By Paul Park and Luke Choi[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he first Arab Mission Camp began on a day in December 2012 in a small town on the outskirts of the capital of I-land in the Arab Window; it was something we had long hoped for. For the past year and a half, we have seen with our very own eyes how God has been building a spiritual army to strategically target the Arab World. Over the past three semesters of Global Leadership School (GLS), more than 300 graduates who dream of the final missions movement in the Middle East were raised up, and over 50 indigenous staff members committed to serve in C-city, A-city, and P-city. At the end of the third semester, we invited the all the graduates and other Arab Christians to create a gathering, and this became the historic, first Arab Mission Camp.
Not Just Revival for the Sake of Revival
It has been difficult to mobilize the indigenous church of I-land to become a leader in the world mission movement because they do not have a strong foundation of discipleship training, and they are surrounded by a powerful Islamic stronghold. Many other organizations also believe the I-land Church to be the gateway to the rest of Middle East, and they hold numerous conferences and seminars within the Church. However, this type of training does not move beyond theory or activities and ministries that are within the Church. They don’t create anything new or meaningful. In the year and a half of serving the I-land Church, the most difficult challenge was overcoming fruitless theory. The I-land Church needed to be led to serving the mission field.[quote align="left" width="30%"]“Lord, pour out your heart for Arab Muslims and lead the Arab Christians into the harvest field! Fill them up with your Holy Spirit to receive boldness to go out and make disciples of their Arab brothers!”[/quote]The revival of Arab Christians that we hope for is not just for the sake of revival. It is to raise them up to be co-ministers with those who are already actively church planting among Muslims so that they themselves can become field ministers who will evangelize and make disciples of the 300 million Arab Muslims. This is the beginning of God’s final mission movement – to lead the I-land Church in this way.
Another of the I-land Church’s needs is to encounter the Holy Spirit. It is very clear that they have received the Holy Spirit through their faith in Jesus Christ. However, having been subdued by fear for a long time, the activity of Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Missions, has become foreign to them. That is why it is crucial that the Holy Spirit reveals to them that he is living and active.
In the midst of these needs, we started Mission Camp with fasting and prayer. Our prayer was: “Lord, pour out your heart for Arab Muslims and lead the Arab Christians into the harvest field! Fill them up with your Holy Spirit to receive boldness to go out and make disciples of their Arab brothers!”
Arab Mission Camp
Despite being a little awkward with Korean ministers leading worship in Arabic, the GLS graduates and indigenous ministers worked in teamwork with us and worshiped with joy. We sang praise songs like “Come Emmanuel”, “Vision”, and “Maranatha” without ceasing to our Lord. The cry of 200 Arabs resounded with their confession of love for Jesus and their commitment to complete his work.
On the second night, after being challenged by lectures on God’s history, the coming revival of the young adult generation, and also testimonies from former Muslims, all of the Mission Camp attendees prayed together with one heart to be filled with the Holy Spirit. They had previously only read about the Holy Spirit in the Bible, but they were crying out desperately to be filled with the Holy Spirit. One by one, every attendee received encouragement and healing from the Lord. Finally, when we gathered again, each person lifted up a short prayer, and we all began to pray for the great harvest of the Arab World. God poured out indescribable hope and a deep longing over us, and throughout the night, we witnessed many people confess God’s absolute sovereignty, majesty and power.
The festival on the last day turned out to be the unexpected highlight of Mission Camp. We had a time to be able to congratulate the most recent semester’s graduates, and we prepared performances and an Arab flag march to follow it. However, God began to powerfully touch the souls of the Arab Christians during this time. The testimonies of the graduates had more power than any other lecture or message. The time that we had originally reserved for a graduation ceremony turned into a time of intercession for C-City, A-City and P-City. Each region’s trainees and leaders committed to fight even more fiercely in their regions, and a strong heart of commitment filled the conference hall.
But this was not the end. Some of the pastors who were present suddenly asked for a microphone and began to say that I-land Christians also needed to intercede and pray for the Korean Christians. They called all the Koreans to the stage, laid hands on them, and started to pray for them. Even through just this, all the attendees and Korean ministers were greatly blessed, but the passionate leaders of the I-land Church insisted that they must give sacrificially, and on the spot, they gave us an offering from the bottom of their hearts. The typical monthly salary of a government employee is about $150. These brothers and sisters gave sacrificially to us like the widow who gave two pennies which was all she had to live on. They gave to us even though Korea’s GDP per capita is five times their own. A ministry director who was one of the main teachers for the gathering said, “We have done ministry in cooperation with the local church for 30 years, but this is the first time that a financial came completely initiated from the local people.” Many, including me, wept deeply.
The Arab Christians could not hide their joy and excitement after Mission Camp. Some called us their spiritual fathers who are leading them to the field. They asked us to commit to serve the I-land Christians to become like us as true disciples. There was a student who experienced the presence of the Holy Spirit for the first time, and he said that it was the happiest moment in his life. One sister, who converted from Islam and baptized three days before Mission Camp, decided to live for Christ for the rest of her life. She shed tears of joy because of the calling she has received from the voice of the Lord.
The ministers of Arab regions who witnessed these things agreed with one heart that this will be the engine of the young generation’s church planting movement in the Arab World. 2,000 years ago, just as the 120 disciples who the experienced the Pentecost rose against the most powerful empire of the time, the Roman Empire, the disciples of the Arab nations in the last great harvest field will rise against the 300 million Muslims of the 22 Arab countries. Arab Mission Camp will be the engine of this movement, and it is already operating strongly. God is moving and working in the center of the Arab World!
Sister N, who was being ministered to by one of the ministers from our team, had been seeking the truth through Bible study with our family, and in the middle of February 2012, she finally accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior! Hallelujah! She was born a Muslim, but for a long time she was thirsty for truth outside of Islam. She sought after truth everywhere but had failed to find anyone that could teach her.
Even though our sister was so desperate for the truth, she was shocked by the fundamental message of sin that she shared with her. This is because Islam is a religion that changed the concept of sin to make it convenient to the human mind, but in the Bible, sin is explained in a way that completely changes all paradigms of thinking about people’s motivations and that shows all of human existence to be totally corrupt and depraved. As matters of sin were brought out into light by the truth, all the strongholds that our sister had been holding onto started to crumble down. And lastly, as theological issues she had like the Trinity was resolved, she accepted Jesus Christ as eternal Lord and Savior. As she was reading the acceptance prayer with us, she could not finish the sentences because she was weeping deeply. After finishing the acceptance prayer, she confessed that she experienced true freedom and love. And because Arab Mission Camp was only a week away, our team quickly picked a day to baptize her. As she was being baptized as the Lord commanded, the sister confessed that she will live and die with Christ. Coincidentally, that day was also her birthday.
Along with being baptized and accepting Christ, the sister overcame hardship to attend Mission Camp. She was a little bewildered because it was her first-ever Christian gathering, but she experienced a deep encounter of the Holy Spirit. On the last day of Camp the sister sent us a text message that said, “I don’t know how to thank you. Through you I heard God speak to me today, and through your hands I learned that God will lead me.” We found out later that this sister committed to do everything the Lord desires with her life.
The proof that our sister had met the Lord intimately started appearing immediately. She received an offer to be an exchange professor overseas, something she had wanted long before she accepted Jesus. Many people in I-land believe that there is no hope in this nation and seek for ways to leave. Our sister received a very good opportunity to leave and even receive a salary five times higher than her current one. Everything was perfect, but she came to us with one concern and worry.
Her one worry was the gospel. The sister certain that if she were to leave now, it would be hard for her to grow in the gospel. The sister immediately began wrestling in prayer with God. Through firm conviction and her own desire, she decided not to take the job offer but to receive training in the gospel. The dean of the language department saw her shocking decision and began to wonder what on earth she had experienced, and he decided to visit our church gathering.
The sister is meditating and learning the book of Romans at a very rapid pace. From the day she accepted, we had faith and hope that our sister would become like Lydia, a pillar of the Church at Philippi, and sure enough, we are seeing how rapidly she is growing in the gospel and becoming a faithful kingdom worker.
Lord, stretch out your powerful hands of protection. Pour out your anointing over her as a teacher of the Word, and to raise her up like Lydia. Lord, would you allow her friends who have also been longing for the truth to quickly enter into the glory of your truth. Anoint her with boldness to be a witness for Christ!