This is the second update on my October trip to the Middle East. My time in an Eastern Mediterranean country was mostly positive, yet with a few concerns. The primary purposes of my visit were to reconnect with those we support in that country and continue building new relationships during a 2-day conference. Over the last 2 years, our leader in that country has held conferences walking through the major elements of the gospel and true conversion. This conference dealt with ‘Regeneration’ and ‘Saving Faith.’
45 people attended the conference and eagerly consumed the powerful teaching. The Q & A sessions were particularly enlightening. It was intriguing to watch them wrestling with the biblical truth that regeneration precedes repentance and faith. It was obvious that many had never heard that truth taught before!
The highlight for me was ‘catching up’ with our supported missionaries. There was plenty of good news. ‘Abu Munahid’s’ church is doing well, and the Lord has marvelously and miraculously healed his wife of some severe health problems. ‘Boutros’ and his wife had a long talk with me and ‘Dr. Andrew,’ discussing plans for their return home in the next 1-2 years to start a church in Egypt. Speaking of returning home, ‘Dr. Andrew’ was busy with preparations to bring his family back to his home country after years of seminary study and pastoral internship in the U.S. We are so eager to see him leading from within the country again, and we expect the work there to grow significantly in health and strength.
Along with the good news, there was some troubling news as well. ‘Mahrus’ had been leading 5 evangelistic Bible studies and house churches. During my last visit to the country, I had the wonderful privilege of preaching in one of each. Sadly, in the last year, the secret police had shut down all the home groups and hauled ‘Mahrus’ in for questioning. This was the result of some Christian converts from Islam who began attending the largest and strongest house church. Someone informed on them to the police, since although Christianity is a legally recognized religion, it is still illegal to convert. That house church has been permanently shut down and the members have dispersed to other home groups. ‘Mahrus’ has been given permission to continue with the other groups as long as he does not evangelize Muslims. According to Scripture, this is not an order from the authorities that ‘Mahrus’ can obey.
Please pray for protection, courage, and wisdom as our brother seeks to continue gospel ministry in such a needy place.
S.R. previously served as Africa Coordinator in 2008. He and his brother, and their families served for almost three years as missionaries to the Lozi people of Western Zambia. Upon returning to the States, S.R. joined a church-planting work in West Virginia. S.R. and his family now live in Christiansburg, VA.More By S.R.