train house-church leaders in his home country. He meets with a core group of 10-12 leaders on a weekly basis using a video call. A few times per year, when possible, he brings those leaders to his current country of residence for a week-long intensive training. This summer he even took the risk to travel back to his home country to train these men. All together, ‘Lucas’ and the leaders he is training are connected to 30 house-churches, each averaging around 10 members.
Out of this leadership training, 2 men have already completed a 9-month pastoral internship in ‘Lucas’s’ church, and a third man is currently in the internship. ‘Lucas’ told me this intern’s remarkable conversion story:
‘Ari’ was a university student in the capital city. He visited ‘Lucas’s’ Facebook page and was intrigued by Christianity and wanted to investigate further. ‘Ari’ went to the library and asked if they had a Bible. The librarian slapped him! ‘Why do you want that stupid book?’ he asked. ‘Ari’ left in fear, but continued to visit ‘Lucas’s’ Facebook page.
Eventually he asked for a Bible through the page. ‘Lucas’ responded through Facebook and ‘Ari’ flooded him with questions. In time, ‘Lucas’ concluded that ‘Ari’ was genuinely seeking answers. He contacted a friend in the capital and asked him to take a Bible to ‘Ari.’ The friend wrapped up a Bible in gift-wrap to look like a birthday gift. He took it to the university cafeteria and left it with a worker, saying that his friend would come to get his gift. At last, ‘Ari’ had his hands on a Bible!
The more he read, the more questions about Jesus he had for ‘Lucas.’ After more time passed, ‘Lucas’ connected him with the house-church in the capital. ‘Ari’ professed faith in Jesus Christ and was baptized. From the beginning he was extremely committed to the church, never missing a meeting. In addition, he met with the elders every week for discipleship. This eventually led to ‘Ari’ attending one of the 1-week training sessions, and now his participation in the pastoral internship.
Please pray for ‘Lucas,’ ‘Ari,’ and the little house-churches in their country. They are constantly in very real danger and ready to die for Christ. Also pray that these house-churches will grow under ‘Lucas’s’ biblical instruction before false teaching gains influence in their land.