Taking the Risk to Name Jesus as Lord
August 29, 2016
Meet Arabic TV viewers who are following Jesus despite the danger
Several years ago, we launched an experiment to see if we could reach more Arabic speaking people around the world with the Word of God: A satellite television program. What began as a small test project is now in its fifth year of production!
The TTB-Arabic TV program airs 7 times per day on three different satellite networks and covers huge areas of the globe, such as the Middle East, Europe, Africa, Australia, and both North and South America. The official Kol Elketab (Arabic for “The Whole Book”) YouTube channel has registered more than 5 million minutes of actual viewing and an Android app was just recently launched.
Facts and figures are only a small part of the story. Ministry in the Arabic speaking world involves tremendous risk for those who commit to following Jesus Christ. We receive many testimonies and stories regarding the hardships of those who watch the program and seek to live out their faith. Here are two reports we received that give insight into the lives of our viewers. (Note that the names of people and countries have been changed for security reasons.)
“Omar is a businessman from the Middle East whose home and company are in another country in the region. Some people heard him questioning Islam, and he was handed over to the police. They emptied his bank account and gave him 100 lashes along with a six-month jail sentence, then they deported him back to his home country. He smuggled himself back into the country to be with his family, and then he began to watch TTB. After watching for some time, he called our Egyptian ministry team, flew to Cairo, and spent four weeks living with the families of our team members. For the first time in his life, he fellowshipped with other Christians and attended Bible studies. We gave him his own Bible (he had never owned one before) and just before he flew home, he was baptized. He smuggled himself back to the country where his family is living, and a year later was denounced again and got 100 lashes and another six-month jail sentence. During the last few weeks of his incarceration, his wife came to see him in jail and confided that she also started watching the program and gave her life to Christ. His entire family is now moving to another Middle East country where they will be safer and can grow in their walk with Jesus. Our ministry partners are helping them with both practical and spiritual matters.”
While this story has a relatively positive ending, many persecuted believers do not fare so well.
“Twenty-six-year-old Maya called to ask for prayer. She said that she gave her life to the Lord through TTB’s TV program, and she read the Bible on the Internet. Her family knew about her conversion, and as a result her phone was confiscated, and she was denied access to the Internet. To get rid of the shame she brought on the family, they were ready to marry her to a polygamous man, even to be the third or the fourth wife. After a period of silence, she called to let us know that she was still a believer and in spite of the pressure, she was still clinging to the Lord. She said that they brought a mullah (a Muslim cleric) to answer her questions. She asked many questions that the mullah was unable to answer. He claimed that she was demon possessed and that the evil spirit within her was a Christian and that she must be delivered from the spirit. She was beaten because her family believed they were beating the demon, not Maya. The following day she was asked the same questions and her answers were unchanged. She was bold enough to say that she believed in Jesus and she would never forsake Him. She contacted us to ask for prayer, and every time she called she said that day might be her last day. We maintained regular telephone contact, until the day her phone was shut down. We called the same number, and a man answered saying that the number never belonged to a lady by the name of Maya.”
Both of these stories show the life and death danger that confronts many in the Muslim world who choose to trust Jesus as their Savior. As we take the whole Word to the whole world, we must remember that many of those who receive our programs pay a great price for their faith. Please pray for God’s protection on the many TTB viewers and listeners in the Arabic speaking world who risk their lives to name Jesus as their Lord.
- Gregg Harris, TTB President
Middle East & North Africa
U.S. & Canada