A local ministry leader visiting a fatherless refugee family from a predominantly Muslim country in the Middle East was not used to the displaced declining aid – but he was joyful when they did.
One of the single mother’s three daughters, Uri*, happily declined the food. The young woman, her mother and sisters had accepted such aid for weeks, but when Uri had first made contact with the church that the ministry leader pastors, she was looking not for aid but for truth.
Coronavirus restrictions had been lifted in July, and the pastor had replied to her initial email with the time and place for worship services. Eager to learn about any faith other than the one associated with the atrocities her family had fled in their home country, Uri began attending services where everyone wore protective masks and sat six feet apart.
After one of the church’s services, Uri shared with the ministry leader how her family had fled their home to avoid being killed but found themselves vulnerable in their host country to employers who tried to exploit and abuse them.
“Some ill-intentioned people started trying to take advantage of this family with no father,” the ministry leader said. “The girl explained the situation to us, and we immediately started giving them the help that was necessary, and because of this unconditional love, she began researching – and soon accepted – Jesus Christ.”
One month later, the leader and members of his team brought more food boxes to their apartment.
“She said, ‘No, thank you, I don’t want any more of these packages, because I’ve got a job at a hair salon now, and I’m able to earn some good money, so we’ll not need this help any more,’” he said.
But Uri had more to say. She handed him the equivalent of $8 and asked him to please share it with needy people.
“I’m thinking, ‘Truly, how many people refuse the help we bring them because of this type of change?’ Some just want a gift card and take whatever they can of the supplies, not caring for anyone else,” he wrote to Christian Aid Mission. “Yet your assistance has been so helpful in not only giving needed supplies but also sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ that changes lives so wonderfully. Those who believe grow in their faith and then become mature believers and helpers of others.”
Uri was recently baptized and has been sharing the gospel with her family.
The native ministry has also spread the gospel and planted churches among its own country’s nationals. After local missionaries led a young man and his sister to faith in Christ, the ministry leader said, their teenage sister also trusted in Him for salvation.
“Her mother and dad were very angry that she believed in Christ, yet she remained strong in her faith even though her mother threatened her,” he said. “So she left the home and now lives with her older brother. We thank you for your prayers that enable these young Christians to remain strong through these difficult trials.”
With the pandemic keeping many people at home, young people especially are spending more time searching for truth online, he said. His church continues to post its worship services on social media along with other messages.
“More people are hearing the gospel message with open hearts to receive His word from our social media websites,” the leader said. “We’ve had a number of visitors who heard about us from the website and viewed our internet videos.”
In Person Follow-up
People learning the message of Christ’s salvation throughout the region are often fearful of going to church buildings in the heavily Muslim country, so ministry teams must travel to meet them.
“It’s also difficult for us to meet with the new believers from other cities,” the ministry leader said. “We are on about a 1,000-kilometer trip over five days to meet with those with whom we’ve connected by internet who have heard the gospel, and 11 of those are ready for baptism after online Bible studies.”
The local missionaries seek prayers of protection for those being baptized and for more workers.
“We’re working with a young church, young believers, a pastor who used to be Muslim and is very weak now, and there are a number of fellowships waiting for us to send ministers to them to help them,” the leader said. “We are needing your prayers like never before.”
Planning to organize a baptism service for several people in other cities who have put their faith in Christ, the local missionaries said they were grateful for the support that allowed them to travel to those areas to proclaim Christ. The leader said he is also thankful for funding that enables teams to purchase food for the poor.
“With your help we are privileged to show God’s abundant love to the needy around us here,” he said. “We’re also thankful for the generous giving that allows us to send many New Testaments to prisoners requesting them.”
Please consider a donation today to help local missionaries throughout the Middle East feed the needy spiritually and physically.
*Name changed for security reasons