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Wonders Break Gospel Barriers in the Middle East

In a country in the Middle East, a young Muslim man recently passed by a local ministry’s church site and picked up a New Testament from the stack outside. “He took it home, secretly read from it and hid it, because he feared what his family might do to him,” the ministry leader said. The 22-year-old Muslim had no idea his older brother was also secretly exploring Christianity.

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The Power of Scripture Shines in Iraq

The pope’s historic visit to Iraq in March presented massive security challenges, with all military and civil security forces taking stringent measures. Soldiers at checkpoints were instructed to seize the cargo of any transport vehicle, and before one major papal event they confiscated local missionaries’ carload of 1,000 Bibles. “The strange thing is that we met several people while walking in the streets carrying the same Bibles that we distribute, and when we asked them, they said that they got them from the checkpoint,” a ministry leader said.

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Victims of Violence in Iraq Find Healing in Christ

A 30-year-old Kurdish woman was one of 6,000 Yazidis seized when ISIS militants invaded Iraq in 2014. Yazidi religion being especially despised by Muslim extremists, over the next three years she was sold to fighters of different factions who raped her and her daughters. When she was freed, her parents did not recognize her.

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Families Fight to Survive in War-Ravaged Syria

Islamic State (ISIS) militants along with other jihadist groups have continued to unleash sporadic assaults in Syria, and more are expected as terrorists escape Kurdish forces trying to confront a Turkish offensive.

In a country engulfed in military carnage for eight years, native missionaries try to calm orphaned children by having them count the seconds between the sound of artillery firing and impact.

When Christian workers in one city met a family who had fled ISIS atrocities in another, they were shocked at how deeply traumatized the displaced Muslims were.

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When the Call of Allah Leads to God’s Son

An influential Shia Muslim leader in a Middle Eastern country heard Allah telling him to go to a majority-Sunni Muslim country to convert Sunnis to Shia Islam – or so he thought.

Zain was well suited to Allah’s call: Soon he had converted a number of Sunni Muslims to Shia Islam.

Somehow, God broke through to him – and his Shia converts. The native missionary who baptized them is still wondering how it all happened.

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War-Scarred Muslims Find Life in Christ

Muslims are still feeling the effects of the Islamic State’s occupation of Mosul from June 2014 to December 2017 after the terrorists killed thousands of civilians, and government forces killed thousands more – civilians fleeing ISIS who were suspected of belonging to the group. Families on both sides of the war who lost their men in the fighting are struggling.

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Secular Jewish Refugees Discover the Living God

A Jewish refugee couple from Russia was not interested in hearing more about Christ after they attended an evangelistic event in Israel, but they did accept an invitation to participate in a marriage seminar. A native ministry based in Israel offered the seminar as part of its effort to meet needs in the community.

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No Baptism Is Routine in Muslim Country

For a government official of a Muslim country to leave Islam was unthinkable. But he decided to secretly put his faith in Christ. Living near a port city, his position had earned him great status and wealth. He had the faith to attend worship services at an established church pastored by the native missionary who led him to Christ, but he didn’t risk baptism.

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Urgent Need to Seize Huge Opportunity

Suppose the Lord found plenty of workers to go into the harvest – and then, before they could bring in anywhere near the full number of the redeemed, they left. That’s the problem a native ministry leader is facing, just as a huge opportunity to bring the gospel to Muslims in Syria has opened up.

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A Muslim’s First-Hand Education in Islam

A staunch Muslim in Iraq who hated Christians had a very personal reason for wanting to learn more about Islam. Mahmod Mohammed* was happy to see the arrival of ISIS in northern Iraq in June 2014. Three months later, ISIS militants seized his home and turned it into a weapons storage site. When he tried to resist, they beat him and took his wife. He never saw her again. Because the militants had a Koranic rationale for everything they did, Mahmod resolved to learn more about Islam.

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November 17, 2022
The wife and children of a new Christian in Indonesia still refuse to live with him, even though he has turned from his prior life of taking drugs and robbing people to support his former habit. By the time Dimas Sinurat accepted Christ, workers at the native ministry had discovered that discipling new Christians by simply scheduling times of Bible study and prayer was impractical and largely ineffective. With Sinurat and others, they have adopted an entirely new approach that is forming more committed believers.
November 10, 2022
A young man in Iraq who had left Islam to follow Christ recently began teaching school in an area where children of Islamic State (ISIS) fighters were living. Kassim Mahdi* had grown up watching ISIS militants destroy buildings and lives in his hometown, the leader of a native ministry said. “He saw many of his friends and relatives killed, and he did not believe that God sent His messengers in this way,” the leader said.
November 3, 2022
A native missionary was the only one who knew how to reach a jungle community in northern Argentina. Returning to the area to share the gospel and bring discipleship materials to a small church plant, the worker spent 10 hours making his way through thick foliage to reach the destitute tribal people. “It’s a risk,” the leader said.
October 27, 2022
A university student in Turkey often saw the cross on a native ministry’s church building while walking with her boyfriend, and a few months ago – though she was from a strict Muslim family – she suggested they check it out. Her boyfriend of three years, Ahmet Korkmaz*, saw no point in doing so. “There’s nothing in this church,” he told his girlfriend, Beyza Yavuz*.
October 20, 2022
The headman of a village in Laos summoned a local missionary to his office. “I heard that you are speaking to people in the village, and you are talking about Jesus, and now people told me that some of them are interested,” the headman told him. The local missionary, pastor of a house church, showed the headman a government booklet stating that Christianity was one of the officially accepted faiths in the country.
October 13, 2022
For 10 years a veteran of the Iraq-Iran war wondered how he could respond to Christ for having freed him from needing a wheelchair. Years after losing use of his legs, Mustafa Abbas* was watching a Christian progam on a satellite channel in 2011 when he followed the speaker’s encouragement to pray in Christ’s name for healing, he told ministry workers in his native Iraq.
October 6, 2022
A Kurdish family recently fled from an oppressive government in Iran. After walking 37 nights in the mountains of Greece, the mother’s feet had swollen so much that they no longer in fit her shoes. She also had a skin infection, as did one of her children. “They had been walking at night and sleeping during the day, hiding in the mountains,” the leader of a ministry in Greece said.
September 29, 2022
At a Christian youth camp with distant views of snow-capped mountains in the Central Asian country of Kyrgyzstan, nearly 50 nervous children were having a hard time warming up to each other. At more than 5,200 feet above sea level, the camp center was warmer in July than during most of the year, but the kids ages 10 to 14 had arrived cold with gloom about how they were going to get through the week surrounded by strangers. “On the first day when the kids arrived, they were very closed and dissatisfied,” the leader of the native ministry said. “We began to worry a little about how we would do anything if they were so dissatisfied.”
September 22, 2022
Muslim extremists often appear in refugee camps, and word spreads that native missionaries bringing aid to the tents pray with refugees and leave Bibles for them. So workers were concerned when a grim-faced refugee camp leader summoned them to talk over tea.
September 15, 2022
Kimbap was on her way home from work in Cambodia last summer when she saw a gang of teenage boys assaulting a younger boy. Though a lifelong Buddhist, Kimbap had been listening to a Christian radio program for several days, and when he screamed for help, she instinctively began praying to Christ.
September 8, 2022
Burma’s internal military conflicts have curtailed ministry efforts, but the chaos also has helped expand God’s kingdom as displaced people take refuge at a Bible college and Christian camps. Among those fleeing to the jungles or to neighboring countries are young people, a native ministry leader said.
September 1, 2022
A ministry leader in North Africa arrived at the home of dying woman to say farewell, pray for her and, at her parents’ request, baptize her. Only after he arrived did he realize she had often attended his church, then mysteriously stopped. “She was aware that she had a few days left before she would die and had no hope for healing,” he said.
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