Meeting Physical and Spiritual Needs Through the Love of Christ
The Middle East has some of the world’s greatest physical and spiritual needs. Home to many unreached people groups, it is estimated that only 3 percent of foreign missionaries are serving there. Even though the Middle East was the birthplace of Christianity, Christians make up less than 2 percent of the population. In some of these nations, nearly 100 percent of their populations claim to be Muslim.
Even though Christianity has become one of the world’s predominant religions, there are many places where Christians are persecuted, deprived of land or possessions, tortured and even killed for their faith. Often this occurs as part of governmental or religious policy. Due to oppressive political tension, religious conflict, and societal turmoil, many generations of families in the Middle East have lived under hardship, poverty and daily uncertainty. Most have not experienced Jesus’ love being lived out by a believer since missionaries are not allowed in these nations.
Yet Middle Easterners desperately need Christians to live among them to demonstrate God’s faithfulness. While many countries are closed to missionaries, caring people can practically demonstrate Christ’s love by meeting the many spiritual and physical needs that abound. Healthcare and education are desperately needed in these nations. While clinical and palliative care programs open doors, educational opportunities such as teaching English, children’s programs, and training leaders are evangelism and outreach opportunities. Informal schools provide basic education for refugee children.
Whether providing relief to frightened refugees via food, mattresses or blankets, while also offering Christian literature, missionaries and volunteers are meeting the basic needs of the people and sharing Jesus’ love. Over and over, they see God moving through personal relationships, hospitality, and services, which demonstrate and introduce Jesus. God desperately desires to share His love with every people group living in this challenging region.
At the same time, reports have poured in from the Middle East of Muslims having unusual dreams or seeing visions of Jesus, the Man in White, which lead them to salvation. Here is one such story of hope about a young woman and her entire family.
NAREEN’S STORY OF HOPE AND HEALING
Born into a military family of seven children, Nareen endured severe beatings from her father for every mistake she made. Terrified of him growing up, she felt worthless and unloved, as well as abandoned by her mother who didn’t protect her. After leaving the military, Nareen’s father started a business. His partner first raped her when she was seven. Whenever she tried to tell her father, he didn’t believe her and would beat her unconscious. In an effort to hide from her rapist, Nareen began sleeping in her closet at night, but the sexual abuse continued for 10 years.
Nareen kept her life of terror a secret, knowing that if her parents didn’t believe her or come to her defense, no one else would either. Unable to deal with the deep emotional scars forming in her soul, at the age of 17 she became clinically depressed and tried to run away from home.