Ministry perseveres in bringing the gospel to Muslims all over the world
by Grace Petit, correspondent
In the midst of both recent and ongoing strife, many regions in the Middle East, Asia, Africa and Europe are in dire need of hope. That hope can come in many forms, and one ministry in particular has recognized this and taken steps to provide stricken countries with alongside their presentation of the gospel. Call of Hope, which was originally founded on Israel’s Mount Karmel in 1887, has recently established projects to bring such aid to suffering regions in many Muslim countries.
Among their highlighted projects lies one titled “Emergency Relief for Syrian Refugees,” founded in 2013 in response to the exponentially growing activity of ISIS. This is the project from Call of Hope that Moody’s Student Missions Fellowship (SMF) chose to support two years ago.
According to the ministry’s website, “Syria is in the throes of a bloody conflict: a polarized, armed standoff between pro-Assad forces, rebels, and now ISIS fighters is decimating the country leaving millions of civilians struggling to simply survive.” The help that this particular project brings includes the provision of food, medical aid, blankets and the hope of Jesus Christ to areas affected by ongoing hostility and political conflict.
The other projects that Call of Hope executes include training persecuted Christians in North Africa, providing Muslims with Bibles, supplying families in West Africa with goats to be used for school fees and other needs, and supporting the evangelical endeavors of Muslims who have converted to Christianity.
In the two years since SMF chose to support Call of Hope, the ministry has undertaken other humanitarian projects to aid Muslims in crisis around the world. Dr. Samuel Naaman, a professor in the intercultural studies department of Moody, is the vice president of Call of Hope ministries. Right after Missions Conference last year, Dr. Naaman was able to visit the ministry in the Bekaa valley in Lebanon and see the ministries that SMF has been supporting firsthand.
There are two ministries that Call of Hope is involved with in the Bekaa valley: The first is ministry for the blind and disabled and the other one is church planting. Prior to the refugee crisis there were 100 blind and disabled people that were involved with the ministry. Since the refugee crisis that number has more than tripled, with a majority of them being Syrian refugees.
“Lebanon has an approximate population of 4.6 million people and they have received over 2 million refugees,” Naaman said. “All the other relief organizations along with the U.N. pulled out of Lebanon so we are working with and through the Lebanese nationals to do our ministry. Right now we are hoping to put a roof over the meeting area in the camps so that children of the blind and disabled can be sheltered from the bitter cold that comes with winter.”
The other ministry that SMF has helped fund is the church planting that has been going on in the Bekaa valley. Dr. Namaan said that the ministry has become very successful; while he visited he witnessed to 400 women attending weekly worship service. He said that many of them have given their lives to Christ and that the community not only serves as a worship area but it serves as a place of refuge for the women away from all the tents and camps. The ministry has expanded so much that they had to build two temporary rooms to accommodate the children along with the adults that have been attending the services. Dr. Naaman mentioned that there were even two or three former ISIS fighters who gave their lives to Christ.
Naaman said that many of these refugees are from the upper middle class.
“A lady I encountered told me that, ‘Even though I have lost everything I am glad that I did or else I would never have found Jesus,’” Naaman said. “‘Prior to becoming a refugee I had everything in Syria, my husband, my children, my upper middle class lifestyle, and since the war I lost everything and became a refugee. And I am willing to lose all of that again to find Christ. Do not feel sorry for me that you see me in the condition that I am in because I have found Christ.’”
Most recently, Call of Hope responded to the 2015 earthquake in Nepal with aid and shelter. Apart from the provision of humanitarian aid, Call of Hope administrators state that they bring the gospel to Muslims through “creative media, relational evangelism, discipleship and church planting initiatives.”
All of their ministry endeavors are done with the 1.6 billion Muslims in mind who, Call of Hope emphasizes, “do not yet know God’s love.” Their variety of projects in 27 Muslim countries has been met with the turning of many from Allah toward the triune God. For more information or to financially support Call of Hope’s projects, visit http://www.callofhopeus.org/.