Messages for the Middle East
Thousands of believers from countries across the Middle East, including Syria, Iraq, Jordan and Egypt, have signed up to receive daily messages from Christians around the world - and there is an exciting opportunity for you to write to them!
Open Doors has launched a Hope for the Middle East encouragement app (application) for believers in the Middle East. This means that if you email us a short message (to firstname.lastname@example.org) - maybe with a picture or a 15 second video - we will check whether it is OK, and then send it to believers on their phones and tablet devices.
Already, the app is being well received by Christians in the Middle East. One believer wrote: "May the Lord bless you, I'm very happy with this app. I hope we can encourage each other in reading the gospel. May the Lord repay you for your efforts..." Another said: "Thank you for this valuable devotion. May the Lord bless you and us as well, now and ever and to our last breath."
Keep checking this page for the theme a month ahead - responding to the theme ahead gives more time to those who are translating your messages!
THEME FOR FEBRUARY: Courage (to proclaim faith)
Why not encourage our persecuted church family in the Middle East with messages about biblical figures who endured persecution for declaring their faith, like Daniel or the disciples?
"This is what the Lord says: Stand in the courtyard of the Lord’s house and speak to all the people of the towns of Judah who come to worship in the house of the Lord. Tell them everything I command you; do not omit a word. Perhaps they will listen and each will turn from their evil ways." (Jeremiah 26:2-3)
THEME FOR MARCH: Immigration and leaving
So many of our persecuted brothers and sisters end up displaced due to war and persecution. Some are displaced within their own countries, unable to return home. In Syria, many young men have left the country, leaving the poor and vulnerable behind. This month, why not write messages of encouragement about being salt and light? All Christians can shine for Christ where they are. Pray that our displaced church family will be able to return home one day.
“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven." (Matthew 5:13-16)
What you need to do:
- If you can, please upload with your message a good-quality photo OR short video OR audio clip - as the Middle Eastern culture is very visual and audio based, messages containing media are easier to share on the app and are viewed by more people.
- Write a short message up to 500 characters without a picture, or 100 characters with a picture (including spaces).
- You could include an encouraging Bible verse.
You must email your message to email@example.com only. We cannot pass on hardcopy messages.
Make it personal:
- If you are willing, you can state your first name, age, profession, and/or country. Be aware that this information will then become public on the internet and may be shared on social media by believers in the Middle East. Do not include your full name or full address.
- Provide a picture so that more people view it, eg a Bible verse, a group of you praying, a picture of a cross, you waving at the camera, nature. etc.
- As believers in the Middle East are facing struggles, you could talk about how you deal with personal (spiritual) struggles - is there a special prayer that helps you?
- Make sure pictures and videos are in the landscape orientation (and copyright free!)
- Try to send pictures that are at least 700 pixels wide, but not more than 1080
- If the pictures contain posters or text, please make sure that they are legible
- Leave enough space on your video, or if you have text in your picture, for an Arabic translation (roughly, your text should not take up more than 20 per cent of the image)
- When creating a video, include a short description, make sure that it is under 15 seconds in length and no larger than 1GB. Do not create a complicated video with music and moving text, because the video will be translated into Arabic. Simply send the text you want to include in the video (in mov, mp4, m4v, wmv and flv formats only, between 400-1000 kbps) and any specific instructions - like when/where you want the text to appear. The aspect ratio must be either 4:3 or 16:9
- You could record an mp3 song snippet and/or include a message up to 30 seconds in length.
STRUGGLING WITH WHAT TO SAY?
If you are struggling to know what to say, you could imagine you are writing to a Christian widow, someone who has lost their job, or a believer who has been displaced - like in the story below.
Two years ago, my family and I fled my home and became refugees when it became too dangerous for us to stay. It was the most difficult thing we've ever had to do.
It's been hard for me to continue my university education in a country that's not my own. I don't feel safe and I'm losing hope in a better future. I'm trying to make sense of what is happening around me, and even though I know that God is there for us, I'm unable to find peace in my heart.
I miss my home and community so much. Every day I pray that we can go back.
Below are some ideas of messages you could send.
Keep the faith brothers and sisters. We fight the good fight. You are loved deeply by the Almighty.
Be strong, brothers and sisters. My husband, David, myself, Anna, and my two daughters, Hannah (aged 9) and Lucy (aged 5) are praying for you. Your faith is an inspiration to us all. We are telling our friends in the church about what you are going through. We are praying for you. God bless!
On behalf of Your family, God, we are praying for the safety of all our persecuted family. We pray for their protection. Lord, let Your love fill them once again specially for those who are about to give up. Lord, let them see the hope again in You, that You are always there for them. Lord, we are lifting our family to You. Guide them protect them, and let Your most precious and holy blood cover them. Amen.
For further guidelines on messages of encouragement (please note that you can only email these messages, not post them) visit our simple letter-writing guidelines page.
If you would like to discover more ways that you can bring hope to the Middle East, visit the Hope for the Middle East campaign webpage.