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Making disciples among the unreached

Music Opens Hearts

By Merla Gogel
Tags: From Canada

When we think of the harp, images of heaven might come to mind. We don't often think of an instrument that a young Canadian woman could use to connect with unbelievers in the Middle East.

After high school, Leah* was uncertain as to which direction the Lord was leading her, prompting her to take a one-year Theology diploma. During this time, Leah developed a deeper understanding and love of her faith and she began to better understand her responsibility to share the Gospel with others.    

Leah enrolled in a Bachelor of Music in Orchestral Harp Performance.  During this time, Leah attended a missions conference where she met a representative with an organization in the Middle East that combines creative arts and missions. Leah was encouraged to consider being a part of the team in the Middle East, where she could sing and play her harp.

The organization's founder, Kevin* had a vision to use creative arts to share the Gospel with Muslims, recognizing that music opens the hearts of people and can be an effective tool in sharing the gospel. Kevin began dreaming of holding concerts in the country where he served to share Christ and connect with the people.  Starting small, this ministry gained momentum and expanded to other countries in the region. 

However, Leah returned to her studies and quickly forgot about overseas ministry.  As graduation approached, a friend reminded her of her dream of using music in overseas ministry.  This prompted Leah to reconnect with the team in the Middle East. Together they explored the possibility of Leah joining the creative arts team.  Conversations continued and eventually SEND International was mentioned as a possible sending agency.  God continued to move, and in July 2016, Leah departed for the Middle East. 

Sharing and Encouraging

Leah's team performed in 4 countries in the region, partnering with people in local churches, and other organizations. The goal of the team was not only to share Christ with non-believers, but also to build up and inspire the local believers in their evangelistic efforts. Each show was different, depending on the legal restrictions of each area. Every performance included music and sharing, and as the show progressed it focused more on Christ, which was often a challenge, as in some areas the team was not allowed to mention the name of Christ! Where permitted, the shows ended with a gospel presentation. Where restricted, a broader invitation was given to speak to the performers afterward for more information.  

One challenge Leah faced was that of personal down time.  Being an introvert, Leah did not enjoy being with people 24-7 while on tour.  It was difficult to always be excited about being with people and performing. Some days Leah would wake up and long to be alone.  Through this challenge, Leah learned to rely on God for energy and a right spirit. 

Café Conversations

When the team was not on tour or rehearsing, Leah helped another organization packing Bibles, Bible study courses, and other material people wanting to learn about Jesus.  Leah also spent time with a women’s group visiting cafes, and other public areas to start faith conversations with local women.

Despite the language barrier, Leah was able to have good conversations with a few ladies. One woman Leah met spoke seven languages!  After a couple conversations with her, Leah took a local believer with her to share with this woman.  When the woman heard that the believer was formerly a Muslim she was amazed.  The woman understood why Leah is a believer having grown up in North America, but to talk with a Muslim who became a follower of Jesus was an eye opener.  Leah continues to be in contact with this woman.

God is working in the Middle East, and not necessarily through traditional church planting methods nor the traditional missionary. God is using people with various skills and expertise whose heart is to see Christ shared in culturally appropriate methods.  Will you, like Leah, dare to dream of how your skills and experiences can be used to reach Muslims?

Discover Opportunities To Engage Muslims 

Read Part 2 to Learn About The Lessons God Taught Leah

Learn seven simple ways to engage with Muslims in your own neighborhood. 

* Some names have been changed for security reasons.

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