International (MNN) — Muslim women often face severe oppression, especially in highly-patriarchal cultures. Not Forgotten, an outreach of Uncharted Ministries, is building relationships with Muslim women around the world and sharing the hope of Christ.
Uncharted’s JoAnn Doyle tells a story of one visit to a Muslim Bedouin tribe. She says the tribe welcomed the Uncharted team with a lavishly decorated tent, a feast, and music.
“It was beautiful! They had fruit and dates and…Arabian coffee and they were singing for us and dancing. It was just absolutely incredible. They had all their handmade art for us on display and they were just entertaining us with such beautiful Arab hospitality. It was a truly joyous celebration.”
However, Doyle noticed it was only men and young boys who greeted them. They learned the Muslim women were hidden away in a black tent far off from the festivities. So Doyle and a few other ladies from the team went towards the tent.
“As we get close to this tent, my heart just shattered in 100 pieces. That black tent was surrounded by a chain-link fence. They were locked behind a chain-link fence. They could hear all the music and the celebration going on, but they weren’t even a part of that.”
Some of the women came out from the tent and invited the female team members behind the fence.
“All of them were shrouded in those black niqabs, head-to-toe covered in black. The only thing peeking out was their pretty brown eyes.”
Doyle says, “We had no one to translate, but we communicated with that language of love and pretty soon that shyness fled and they were flipping up their niqabs so that we could see their faces. They wanted to be seen.”
The Uncharted team plans to continue visiting this Bedouin tribe and the team’s ladies will continue meeting with the tribe’s women. Doyle hopes this will flourish into building relationships and maybe someday sharing their faith in Jesus.
Doyle’s heart for Muslim women is apparent by Psalm 31:12-16 which she says reminds her of these women:
I have been forgotten like one who is dead; I have become like a broken vessel. For I hear the whispering of many — terror on every side! — as they scheme together against me, as they plot to take my life. But I trust in you, O Lord; I say, “You are my God.” My times are in your hand; rescue me from the hand of my enemies and from my persecutors! Make your face shine on your servant; save me in your steadfast love!
Doyle says, “That is what we’re praying — that we can go back again and again to reach those sweet, precious women that are stuck behind that veil, behind that dark shroud of Islam.”
You can also connect with Muslims right where you are! Now is a great time to reach out to your Muslim friends and acquaintances. Ramadan, a Muslim holiday of fasting and prayer, begins on Thursday, April 23. Doyle says you can ask Muslim friends how you can pray for them leading up to Ramadan.
“Remember, they’re praying to a god that’s not answering their prayers so they are anxious…. They’re not going to turn down your prayers.”
Then, when social distancing is no longer necessary for the COVID-19 pandemic, Doyle says you can host a Seen gathering with Not Forgotten at your church, small group, or in your community!
Doyle says, “We will inspire you [with] what God is doing in the Muslim world and we will give you a little bit of…Islam 101. Then we will give you a big fat challenge, and that is to go out and engage those Muslim women. But we’ll show you how to do it and we’ll even take you to go out and do it.”
“We don’t always have to go across the ocean, because the Muslims are right here in our own backyard. So our first response is let’s start reaching the Muslims right here. Let’s start engaging them with the love of Jesus right here.”
Header photo courtesy of Majid Korang Beheshti via Unsplash.