Our trip to the Middle East came at a strategic time. There are many shifts taking place in that part of the world. The “Arab Spring” has seen a call for democracy in the Middle East and new ideas being considered.
This also means new opportunities for our churches to engage in the Great Commission in places so desperate for the Gospel. There is one war-torn country in particular where the SBC has never been before. We’ve been trying for decades to get into this country and have been unsuccessful.
BUT, last week for the first time we were able to send a team into this country to do work!
Ministering the mercy of Jesus by meeting the physical needs of refugees fleeing the country and meeting the needs of those hurting in that country gave our workers access they’d never had before!
The love of Jesus is being extended to families, dads, moms and young children who have seen atrocious violence and fled the country as refugees with no home. Some have seen neighboring homes incinerated in explosions. Some have been bound hand and foot while every possession they have is taken away from them.
The work of missions is the proclamation of the gospel, but showing the love of Jesus in tangible ways to hurting people gives us access to places we’ve never been before. There are many places on the planet that are hard to get into for the purpose of preaching the gospel. The people there don’t want the gospel in their country and may violently oppose us as we bring the gospel to them, but if we love them tangibly and meet their needs it may break down barriers so that we can get in to share.
We have thousands trained to do disaster relief and meet needs that we can get into the tough places. Will our churches be willing to embrace the tough places? Will we cast a vision for medical professionals, carpenters, construction workers and more in our congregations that God can use them to reach the unreached unengaged peoples of the world? Will thousands of SBC churches and their people count the cost and go where we’ve never gone before?
Will we join the movement?
As I stood in the middle of a changing Middle East, where thousands are clamoring for democracy as the great hope for the future, I was reminded that democracy, political freedom and government regimes are not the great hope for the world or peace in the Middle East. Jesus is! May we bring the message of His Salvation to the tough places.