International (MNN) — Islamic principles are governing
policy-making throughout the Middle East. That's especially true of the cluster of
Islamic Republics. Their hard-line,
anti-Western sentiment closed doors to the Gospel.
Yet, Words of Hope's Lee DeYoung cites
encouraging reports from inside those restricted access areas. "We have noted through our contacts in recent weeks considerable
openness in some of the most tightly-closed countries. It encourages us that
Christian broadcasting in such places is effective. Part of that equation is whether or not
people are interested at all."
DeYoung says despite recent unrest, the interest in
Christianity is growing. Other media ministries concur, pointing to the many Muslims who have come to Christ through Christian satellite TV and radio broadcasts. Most of these new believers are young and passionate about their faith, but out
of fear of persecution they remain "secret believers" who are not
connected to a church or cell group.
That makes the discipleship a clear need and is often requested
of those who are ministering in the region. It also puts those willing to get
the training at risk.
DeYoung urges believers to "be very prayerful about
protection for those who work in such circumstances in those kinds of
places. The pressures against them are
considerable, and the dangers are very real. To some extent, there's been an escalation of persecution,
restrictions, and harassment of believers."
Pray for effective church leadership and boldness of
believers to continue to witness to family, friends, and neighbors. Pray that political decisions in the region
will not discourage believers from praying, but rather the church would respond
in love and an even greater desire to see them come to a saving faith in Jesus