This month, we have an update from a friend in a church based in the Middle East. We hope it encourages, stirs and challenges you!
"It sounds too good to be true, but this has happened throughout history since the first church in Jerusalem was persecuted. Those scattered believers planted new churches in the places where they settled1.
85% of our church members are refugees. Most of them went through dramatic and traumatic experiences and arrived as victims who had lost everything they had. By the transforming power of the presence of God and his gospel, many of those former victims have become ambassadors and generals in God’s kingdom.
Our small church was praying for God to send workers – and then the refugees came. Among them was a man from Baghdad with his family. He was a normal church member back in Iraq but was kidnapped by a radical Islamic group and had a knife held to his throat. He was able to escape and fled here. He’s been leading our Arabic congregation for four years. They have reached 300,000 people with the gospel through social media in 17 countries just in the last year! 210 people have believed in Jesus through his ministry and we have helped him to plant two new churches. One of them is overflowing with new believers from Syria and run by a Syrian refugee couple. The other is run by an Iraqi refugee couple in a town that had no church. Now local people are asking about the gospel and want to learn more. The refugees are the first and only believers they have ever met.
In 2020 we want to plant four more Arabic churches. The terrible situation that has led to the refugee crisis on one hand, is on the other hand one of the reasons that more Muslims have come to Christ in this century than in all of the previous centuries combined. This reminds me of Joseph who said, ‘You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good, to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives'.2
We are amazed about how God works all things for good and how he uses the ones that are weak and insignificant in the eyes of the world to show his glory. None of those refugee leaders feel that they are victims anymore, but they praise God for being part of his plan of salvation for their people".
- Acts 8
- Genesis 50:20
As we come out of our Covid restrictions and look into the next season for us as Jubilee, I wanted to take this time to share some news with you regarding our next steps as a church.
This month, we're privileged to have Michael Akotia write a blog for us. Michael along with his wife Mabel and three children (John, Keziah and Grace) are dear friends to us. Michael leads City of Grace Church in Ho, Ghana and serves on the Christ Central Churches International Team.
Have you ever thought that there might actually be a number of similarities between our Christian walk and baking a cake? Gavin explores some of these similarities in this month's Elders letter!
So Sunday saw the finale of series 6 of the BBC drama Line of Duty. If you haven't been watching it or have watched the latest series then you can read on. If you still plan to watch the final installment of series 6, you may want to stop here (although it's not a huge spoiler)!