As we arrived in our Muslim megacity and faced a sea of humanity, we discovered small Christian communities scattered among millions of Muslims. These Christians were oppressed minorities who have been faithfully hanging on for centuries.
I remember thinking,
“What if even a small percentage of these local Christians could catch a vision to reach their Muslim neighbours?
That could mean hundreds or even thousands of believers who don’t need visas or plane tickets and already know the national language and culture.”
However, sadly, we found hardly any with such vision. It was only crazy foreigners like us, who believed that Muslims could possibly change and start to follow Jesus. Worse than that, we found a divided church, discouraged and with many nominal believers. All their focus was on trying to stop young people from leaving or converting to Islam.
We decided, alongside our own outreach to Muslims, to run the ‘Kairos’ course for anyone interested. The Kairos course explores God’s purpose for us and for all the nations of the earth.
On our first course, we had 12 participants and by the end of it, two local believers had caught the vision to reach the same Muslim people group that we had come to reach. God had used us through the Kairos course to give them a new perspective.
Several years later we're still in touch with one of these and he and his wife are still quietly reaching out to that Muslim people group in a place we could never have lived. On the same course, a local pastor caught a vision to reach every tribe - Hindu and Muslim - in his province and he started mobilising his denomination to do so.
We continued to run more of these courses and began to train local people in how to run them for themselves. Five local leaders were trained before we were thrown out. In the following year alone, they trained two hundred more people in the course. Many of these are now looking with new eyes of faith and seeing that the Muslim fields are ripe for harvest.
Jamie in Pakistan
Pull out quote: “ “It must be a sign that God loves our people group enough to send a family from England to live here.”
There are now a handful of local believers from the Muslim people group we live among in the Russian Caucasus. They came to faith through both Russian believers and western evangelists who were passing through.
Sadly we found they do not really have a vision for their own people. They feel like God has forgotten them, just like everyone else. They know that Russians usually have a negative attitude towards Caucasus people, thinking of them as untamed wild tribesmen. However, we do have a good friend who is working with a local denomination trying to encourage Russians to cross cultural borders in their own country to reach the Caucasus people.
At a birthday party of one of the local believers recently, she openly thanked God for our presence living among them.
“It must be a sign that God loves our people group enough to send a family from England to live here in our poor region.”
She is well aware that everyone is trying to move to the West because the standard of living is much higher than in this poor corner of Russia, so what a testimony that God sent these people in the opposite direction.
Our presence and effort to learn her language, not just the trade language Russian, is causing faith to rise that God has remembered her people group and wants them to come to know Christ.
When I first met that group of ladies, they were very excited that we were working specifically with their people group. As I shared that Jesus sent his disciples two by two to the places that he would soon be visiting, we could see faith rise amongst them that God would begin to do something wonderful with their people. My main role since then has been helping and encouraging them to see that THEY are to be the primary instruments of making disciples, not me!
Mariah in the Caucasus