Until recently, foreigners could not enter Saudi Arabia — known as ‘The Forbidden Kingdom’ — unless they had a business visa, an invitation from the government, or were on a holy Muslim pilgrimage.
But this changed when the Saudi government made the shocking announcement they would now accept international tourists for the first time from 49 approved countries.
Patrick Murphy with I Found the Truth says this is a unique glimmer of hope amidst swelling tensions in the Middle East.
“We always know this — the physical war on the ground is just a mere reflection of the spiritual war raging in the heavenlies. God is moving and Muslims are coming to faith in Christ.”
With a previously-closed door now cracked open in Saudi Arabia, Murphy says, “Christians need to pray. They need to ask the Lord if they’re called to go and be there and be some salt and light. We’re talking about a country where the majority of the people there have never met one believer ever.”
Islam is the only recognized religion in Saudi Arabia. Christians are banned from gathering, but many of them don’t even know other believers to gather with.
When the above-ground Church is illegal and the underground Church is scarce, Murphy says, “We now are looking at Church in the sky…and it’s the Church that meets connected on the internet.”
Murphy shares the story of Fatima, a woman in Saudi Arabia who came to know Jesus. She didn’t know any Christians in her area, but she found a fellowship of believers from a Muslim background online.
“There were prayer groups, there were worship services, and they were meeting together. Unfortunately, she was discovered by her brother, who worked for the secret police, and he took her life.”
However, Murphy says, “Fatima wrote a prayer on the computer before she went to her death. She talked about how she was not afraid. She [said] ‘their swords don’t concern me’ and that Jesus Christ was the protector of her life. She went willingly to a brutal death at the hands of her family.
“Here’s the amazing thing to us. She is receiving a martyr’s crown in Heaven, and it’s probably the first time…that she met another Christian face-to-face.”
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SOURCE: Mission Network News, Taylor Benson