In 1959, an old house in the heart of Marrakech, Morocco, was the setting for a pilot project into radio ministry. Radio continues as a major means of communicating the gospel to Muslims of the Arab world.
“I have listened to your radio programs for a month now and I can’t hide my desire to never miss a single one…I need help. You are, perhaps, my only hope.”
Arabic and French Bible correspondence courses were first advertised in Tunisia at the International Fair in Tunis in 1959. The success of this ministry led to massive outreach. In 1963, the Governor of the province of Tunis determined that there was a very real prospect of creating a Christian minority in the country. Missionaries are expelled.
In 1966, a mission acquired a former cheese factory in Marseille, France to run a media centre. This letter came from Iraq —
“Thank you for corresponding with me. Apologies for my long delay. My why for not writing is that I injured myself in a car bomb explosion. Miraculously, I escaped death, which is due to the protection of the Lord Jesus Christ. But now, paralyzed and I can’t do anything. I need the book, Is Christ God?”
In the late 1990’s television made its début via a number of missions. Many of the programs are original and produced with local Christians. This letter is one that came from Algeria —
“The Lord Jesus Christ has touched my heart and soul through your television programs. I now have accepted Christ in my life and I need a Bible and instructions on how to pray so that I can bear witness in my neighbourhood and among my university friends.”
In 1984, hundreds of Moroccan young people had been arrested and interrogated for studying the Bible. There has always been opposition by authorities in the Arab world although actual intervention has varied. Today, most courses, Scripture and other materials will be sent to inquirers from within their own country or through the worldwide web. This letter came from Libya —
“I am Egyptian but living in Libya, and I need books and spiritual CDs because none of these things exist here in this country. I am a new believer, from a year and a half ago, and I need lots of support in prayer because this country is very difficult.”
In the early and mid 2000’s, a number of those ministries in television began training Algerian Christians in video production. Increasing priority is given to training national believers to reach their own people.
Of course, along with this tremendous opportunity comes significant costs. In 1969, a 15-minute broadcast on medium wave radio cost $77. Today, that same airtime costs $447. However, reading this letter from Yemen makes it right —
“I am searching for the truth and I want to know about Christianity, right from the basics, as I have done with Islam, to have a clear idea and deep understanding. That’s why I am writing to you, so that you can help me. Thank you.”
Today, follow-up is often done by a national believer. This letter from Morocco expressed a gratitude that makes it very real —
“I am happy to have received Jesus Christ as my Saviour and it was through your courses that I came to know Him. I was very pleased to meet a believer in my city who helped me to understand many things about the Bible.”
Today there are many websites with many hours of Arabic audio and video, music and teaching, volumes of Arabic articles and books, daily Arabic devotional material, interactive Bible courses and much more. Here is a letter from United Arab Emirates —
“I am a young man, lost in this world, and by sheer chance I came to this website and a correspondence course website and they made a great impression on me. I would like to get more information about the Christian religion.”