Arabian Peninsula (MNN) — Nicole James, an Operation Mobilization (OM) worker, traveled to the Arabian Peninsula on a short-term outreach trip. But while she was there, she was able to experience the very stuff of ministry work.
One day, James and her friends wandered around a local market, waiting for *Rebecca, their short-term outreach leader, to meet them. Little did they know, Rebecca had been doing her own wandering and unintentionally got herself and her friends invited to an Arab wedding later that night.
After meeting up with the gang, Rebecca, James, and the others decided to accept the invite, meaning a scramble for the proper attire. However, God provided.
James remembered she had purchased an abaya two days before, and another woman on the trip remembered seeing extra abayas at the flat where the group was staying. Sure enough, after some inspection, there was something appropriate for all the women to wear to the wedding.
To further impress their guests, the women also made plans to go to a local henna salon and mark their skins with the dark and intricate henna tattoos.
Afterwards, the group enjoyed a lunch at the flat while discussing the parable of the wedding feast Matthew 22 and its similarities o their situation. What some people may not know is the way a wedding’s success is rated in the Arabian Peninsula is by how many people attend. Thus goes the famous saying, ‘The more, the merrier.’
Yet, it was during this wedding that Rebecca, who lived in the area, began forging friendships she intended to nurture. By the end of the night, Rebecca and the other women were invited to the groom’s family’s house the next day for a luncheon–an extended wedding festivity.
In the Arab culture, it’s proper for the groom’s family to see the bride the day after her wedding as way for family and guests to ensure her well-being following the wedding. However, the bride’s family is not allowed to see her until a week after the wedding. Then it is another week on top of this before they’re allowed to visit the bride in her new home.
But Rebecca was invited, and she took the opportunity to build upon the friendships which were established the previous day. Relationships are what make ministry work possible, especially in a culture where Christianity is a minority religion. Rebecca knew this.
Rebecca isn’t the only OM worker whose ministry depends on building relationships, earning trust, and then sharing the personal story of God’s amazing love and grace. There are many other people doing this in different places, so others can also be invited to the ultimate wedding: the wedding between Christ and His bride, the Church.
Please pray for OM workers like Rebecca who need spontaneous moments and flexibility to build new relationships in order to share the Gospel. Pray for their protection and for God to give many people ears to hear the Gospel and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ..
*Name changed for security.