Middle East uncertainty equals Christian opportunities

Uncertainty in the Middle East means fear and opportunities for outreach.

Uncertainty in the Middle East means fear and opportunities for outreach.

Middle East (MNN) — Last week, the collapse of the Yemeni government, coupled with the death of Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah, have created a major problem. It’s created a problem for the fight against Islamist militants. But, it’s also created even larger problem for Christians: Middle East uncertainty.

First, the government of Yemen was overthrown by Shiite-friendly Iran. That extends Iran’s influence in the region to the capitals of four countries: Yemen, Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon.

Then, the death of Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah. The King was an advocate for the west. It’s uncertain what side the new leadership will fall. These two events, coupled with the rise of the Islamic State, which is Sunni, have created a mess for western foreign policy in the region.

Middle East expert with e3 Partners, Tom Doyle, says, “With the instability in the government, it just always seems to go from worse, to worse yet. Even though Americans had relationship, and the president is talking about Yemen being stable, well, that has really changed quickly. Of course, for Christians, it has not been a safe place whatsoever.”

Whether Sunni Islamic State terrorists in Syria and Iraq, or Shiite radicals, they’re both bad news. “They’re both bent on being supreme in Islam–wiping out Christianity, eradicating it in the region–then going after Israel. Both of them are in a mad rush to try to pull that off.”

Complicating that further, Sunnis and Shiites hate each other.

Muslims are afraid. Doyle tells us about one Muslim woman who was praying, “‘God, where are You?’ over and over. Then one night she changed her prayer and said, ‘God, who are You? Maybe I’m praying to the wrong God because whoever I’m praying to is either too busy or doesn’t care about me.’ That night she had a glorious dream about Jesus. She has come to faith in Christ.”

What do these uncertainties do to Christians in the region? Doyle says, “It motivates them even more to bring the Light and the Truth to their people, no matter the risk, no matter the cost. They know their lives are on the line, but as many of our workers in the Middle East say, ‘We gave up our lives years ago. We know it’s going to end in death. We know we’re going to be martyrs. It’s just a matter of when.'”

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