"Barriers and Breakthroughs" bridges chasm between Christianity and Islam
After exhorting students to continue praying for God to reveal Himself to Muslims, Deanna Stewart and Dan Mains end their seminar by encouraging students to come up to them if they have any questions. | Emily Arnold/THE CHIMES
When leaving the opening session and heading towards Mayers auditorium, there was a fresh depiction of just how many unreached groups had their backs turned from God — not out of hate, but in mere obliviousness. The chasm between me and these countries seemed so vast that a place to start seemed unfathomable.
Then I stepped into Mayer’s auditorium for the seminar, “Barriers and Breakthroughs in the Muslim World,” where Deanna Stewart and Dan Mains, representatives from Pioneers, a global church planting organization, conveyed their goal: “To inform and mobilize people; So, they can take God's commission seriously."
The place to start was right there in that auditorium. It started with being informed about cultures outside of our own, cultures other than the Jersey shore. It is important to know what others believe, what their needs are. For this particular focus group, was the Muslim people.
According to Joseph project statistics 1.3 billion Muslims are practicing a religion rooted in fear. Fear of a God who has many expectations, but their perception of god is graceless. A lot of fear stems from radical groups that mercilessly silence the questions of confused people seeking answers outside of Islam. Groups, such as Hamas,threaten any opposing view.Many Muslims are illiterate and cannot even read the very word they follow. Even if they could, questions are often prohibited and, in many cases, punished. These statistics are all too real to me. Islam is not limited to an unreached people group in my life, but takes the form of a friend. A devote Muslim man , from Afghanistan, has lived with my family since 2008. In that time I have come to love and appreciate these beautiful people, trapped by fear . I have seen first hand the power of culture on individuals. We must first know what traps those we love before we can liberate them. This laid heavy on my heart the rest of the seminar.The question I was stuck with was, now that I know, what should I do?
The examples relayed by Stewart and Mains showed the persecutions and obstacles Muslims must overcome to be united with Jesus. Many face rejection from their family, and even their country. Others are imprisoned or killed. Yet, amongst the pain and suffering God redeems the Church, which Stewart demonstrated through Scripture. Stewart used Acts 1:8 to show how the church overcomes persecution by growing, even in the midst of oppression.
While conversion seems almost impossible, God is moving in many ways. Organizations are using media outlets such as, “ Arabic World Media,” to share the gospel. These online programs are one of many creative ways God is working in these countries. While Pioneers is active in the Muslim community, there is always room for more innovative ideas, more prayer and more interaction. Some of these needs can be met by you, right where you are. Pray for these lost people. Pray for the servants of God set out to reach them. Be prepared to intercede for those called to Muslim ministries. Also, be ready to go if God is so calling you, for the harvest is ripe for the laborers. I encourage you to seek assistance in these areas, found at the Pioneer website.