“We have lived among [Muslims] for all these years and never knew how to talk with them. I am at peace and not afraid, now that I understand better.”
This response came to us from a woman in South Africa after she completed our Global Initiative training in that nation. She tells us that some of her cousins have married Muslims, and as a result of the training the Holy Spirit has changed her attitude towards them. Now she has a desire to reach these family members with Christ’s love.
The “belt of Islam” was once thought to expand from the Middle East westward toward North Africa and eastward toward Indonesia. But Global Initiative and other missions organizations have discovered that this global diaspora has placed Muslims nearly everywhere.
South Africa has a growing presence of Muslims, and the national church is spiritually preparing for this influx of Muslims. Global Initiative continues to be used in equipping national churches like this to evangelize the Muslims that dwell in their communities. There will never be enough missionaries to reach all Muslims. That is why it is critical that we continue to train national churches to reach the Muslims in their areas.
Our training goes beyond informing and preparing workers to evangelize. We see the Holy Spirit transforming Christians’ hearts and attitudes toward Muslims. One group of students who participated and were challenged in a Global Initiative training session in South Africa declared, “We will approach them [Muslims] with love and understanding.”
Recently a specially-collaborated team of five, including two members of Say Hello: Serving Muslim Women gathered in a sensitive South Asian nation for an intensive week of training and strategizing for the long-term sustainability of a community center ministry that reaches out to Muslim girls and women.
Say Hello believes this community center ministry is a global model for ministry with the capacity to multiply beyond its present borders to reach countless Muslim women. The trip was prompted by an urgent phone call in which the director, a Muslim background believer herself, expressed a great need for help.
Drawing on the experiences and expertise of each team member, and in constant collaboration with four leaders from the community center, the group developed a business plan that identified the ministry’s purpose and vision, a business strategy for income generation, and a five-year financial plan that transitions ministry expenses from donor reliance to self-sustainability.
Inspired by training from Sustain Hope, the national leadership team built the business strategy for income generation around the production and sales of dehydrated produce. This is a product that utilizes many skills and resources already at hand and involves minimal startup costs. It is also a product that has little market competition and tremendous potential for expansion of products offered. At the beginning of the trip, the ministry leaders expressed concern that building a business would distract or become a greater burden to the ministry. By the end of the time together, it was evident this feasible plan would infuse the ministry with a fresh excitement and empower them with a freedom they have not operated in before.
God has mightily used the community center ministry to reach Muslim women through sewing, beautician and English courses that are offered to about twenty-five women at a time. One Muslim woman in the center, a twenty-seven-year-old mother of three, has faithfully been coming to the center for several months. She mastered their beautician courses, empowering her with skills she can use from her home to help provide income for her family. She also excelled in English classes, and before the end of our time together, she eagerly shared with us a paper she wrote. In it, she described at length who she has come to know Jesus as--not just a prophet as her faith teaches, but the Son of God.
God is also using this ministry to train and equip nationals for outreach to Muslims. Recently, members from the local church who intersected with the center's outreach started a similarly modeled ministry for Muslim men. They are already experiencing tremendous interest and opportunities to minister truth.
We praise God for the opportunity to stand alongside our South Asian sisters and brothers as they endeavor to impact the lives of Muslims through holistic outreach. It was a privilege to begin this journey with them, knowing the destination is not the development of a business alone, but the establishment of a flourishing, free ministry that can replicate across the city and serve as a model for reaching Muslims across the nation and around the world with the gospel of Jesus.