December 2018

Several weeks ago, I found myself in the Middle East in the back of a taxi heading out of a city toward an unknown (to me) location for a day of ministry. We were stopped at a military checkpoint and a guy with a very big gun tapped on the window and asked me, “Who are you and where are you going?” I looked him in the eye and said, “I’m a pastor going to… a church.” (That was my best guess.) The man paused briefly, then said, “Carry on.”

The taxi drove me through the hills to a retreat center on the edge of another city. Instead of a room full of pastors, I discovered we were spending the day with forty Kurdish refugees – all Muslims. One of our church partners in the region had been serving these families with relief work for the past year. These Muslims had been impacted by the love that they’d been shown and now they had come together to learn more about Jesus.

I had just finished reading Robert Blincoe’s book entitled Ethnic Realities and the Church: Lessons from Kurdistan (1668-1990), which is the definitive history of mission work among the Kurds. The past 250 years of Protestant mission among the Kurds has been focused on re-evangelizing the historic Church (Chaldeans, Catholics, and Assyrians) and then hoping they would, in turn, reach their Muslim neighbors. That approach has largely failed. The wars of the past twenty years and, in particular, the recent rise and fall of ISIS in the region, has had a much more influential impact on Kurdish interest in the Gospel. Islam has failed the Kurds, and they are open to alternatives as never before.

That day with those Kurds was a gift from God. In the group, there were doctors, lawyers, business leaders, academics, teenagers, moms and dads. Some of the friends we brought with us shared stories about how they had met Jesus through dreams, visions and the revelation of Jesus in the Bible. Together, we looked at the story of Nicodemus, Jesus’ nighttime visitor who had questions (John 3) and we discussed what it meant to be born again by the Spirit of God. As the day drew to a close, my friend Samir invited those to come forward who wanted to receive God’s gift of salvation and give their lives to Jesus. Immediately, two thirds of the room stood up and came to the front. Then the remaining few quickly joined, saying that they also wanted to follow Christ. There was such joy and celebration in that room as they were led in prayer and worship. God is doing a new thing among the Kurds – can we perceive it?

As we approach the end of another year, would you and your church consider a generous gift to Multiply so that more people will experience the same Good News that we’ve received in Christ?

Randy Friesen
General Director

Prayer Requests

  • - Please ask God to give courage and compassion to these forty new believers as they learn what it means to follow Christ in the midst of the conflict around them.
  • - Pray also for new mission strategies in the Middle East that would bring glory to God and have lasting impact on the people of this region.
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LIVING FREE

Physical slavery is prevalent around the world; it takes many forms. Individuals and people groups are in bondage. Guest speaker, Randy Friesen has seen the amazing power of the Gospel to bring freedom to the oppressed. In our own lives, we can find ourselves enslaved – to sin and to fear. How can we be free? Knowing who we are in Christ is vital to our freedom.
January 2015 at Central Heights Church, Abbotsford, BC Play Button PLAY SERMON