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A Short Guide To TWR’s Ministry in the Arab World of MIDDLE EAST: Place where Sun Raises

The multiplicity of languages Introduction to the Middle East: The Middle East1 has a spoken in the Middle East total population of nearly 260 million people, speaking more reflects its ethnic diversity. than 95 languages of which 23 are each spoken by at least 500,000 people in the region. Most of these languages come from three major language families: Semitic (including Arabic, Hebrew, and Aramaic); IndoEuropean (Kurdish, Persian, Armenian); and Turkic (Turkish, Azeri). These language families reflect the successive migrations of different peoples into the region.2 It is estimated that nine out of ten Muslims in the Middle East do not know any Christians.

With the exceptions of Israel and Turkey, the Middle East is dominated by people groups who speak multiple varieties of Arabic, though one must not assume common cultural,
The Five Pillars of Islam 1. Reciting the Creed: ‘There is no God but Allah’ and ‘Muhammad is his prophet.’ 2. Prayer five times a day. 3. Alms-giving to the poor. 4. Fasting: Especially during the ‘holy’ month of Ramadan. 5. Pilgrimage once in a lifetime to Mecca, Saudi Arabia.

religious or political views simply on the basis of linguistic similarity. Historically, the region has been one of the most fought-over, occupied, and politically unstable in history. Recent political changes and civil wars confirm this. This is due significantly to its being astride important (imperial and colonial) trade routes. More recently in history the over-arching issue has been the regions control of or access to nearly two-thirds of the world’s operational oil reserves. Islam

According to Muslims, at the age of 40, in AD 610, Mohammed supposedly began to receive revelations and instruction that he believed were from the archangel Gabriel (Gibrail in Arabic). These “revelations” form the basis of the Qur’an. Jewish and Christian ideas, practices and history are very present in the Qur’an, although they are often distorted. Muslims believe in Allah and that he is unique, all powerful, gracious and merciful to all Muslims. The Islamic faith is lived out according to five “pillars” that must be adhered to if one is to hope for salvation. Sunni and Shia Muslims (also known as Shiites) comprise the two main sects within Islam. Sunni and Shia identities were first formed around a dispute over leadership succession in 632 A.D. In time, the divide broadened to theological distinctions and differences in religious practices. Sunnis include followers of the Hanafi, Shafi, Maliki and Hanbali schools and also the Wahhabi or Salafi movement. Shias include Ithna Asharis (Twelvers), Ismailis, Zaydis, Alevis and Alawites. In the countries we consider in this publication

Hijab, partial or full veils Muslim women wear to cover their faces refers to a rule of modesty that applies to both men and women.

In this publication we will consider TWR’s ministry in the following countries: Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, State of Palestine (, Syria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, and Yemen. 2 Ethnologue: Languages of the World, 14th Edition - - 2004 SIL International

there are more than 200 million Muslims of which around 40 million are Shias. In these countries percentage of Muslim population is 93%.3 Family As is the case in much of the Muslim world, the Middle East is experiencing explosive population growth. The population of the region is projected to increase far faster than the expected global average in the next several decades. Five of the worlds’ twenty-five fastest growing countries through the year 2050 are in the Middle East. However, the situation is changing here as well. A generation ago women would have 6 or more children, today not more than 3.4 There are number of reasons, one being the regions’ substantial health improvements, and life expectancy at birth increased by a number of years since the 1980s. Still, compared to other regions of the world, the Middle East Arab world is still experiencing one of the fastest population growth rates (over 2% per year).
Jihad is a loaded term that illustrates a deep gulf of miscommunication between Islam and the Western world. The term means ‘exerted effort or struggle’ and refers to a broad range of activities, including an inner struggle to become a better person. More recently, it is being understood as a clash of civilizations.

Young marriage remains the norm in the region (86% of women re married by age 30), but many of them postpone marriage and childbearing until after age 25, so that the age at first marriage is 28 years.

Economically, the most significant stresses in the region can be stated simply by two words: water and petroleum. Of the world’s known oil reserves, 65 percent lie beneath the Middle East. But the most critical resource is water, which has contributed to past conflicts and may one day start others. With few regional water agreements and the growing threat of pollution, the most fundamental problem, though, is scant and undependable rainfall. Without oil, the Middle East cannot live well; without water it cannot live at all.5 In the coming two decades, world oil consumption is expected to increase by more than 60%. The Middle East (including Iran) holds a place of critical importance and influence due to its dominance of proven reserves. Christianity Christianity roots, both physically and spiritually, lie in the Middle East. But in much of today’s Middle East, Christianity is little more than a well-travelled tourist stop. Where once there were thriving churches and Christian communities, there are now struggling enclaves representing nearly every spectrum of ancient and of modern Christianity. Despite the apparent richness of this Christian mosaic, the outlook for the church in the Middle East is not bright.6 Imagine living in a social and political environment as members of a religious minority, Christians, where the dominant majority, Muslims, are told by their "holy book" that they are the
3 4

Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life, Mapping the Global Muslim Population, October 2009, Arab World Experiences Rapid Population Explosion 5 Middle East Natural Resources - National Geographic Society, 2004 6 William Damick – The Middle East, A Regional Overview, TWR, June 2004

noblest of creatures and the former are the vilest of animals… where the official state religion is that of the majority and the religion of the minority is scorned if not actively persecuted… where opportunity in education, employment and business are tilted toward the majority and away from the minority, where in times of political and economic misfortune those of the majority feel free to attack, plunder and kill those of the minority out of hatred and revenge, where the clergy of the majority preaches hatred for the minority and issues religious decrees urging its followers to wage war against the minority, where the men of the majority regard the women of the minority as shameless and frequently molest them… and where ignorance, superstition, corruption, abuse & denigration of women, oppression, and persecution of religious and ethnic minorities are the norms, not the exceptions… then you will understand the predicament of Christians in Muslim societies and wonder no longer why they seek to escape by emigrating.7 Emigration by Christian groups from the Middle East, particularly in the last decade has significantly reduced the Christian population. Christians are fleeing from all over the Middle East. Emigration began in the aftermath of World War I and has greatly picked up in the last decade. It is so especially since the latest political changes and civil wars. “If you are encouraging someone to make a decision for Christ, you are also encouraging him to allow to be rejected from his family, to lose job and to be persecuted. In other words you are preaching to put someone in trouble. Is the physical security of a person more important than his spiritual situation? Being separated from God spiritually… and being in connection with God yet have less security. What does the Bible say about this? But it is our conviction that the spiritual well-being is more important than the physical one. Believing that God can and will provide for everything that is need. This is of course easier said than lived! Can a Muslim be a follower, not leaving his culture? The concept of the church we as the West are using does not work in the Arab community. We need to create something new, like cell groups. To see a piano or an organ, have music played in the house of God is something BMB are not used to, that is more like in a night club but not in a church. God showed us a different way….he planted a church Himself within our people group. To be accurate, He didn’t really plant a church; he planted the Gospel into a community that already existed. God wants to start the church in the communities as they are. We do not preach culture, we preach faith. I do not need to ask the lady who had been used to cover her head for 40 years to take it off, when coming to church. I will be pushing her to the limits. Continue to live wherever you are, continue to wear the scarf, there is not harm in it, but have a real faith in Christ, that is the difference.” – Thoughts of a TWR ministry leader in the region.


R.L. Schwind – Christian Flight from the Middle East - 2004

TWR History in the region Reaching the Arabic people with the Gospel in their language was a high priority from the beginning of TWR’s broadcasts from Monte Carlo in 1960. Paul Freed, the founder of TWR, had spent part of his youth in the Arab region (attending school in Jerusalem) as his parents had ministered among the people in the Arab region for years. It was an Arab boy, who had shown him, the change that the power of God can bring to a person. 8 And through that God had put a burden in his heart to reach the Arabs of the Middle East with the Gospel. In 1961 this became reality with the first radio broadcasts in Arabic. Because of its relative neutrality, Lebanon offered the prospect of establishing offices and a studio. In the mid 1970’s, the relative tranquility in Lebanon erupted into civil war which lead to the loss of the studio as armed men forced the staff to leave the offices. But although this was the end of the studio, it was not the end of the programs. More and more reports arrived that Christians in Lebanon were hearing the programs as the political faction who had overtaken the offices did not have any programs of their own; they took the left programs and played them almost the whole day in their station! With the loss of the studios in Lebanon, the Arabic ministry was moved to Monte Carlo, where programs were produced by our Arabic staff located there. At present, programs are again produced in three countries in the Arab World and heard in all Arab speaking countries, including North Africa. For 50 years TWR does bring the Good News of Jesus Christ to the people who in most cases cannot hear the message freely!

THE ARAB WINTER In the last two years, a series of protests, demonstrations, and political changes swept through the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), and those events went down in history as the "Arab Spring." For most people in the world, spring is the favourite season. It symbolizes rebirth, life, growth, warmth, and hope for the future. But the springs of 2011 and 2012 for the Arab world were different. Flames, anger, and frustration just kept on occurring everywhere, and the situation is not getting better. Tensions are not at ease; the “Arab spring” turned into the “Arab winter”! Winter of persecution In addition to the significant damages and some good developments that the social and political changes afflicted on the MENA region, whether economic, psychological, or physical, the popularly called “Arab Spring” is becoming a “winter of persecution” for Christians in the Arab World. Freedom denied and lives under threat and persecution results in kidnappings, bombings,


Freed, Paul Towers to eternity, p. 29

killings, and forced conversions. Many Iraqi, Egyptian, and Syrian Christians are being forced to flee their countries. In 1990 there were between 1.2 and 1.4 million Christians in Iraq. Today, it is estimated that less than 500,000 remain. With the current events and the vague future ahead, here comes an important consideration: if “secular media” played a major role in changing the face of the Arab World, can “Christian media” play a more powerful role to bring change into the lives of the peoples of the area? What would that role be amidst this chaos? Agents of change In this situation, TWR Arabic Ministries decided to stand up in prayer and action as God showed throughout these past two years that He is at work. No matter how hard the situation is, He is still opening amazing doors for outreach and evangelism through radio and various media platforms. We praise the Lord that the message we are delivering is helping many people from all backgrounds to put their trust in the true God, the One who can provide peace and comfort in the midst of danger and a dreadful future. So, radio programs are not just radio programs anymore, but they are becoming and will continue to be “agents of change” in the lives of many Arabs! The year 2012 was a milestone in the history of TWR Arabic Ministries. Our dream for an Arabic Internet Radio (AiR) came to life in addition to our engagement in mobile applications, landing pages, mobile version websites, and more. See for more on these. From the notebook of TWR’s Arabic Ministries Director

WHAT IS TWR DOING? Despite the thirst of the Arab World for the Living Water, various barriers prevent open outreach. While these vary from political, to geographic, social and economic factors, the most critical one in this region is the lack of religious freedom which prevents church planting and the open distribution of Biblical and Christian resources. Moreover, upon declaring their faith, Muslim converts become at risk of losing their lives. Hence, many are unable to study the Word of God freely or declare their Christian faith, a matter which hinders their spiritual growth. This is where TWR has realized its powerful tool in reaching these people and has decided to roll up its sleeves and penetrate the walls of silence and bring instead Light – the Light of Jesus Christ. In cooperation with many Christian organizations and churches, TWR broadcasts around 30 hours of Arabic programs weekly. These reach the Middle East, North Africa, and the Gulf area via medium wave on two different outlets located outside the Arab World. The diverse programs focus on different segments of society including youth programs in different Arabic dialects, women, evangelism, Bible studies, discipleship, and leadership programs. Throughout the years, hundreds, even thousands have surrendered their lives to Jesus Christ and professed their Christianity. Many others have become effective pastors, preachers, leaders, church planters, evangelists and ministers in the Middle East region because of TWR’s ministry. On Language and Production The Arabic World is a very unique situation, even within TWR. It is only one language and a number of dialects. It is spoken in 22 countries. Usually there are two or three countries sharing the same language. That is a great challenge but also a great opportunity because when we prepare a radio program in Arabic everyone in the Arab World can understand it. Now, when it comes to creating programs according to the locally felt needs you need to be more specific. We talk differently to an Egyptian woman that we would to a Jordanian woman. A teenager in Tunisia is a little bit different than the one in Lebanon. That is why we in addition to the programs we do in the classical Arabic we have some programs in local dialects. The classical Arabic language is the language that is spoken officially in all Arabic countries. It is the language of the Qur’an. The language we use for printing, writing and for reading. In other words all the newspapers are in classical Arabic. An official letter is in classical Arabic no matter in which country, whether Tunisia, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, etc. we all use this language for correspondence and newspapers... With a program in classical Arabic we can make sure that anyone living in this area will understand what we want to say.

However we’d like to create some programs in the different Arabic dialects not necessarily to understand but for listeners to feel associated to the broadcasts. Feel that there are some people who care for our country, speaking our local dialect, addressing the local challenges they face. We have programs in the Jordanian Arabic, Lebanese, Syrian, Egyptian, Moroccan, etc. These programs help the local believers in those countries to express themselves and speak out and be involved in the TWR outreach. All these programs are done by local believers that TWR connected with them, trained them and involved them. TWR goes in all countries and try to build relationships with believers and churches and look for opportunities, especially trying to find young people and women and people with special talents and try to encourage them to be involved. Half of the programs are recorded in the classical Arabic to make sure that the message is clearly delivered. For example: TTB program is in classical Arabic because it is a systematic Bible teaching program, and TWR desires for the Word of God to be delivered clearly to the largest possible number of listeners. Talmatha, a discipling program that helps new believers grow in their faith is also done in classical Arabic. Arab culture is a “shy culture” (shame culture). People are not used to express and share about their challenges and problems. They keep quiet because they do not feel sure but rather feel ashamed of their weaknesses. By keeping quiet their problems will grow bigger and then it will end up in a negative way in their lifes. That is why in our program we encourage people to speak up and interact. First of all we express openly and talk transparently about challenges a young man can go through. These are things they will not hear at home, in churches, in the community unless through bad outlets. But here we talk about everything openly, clearly and in a clean way and try to provide some values and teachings and mostly with a biblical truth. So people find People find that this platform is a safe place and start talking openly and they are talking about very sensitive things and so we can really listen. And when we invite them to write back to us they will write openly. So we are helping young people not to keep quiet and let their problems become big in their minds. To speak it out. When they speak out we encourage them to succeed and find solutions themselves for their problems The problem with young men and women is that they are not looking into the great potential they have. They feel they are less valuable and they cannot soar, the challenge is big. When you let them speak up and talk and lead them to find solutions they will find answers for themselves. This is the most effective way to bring about change in the Arab World. Follow-up F. is available 24/7. In the program a phone number is given out. The calls are not answered for security reasons. The return call is done over skype in order to not be traceable. As the programs are aired late at night the calls usually come in after the program.

The team knows their listeners very well and interact very intensely with the ones that are open and willing to interact. The prayer for these listeners is very intense and specific. The Arabic ministry is like a church without a church building, not preaching from the pulpit. They collect all the data from every listener and every interaction that has taken place (sending discipleship material if the feel that the person is ready, has developed…) and in a survey they found out that per year they interact with 1000 individuals (not included with different contacts with each individual) This is much more than all the churches are able to do together. You are fishing for people through the program. But once you have them in the net you need to take care of them, support them, be in the situation where they are, be careful See devotion Ruth 1 we need to take care of their security….we need to lead them to security and tell them the way how to do that. Naomi tells Ruth exactly how to clean and dress and behave. But first of all we ourselves need to find security in God. The Lord himself is asking us this question. He is for us, He want the best for us…telling us the way to true security. True security is only possible in Him. TWR Arabic ministries are adapting new programming strategy that is being implemented within the Arabic broadcast into the region. Believing that The Arabic Ministries are in a strategic position to reach out to all people of the region from all backgrounds and allow biblical truth to minister to people at this important time of history. Knowing now, that unless God’s word changes people’s hearts, there will be no peace, no stability in the area. Therefore the need is huge and the opportunity is great! Through this new strategy the Arabic team is planning several approaches: prepare short daily messages that present Biblical values in reflections to the current situation in the region, and use the programs that we have direct control over them to convey powerful messages from the Word of God. We are mostly using the Oasis of Hope four different programs by adding new content into them, sharing God’s Word in relation to the current situation.

KEY TWR ARABIC PROGRAMS Youth in mind – Syrian youth program (15 minutes weekly), started through a local initiative, and trained young people, fundraising and now on air. 3 years on air now. Belongs to TWR but also to the local church as it is done by the local church! This is the first Christian radio program that was every produced in Syria. Christians did not have the freedom to be involved as it was a closed country and the church was paralyzed by fear. He tried for many years but never anything materialized. But 3 years ago the pastor of a church came and saw what they are doing and so they started. The role of TWR is to be a catalyst – you see a need and respond to it. We are not after building our own kingdom but helping to build the kingdom of God. What we want to see ministry happening, that people come to know the Lord and sometimes TWR acts as a facilitator to bring people together.

Talmatha (which means “Discipleship” in Arabic) is a 30-minute, Classical Arabic, discipleship radio program that has been aired four days per week from Monte Carlo on AM (MW on 1467 kHz) and from Central Asia on AM (MW on 1377 kHz).
TALMATHA Imagine becoming a believer of Jesus while living in a place where it is dangerous to talk about your faith. You cannot go to church, and you have limited access to the Bible. All around you is a desperate search for peace, yet past experience teaches you that it is not wise to openly discuss the little knowledge you have concerning the Prince of Peace.

Their critical need for thorough Bible teaching and discipleship stands out as a major challenge to church growth. How can a believer grow spiritually and learn to stand in a difficult spiritual environment when no “food for faith” is readily available? Missiologically, the Church needs believers from a Muslim background to learn, grow and multiply their faith, since few other opportunities exist to evangelize in such a complex culture.

TWR is one of the Christian ministries that God has graciously called to evangelize and complement the difficult church-planting process in the Arab world that includes discipleship and leadership development. With cooperative Kingdom goals and objectives in mind, TWR’s vision is to reach the world for Christ by mass media so that lasting fruit is produced. In partnership with Open Doors and The Navigators, TWR has sought to provide untold thousands of hungry souls in the Arab World with “spiritual food.” With the continuous rise of political and economic conflicts not only in the Middle East-North Africa region, but in the world at large, there is an increasing sense of insecurity and fear among average citizens desperate for “salvation” from the turmoil that describes their lives. They seek salvation, not knowing that it is at hand in the person of Jesus Christ, the Savior. Nevertheless, various barriers prevent open outreach. While these vary from political to geographic to social and economic factors, the most critical barrier in the Middle East-North

Africa region is the lack of religious freedom which prevents the open distribution of biblical and Christian resources. Moreover, upon declaring their faith, Arab Muslim converts become at risk of losing their jobs, families or lives. Hence, many Arab converts are unable to study the Word of God freely, declare their Christian faith or openly interact with faithful Christians, hindering or delaying their spiritual growth. This is where TWR has realized its powerful tool in reaching the Arab World, penetrating the walls of silence where many are living, to bring Light – the Light of Jesus Christ! Radio is a safe outreach medium that preserves the privacy of listeners – and hence their security – yet at the same time leads them to a growing relationship with Jesus Christ. This is where the Talmatha program plays its role, nurturing new believers in their growth and knowledge of Jesus Christ. Goals and Objectives Talmatha’s goal is to reach out to Arab people in the Middle East region, Christians and especially Muslims, with sound and profound biblical teaching that can lead non-believers to Christ, and help new believers grow in their knowledge of Christ and their faith journey. Through this program, TWR looks to achieve the following objectives: • Reach and teach Christian believers from a Muslim background the Word of God; • Disciple “newborn” believers, from all backgrounds, so they grow and mature as children of God and eventually self-sustain their growth; • Provide a full manual of material which complements the radio program and enables consistent discipleship. The program comprises 390 episodes, each 30 minutes long, and is aired four days a week. It is important to note that Talmatha is accompanied by a full manual to enable consistent discipleship. The written material includes manuals for group leaders (three series of four books each) that are offered to small groups, as well as for private study. These study materials are also available for download off the Internet. Talmatha’s Arabic Web site, will engage users by seeking their feedback and providing them with recordings of the audio programs and written scripts. This will build a bridge to help non-believers find their way to Christ, and believers grow in their faith. Material is also available in English on the Discipleship on the Air Web site:

She is worth far more than rubies. Proverbs 31: 1 Project Hannah (PH) – Reaching the Arab Women with Hope involves many elements working together and in parallel to achieve the goals: Prayer is the backbone of PH, mobilizing individuals, churches, and women's groups to participate in its Global Prayer Movement. Countless women and men use the prayer guide, asking God to intervene on behalf of oppressed women. PH Prayer coordinators and field workers go into various areas to set up prayer groups, to meet with, and minister to our intercessors on a regular basis.
In Islam, the predominant religion in the Arab World, femaleness suggests disability and inequality. According to the Quran, the bedrock of Islam, women’s legal testimony is worth one half that of men’s and their shares in the inheritance of relatives are usually fixed at one half of the corresponding male share. In addition, it is legal for a man to marry up to four wives and he has the ability to divorce his wives without cause and with little penalty, and the children’s custody is to the father and his family.

Awareness – in order to pray more specifically, it is necessary to be aware of what suffering women deal with every day. Each month, PH provides a prayer guide with information focusing on a particular people group, country or issue. PH’s team also holds awareness meetings in churches, at Ladies Retreats, conferences, etc… The Women of Hope (WoH) Arabic broadcast is a friend-to-friend style program, which is simple and attractive, yet challenging. Arabic WoH is a 30-minute radio program, which addresses women’s life issues and offers health information and practical advice for daily living from a Christian perspective. “Soul issues” bring to the listener the good news of hope and salvation, information for Christian living, and address spiritual as well as matters of worldview and relationships – with God, with others and with oneself. Whether a house wife in Cairo, an executive in Beirut, a student in Baghdad, a worker in Syria, a lawyer in Jordan, or veiled in a Harem in Saudi Arabia, the Arab woman shares with her sisters a common fate: a life of rejection and captivity! It even gets worse as she will have to atone for her sin of having been born a woman in a dominated-male society where being a woman remains synonymous with shame and threat! As they grow, many Arab women are shackled in the silence of their pain and misery, with no one to speak on their behalf, no one to listen to their needs, and no one to extend a helping and loving arm. Sadly, many Arab women face a frightening fate even before they are born as many are aborted when the gender is known! Upon their birth, some are abandoned as infants; others are thrown on the roads or on orphanages’ doorsteps, not to mention that many are killed from the moment of birth. This results in “shaping” the women to live in a state of fear, anger, low self-esteem, humiliation, isolation, remorse, hatred, frustration, etc…

A quick overlook at the following statistics might help us understand the status of women in the MENA region: Egyptian Women: In study of 631 Egyptian women, 22% experienced intimate partner violence. (Vizcarra et al. 2004) Iranian Women: A study of 1,800 pregnant Iranian women found that 60.6% of the women experienced multiple forms of domestic violence, including psychological (60.5%), physical (14.6%), and sexual (23.5%) violence. (Jahanfar & Malekzadegan 2007) Lebanese Women: A study of 1,418 Lebanese women attending primary health centers found that 35% experienced domestic violence, including verbal abuse (88%) and physical violence (66%). (Usta, Farver & Pashayan 2007) Palestinian Women: Prior to 2005, just over 66% of ever-married Palestinian women were subjected to psychological violence including 60% who were frequently exposed to shouting and yelling. Almost 34% experienced physical violence and just over 15% experienced sexual violence. (UNDP, 2009) Sudanese Women: A study of 146 Sudanese women at an outpatient clinic found that 45.8% had been victims of domestic violence. (Ahmed 2007) Honor Killing: (the pre-planned murder, usually of a woman, for believing she has brought shame on the family) 5,328 Arab women were murdered in one year. Data indicates that about half or more of them were killed by a husband or boyfriend.



Realizing the need to “free” the Arab woman from the bondage of ignorance, loneliness, fear and lack of self-confidence, TWR Arabic Ministries initiated PH in 2012 to shed the Light of Jesus Christ on these needy women – the Light that heals, reconcile, and restores the social, emotional, and physical pain women continue to face particularly in the Middle East region.

Ala’s Diary Young people usually come Saturday to work on the program in the They hold a 3 day seminar somewhere, bringing young people from churches through presenting the ministries, they invite them to that seminar and spend 3 days together, usually 40 young, collecting ideas, seeing about talents,….try to find 10 good people with talents and commitments. Then connect with the parents that they are comfortable that their kids are coming weekly, their voices will be on air…and then provide them with more in-depth training, scripts and a schedule. In that 3 day seminar they brainstorms about topics, challenges, seeing where they are at…what is the best way to present…giving them ideas after that a strategy: 52 weeks means 52 episodes means to tackle 52 subjects with high priority They decide the topics, format what we contribute is the expertise, facilitating, the youth should speak to the youth. It used to be drama but starting 2011 it will be in magazine type. “The concept of freedom” will be the underlying topic for this magazine. Young people always declare that they will be free. we want you to be free from you bad habits, doing the bad things, free from anything negative in your life! Also segments of “stars” – Christian sports people giving their testimonies. Ala’s Diary started 6 years ago, a dream that has started in this building. A 23 year old girl was in the follow up and she had the idea. Starting to receive demands from listeners, they wanted someone to talk about the daily challenges. Prayed together, sat together and this girl started writing the scripts. God has really used this program in a wonderful way. The challenge in working with young people is that they are in a stage of life when they move, so 3-5 years and then the go on. But if you want to work with young people, full of energy and creative you have to take the challenge of change!

OASIS OF HOPE The Oasis of Hope series consists of four programs specifically produced for four distinct audiences in the Middle East. Each audience has its own special characteristics and needs, which also correspond with TWR's Global Strategic Plan initiatives: Wholistic health issues are not often discussed in Middle Eastern society and so people, especially women, are expected to look after themselves and their families when illness and difficulty strike. To help Middle Eastern listeners deal with health issues from a biblical perspective, TWR produces How Are You? This program provides practical help and opens the door for people to meet Jesus, the Great Healer. Young men in the Middle East rarely have the opportunity to have their thoughts and feelings heard, or to have someone guide them in the journey of life. This can lead to risk-taking, poor decisions and fanaticism. The program The Way Companion helps Arabic young men through counselling and biblical application, guiding them by the Light of the World, Jesus Christ.

Young women in this area are also discouraged from sharing their fears and worries with others, leading to painful isolation and self-destruction. So many problems are caused by the "hidden" pressures, challenges and concerns that young ladies face, especially in a community that does not understand them. TWR's Healing Touches radio program provides support and encouragement for these precious souls. Oral communities can be found in many rural areas, where more than 55 percent of the Middle East's population lives. These people express their thoughts, ideas and feelings through the spoken word, as many of them are illiterate. The program I Long For You talks about God's love in a simple way and deals with the many challenges this sector of society faces.

Interview with the Director of TWR Arabic Ministries In 2011 TWR celebrated 50 years of Arabic broadcasts. How do you see it today? I have been with TWR for 15 years now and during these many years there was not one day that we did not air at least one program. This is indeed wonderful! I could tell you story after story of God’s wonderful provision for this important ministry. It is truly God’s ministry and we are privileged to be part of what He is doing in this region! It is this conviction and his provision over these last 50 years that gives us the strength to step out in faith again and face the new challenges ahead of us. What are some of the factors that helped the ministry thrive? One big advantage of TWR’s Arabic Department, is that we do exist in the heart of the region. We know the people; we breathe the same air and drink the same water. This gives us credibility, free access to the community and the opportunity to conduct ministry according to the local felt needs. Another factor is the mindset behind the ministry that we are doing. There is a difference between successful and fruitful ministry. Success can be produced by men and it often fools us. Only the Holy Spirit can bring forth fruit, fruit in the form of changed hearts and lives! This is why it is so important to be involved in the right thing at the right time. We are not working to succeed but to help that lasting fruit is being produced in people’s hearts. I think TWR has succeeded so far over the years in building the kingdom of God and be truthful and not worrying about building our own kingdom and that is why He has blessed it for over 50 years! What are the challenges of ministry in this part of the World? Arab people will not come to the Lord by tenth or by hundred. To bring about change in the hearts of these people you need time, patience and a long term commitment. We are not marketing a message or selling Jesus, we are no salesmen. It is a completely new lifestyle that we convey. Ministry is calling people one by one and staying focused, like Jesus did. Culture and religion are very much intertwined in the Arab World. For many decades and even today missions preach that Arab people have to leave their culture, change their ID when accepting Jesus as their Savior. We do not preach culture, we preach faith. I believe that God wants to start the church in the communities as they are. I do not need to ask the lady who been used to cover her head for 40 years to take it off, when coming to church. I will be pushing her to the limits. Continue to live wherever you are, continue to wear the scarf, there is not harm in it, but have a real faith in Christ, that is the difference. Is radio still an appropriate medium for ministry in the Arab region? Radio is still a very powerful tool to bring the truth. It is a private and personal tool which makes it perfect for this part of the world and culture to bring the Good News. In the old days radio was the only medium to bring the Good News into the Arab World. In some closed countries the Word of God was not available and it was not possible for missionaries to

go and share the Good News openly. There is only between5-6 % of the Christian population, so the witness was insufficient. Media was important to expand and multiply the efforts of Christians and believers. TWR, since 50 years ago, was the only voice to bring the good News into the closed Arab World through radio waves that can cross the boarders and penetrate any barriers. Things have changed since and there are many TV satellite channels that bring the Good News which is a great complement to what we do. However, within the Muslim culture and community it is not possible for a Muslim family to sit all together and openly watch a Christian broadcasts. TV is still a family activity. Through listeners we receive responses sharing that they cannot watch a Christian TV program as their family members or parents would not allow that. However they can take a personal radio set and listen in their room. Radio is a private and personal tool. We talk to people who have learned not to question their beliefs, to people who have been told that they should not do anything else, nor listen to anything else except Islam. So to encourage someone to reconsider his beliefs we need to talk to him privately. Radio is a friend, a secret friend that can talk privately to someone telling them that they are a free human being, that God has created them and are free to reconsider everything, question anything and obtain the truth that they are convinced with. This is the strength of radio. We as TWR are of course aware of the changes happening in technology and we do not want to be left behind and we certainly are not neglecting the change that is happening around us. This is why we are trying wisely to use all these changes to complement what we do on radio. For instance: making our programs available on the internet, broadcasting on the internet radio, encouraging everyone who has a radio program to have their own website that will allow expanding the outreach, etc. Internet is a very powerful tool that we are using to complement our work in radio. Including any other media tool including Podcasting, having our programs available on CD for mass distribution, flashcards etc. We want to be up-to-date with what is happening around us but this does not mean that we will move out of radio and do something else. I believe God is using radio and he will be using it for many years to come. As long as there are people who do not know the Lord in closed countries who are needing to be exposed to the Good News radio will be a powerful tool to be that carrier to bring this News to them safely, privately and in a personal way. What about TV? 10 years ago TWR’s Arabic ministry was the leading media organization in terms of size, quality, quantity and listenership within the whole Arab World. TV was non-existent at all. Fortunately the Good News is now available on the internet, on satellite TV and on radio also from other agencies. However, within the Arab culture and community TV is still a family activity. It is therefore not possible for believers to openly watch a Christian broadcast as their family members or parents would not allow that. However they can take their personal radio set and listen to it in the privacy of their room. This is why I am saying that in this part of the world if you focus on evangelism, challenging people to reconsider their current believes, you have to use radio.

What is your vision for the Arab World? Many good people here are “sincerely wrong,” which means that they are really trying to do the right thing but fail because they are misled. I would rather say they do not know better. It is our responsibility to make the Word of God available to them. After that it is the person’s choice to receive it or reject it. Out of 168 hours in a week, we are currently broadcasting only around 3540 hours. My vision is to see this number doubled or even tripled so that people cannot say “we do not know.” This however will require us to get more workers and mobilize more local believers. While some might think that ministry in the Arab World is challenging and not highly rewarding, we fully believe that God has put us in this “difficult” region for a purpose – to be salt and light in our service to Him, and to serve the growing Arab church in the Middle East and North Africa – and this is a privilege we don’t deserve.

“We hear you. Your work in vital. Keep it up.” 9


Olson, Dick 50 years of Arabic Broadcasts, Infoserve, volume 16, number 1, p.3

Prayer points “We are thankful that God is in control and focus on His promises and His Word in Philippians 4:6: ‘Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God,’ the Arabic Ministries leader says. “Yes, we believe that our Lord, the Prince of Peace, is able to calm down the situation, especially in Egypt.” For wisdom of how to be sensitive to the situation and redeem this chance to make Him known, the One Who can speak to people’s hearts. For the safety of the Christians in the Arab World and that the Lord would keep our staff and offices secure and safe. Pray with us that the broadcast of God’s Word into the region would continue to have a profound and extensive impact on people in the region,” the leader adds. “Also pray for the safety of our teams in the region, and that they would be able to continue to do the work that He has called them to do. Pray that their lives—at all times—would reflect the Source of our peace.” o Praise God for the effectiveness of Christian radio broadcasts to cross the manmade barriers of closed countries to reach women and men – one heart at a time. o Pray for the safety of TWR teams in the region that they would be able to continue to do the work that God has called them to do. o Pray that TWR broadcasts of God’s Word into the Arab world to continue to have a profound and extensive impact on people in the region. o Pray for Christians in the Arab world to be filled with the fruit of the Spirit, so that their transformed lives would be powerful and effective to influence others/their families for Christ. o Pray for wisdom for TWR’s Arabic ministries staff as they explore the opportunities to broadcast WoH in Arabic. Pray for God’s provisions of women for this work and for needed finances. Make it general? o Pray for Arabs who come to Christ to be able to have fellowship with other believers and for the availability of Bibles and Christian literature to establish them in the faith and encourage their spiritual growth. o There is a tremendous need for brave believers who, despite the risk for their life and safety would connect and even meet with local people calling and writing. o Pray for Arabs living far outside the Arab world to have opportunities to learn about Christ’s love for them through friendships with Christians willing to reach out to them. o Please also pray for bold witnesses to reach out to the young, breaking into their inner isolation, being able to form trusting relationships through which they young people will experience Christ and come to a personal relationship with him for themselves.



Bringing Light to Dark Places My name is Ali; I was born and raised in a conservative Muslim family in Saudi Arabia. Ever since I was a young boy I’ve been reading and studying the Quran on a daily basis and performing my Islamic duties such as fasting and praying. As years passed by, my knowledge in Islam increased. I was extremely religious but I had no true relationship with the God I was worshipping. I always felt that there was a barrier separating me from God. I felt that there was a great void within me, filling me completely for I worshipped God on the outside only. But on the inside, I was a slave to many bad habits and lusts. That’s why I tried to reach God by performing those duties such as prayer and fasting. What robbed my sleep at night was the fact that I never knew what my fate after death would be. It seemed that whatever good deeds I did, it was meaningless as one remains absolutely unsure whether or not he is going to heaven. All I could say was, "Only God Knows!" Therefore, I hoped for the mercy of Allah and hoped that the angels or the Prophet will intercede for me in the last day, so I will be saved from Hell. What a doomed life I had to live! Isn’t there any hope for man? Is this what life is all about…trying to please God and at the end you are surprised that you have not pleased him enough and you’ll end up in hell?! Is this fair? Is there no hope or no answer to man’s dilemma? These and many other questions haunted me day and night. I tried to seek help from Muslim scholars but they were as unsure and ignorant as I was! I needed God himself to reveal the Truth for me! One day, as I was reading the Quran, trying hardly to find answers for my doubts and fears, I came across a verse that spoke about the prophet Issa. Curiosity grew in me to know more about this man. I knew I could learn about Him through reading the Bible but how can I have access to a Bible when I’m living in the most closed and “anti-Bible” country! I tried hardly to find a Bible but it was useless; even the mention of its name in front of my scholars was demeaning and I was advised never to mention my interest in Jesus Christ again. But God never leaves His chosen children. In His own timing and ways He intervenes and opens an unexpected door! It was one cold night, as I was striving to sleep, that I cried out to God from the depth of my heart, in the midst of inner conflict, and said: "Lord, show me the truth! Is it Jesus or Muhammad? Could it be that You are my Father? Show me the truth, and the truth you lead me to I will serve all my life whatever the cost may be!” And God answered my prayer in a special and surprising way: through the radio! Radio? Yes, God revealed Himself and showed me the Truth through the transmission of radio waves! As I was flipping the stations that night, in an attempt to sleep, I came across a radio station that

would change my life forever. It was Trans world Radio which broadcasted Christian programs in the Arabic language. Night after night, I found myself waiting patiently for the time the broadcast would begin. It was amazing how the programs answered my inquiries and doubts…as if they knew my struggles and inner thoughts and they were directly answering me! For the first time in my life, I began asking the question "why?" and challenged everything I took for granted. All postulates were critically examined. This would get me into trouble in an authoritarian and fanatic society. Questions and doubts, they say, fly in the face of Allah. Obey. That is all. But I knew that I couldn’t just obey. Obey who… and what? Therefore, I corresponded with TWR’s Arabic team for several months and they faithfully replied all of my letters and messages. I was humbled by their profound knowledge of the Bible and the Christian faith. I started to know Jesus Christ and Christianity from a new perspective. I found in Jesus’ sacrifice the solution to the problem of sin in my life. For in His crucifixion is the atonement for all my sins and iniquities. I decided to seek him and his precious blood for shelter because He is the one who died instead of me and shed His holy blood for me! I couldn’t achieve salvation on my own, not by doing good words or my duties or anything else for that matter. So I decided to submit my life to him. I asked the Lord to forgive me my transgressions and I accepted Jesus as my Savior. TWR’s broadcast did not only lead me to salvation but its team helped me grow in my relationship with God by sending me constantly discipleship lessons through emails. These were like bread to my hungry soul! Consequently, I got baptized secretly and now my passion and goal is to live for Jesus Christ and to tell my fellow friends and lost people that Jesus is the Light, the Way, and the Truth. Who would ever have thought that in a country like Saudi Arabia, where neither a Bible nor a church is an option, a Christian radio station would penetrate the walls of a dark country and be the Bible and the Church to the thirsty and hungry souls!

A PALESTINIAN’S SALVATION STORY The situation in my country is life-threatening Coming from a Muslim background, I was hooked on our God. The rules from the holy book were laid out for me to follow. However, if I would not obey them, I would have to face the wrath of God. A personal relationship with God was never discussed. I had been memorizing our holy book since childhood and I even led prayer in our building of worship. Nevertheless, I felt a powerful pain and longing for something that I was missing. I tried to satisfy my heart’s desire by studying, as I had always been an excellent student. However, religion only filled my days, not my heart. Finally, I asked myself: ‘Is God for real?’ Looking around at creation, I knew He must be there. In a final attempt I said: ‘God, you know I am sincere, so I want to find you in this holy book!’ When I was almost done reading it, I knew more of who God was, but still, my heart remained empty. It felt as if something great was surrounding me and waiting for me to run to it, but what could it be??? One day, as I was listening to the radio, I suddenly felt a great sense of happiness and excitement. Nice, comforting words were spoken through the Arabic program of TWR, even though I did not understand at all what they meant. The words talked about Jesus. That was what my heart had been yearning for! I decided to look further this time, so I secretly went to a nearby church in order to meet the priest, who was from southern Europe. That day, joy filled my heart and it felt as if the bells of the church chimed in harmony with the beats of my heart! I’ve learned about Jesus’ love and his longing for a relationship with me. I have much more to share, but for now I want to declare: Jesus is God and the Son of God and that is my faith now! My dream is to be baptized and pray at church but the situation in my country is life-threatening. This is my story of salvation. Is there anyone who can stand by me?” M. is being followed up through our regional department. He is now studying Talmatha, a discipleship program. His life is changing day by day, with his relationship with the Lord getting stronger in many ways. Talmatha includes seminars, radio broadcasts, and personal ministry with local believers. It is a 30-minute radio program aired four days a week for the new believers from different backgrounds in the Arab World.

LET FREEDOM RING Standing behind rock-solid iron bars, hearing the sounds of gnashing and gnawing echoing in the hallway, smelling the rotten, stinking odor of my cell, and looking at the eyes of the desperate and the hopeless, my life was doomed to failure and anguish. Being a first class thief, I was sentenced at the age of 35 to fifteen years of imprisonment. Even if I survived the cruelty of prison life and made it out in due time, I would have grown old and weary to enjoy my “left over” days. Therefore, death would do me a favor if he visited me and asked my company for one of his dark and long journeys! How I longed for death, and asked for it daily. I tried to kill myself more than once, but it was in vain. Even death refused my companionship! Amidst this dark pit of doom, there was a ray of light flickering so bright! This Light will soon cast away all of my shadows! At the prison we were allowed to have only one “lavish” request every year. That was their act of mercy towards us. Being full of pride, I turned down their offer for many years and rejected their “gift”. During my 10th year in prison, and when we were asked for our annual request, I decided to make use of this opportunity. I only wanted a radio, which can fill the long hours of heavy silence. My request was granted and one of my family members brought me a radio. I now had a “friend”, whom I could hear but not talk to. Still that was better than nothing! But soon, what I thought would entertain me and help me forget my worries, was actually mounting my despair. The meaningless songs, the trivial talk shows and political interviews reminded me of the outer “free world” that was struggling with pain and slavery just like I’m doing here in prison. I remembered that while I was “free” in the society’s eyes, I was a slave in my own! Thus, neither prison nor “freedom” could help me. One night, and after all had gone to sleep, I was flipping through the radio stations and I came across one…that would soon change my life forever! Someone was talking about the love of God that cleanses the stains of sin, forgives, heals, restores, and gives joy and peace; a love that has been extended to a fallen race, through Jesus the Savior, there’s hope in saving grace. That love is “greater far than gold or silver ever could afford; it reaches past the highest star and covers all the world”! It knows no race or religion; it gives without anything in return. Coming from a non-Christian background, I was raised to believe that love is a lie. No one loves genuinely; no one sacrifices without expecting a pay back. I was taught that among God’s many attributes, he loved people, but they had to be “good” and “righteous”. Therefore, for God to love a wretch like me was unquestionable! The announcer continued and said, “The love of God goes beneath the deepest stain that sin could ever leave; it redeems souls to live again!” Live again? Oh, how I needed to live again, to breathe once more the breath of life. Somehow my desire to “live again” sprang in me. I got addicted to listening to Trans World Radio. I woke up early every morning to listen to its programs; at night, it was the last thing I heard before I slept.

Day by day I started learning about God, His grace, His redeeming blood through His Son, Jesus Christ. And in one of the nights, I heard a hymn that was calling me to take a life-time decision: “Come ye sinners lost and lonely, Jesus’ blood can make you free; for He saved the worst among you when He saved a wretch like me. Jesus’ blood can make the vilest sinner clean; it’s the blood of Jesus that can make you clean.” Oh, how I needed to be clean from the filth of sin. I was that vilest sinner and I believed that only the blood of Jesus on Calvary can make me clean. I bowed down my head and cried out to the Lord with tearful eyes, “Lord have mercy on me, forgive me, save me, come and renew my broken spirit, I want to be a new person and I want to live for you.” Suddenly, I felt I was a different person. The gloom and fretfulness were gone; instead, joy and peace filled my heart. I never felt happier in my entire life. I wanted to shout, to dance, to sing, to cry, to laugh…I did become a new person! I was finally FREE! Jesus came and brought to me the victory! I started corresponding with TWR team, who answered my numerous questions and helped me grow in my journey and relationship with the Lord. In a miraculous way, I was able to have the Bible, which became and still is the priceless treasure one could ever have. I started witnessing to my fellow inmates and at night we used to gather around the radio to listen to TWR. Soon, the circle of listeners enlarged and more than 10 prisoners were committed to join us daily. One day, a prisoner approached me and said, “I have noticed that you have become a totally new person, as if I don’t know you anymore. What’s the secret of your constant smile and joy, your self-control and ideal behavior? I want to be like you, what shall I do?” After testifying to him, that prisoner accepted the Lord as His Savior and together, we started Bible study groups in prison! Although in prison, I was more free than the eagles that soared in the sky…because my soul was free! The walls and iron bars that surrounded me could not hold me captive; I have known the Truth and the Truth has set me free! Now, prison was no more a pain; it became a joy! I now have a reason to live…and oh what a reason! Five wonderful years passed in prison, where God used me to witness to the broken hearts and where He amended their souls. Time for my release was near. As much as I was happy to leave, I was also sad for my fellow friends at prison who need to hear about that Great Love that died and gave Himself in their places, so we can live. Outside prison, God had also prepared a vital ministry for me. I was passionate to tell my family, friends, all those who live in darkness and ignorance, that the only Way for true freedom is through Jesus Christ. I want majority people in my area to experience the power of salvation and the victory in Jesus Christ. Severe persecution was and still is my portion, but I’m honored not only to suffer for Christ but to die for Him as well. My pain now is far worse than the beatings of the prison, but there’s no greater joy than to see lost souls coming back for Christ. All hurt is forgotten as soon as a soul is saved from hell. I am committed now and until I meet my King to “Let Freedom Ring”. I join my voice with the song writer and say:

Let freedom ring wherever minds know what it means to be in chains Let freedom ring wherever hearts know pain Let freedom echo through the lonely streets where prisons have no key You can be free and you can sing let freedom ring. God built freedom into every fiber of creation And He meant for us to all be free and whole When my Lord bought freedom through the blood of His redemption His cross stamped pardon on my very soul. I’ll sing it out with every breath, I’ll let the whole world hear it This hallelujah anthem of the free That iron bars and heavy chains can never hold us captive The Son has made us free and free indeed. Let freedom ring down through the ages from a hill called Calvary Let freedom ring wherever hearts know pain Let freedom echo through the lonely streets where prisons have no key You can be free and you can sing let freedom ring!