by Allison Coventry, Seattle, WA
A global reach crossing borders, building bridges – without leaving home.
What if one of the most strategic ways to impact the Middle East and build bridges across cultures is not to leave home but to leave our comfort zone? What if global impact comes through local impact?
Consider the modern-day diaspora – those who have been dislocated from their homeland and are living in a city near you. Consider specifically hundreds of Farsi-speaking refugees who are waiting to enter the U.S. Many of them have little, if any, exposure to the good news of Jesus Christ. Others have already paid the price to follow Christ and have experienced persecution and violence. And they are at our doorstep, only a relationship away.
Enter Sepehr, an Iranian, Muslim background believer who has been dislocated from Iran, through Turkey, and now lives in Seattle. His heart and passion are to reach other people, particularly Farsi speakers, offering a transformational relationship with Jesus.
Because of his own story and the bond between those who share a common language and culture, Sepehr is able to connect with hundreds of people just like him who have relocated to the Pacific Northwest (PNW). He is able to share the good news of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. This creates an opportunity not limited by geographical distance, reaching all the way back into the Middle East. Crossing borders; building bridges.
In a collaborative initiative between a local church (Seattle First FMC), the Pacific Northwest Conference, and Impact Middle East, Sepehr has been released and equipped to minister locally and globally. Locally, people are coming to faith in Christ – three Muslim-background believers were baptized in Sunday worship services this spring. Bible study groups are emerging with the promise of becoming house churches. There is focused outreach among the growing population of Farsi-speaking refugees from Iran and Afghanistan relocating to the Seattle area.
Globally, Sepehr is able to create video and online resources in the heart language of the Iranian people. Access to resources in Farsi is very limited. Many of us in the U.S. take for granted all the information that is one simple click away. What Sepehr is able to create fills a huge void for the Iranian people, and they are hungry for more.
These initiatives are both local and global and are bearing fruit, both for the Seattle church and for the church in the Middle East. These kinds of bridges are kingdom bridges and worth investing in.