78% of Muslims will never meet a Christian — but these did

children surrounding van

By Lara Hochstetler

In March, I flew to Kurdistan to work with four beau­ti­ful wom­en who live there long-term. These wom­en are heroes, and they deeply impact­ed my life.

We just “hap­pened” to be vis­it­ing the same place Canon Andrew White was vis­it­ing. We had the hon­or of spend­ing quite some time with him, lis­ten­ing to sto­ries and learn­ing much. We even had our very own Easter ser­vice with him! Andrew is a patri­arch of the region and devotes his life to see­ing relief and rec­on­cil­i­a­tion there.

We spent a few after­noons with some beau­ti­ful Yazidi fam­i­lies. Yazidis are an eth­nic group pri­mar­i­ly from the Nineveh Region of Northern Iraq. Due to the cur­rent per­se­cu­tion and geno­cide, they have been forced to flee their homes. We played with their chil­dren, lis­tened to their sto­ries, and learned what they believe. My friends got to share the gospel with one fam­i­ly who then invit­ed them to come share sto­ries from the Bible. Previously, many Yazidis had been com­plete­ly unreached and now many are hear­ing about Jesus for the very first time.

In a refugee camp, we served a group of Muslim ladies who have been through intense trau­ma. Almost all of them have lost fam­i­ly mem­bers in bru­tal, bar­bar­ic ways. We sat with them as they processed through their pain using sim­ple art to express their inter­nal trau­ma. They opened up to us and trust­ed us with the hard­est and worst of sto­ries. As one mama began to share her sto­ry, we felt Holy Spirit’s gen­tle­ness come into the room and every wom­an began to weep. It was an hon­or to sit and hold the­se mamas’ hands as they cried. That day we got to be the tan­gi­ble pres­ence of Jesus to them.

It is known that 78% of Muslims will nev­er actu­al­ly meet a Christian. Their per­cep­tion of who we are comes from movies, sto­ries and gos­sip. If we will not be will­ing to go and show this region who Jesus actu­al­ly is, how will they ever know? This region is hun­gry for Him! Don’t believe the lie that Muslims are not open to the Gospel. It just sim­ply is not true. The har­vest is ripe and labor­ers are few, but praise the Lord, there are more and more peo­ple like the beau­ti­ful wom­en who now live there long-term. They are run­ning into the dark­ness and to be avail­able for God to use there.


Lara joined WIM in 2014. She has a pas­sion for the Middle East and desires to work with lead­ers to teach her­itage, longevi­ty and lega­cy in all realms of soci­ety. Her desire is to see Kingdom her­itage and cul­tur­al trans­for­ma­tion by meet­ing prac­ti­cal needs and empow­er­ing peo­ple to see all that God has for them. Read more on her blog, The Journey of Trust.

 

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