To be read on Sabbath, March 30, 2013
The Special Sabbath School Offering
will be gathered on Sabbath, April 6, 2013
In Biblical times, countries in the Middle East had the great privilege of seeing the hand of God leading His people, particularly when they left Egypt and entered the promised land under His mighty, miracle-working power. Among Biblical references to the Arab countries is 2 Chronicles 9:14, which told about the kings of Arabia recognizing Solomon’s wisdom and God’s power and bringing gifts to Jerusalem. “And all the kings of Arabia and governors of the country brought gold and silver to Solomon.”
Through the passing years, and especially since the seventh century A.D., the light of God’s truth has been obscured by the Muslim powers, which cruelly persecuted the Christians, almost completely destroying them. Today very few Christians live in most Arab countries.
Nevertheless these countries stretch over a wide region extending from the Atlantic Ocean on the west to the Arabian Sea on the east, and from the Mediterranean Sea on the north to the Horn of Africa and the Indian Ocean on the south. This vast territory has a population of approximately 340 million people in some twenty-two countries covering North Africa and the Middle East. Many of them have Arabic as one of their official languages.
By God’s grace, the message of the Reform Movement has reached the first souls in this challenging region. In 2010 the first door opened in Sudan through the outreach of the General Conference website. Contact was established by email, and students from Sudan visited the missionary school in Kenya, after which the first baptisms took place and the church was established in Sudan under the leadership of Pastors Parmenas Shirima and Sevith Moyo.
In February 2012 God opened another door through the General Conference website, this time in Yemen. Ahmed, a young man who was interested in the present truth, requested materials for assistance in developing the Christian faith in Yemen. In consideration of the limitations of Christianity in that country, study materials were sent and arrangements were made for this young man to visit the seminar organized for workers in Ethiopia in April 2012. The Lord worked in a wonderful manner in the life of Ahmed, and he made the decision to follow the truth he learned. He immediately devoted his talents to translating the Principles of Faith, Church Manual, and Sabbath School Lessons for distribution to other Christians in Yemen.
Ahmed is helping to spread the message of truth not just in Yemen but also to friends and acquaintances in Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and other Arab countries. In addition, the Lord led another person in Somalia to contact the General Conference through the website and request spiritual help.
In spite of our human limitations, God is working through His Spirit and opening doors. This constitutes a call for His people to participate in penetrating the dense darkness by giving generous offerings to support those who are willing to risk their lives for Christ and His truth. Financial assistance is needed to produce publications in Arabic and to develop health centers. This will allow the right arm of the three angels’ messages, health reform, to reach souls who would otherwise be held back by the restrictions to Christianity imposed in these countries. A seminar is planned to help the truth reach Arab Christians who are seeking divine truth.
May God impress each heart to give generously and thus support the work of present truth in reaching faithful souls in the Arab countries. Also, please pray for those servants of God who risk their lives every day so the gospel truth can be proclaimed.
Secretary of the General Conference