As Arab Spring Falters, 'Open Hearts' Find God
by Nicole Lee and Charles Braddix
"King Abdullah, who died early Friday (Jan. 23), is succeeded by his brother Salman bin Abdul Aziz.
"Both events come at a time when peoples of the Arab nations reflect on the impact of the Arab Spring and the current rise of the Islamic State (ISIS)..."
"...The fourth anniversary of the Arab Spring uprisings arrives with little sign of real change in the Arab world, except for precious signs of God at work amid the chaos..."
"...In Syria, the death toll is 200,000 and growing. Syrian refugees number more than 3 million, causing overcrowding in neighboring countries such as Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey. The fanaticism of ISIS in Syria and Iraq has flummoxed even other militant Muslim factions.
"Now the Arab Spring has morphed into Arab Winter.
"But Christian workers in the Arab world want people to know that neither newfound democracy nor violence and bloodshed are the only stories worth sharing.
"'There is another story that is not being told," said James Keath*, International Mission Board (IMB) strategy leader for work in Northern Africa and the Middle East.
"Keath recounts examples of Muslim men and women coming to faith in Christ. He also tells of how God has met Arab Christians in their moments of need, providing grace and love and even the ability to forgive those who killed their families.
""The worst humanitarian catastrophe of our day is opening doors among peoples we have never had access to before," Keath said. "And we are finding not just broken lives but open hearts."
"One example is a Syrian refugee woman caring for her sick mother -- penniless, fearful, despairing, without the will to live. She heard the Good News of Jesus from some of His followers who were delivering blankets to the needy. She put her trust in Him saying, "I know Jesus is the only answer. He is the one who can give me peace in my heart and a reason to live..."