The Gospel mission to unreached peoples is going out, to places we are taught to fear and cultures we often shun. There is a true awakening taking place amongst Muslims! They are coming to Jesus like never before, quite literally by the thousands. But the mission to these unreached peoples isn’t without a cost.
Mission to Unreached Peoples Story #1: Persecution
Back in 2018, a young Muslim man came to Jesus a year ago. He began helping us secretly print New Testament Bibles in his father’s print shop in a province where it’s illegal to print or own the New Testament. Since he had passion for the mission to the unreached peoples within his town, he would work through the night to print the books and then go out during the day to pass them out in the community. One day his father came in early to the print shop and caught him.
This is a shame and honor culture, and by becoming a Christian the young man had brought great shame to his family. So, the father set out to make sure the son either recanted his faith or was properly punished.
The son was placed into isolation, and they attempted to starve him until he renounced his faith in Christ. When starvation didn’t work, they brought in an imam to try to “re-educate” him. The only problem was while this was taking place, this imam had also decided to follow Christ, so instead of browbeating the young man when they were behind closed doors, the imam encouraged the young man in his faith.
Many in his local Christian community were praying diligently for the young man while he was isolated at his family’s compound in the desert for months. He got access to a phone one day and made a phone call to one of his Christian friends. The first words out of his mouth were “celebrate with me.”
The friend immediately assumed he had gained his freedom, but that was far from what was happening. The young man’s whole family had gathered at his father’s home in the desert for what seemed to be a family reunion. They all ate and drank in what felt like a great celebration. Could this be a victory in the mission to unreached peoples in the Middle East?
After the meal the father quieted the family, so he could make an announcement, and there in front of all of the brothers and sisters and aunts and uncles, the father announced he had poisoned his son’s food because he had refused to renounce his faith in Christ. He gave the son one more opportunity and told him if he would renounce his faith they would take him to the hospital to have his stomach pumped, otherwise he would have only a day or so to live.
It was that night he called his friend and said, “celebrate with me, because I’m going to get to see Jesus!” In the mission to unreached peoples in the middle east, this type of persecution is very real.
Can you imagine poisoning your own son in front of your entire family?
But can you also imagine being so committed to your faith in Christ that your first instinct when facing imminent death is to tell your friends to “celebrate”?
This is the reality for many believers around the world, but the Gospel will not be stopped.
Mission to Unreached Peoples Story #2: Celebration
If you’ve been to Israel, you know that there are uncomfortably close quarters in places like Jerusalem. In one sweeping panorama, you can see both the Dome of the Rock, the second holiest site in Islam and the Western Wall, the holiest site in Judaism that the Jews can still access.
Everywhere you turn there are Muslims and Jews right on top of each other. The tension is palpable, and the only answer in our mission to these unreached peoples is Jesus.
Recently, a couple of the Muslim background Christians went to their leaders and asked, “Is it really true that the Bible says we should love our enemies?” Their leaders confirmed that the Bible does indeed instruct this, so these believers proceeded to ask for copies of the New Testament in Hebrew. They realized their mission to unreached peoples had to start with their enemies.
They said, “If the Jews are our enemies and the Bible says to love our enemies, then we need to tell them the Good News about Jesus!” They took the Hebrew New Testaments and started sharing the Gospel with their Jewish employers and neighbors.
Now what I’m about to say may sound overblown, but it’s not only true, it’s deeply moving. Since these Muslim–background Christ followers started sharing the Gospel with their Jewish neighbors, over a dozen people who were born Jews have become followers of Jesus Christ.
Prior to last year, there has never been a record of a person who was born Muslim leading a person who was born Jewish to Jesus. In the mission to unreached peoples globally, there is no known record of this happening in human history until last spring. Now, it has now happened over a dozen times!
We are so thankful for this move of God among Muslims, but we believe that a move of God like this should not be limited to just one people group. We believe God’s mission is to all unreached peoples and groups, and He wants to bring revival to the Jews in this part of the world as well.
Mission to Unreached Peoples Story #3: “What Took You So Long”
Incredible things are happening in certain parts of the Middle East. There is a true awakening taking place amongst Muslims, a sovereign move of God like we’ve never seen in our lifetime. In one strategic area you know well, where the battleground where the mission to unreached peoples is growing rapidly, Muslims are coming to Jesus in mass numbers.
Here are some highlights:
In one country, so many Imam’s (Muslim religious leaders) have come to faith in Jesus that we stopped counting at 100. That’s right, over 100 Muslim Imams are now following Christ. Literally, thousands of Muslims have come to faith in Christ. Somewhere between 30-40 thousand, but it’s growing so quickly that numbers from even a week or two ago are outdated.
But as we talk about saved souls here, we’re not just talking about people who have just raised their hands in a group meeting or prayed a prayer of salvation. The threshold in this part of the world is much higher than that. To become a part of one of the cell group churches, you have to do five things:
Make a commitment to Christ
Be baptized in water
Be filled with the Holy Spirit
Share the Gospel with someone else
Do something for the poor.
In this modern move of God, we’ve seen nearly 40,000 people who were born Muslims embrace those steps and become a part of a cell group church.
The painful side in this mission to these unreached peoples like this is that they’re in a difficult place where there is always resistance. We have now accounted for thirteen Muslim background believers who have been martyred for their new faith in Christ. They’ve been shot, burned, poisoned, and beaten. One new believer was being baptized when a small mob walked in on the ceremony and drowned him in the baptismal tank. The mission to unreached peoples in this part of the world has come at great cost to many here.
Jesus is worth it
In one town where the mission to the unreached peoples there needs to be kept secret, the team was able to lead someone to Christ. Now that may not sound like that big of a deal, but in this city, the penalty for being a Christian is immediate death. When this man became a Christian, he began weeping uncontrollably. Our workers are used to people expressing emotion when they finally give their lives to Jesus, but this was unusual. Was it fear? Relief? What was this emotion?
Through his tears, he said, “I now believe in Jesus, and it’s like I am no longer blind. I now see clearly that my grandparents died without Jesus, that my parents died without Jesus. They were all lost.”
And then he said the words that should ignite all of us in our own mission to the unreached peoples around us:
This new believer stared into the eyes of our workers and asked, “What took you so long?”
Will you pray with us, will you give with us, to help see Jesus’ mission to the unreached peoples around the world fulfilled? Will you help to see the gospel be proclaimed in the hard places?
The Stone Table helped finance a project in Israel that will give us strategic access to help meet the physical needs of poor Jewish families. But it does much more than that. In our own mission God has laid on our heart, He gives us the opportunity to meet a much more substantial need that orthodox Jews, atheist Jews, and Muslims all share:
They all need Jesus.
# mission to unreached peoples