Middle East (MNN) — As the Middle East watches to find out what President Elect Barak Obama will do in the region, ministries are also wondering. However, the uncertainty isn't stopping their work.
Word of Hope continues to broadcast Christian programming into the region in Arabic. The uncertainty may be why they're seeing a positive response to their programming. Vice President for Broadcasting Lee DeYoung says, "Words of Hope's broadcasts in the Arabic language are generating a growing response via text messaging. We first began offering that option in early 2007."
Before that they're relied on letters. According to DeYoung in the Middle East, "The the postal services are not always reliable and especially difficult in places where there may be opposition to Christianity. And so, mail coming from listeners, or returning back to them often didn't make it."
DeYoung says he's thrilled with the responses. "The number of different individuals who sent text messaging responses to Arabic broadcasts during 2007 was 4,000 — 4,000 different people. But, the number of 2008 has grown 50-percent. It's over 6,000 now."
The messages are widely interactive, allowing Words of Hope to disciple believers, or encourage non-believers. DeYoung says they get text messages regularly from non-Christians. He says this could be positive, "Occasionally some of the responses from people who are not Christians, but hearing a broadcast are defiant, or highly skeptical. And, the way in which the response comes back to them have been influential in really changing the opinion [of the person]."
Perhaps these messages will be the tool God uses to change hearts and lives in the Middle East.