Middle East (MNN) – In the Middle East, Gospel workers are beginning to see a new breakthrough among a group known as Ishmaelites. The group traces their ancestry back to Ishmael, the son of Abraham and Hagar.
Genesis 17:20-21 records God’s words to Abraham about Ishmael’s future: “As for Ishmael, I have heard you; behold, I have blessed him and will make him fruitful and multiply him greatly. He shall father twelve princes, and I will make him into a great nation.”
Ishmael’s descendants are now dispersed throughout the Middle East. Historically, they have been opposed to the Gospel and ministry progress has been slow. That is beginning to change.
A ministry team recently gathered with Ishmaelite believers for a week of Bible study, prayer, and encouragement. Uncharted Ministries President Tom Doyle asks listeners to pray for these believers.
Doyle says, “That’s a significant move of the Holy Spirit to reach a group that links their past all the way back to Ishmael in Genesis, so this is big.”
The journey to faith often starts with dreams of Jesus and a search for meaning. I Found the Truth, a project of Uncharted Ministries, shares similar stories from Muslims who dreamt of Jesus.
The next step is meeting followers of Jesus. Many Ishmaelites live in areas affected by multiple crises, such as terrorism, hunger, and natural disasters. Surrounded by these circumstances, the fruit of the Spirit in believers makes them stand out to spiritual seekers.
“And in the midst of the tragedy that they’re living in, they see people that are living in the same thing, but they have love, joy, peace, patience, and it’s a magnetic pull to them,” says Doyle. “They want to know, how can you be happy and live here where we live and have this joy?”
Disciple-makers then share God’s Word with them. As the seekers learn what God says in Scripture, they begin to understand His love for them and the purpose He has for their lives.
Doyle says, “We know for the church to be strong, the church has to understand who they are in Christ, and what God’s called them to do.”
Pray for the Lord to protect the disciple-makers of Uncharted Ministries from spiritual attacks as they communicate God’s love and calling for the new believers.
“That’s what discipleship does,” says Doyle. “And that’s what launches them into the body of Christ to be effective. And to be a change agent in the Middle East or Central Asia, North Africa, wherever they live.”
Pray that the new Ishmaelite believers will continue to grow in faith and persevere against persecution and discouragement.