What happens when a highly educated and influential Muslim hears the gospel and is given the opportunity to respond in secret via cell phone text-messaging?
“I have been listening to [your radio] programs for two years. I don’t know why I didn’t want to write to you before. But I have been doing much thinking, soul-searching, and even praying. Now I know that through your help Almighty God has opened the door for me to become a follower of Christ, the Savior.”
Najeeb (not his real name) is a high-ranking middle-aged man who lives in a very closed Arab country. He sent this message via a new cell phone ministry offered by The Back to God Hour’s Arabic-language ministry team.
As a result of Najeeb’s text message, a team of two mature Christians are now in regular e-mail contact with him, teaching and guiding Najeeb to understand more fully what it means to be a follower of Christ.
The Back to God Hour has broadcast radio messages in Arabic since 1958; that effort launched the agency’s first foreign-language media ministry. In 1999, the BTGH joined with MERF (Middle East Reformed Fellowship) and Words of Hope to bring a more effective ministry to Arabic-speaking people in the Middle East. In 2005, the partnership added a website designed to present a uniquely Reformed gospel message.
The cell phone ministry is already proving to be well worth the investment. SMS (simple message system) responses are arriving consistently. Several pastors and others have offered to assist staff with difficult questions. Most of the text messages have come from young people, but not all.