Growing up during 9/11, all we heard was bad news when it came to the Middle East. War, ethnic hostility and crisis dominated the headlines. Fear infiltrated my heart when I thought about Middle Eastern people. Terrorism was our first association, and bias clouded my thoughts.
Yet when we read the Scriptures, they are clear that ethnocentrism has no place in the Christian walk. No nationality or ethnicity is preferred over another; the gospel does not discriminate—it is for all people. In fact, Jesus promises that the gospel will go forth to all nations before the end:
"And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached throughout the world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come" (Matt. 24:14).
When I look at the landscape of Christian missions, I find that the Middle East is arguably the greatest block of unreached peoples left. But did you know that there's only roughly 1 long-term missionary for every 300,000 unreached Muslims in the Middle East? I didn't! At least not until we started working in the Middle East, which we have been doing now for almost a decade.
Yet we as the church are sending the vast majority (some estimate over 96% of our missionaries) to places and peoples that are already reached with the gospel. Our MAPS family was caught by surprise as God invited us into the divine storyline for the nations that are located in the Middle East and the Muslim world. Now we have the privilege of sharing the miraculous stories of what Jesus is doing in this region.
You may have heard stories of "the man in white" visiting refugees, indigenous villagers, even former ISIS fighters ... and it's true! Jesus is sweeping through the Middle East, displaying His glory to those who have yet to hear the gospel. Worship and prayer married with the proclamation of the gospel are together effecting great change across the landscape of the Middle East. Many are unaware that the fastest-growing churches in the world are in the Middle East right now!
On June 5th, MAPS Global will be releasing a feature length film titled 50 Hours. It tells the story no one is telling—the good news about the Middle East. The film 50 Hours follows our teams as they hosted a concert of prayer and worship across multiple nations in 2018 and broadcasts the stories of individuals and communities finding hope through life-changing encounters with Jesus.
Subscribe to our YouTube for the online release of the film on June 5, 2020.
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