Reaching Arabic People with the Gospel
The LCMS Texas District in 1973 was focused on increasing the number of Hispanic congregations. There was good reason to do so since the Hispanic population was the fastest growing population in the state. God blessed our efforts and new Hispanic congregations were formed.
In 1973, few people were even thinking about reaching Arabic people, but many arrived after escaping persecution in their own country because they were Christians.
God brought a Christian pastor, the Rev. Dr. Abjar Bahkou, from Syria to the Dallas-Fort Worth area. He started reaching other Arabic people with the Gospel of Jesus and then a door was opened to him to teach at Baylor University. He encountered The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS), studied its doctrines and joined a local congregation. He went through colloquy and became an LCMS pastor. God was working in him and preparing him to connect with the Texas District. God opened the door to the Texas District and Arabic-speaking people.
The Antiochian Apostolic Church became the first Arabic speaking “member” congregation of the LCMS. They worship at Peace Lutheran Church, Hurst, and have about 70 members with many visitors each Sunday. Bahkou preaches in English and Arabic each Sunday, broadcasting this message all over the world through International Christian Satellite (abnsat.com).
The Bible and other Christian literature are prohibited in many Arab countries today. People possessing them can be severely punished and can even face death. These countries demand that their people worship Allah only and engage in all the Islamic regulations and rituals. This has kept people in the darkness of a religion that can’t say for sure that Allah hears their prayers or forgives their sins. They must continue performing the rituals in hope that maybe Allah will hear and forgive. To stop doing the rituals or to convert to Christianity is certain rejection by Allah with no future hope except death.
When the Gospel of Jesus is proclaimed, Muslims can find certainty in a God who loves and forgives. Jesus speaks tenderly to them through the Word and freely offers them light instead of darkness. He hears their prayers and has a personal relationship with them. This is very different than what they have experienced in Islam.
Please pray for this congregation and give thanks to God for His powerful work in our district. Pray that He would open more doors through our mission endeavors and through our congregations so that more would hear the Gospel and be set free.
By: President Ken Hennings