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An unlikely source

About the Author: [Names have been changed for security reasons] Hugo and Martina have been working in North Africa since 2004. They are originally from South America. Previously, for 15 years, they worked in the real estate business and planting churches in South America. In 2002, they received a call from God to work among Muslims. In 2003, while Hugo and Martina and their son Daniel were preparing in the USA to go to work in North Africa with Team Expansion, they encountered ZPC who decided to support them as missionaries. Hugo and Martina are currently serving in North Africa (in a closed access Muslim country) and for security reasons cannot disclose their exact location. As a team they hope to start a church-planting movement by training up local leaders to be disciples who multiply themselves. Hugo and Martina focus on sharing the Gospel with Muslims who are open and walking them through scripture so that they can learn who Christ is and what he has done for them. During the discipleship process, they help new believers become Christ followers who reach their family and community to become leaders. Their hope and prayer is to see churches started all across the region. 

Today’s Scripture: John 4:1-42

This entire exchange between Jesus and the Samaritan woman should never have happened. Jews did not mingle with Samaritans. Men did not have private conversations with women. And yet, here it is – the beginning of the breaking down of barriers that Jesus fought for and continues to fight for today. Jesus did not see Samaritan or female – Jesus saw a child of God every bit as deserving of his time and attention as any other.

Our text gives us some help in being the kind of witness that God uses from an unlikely source: A woman who is a brand new convert, who is still living with a man outside of marriage, who knows almost no sound doctrine, and who has not had a training course in how to share her faith. Yet she effectively evangelizes her entire village for Christ!

When Jesus tells her that he is the Messiah (4:26), she gets so excited that she leaves her water pot, goes back to her village, and tells the men, who normally would have laughed at anything she said (4:29), “Come, see a man who told me all the things that I have done; this is not the Christ, is it?” As a result, they streamed out of the city to meet Jesus. They invited him to stay with them. He spent two days there, during which time many more Samaritans came to believe in him. At the end of that time, they proclaimed (4:42b), “This One is indeed the Savior of the world.” This narrative teaches us that God uses witnesses who are excited about Jesus, have a harvest perspective, and invite others to come to him.

Activities during the pandemic:

During this time my wife and I have had daily times of quality Bible study as well as prayer, which have helped to refresh us in the vision of the work in North Africa. 

We also have worked through WhatsApps, Facebook, and Zoom with the nearly 100 contacts we have in our system. Within those contacts we have 10 groups of families that continue to develop as churches. We also have nearly 40 people of peace who are sharing and studying the Bible with family and friends. It has been a blessing to be able to continue discipleship with the leaders of these groups, who are continuing to lead Discovery Bible Studies with their wives and children. Because of the confinement due to COVID-19, they have had more time to study with their families. We thank God that he has allowed these families to continue to grow spiritually and that they are putting into practice what they are learning from the Bible. Abdel is one of the leaders who leads a house church and he has been in contact with four new families with whom they have been sharing about Jesus.

We appreciate your prayers as we seek to advance the Kingdom of God in a difficult place. Please pray for new churches to be planted, for new believers’ faith to grow in the midst of persecution, and for God to rise up more leaders to take the Gospel into the towns and villages where people have never heard. Thank you for partnering with us!

A shepherd's heart

About the author: Maher Fouad is the Founder and General Director of AWEMA (Arab World Evangelical Ministers’ Association). Maher obtained a BA in Biochemistry from the Faculty of Agriculture, Cairo University and did 2 years of theological studies at the Evangelical Theological Seminary in Cairo. Maher is married to Violet and together they have 2 adult children and 5 grandchildren.

In 1985 Maher established AWEMA with the help of other faithful Arab servants of the Lord. AWEMA is an indigenous ministry and its goal is to edify the church and reach out to the community with the love of Christ. This is done through training and theological education ministry, church planting, women’s ministry, refugees’ ministry, and community development.

Today's Scripture: Matthew 9:10-13, 36-38

Is there anything new in people’s lives since Christ was in the world in the flesh? My answer is: Look around you; in your home, your church, and your community. Aren’t people still sick with fear, anxiety, and inner void? People are now even more evil and cruel than before.

Then comes the question “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” And from Jesus’ answer we understand that he sees those “sinners” as sick people in need of healing. Notice also that we can’t identify the sickness without seeing the sick person.

“Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field:"

  • A person who labors for the Lord is able to identify the sick who are “harassed and helpless.”
  • He sees them and has compassion on them, otherwise his ministry is futile.

This reminds me of the Lord Jesus’ words to Peter, “Do you love me?… Take care of my sheep.” (John 21:16).

We need to have a shepherd’s heart that we may introduce to the troubled world the Great Shepherd, our Lord Jesus Christ.

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