Saudi Arabia (MNN) — Mission Network News hardly ever talks about ministry in Saudi Arabia. It's not because it's not happening. It is. But it's one of the most difficult places to be a Christian, let alone do ministry. That's what makes this next story so profound.
"Maryam" is a Saudi woman, and she's done something so unusual she's taking the internet by storm. According to Mahabat News, she is the first modern day Saudi woman to announce her faith in Jesus Christ on YouTube.
Todd Nettleton with
Voice of the Martyrs is amazed. "To see a Saudi woman put her face–even though it's veiled, but to put her face on the internet and say, 'I'm not a Muslim any more. I'm a Christian now.' She basically is signing her own death warrant."
According to reports, this video has made Saudi officials extremely angry. It is to the extent that they called to take necessary measures to deal with Christian evangelism in Saudi Arabia. Nettleton says, "It's being talked about even at the highest levels of the government. [They're saying], 'Hey wait a minute, our young people are leaving Islam. They're following Christianity. We've got to put a stop to it.' And over 1 million people have already watched the video on YouTube."
Nettleton tells about his thoughts when he saw this. "The first thought I had was the incredible courage it took to do that. The second thought is just the excitement that even in Saudi Arabia, which we don't talk about it very often, God is reaching people. Muslims are having dreams and visions. They're seeing Jesus Christ, and they're coming to know Him and believe in Him."
In any western nation, this wouldn't be a big deal. In Saudi Arabia, however, "The Saudi government says Saudis are 100% Muslim. And so, she basically is renouncing that and putting a target, really, on her back."
Why is Saudi Arabia rejecting all other religions? Nettleton suggests, "The Saudi government bills themselves as the guardian of Islam's holy sites–not only to guard those sites in a security sense, but also to guard those sites spiritually and not allow Christianity to even have a foothold on the Arabian Peninsula."
Nettleton is issuing a call to prayer, especially now. "It is the middle of Ramadan. Muslims all over the Arabian Peninsula are fasting and praying and seeking God. Let us pray that they find Him, just as this lady did in a dream when Jesus came to her. Let us pray that many more Muslims will meet Jesus."
While this is a surprising story coming out of Saudi Arabia, it's not the only story in the Middle East. The Mohabat report also indicates that a Kuwaiti prince has given his heart to Christ. Nettleton isn't surprised. "You know, as we see the Gospel coming into some of these countries, it's only natural that it will reach all walks of life. So when we see political leaders or people within the royal family, obviously that's very exciting because they are in positions of influence, and they have a chance to really make a difference. So it's a hopeful sign."
What kind of work is VOM doing in Saudi Arabia? Nettleton says, "VOM is involved in several ways in work on the Arabian Peninsula, but I can't really tell you any more than that."
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You can watch the video by clicking here.