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 for believers in the Middle East. This means that if you email us a short message (to email@example.com) - 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 OCTOBER: PERSECUTION
The persecution of Christians has existed since the very beginning of the church. Jesus even told His disciples that believers would be persecuted on account of Him. While persecution itself is unpleasant and not something we would ever wish for, we – and our brothers and sisters around the world – can take comfort knowing that Jesus has walked the path of persecution before us and that He has the ultimate victory. Why not encourage our church family in the Middle East with Bible verses or prayers that comfort you during your trials and struggles?
“This is my command: love each other. If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world.” John 14:17-19
“Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked.” Psalm 84:10
THEME FOR NOVEMBER: DIFFICULTIES AND STRUGGLES
As the nights get darker, we can be more easily overwhelmed by the world’s problems. We can find ourselves struggling with depression or up against spiritual forces for all sorts of reasons. Persistent persecution can wear our church family down – and it’s in these moments that a kind or encouraging message or prayer can lift their spirits and help them to keep going!
“Let the one who walks in the dark, who has no light, trust in the name of the Lord and rely on their God.” Isaiah 50:10
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.