Updated: May 22, 2020
As I write this letter, we are in the midst of a stay-at-home order due to the coronavirus pandemic. This pandemic has launched us all into a unique season of ministry, but we recognize that with every challenge we also encounter new opportunities. Allow me to share just a few of these opportunities in relation to ministry to Muslims:
One missionary in a Muslim country reported that for months authorities have threatened to expel him out of the country where he serves. Suddenly travel restrictions would not allow anyone to leave or enter the country. He was rejoicing that the threat of expulsion was suddenly gone, and they are finding opportunities to connect with Muslims via phone, text, etc.
In general, Muslims deal with a lot of fear and anxiety. To make this worse, they do not have the assurance of eternal life. We continue to pray that Jesus will reveal himself during this season. Muslims need to encounter the Prince of Peace and the giver of eternal life.
With so many churches now airing services online, including this past month’s Easter services, many Muslims are having access to hear the gospel. With the stay-at-home order, people, in general, are looking for ways to connect. Many of us missionaries are connecting with Muslim friends through social media.
Prayer is the focus of individuals and churches alike. We are connecting for prayer through Zoom meetings, phone calls, and texts. This has been an ideal time to pray and intercede for Muslims around the globe because many people have extra time.
Friends, we can take comfort in the fact that nothing catches God by surprise. In these times of hardship and difficulty, we must remember that God is sovereign and reigns over the dates and times of men and women. He who is not limited by time has a perfect timing for accomplishing His purposes.
None of us believe that God caused this deadly virus to immobilize the people around the world, but we do know that God will turn it for good to fulfill His mandate for mankind. During these times of uncertainty, as we lean upon His everlasting arms and allow His peace to fill out hearts and minds, we become a testimony to those who do not know Christ!
Crisis not only drives us closer to Christ, but it can strengthen our relationships with one another in the Body of Christ. It can also stir up compassion in our hearts for those who are suffering due to the coronavirus and for those facing financial challenges. This is a wonderful time to demonstrate the love of Christ as opportunities arise. We are praying that God will use our missionary colleagues who live in majority Muslim nations to reach out in compassion for the souls of lost Muslim people. We pray that the thousands of local believers we have trained over the years through Jonah Initiatives will rise up with compassion and boldly proclaim the saving grace of Jesus Christ to Muslims who are hopeless and lost without Jesus.
Due to limitations in travel, many of our onsite training locations have had to postpone or cancel their sessions. While we have previously explored the possibilities of providing online training, we have not yet launched into that arena. Nevertheless, due to the current realities, we will be hosting the Summer Institute for Islamic Studies at the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary via online delivery—not by choice but by necessity! If you are interested in participating in the AGTS SIIS, either as a seminar or for credit, you can find additional information and register here!
While there is nothing that can replace in-person training and mentorship, online course delivery provides an additional opportunity in a variety of venues. We are taking a both/and approach rather than an either/or perspective. Many nations where we provide training do not have internet or computer capacities, so online delivery is not possible. As we seek to provide effective online training, we are investigating the possibility of delivery via cell phones—because nearly everyone has a smart phone.
Nevertheless, we will continue to do in-person trainings around the world even as we expand our online delivery options. As we adapt to our ever-changing world, let us keep our focus on Christ and be led by the Spirit for how He wants us to minister to people in need during this season.
We press on because every Muslims needs to know the Truth about Jesus! Thank you again for standing with us through your prayers and your generosity!
Tags: 2020, Coronavirus, COVID-19, SIIS, Summer Institute of Islamic Studies