Near East (MNN) — The coronavirus pandemic is making life even more difficult in most parts of the Near East region – Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria. “There’s been a lot of people that have not been able to work for the last two months; [many] have not been able to receive aid,” says a believer we’ll call “Jane.”
Jane serves alongside the Near East prayer ministry, Cry Out Now, and communicates with ministries and churches throughout the region.
“We’re all experiencing the impact of [the pandemic] and how that has radically changed our lives from being outside and being with people and around people to suddenly living our lives online,” she says.
“But in the midst of this upheaval and upside-down life, we’re also seeing some beautiful things happening.”
What’s happening in the Near East?
Yesterday, ministry partners in Lebanon described how pandemic restrictions worsen pre-existing struggles. In Iraq, tens of thousands of refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) just received emergency help from global agencies to meet basic daily needs. Jordan faces comparatively fewer problems than its neighboring nations, while challenges surround Syria.
“Different countries between Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Iraq are having levels of lockdown, different levels of movement restrictions [and] social distancing rules,” Jane says.
In some places, “People [are] saying, ‘I would rather die of a virus than die of hunger, so I’m going to go out and break the curfew laws because I need to find a way to get money’,” she shares.
“I don’t want to take away from the desperation that people are experiencing, but at the same time, I do want to say that Jesus is meeting people in their desperation.”
Church leaders tell Jane they’re seeing more responses to online sermons. Prayer gatherings across the Middle East are multiplying and growing. “I know of one group that is praying five hours every day for revival in one of our neighboring nations,” she says.
Furthermore, “groups that have never, in the past, been open to studying the Bible are suddenly saying, ‘we want to study; we want to know what Jesus says’,” Jane adds.
“All of this is happening in the context of Ramadan.”
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Pray Near East believers will share their faith with people seeking to know God. “God is going to surprise us with the harvest that is going to come out of these four nations, and that He’s going to use very creative ways to reach them,” Jane says.
This movement goes beyond the Near East. “A part of what we’re going to see as a fruit of the season is how Jesus broke through into people’s lives in new and miraculous ways during this time,” Jane says.
“As believers, are we ready to respond? Will the global Body of Christ be ready to take in the harvest and be faithful with what God is doing in this season?”
Header image is a representative photo courtesy of Cry Out Now via Facebook.