The Gospel is not foreign to the Middle East. Roughly 2/3 of the New Testament was written either to or from what we call the Middle East today. Abraham, Job, Uriah the Hittite, and others from the Old Testament called this land home at one time or another.
It is the peoples who live here today that have yet to receive the Good News, not the geography.
There is an ancient Christian past that lays under a thin layer of historical dust in this region. In some places – active monasteries, churches, and tombs – that ancient history is uncovered and connected to us today. It is mostly Orthodox and Catholic believers who steward these sites. Some are humble and virtually unknown, but many are thriving hubs even now.
One such site is a large, famous Catholic church on a busy street in a certain city. It’s open every day for prayer and services. A few of my favourite opportunities to share the Gospel took place in or around the church. The architecture is stunning, but that’s not usually what amazes me when I go.
It’s the crowds of people touring, talking, and praying inside.
When a local has a dream about Jesus or it comes into his or her heart to research Christianity, many go to the internet. But when they are close enough to do so, most prefer to visit a traditional Christian site to begin their search. They tentatively enter, pray and look around, and light candles, curious and confused. Sometimes they take the literature that’s offered at the back, and on rare occasions, they even join a service.
When I think of the “fields white to harvest” in the Middle East, it is these sites that come to mind. Pray that workers would flood these places and share the simple Gospel with the thousands of people streaming through them. Pray that the silent witness of statutes, icons, tracts, and murals would capture visitors’ hearts and point them to Jesus. Pray for unity in the Church – forged by the Spirit and transcending denominations – that would allow for partnerships in these places.
Please Note: For the sake of security the identity of the Global Worker(s) and exact geological locations have been omitted from the article.