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French pastors see hope for reaching Arab-speaking people

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  • French pastors see hope for reaching Arab-speaking people

    LA MIRADA, Calif. (BP)--For two pastors from France, the recent California Southern Baptist Convention Middle-Eastern Baptist Conference was an inspiration and a revelation about the possibilities of what could happen among Arab-speaking Christians in their own country.

    Ali Arhab and Mekki Drihem, ministers with a Baptist congregation in Mons en Baroeul, France, were invited to attend the meeting when CSBC Executive Director Fermin A. Whittaker learned of the need to bolster ministries to reach Middle-Easterners in France after visiting with the director of the Federation of Evangelical Baptist Churches in Western Europe.

    Both pastors, of Algerian descent, said they weren't sure what to expect from such a conference of Californians and others across the United States from Arab-speaking and Middle-Eastern backgrounds. But they attended "with an open mind and asking the Lord to make us available to do whatever He asked," said Arhab, whose primary task in the French congregation is evangelism.

    Arhab said the conference "turned out to be something unique. This is for me a reality, a vision, of the real reconciliation or model of how Christ binds hearts and brings people together regardless of religion and politics.

    "To see the body of Christ united and worshiping the Lord and having a zeal for evangelism and discipleship was amazing," Arhab said.

    The Middle-Eastern conference, in its 27th year, offers a week of training for pastors as well as inspiration, evangelism and discipleship for church leaders and laypeople.

    Arhab said this type of conference "has the potential to stir up a movement to reach Arab-speaking people from all over the world." He would like to see the same thing happen in France but said French Baptists don't have the resources. French churches "barely survive" in the country’s secular culture, he said.

    "We truly believe that there is the possibility of a revival in northern Africa and the Middle East and that it would spill over to Europe and spark a revival in Western Europe," Arhab said.

    Drihem said the conference was enriching for him because he had "the opportunity to meet with other pastors with Arab backgrounds" and network with them.

    He added he was surprised by the "huge number of Christians from Arab countries" who gathered in one place for discipleship and to worship the Lord.

    Mons en Baroeul is near the Belgian border, where Arhab and Drihem serve a congregation of about 100 members who meet in small home groups. The two North Africans minister near another pastor who was unable to attend the conference. All are involved in a television ministry providing evangelistic programs to North African countries.

    Arhab said the ministry uses indigenous languages to "narrow-cast instead of broadcast" to be more effective in their delivery of the Gospel.

    He noted the Middle-Eastern conference exceeded his expectations.

    "I like evangelism and I like to achieve things for the Lord, so to see people committing their lives to Christ is a very positive influence. This provides me some very rich ideas for ministry."

    Arhab added that he liked the idea of a group of people working together to make the conference a success. "It is not one man [Khalil ‘Charlie’ Hanna] who has been working at this for 27 years. I see several people doing their own ministry to make it work well," Arhab said.

    Arhab noted that California Southern Baptists "understand the cultural dynamic” for such a conference. He noted it would be difficult to cross denominational lines in his country.

    Whittaker told the French pastors that all Christians need to be "Kingdom-growers and come to grips with how to impact the culture regardless of denominational lines.”

    "The bottom line is that people are saved."

    French pastors see hope for reaching Arab-speaking people

  • #2
    God loves the Arabs. There are many Nicodemuses in Muslim society --- who have accepted Jesus as Lord in their hearts, but are living quietly in order not to invite persecution from fanatics and discrimination from government.

    Also God has been revealing Himself to some Muslims who sincerely question religion and seek the true God --- by miracles and dreams and visions, many have come to know the Lord.

    I wonder if Algerians who live in the hometown of Augustine even remembers who he is?

    I discovered that some Muslims cannot remember their pre-Islamic history and culture, and it does not even matter to them.

    "Unless you are 'born' again, you can never get into the kingdom of God" (John 3:3).


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