Winds of Change Bring Opportunities for God's Word
by TTB International Director, Gregg Harris
In December 2010, a man in Tunisia set himself on fire to protest his treatment by a corrupt and violent police force. His dramatic death sparked more than a year of pro-democracy rebellions and protests in countries across the Middle East and North Africa. This movement was dubbed the “Arab Spring” and has garnered global attention. These protests have so dominated the news that in December 2011, Time magazine bestowed its prestigious “Person of the Year Award” to “The Protester.”
Most of the anger and unrest has been targeted at repressive and corrupt government leaders. While the press has focused its attention on political freedom and human rights, the core issues are spiritual rather than political. A recent report from our Arabic ministry partner makes the following statement:
Various barriers in this region prevent open outreach. While these include political, geographic, social and economic factors, the most critical is a lack of religious freedom, which prevents church planting and open distribution of Bibles and Christian resources. Many believers cannot go to churches and listen to the Word of God due to persecution and limited access to the Bible.
Opposition to the gospel is strong in this region of the world. When a non-Christian leaves his faith to become a follower of Christ, the consequences are serious. Persecution, threats, and rejection are the norm for new Christians in this part of the world. For this reason, many Arab believers are unable to study the Word of God or openly fellowship with other Christians. The desperate spiritual plight of the people of this region underscores the critical importance of Thru the Bible’s Arabic broadcasts.
For almost 30 years, TTB has broadcast Dr. McGee’s 5-year cycle of daily radio programs to the people of the Middle East and North Africa. For many years we have broadcast our Arabic program from some of the most powerful transmitters in the world three times each day. One airing is targeted to North Africa and two airings are beamed to the Middle East. More than 365 million people live in these countries and over 95% are Muslim.
In God’s providence, our Arabic ministry expanded within the last year, coinciding with the rising turbulence in this region. In January of this year, TTB began broadcasting on five strategically located FM stations: Four in Iraq (including one in Baghdad) and one in Bethlehem! We are so grateful that He has allowed us to bring the comfort and salvation of His Word to a region so desperately in need.
Responses came almost immediately from these new local station outlets. Here are some we received within weeks of beginning our new broadcasts on just one of the five local stations:
Sylvia, a “religious” woman from Bethlehem, called and answered the question that our staff member prepares and presents after each program. Our follow-up staff went to her home to give her a Bible. Sylvia had a religious discussion with him about Mary and other issues.
Mohammad from Nablus also called. He was going through Ramallah when he listened and called and asked for a copy of the New Testament. Our follow-up staff member is arranging to meet him.
Um Ibrahim from Beit Jala called. Our staff member went to visit her in her home. The Lord opened her heart and she prayed to receive Christ as Savior!
Philip from Beit Jala called. Philip works at his dad's restaurant. Our staff member met with him, presented Christ to him, gave him a copy of the Bible, and arranged to meet him in a couple of days for follow up.
As you can see, the broadcasts open up wonderful doors for our follow-up workers to deepen the ministry impact of our TTB Arabic broadcasts. Personal contact is very important in the cultures of many of these countries, and we are grateful that our trusted ministry partner in this region provides us with staff to meet with our listeners.
None of this tremendous ministry would be possible without you! Your prayers and gifts make it possible for us to bring the whole Word to the whole Arab world.
For the latest on TTB's global ministry, listen or subscribe to our Global Impact Report podcast HERE.