They say crisis breeds opportunity. At least, some Christians are considering the current influx of middle Eastern refugees in Europe. They do not need to send missionaries to preach the gospel in Islamic countries. Because Muslims have to go!
The influx of middle Eastern refugees in Europe represents the most massive wave of migration since the Second world war. As a result, many of the immigrants hear the sermons at home they would never have heard.
According to many, the refugee crisis is a big threat to Europe, but at the same time, it is believed that it provides churches a great opportunity.
Odai fled Iraq from ISIS, he lives in a refugee camp that is located about fifty kilometers from Vienna.
“I was expelled from Baghdad and lived at Nineveh. Now I’m in Baghdad can’t go back, and in Nineveh to live too,” he says.
Pastor Joseph Moussa of the Arab Evangelical Church doing mission trip, shared the gospel with Odam and others.
“Yeah, we don’t know what kind of person he had in the past. But he saw people who cared about him, those who love him, and he opened his heart to us. Because of the crisis, the refugees think: “I’m ready to hear about who cares about me. I’m ready to hear about the God who loves me,” says the pastor Moussa.
Traveling in Europe, this team sees a great spiritual hunger.
“We met people from different countries. They gather together, communicate with each other in the Church. Muslims come to the Church wanting to know more about who Jesus is,” says Abby Abildness from the “Healing Tree International”.
Their shares, whether on the streets or in rented halls, are part of the evangelistic service.
“They are fleeing from ISIS, and then they see the fruits of Christianity and how Christianity tries to help them. So we can boldly share the gospel with them; they want to listen to him!” continues Abby Abildness.
Among the Muslims who heard the Good news, Amar and Fades. Fados lived as a devout Muslim, but one day she heard that the Koran contains errors, and began to explore other religions such as Christianity.
“After seven months of research I came to the conclusion that the Koran is not correct, and that Muhammad is a true prophet sent from God. I said, “Lord, I can’t come to you, but You can contact me. Lord, show me Your way. How to come to You?” says Pados.
Reading the Bible, a woman is found in the gospel of John one verse where Jesus says “I am the way”.
“How did He know what I was looking for a way? How did He know that I wanted to come to God? In reading the Gospels, I realized that Jesus is God,” she says.
Omar saw in a dream a man with a rod on top of which was a cross. After that he began to read the Bible.
“I began to read the gospel and to compare the gospel with the Koran. The verse through which the Lord really spoke to me and confirmed the correctness of my decision, contained the words of Jesus: “whosoever will come after Me, take up your cross and follow Me”. As soon as I read this verse, he suddenly came to life for me. I feel like he picked up that rod with a cross. I decided to be a follower of Christ,” says Amar.
“As for the God of Islam, they feel that God abandoned them” — says pastor Raafat Mashraki from the mission “ARAB4JESUS”.
Church pastor Mashraki serves both Muslim and Christian refugees.
“They need healing, support. They need someone to become close with them and helped them,” he says.
His Church has helped the refugee-Christian Roubaix and her son Jakub from Syria who have fled from ISIL and other Islamist groups.
“Once, when he was on the street, exploded a bomb planted in a car, just in front of my house. It was awful, because my son was not at home. I went outside and began to call: “Jakub! Jakub! Where are you, Jakob?” No mother wish to experience such. I don’t want any mother to feel such despair and danger,” says Ruba.
“I was on the street when you blew up that car. I don’t know why. Killed Christians. The terrorists said: “It is for Christians. Once you are not Muslim, we will kill you. You have to practice Islam”. I don’t know why. Thank God, now I’m here. Is God helped me,” says Jakub.
Though these leaders see new opportunities, they also recognize danger.
“I saw with my own eyes people associated with ISIL who have committed abroad crimes, but enjoys full freedom here!” — says the pastor, Raafat Mashraki.
However, the problem they are correlated with the potential rapid growth of the Church.
“It’s amazing, but every time ISIS strikes again, we gather an even larger harvest. There is still more people who want to run. They run from fear, but what they find is miraculous power of God. It works, helping them to escape,” says Abby Abildness.
“We appeal to all who can hear us from the Body of Christ in America. It is time to pray, time to work among these people. We see that the harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. The body of Christ in America and around the world, I believe we now have the opportunity to pray that God reached a refugee with His love and salvation,” urges pastor Joseph Moussa.