EVERY TRIBE AND NATION
Written by the Director of the Arabic Evangelical Centre
The call to go into all the world and preach the Gospel can be more specific for some. “Come over and help us” was the message received at Troas. The Arabic Evangelical Centre has been called specifically to reach Muslims, particularly in Arabic-speaking countries, and to-day the A.E.C. evangelizes some fifty-eight areas of the world. Overseas visits are made, not only to spread the Gospel to unbelievers, but also to furnish us with special guidance on opportunities and strategy. “If you would teach little Willie Satin, you must know Latin and little Willie”. In Muslim evangelism, it is vital to know the Gospel thoroughly, the teachings of Islam, and then the communities and culture of the Muslim.
The Arabic Evangelical Centre arranged for a team of five to visit Malta from 26th May to 9th June 1988. An invitation had been received in January from a small evangelical church on the island, or a group to work amongst the Libyan casual visitors who arrive annually. Prayerful preparations began and the team was selected from churches in Darlington, Oxford, Ramsey and Wolverhampton. Literature was sent ahead and flights were booked.
Arriving in Malta the team was welcomed by the local church, and soon set to work. The team found more opposition than in previous visits overseas. Two specific changes had taken place unexpectedly over a short period. Libya and Tunisia had renewed friendship and many exchanged visits with their neighbours, rather than make the voyage to Malta. Also the Maltese government, previously Socialist, had become Roman Catholic, and therefore less welcoming to Libyans. There were far fewer Arabs than inticipated on the island, and those approached were quite hostile to the Christian message. Had the team made mistakes in accepting he invitation? Was the church misguided in assessing the situation? To use facilities to the full, three of the team travelled to Sicily on a light crossing, where opportunities were abundant to reach Arab vorkers, and they found great encouragement. Two remained in Asdta supporting the witness of the local believers and waiting for he return of their partners for the final days on the island.
Two specific blessings are memorable. The Imam (Muslim priest in charge of the mosque) from the Mosque in Malta, welcomed the earn and spoke about Islam. The Christian message was faithfully presented to him, but he remained adamant with the traditional Muslim resistance. It was good to have this courteous encounter and much prayer is needed for him. A heartening blessing was the reaction of a Libyan student awaiting to journey to the USA. When
offered a New Testament he asked for a complete Bible, and arranged to meet twice afterwards. By the second visit he had read as far as Isaiah 10. He seemed responsive to the message and earnest prayer is requested for his conversion.
Holiday visitors to Malta need to see the spiritual need. Predominantly Roman Catholic and with just a few evangelicals, this island is steeped in history and associations with the Apostle Paul, they desperately need the message of the Gospel of Christ. All the literature taken was distributed, thoughtfully and prayerfully;
the churches were encouraged and a further understanding of the situation in the Mediterranean area was gained. This was no wasted journey, rather a different experience, and eternity alone will evaluate the outcome.
The Arabic Evangelical Centre rests on the doctrines of grace, and is persuaded that God alone is the Lord of the harvest; this ensures that the harvest promised will be reaped. No enterprise under the Lord’s gracious hand and guidance is ever wasted, and His Word will not return unto Him void but will accomplish His perfect purpose.
Those at the Centre continue with the routine and somewhat unnoticed follow-up to the visit. Fellowship with the believers in Malta must be stimulated, contacts recorded and much correspondence undertaken, and many will be receiving literature from the Centre. Special attention will be given to the Libyan student as he studies the Word of God. Very little Christian work is romantic. Most is straightforward day by day effort needing patience and consistency. We therefore need your prayerful support and continued interest in the Centre. If you would like to hear more news of the A.E.C. please write to us at:
A.E.C., Box 140, Wolverhampton, West Midlands.