Christians, living as “tentmakers” on the Arabian Peninsula are carrying with them a message of true hope in Jesus. Working in unforgiving desert heat and spending years developing friendships, these saints can only pray that God is working in the hearts of their friends. The results are sparse in this region that is spiritually as barren as the land. But there are results. An Open Doors source tells of his experience interviewing several Christian expats (persons living in foreign counties) on the Arabian Peninsula.
“At least one Muslim a week asks me to explain more about Christian faith,” Jonathan, an expat in one of the countries on the Arabian Peninsula tells us. Several come to Christ after receiving more explanation. Besides doing their jobs that they are employed to do, expats use every opportunity to share about the Lord Jesus. Not all the expats however have had the same experience as Jonathan.
Marcus, for example, would love to see the first fruits of his living in the heat of the Arabian Peninsula. “It would be so encouraging for us to see at least one local person coming to Christ,” he shares during lunch. “We can’t talk too loud; you never know who is sitting around and who is listening.” At a table near ours, three men in the traditional dress of the country were enjoying their meal. At another table a couple, the woman was totally covered with her black dress and veil, while the man was dressed in Western style clothing. “We have to take care,” Marcus continues “you never know what people do with what they hear.” Marcus sees the big need is workers for the harvest. “Where are the workers?” he asks. While gazing out the window of the restaurant at young men parking their cars in front of the restaurant his concern for the youth was obvious.
John and Rebecca, a young couple living in the same country, are very enthusiastic about the youth. They share that, “In one year’s time, we have built about 25 good relationships with young locals. With some we shared the gospel, others we already give a Bible.”
Daniel, says that he actively searches contact with local people at the places where they usually gather on the weekends or in the evenings. Daniel says that he is able to talk about Christianity with small groups of interested Muslims. “I have some really good contacts,” he says. “One is very open to the message of the Bible.”
Open Doors helps expats in the Arabian world by giving them Bibles and other Christian literature, and also lending moral support. In addition to witnessing to Muslims they are also able to share the gospel with fellow expats who are not Christian. Through this effort many expats become Christians in the countries of the Peninsula. One pastor speaks of “thousands” of expat converts in the last years. Several expats have confirmed this trend saying that even in the most closed countries they see God’s Spirit moving and changing the lives of many expat workers.
Father, we thank you for these courageous and sacrificial men and women who have committed their lives to Your work on the Arabian Peninsula. Build in them endurance for the heat. Give them opportunities for friendships with those in whose hearts You are working. Close the ears of those who might overhear conversations that would put them in danger. Encourage them when they do not see results, giving them glimpses of the work You are doing through them. Fill them with an abundance of the fruit of Your Spirit that they might be able to persevere among these people who so desperately need You. Thank You that we may bring these matters before you in the name of Jesus who sacrificed Himself that all nations might come to You.