It’s been a very eye-opening week, as I attended a Missions conference in the Mediterranean region and watched the events in North Africa and the Middle East unfold. Having visited this region in recent years, it’s hard to believe what my eyes are seeing on the TV. What began in the small country of Tunisia now has snowballed into the streets of other North African and Middle Eastern countries.
This past week I have worshiped, studied and strategized with brothers and sisters, both nationals and internationals, who were born, live and work in these countries. The one word I continued to hear was freedom. There was a great sense of hope in their eyes and in their words as they expressed a desire to see the Gospel penetrate the darkness like never before. It is often in times of persecution that the Gospel is most well-received as God brings Hope in the midst of crisis and Peace in the midst of fear.
No doubt the events of these past few weeks will change the landscape of life in this region of the world for years to come, but I pray that it goes well beyond what early rulers and rioters proclaim. Many of these brothers I met with speak of the scarce landscape of churches and believers across these lands and the challenge that awaits them in seeing this change. But in the midst of crisis and chaos, the clarion call to the Great Commission propels them to press on. They are willing to lay their lives on the line, risking being exposed and even persecuted for the sake of seeing new believers and churches birthed in their lands.
There is an urgency that we, too, need to have with the Gospel during these days. Hearing the testimonies of these – how God brought them out of the darkness of Islam and into the light of salvation through Christ stirs me to ask how we can stand alongside them. What radical steps are we going to take to see 6,643 unreached people groups become reached with the Greatest News of all time? Radicals have rampaged on the streets of many key and crucial countries, but we as believers must live radically redeemed lives carrying out this commission with even greater boldness.
May we pray for brothers like ‘Jake’ and ‘Mike’ (who I met) and are in the trenches daily wielding the Word in the midst of physical, but even greater spiritual warfare. May we go short-term and long-term to see the B People of the Deserts of Africa declare the Glory of God and the Treasure of Christ among their tribes. May we give to see the Word heard, learned, studied, received, translated and proclaimed in this area of the world.
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in in the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, ‘The righteous shall live by faith.'” – Romans 1:16-17
Written by Ryan Martin