Centers by Country
Is the Middle East - and specfically the Arabian Peninsula - truly reachable? Most western Christians believe it is not. But after you read this article I hope you will agree with an increasing number of Arab nationals and internationals who respond to that question with a resounding "Yes!"
Stereotypes abound in the Middle East, especially negative stereotypes about Arab people. It is an area of striking contradictions and conflicts:
Twenty-one Arabic-speaking countries are spread across North Africa, the Central Middle East and the Arabian Peninsula. Together they have a population at some 270 million people, and that number is growing by half a million every month.
Seven of those countries are in the Arabian Peninsula: Bahrain, Kuwait Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Yemen. These nations are the focus of this brochure.
The heart of the 10/40 window - The core of the world's unreached people live in a window that extends from West Africa to East Asia, from ten degrees north to forty degrees north of the equator. This region, called "The 10/40 Window," encompasses nearly three billion people, including most of the world's Muslims, Hindus, and Buddhists.
The Arabian Peninsula lies at the very heart of the 10/40 Window. No region of the world has been so resistant to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Peninsula is the core of Islam. The two holiest cities in the Islamic world - Mecca and Medina - are in Saudi Arabia, the largest nation on the Peninsula.
There are over one billion - ie. 22% of the world's population - Muslims in the world. Each is required to pray toward the city of Mecca five times every day. Each year more than two million of them make the Hajj, or pilgrimage, to Mecca.
A massive Islamic missionary effort is coordinated by the Muslim World League in Mecca. Vast sums of money are used to propagate Islam around the world: aid to countries considered sympathetic, building mosques, sending missionaries, literature, radio, etc. The world's largest printing presses are located here, and they churn out 28 million copies of the Koran every year for worldwide distribution.
It we are serious in our commitment to provide a valid opportunity for every person to experience the truth and saving power of Jesus Christ, we cannot ignore the compelling realities of the Arabian Peninsula.
The heart of God for the people of the Peninsula - Many Christians think of the Old Testament as the story of God's dealing with Israel, His chosen people. But from Creation to Abraham, there was no unique "People of God." Throughout this vast expanse of time, God was dealing with "the nations" (Gen. 111). That included the ancestors of today's Arabs, the people of the Arabian Peninsula.
When God called Abraham, a man who lived in a pagan culture, He promised that through Abraham "all notions" would be blessed (Gen. 12:3). Solomon, following God's instructions, built his Temple for "oIl nations" (2 Chr 6:32-33). Isaiah, representing the Old Testament prophets, reaffirms God's desire that "all nations" should turn to Him (isa. 49:6, 56:1,3).
In the New Testament, Christ's parting charge to His disciples was that they should carry the Good News of His love to all people everywhere. That Great Commission certainly included - and includes today - the neighbors to the east of Palestine.. the people of the Arabian Peninsula.
The Arabian Peninsula is accessible - "He turned the desert into pools of water and the parched ground into flowing springs" (Ps. 107:35).
The growing flow of internationals into the Arabian Peninsula (see chart) brings labor and expertise for building the nations' infrastructure and providing needed services. It also brings many Christians to the region. More than seven of every ten residents in Qatar and Bahrain are expatriates. There are at least 420,000 expatriate Christians in the entire Peninsula.
Global prayer focus on the Arabian Peninsula is increasing dramaticaly -
Yemen occupies the southern tip of the Arabian Penninsula. The varied topography includes hot costal plains, cool mountains and scorching deserts. Yemen's economy is agricultural and pastoral, with increasing export of oil. Until 1990, the widely differing North and South were separate nations. Unification brought ideological and even military clashes between the more fundamentalist North and more liberal South. Islam is the state religion, yet the North and South disagree as to the status of reglious freedom; the North favors Islamic fundamentalism and the South wants a more moderate stance.
Growing interest in the 10/40 Window is focusing prayer for a spiritual breakthrough in the Arab world. In the October 1993 "Praying through the Window" emphasis, more than 1,200 local churches and some 21 million Christians adopted one of the Arab countries - many of them in the Arabian Peninsula for special prayer. On-site intercessory teams came to each of the countries for days of prayer and fasting, asking God for a spiritual breakthrough.
In 1995 there was a further global prayer focus on the megacities of the 10/40 Window. An estimated 36 million Christians participated in that effort. Millions prayed for the megacities of the Arabian Peninsula.
In 1997 global prayer was focused on the peoples of the Arabian Peninsula. During "MPraying through the Window IV" (October 1999) millions of Christians worldwide are expected to pray specifically far the Arabian Peninsula, with a special focus on the strategic towns.
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